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Page:Studies in socialism 1906.djvu/63

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Socialism and Life

It is not then a human being in all his weakness and nakedness, that is born into the world, a prey to every form of oppression and exploitation. It is a person with certain vested rights, who can claim for his perfect development the free use of the means of labour that have been accumulated by human effort.

Every human being has the right to his full physical and moral growth. He has then the right to exact from humanity everything needed to supplement his own effort. He has the right to work, to produce, and to create, and no category of mankind should be able to exact usury from the fruit of his work, and bring it under their yoke. And as the community can only ensure the rights of the individual by putting the means of production at his disposal, the community itself must have the sovereign right of ownership over all the means of production.

Marx and Engels have given in the Communist Manifesto a splendid instance of that respect for all life which is the very essence of Communism. "In bourgeois society living labour is only a means of adding to labour which has been accumulated in the form of capital. In Communist society the accumulated labour of the past will be only a means of enlarging, enriching, and stimulating the life of the labourers.

"In bourgeois society the past dominates the present. In the Communist society, the present will dominate the past."