"I have no country to fight for; my country is the Earth, and I am a citizen of the World." -
Eugene V. Debs
Friday, April 21, 2017
George Praises Marx
I am unable to accept the invitation of our committee to address the meeting at Cooper Institute, but I desire to express my deep respect for a man whose life was devoted to efforts for the improvement of social conditions.
I never had the good fortune to meet Karl Marx, nor have I been able to read his works, which are untranslated into English. I am consequently incompetent to speak with precision of his views. As I understand them, there are several important points on which I differ from them. But no difference of opinion can lessen the esteem which I feel for the man who so steadfastly, so patiently, and so self-sacrificingly labored for the freedom of the oppressed and the elevation of the downtrodden.
In the life and in the teachings of Karl Marx there were the recognition of two profound truths, for which his memory deserves to be held in special honor.
He was the founder of the International — the first attempt to unite in a “holy alliance of the people” the workingmen of all countries; he taught the solidarity of labor, the brotherhood of man, and wherever his influence has reached it has tended to destroy those prejudices of nation and race which have been in all ages the most efficient means by which tyranny has been established and maintained. For this I honor Karl Marx.
And I honor Karl Marx because he saw and taught that the road to social regeneration lies not through destruction and anarchy, but through the promulgation of ideas and the education of the people. He realized that the enslavement of the masses is everywhere due to their ignorance, and realizing this, he set himself to work to master and to point out the social economic laws without the recognition of which all effort for social improvement is but a blind and fruitless struggle.
Karl Marx has gone, but the work he has done remains; whatever may have been in it of that error inseparable from all human endeavor will in turn be eliminated, but the good will perpetuate itself. And his memory will be cherished as one who saw and struggled for that reign of justice in which armies shall be disbanded and poverty shall be unknown and government shall become co-operation, that golden age of peace and plenty, the possibility of which is beginning even now to be recognized among the masses all over the civilized world.
I join with you in paying to such a man the tribute of brotherly regard.