William Morris

Report to the 1st Congress of the 2nd International

William Morris and Frank Kitz were the two delegates from the executive committee of the Socialist League to the International Socialist Congress in Paris (later known as the first Congress of the Second International) in July 1889. Morris gave a verbal report to the Congress on the state of the socialist movement in England, and submitted a handwritten text of the report to the Congress for later publication.

The text was never published in its original form, and although it survives in the Guesde archive of the IISG it has become damaged over the years, losing most of the top of each page and some of the left side. However, the Congress was held in three languages: English, French, and German, and all the reports were translated twice. Morris's report was translated to French on the fly by Paul Lafargue.

After the Congress ended, Guesde and Lafargue began to prepare their material for publication as the proceedings of the Conference, but the work was interrupted by their participation in the French elections. The original translation of Morris's report was partly overwritten with a more fluent, but less literal, version.

In the end Guesde and Lafargue published only a summary of events preceeding the Congress, the list of attendees, and the final motions passed. The German SPD took over preparation of the full Proceedings, now in German. Eventually this was supervised by Wilhelm Liebknecht, who was the original translator of Morris's report into German during the Congress itself. However, the version actually published in German seems to be a new translation closely based on the 'improved' French translation of Lafargue.

The Marxists Internet Archive has three of these documents:

See also:


Graham Seaman, November 2019