Wilhelm Liebknecht, leader of the German Social Democratic Party, speech at Marx's graveside

"I have come from the heart of Germany to express my love and gratitude to my unforgettable teacher and faithful friend. To my faithful friend! Karl Marx's greatest friend and colleague has just called him the best-hated man of this century. That is true. He was the best-hated but he was also the best-loved. The best-hated by the oppressors and exploiters of the people, the best-loved by the oppressed and exploited, as far as they are conscious of their position. The oppressed and exploited people love him because he loved them. For the deceased whose loss we are mourning was great in his love as in his hatred. His hatred had love as its source. He was a great heart as he was a great mind. All who knew him know that.

"But I am here not only as a pupil and a friend, I am here as the representative of the German Social-Democrats who have charged me with expressing their feelings for their teacher, for the man who created our party, as much as one can speak of creating in this connection.

"It would be out of place here to indulge in fine speeches. For nobody was a more vehement enemy of phrase-mongering than Karl Marx. It is precisely his immortal merit that he freed the proletariat, the working people's party, from phrases and gave it the solid foundation of science that nothing can shake. A revolutionary in science and a revolutionary through science, he scaled the highest peak of science in order to come down to the people and to make science the common good of the people.

"Science is the liberator of humanity.

"The natural sciences free us from God. But God in heaven still lives on although science has killed him.

"The science of society that Marx revealed to the people kills capitalism, and with it the idols and masters of the earth who will not let God die as long as they live.

"Science is not German. It knows no barriers, and least of all the barriers of nationality It was therefore natural that the creator of Capital should also become the creator of the International Working Men's Association.

"The basis of science, which we owe to Marx, puts us in a position to resist all attacks of the enemy and to continue with ever-increasing strength the fight which we have undertaken.

"Marx changed the Social-Democracy from a sect, a school, into a party, the party which is now fighting undaunted and which will be victorious.

"And that is true not only of us Germans. Marx belongs to the proletariat. It was to the proletariat of all countries that his life was dedicated. Proletarians who can think and do think in all countries have grateful reverence for him.

"It is a heavy blow that has fallen on us. But we do not mourn. The deceased is not dead. He lives in the heart, he lives in the head of the proletariat. His memory will not perish, his doctrine will be effective in ever broader circles.

"Instead of mourning, let us act in the spirit of the great man who has died and strive with all our strength so that the doctrine which he taught and for which he fought will be put into practice as soon as possible. That is the best way to honour his memory!

"Deceased, living friend, we shall follow to the final aim you showed us. We swear it on your grave!"

(17 March 1883)

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