On the 14th of March, at a quarter to three in the afternoon,
the greatest living thinker ceased to think.
He had been left alone for scarcely two minutes,
and when we came back we found him in his armchair,
peacefully gone to sleep—but forever.
An immeasurable loss has been sustained both by the militant proletariat of Europe and America,
and by historical science, in the death of this man.
The gap that has been left by the departure of this mighty spirit
will soon enough make itself felt.
Just as Darwin discovered the law of development of organic nature,
so Marx discovered the law of development of human history:
the simple fact, hitherto concealed by an overgrowth of ideology,
that mankind must first of all eat, drink, have shelter and clothing,
before it can pursue politics, science, art, religion, etc.;
that therefore the production of the immediate material means of subsistence
and consequently the degree of economic development attained by a given people
or during a given epoch form the foundation upon which the state institutions,
the legal conceptions, art, and even the ideas on religion,
of the people concerned have been evolved, and in the light of which they must, therefore,
be explained, instead of vice versa, as had hitherto been the case.
But that is not all.
Marx also discovered the special law of motion governing the present-day capitalist mode of production
and the bourgeois society that this mode of production has created.
The discovery of surplus value suddenly threw light on the problem,
in trying to solve which all previous investigations,
of both bourgeois economists and socialist critics, had been groping in the dark.
Two such discoveries would be enough for one lifetime.
Happy the man to whom it is granted to make even one such discovery.
But in every single field which Marx investigated—and he investigated very many fields,
none of them superficially—in every field, even in that of mathematics,
he made independent discoveries.