Fred Engels The Housing Question.pdf


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on the workers far more effectively than its noisy anarchist predecessors
were ever able to do. Among most Latin workers, the forgotten works of
Proudhon have been replaced by Capital, The Communist Manifesto, and
a series of other works of the Marxist school, and the main demand of
Marx -- the seizure of all means of production in the name of society by
the proletariat, which has attained the monopoly of political power -- is
now the demand of the whole revolutionary working class in the Latin
countries also.
If therefore Proudhonism has been finally supplanted among the workers
of the Latin countries also, if it -- in accordance with its real significance
-- only serves French, Spanish, Italian and Belgian bourgeois radicals as
an expression of their bourgeois and petty-bourgeois desires, why bother
about it today? Why combat anew a dead opponent by reprinting these
articles?
First of all, because these articles do not confine themselves to a mere
polemic against Proudhon and his German representatives. As a consequence of the division of labour that existed between Marx and myself,
it fell to me to present our opinions in the periodical press, that is to
say, particularly in the fight against opposing views, in order that Marx
should have time for the elaboration of his great basic work. Thus it became my task to present our views, for the most part in a polemical form,
in opposition to other kinds of views. So also here. Parts One and Two
contain not only a criticism of the Proudhonist conception of the question, but also a presentation of our own conception.
Secondly, however, Proudhon played much too significant a role in the
history of the European working class movement for him to fall into
oblivion without more ado. Refuted theoretically and discarded practically, he still retains his historical interest. Whoever occupies himself in any
detail with modern socialism must also acquaint himself with the “vanquished standpoints” of the movement. Marx’s Poverty of Philosophy
appeared several years before Proudhon put forward his practical proposals for social reform. In this work Marx was able to do no more than
discover and criticise the germ of Proudhon’s exchange bank. From this
angle, therefore, this work of mine supplements, unfortunately imperfectly enough, Marx’s work. Marx would have accomplished all this much
better and more convincingly.
And finally, bourgeois and petty-bourgeois socialism is strongly represented in Germany down to this very hour; on the one hand by professorial socialists and philanthropists of all sorts with whom the wish to
turn the workers into owners of their dwellings still plays a great role and
against whom, therefore, my work is still appropriate; and on the other