International Workingmens Association 1865
Source: MECW, Volume 20, p. 380;
Written: in the latter half of August 1865;
First published: in The Miner and Workmans Advocate, September 16, 1865.
At the end of July 1865 John Bredford Leno, proprietor of The Miner and Workmans Advocate, a weekly newspaper published in London from 1863, proposed placing it at the service of the Central Council of the International. The proposal was supported by, the Council members. They discussed the matter at the Council meetings of August 8 and 15, at which Marx was not present, since he was busy working on Capital. But he was informed about the details of the discussion by Eccarius, who wrote to him on August 16, 1865.
On August 22, after the regular Council meeting, the shareholders of the Industrial Newspaper Company, established to finance the newspaper, held their foundation meeting. The meeting, which was attended by Marx, approved the address to the working men of Great Britain and Ireland, written by Council members earlier, and the Companys Prospectus, both published here. in the Appendices. On September 25, 1865, the London Conference declared the paper, which on September 8 had assumed the name of The Workmans Advocate, an official organ of the International Association. At the beginning of November 1865 the paper became the full property of the Industrial Newspaper Company, In February 1866 it was renamed The Commonwealth. Marx was a member of the Companys Board and remained on it until June 1866. However, the growing influence of reformist elements in the papers Editorial Board and the vacillation and conciliatory policy on the part of the trade-union leaders on the Companys Board did not let Marx and his followers avert the transformation of this working-class paper into an organ supporting the policy of bourgeois radicals. It was published until July 20, 1867.
Capital £1,000, in Shares of £1 each. Deposit 2s, 6d. per Share.
Mr. G. Odger, Chairman Mr. Nieass
Mr. R. Cremer Mr. Jung
Mr. R. Applegarth Mr. Christmas
Mr. Coulson Dr. Marx
Mr. H. Turff Mr. Weston
Mr. Eccarius Mr. Le Lubez
Mr. W. Stainsby Mr. Kaub
Mr. Worley Mr. Morgan
Mr. Facey Mr. Lessner
Treasurer — Mr. E. Coulson
Secretary — Mr. Edwin Shelly Mantz
The object of the promoters of the above Company is to supply a great want of the age — to establish a Newspaper devoted to the interests of the Working Classes, and to secure for them a truthful exponent of their wrongs, and a faithful champion of their rights.
To further this object, the Board of Directors are happy to state that they have succeeded in purchasing the Miner Newspaper, which is now incorporated with the Workmans Advocate, and they have also made arrangements with some of the most advanced writers to contribute to its columns.
The well-known character of the men connected with its management renders it needless to indulge in professions. Suffice it to say, that it will be Democratic In Politics — and ever prepared to maintain principle against expediency.
To those who have been accustomed to view the efforts of the poor as a series of vain struggles of Labour against Capital, it may be observed that those efforts have failed, not from a want of justice in the objects to be attained, but from the want of a legitimate organ to influence public opinion. If an Oxford Professor or an enlightened writer have occasionally come forward to champion the creed of the downtrodden millions, his voice has been but the echo of human agony, heard amidst the clamour of contending interests, and silenced by the diatribes of newspaper hirelings. To say the Newspaper Press represents public-opinion, is to administer insult to intelligent men. It is the property of speculators, political leaders, large contractors, and railway directors. Can we expect truth through the channels of falsehood — light from the regions of darkness, or fairness from those ,hose business it is to calumniate, pervert, and deceive Certainly not. Hence the necessity for an organ that shall be beyond the taint of corruption, invulnerable against attacks, and inspired by, men who feel it is their mission to teach the truths they, have acquired by hard toil and bitter suffering.
The Workmans Advocate boldly takes its stand upon this necessity. Dignified and fearless, as becomes the champion of the masses, it requires the aid of no dishonest scribes or unprincipled adventurers. It will look to Labour and Labours friends for its associates. The class that has produced an Elliott, Clare, and Burns — that has given a Defoe to fiction, a Stephenson to science, and a Shakespeare to literature, still claims within its ranks many a noble son who can wield the pen as well as the shuttle or the hammer.
An Industrial Newspaper Company is an application of the Co-operative principle — a sign of the times that the men of action are likewise men of thought, who will tell their own unvarnished tale in an organ of their own.
On the great questions of the day the Advocate will pronounce a decided opinion. With the view of promoting the complete political and social enfranchisement of the tolling millions, it will energetically. support Manhood Suffrage, vote by ballot, representation based upon numbers, direct taxation, the nationalisation of the land, the development of co-operative self-employment to national dimensions, reduction of the number of the hours of labour, Saturday half holiday movements, political international, and trade associations, everything that tends to advance the cause of human progress.
Originated by the representatives of Labour, to the sons of Labour must it chiefly look for encouragement and support; but as good men are to be found in every station of life, it is believed that many ardent lovers of freedom who have means at their command, will derive a pleasure in co-operating with our efforts.
Aid from this source will be generous, and may be gracefully tendered, as it will be gratefully received.
Firm in the faith of those political truths, for the utterance of which so many noble martyrs have suffered, and conscious that the period has arrived when revolutions must be effected by mental effort, and not by physical violence, the conductors of the Workmans Advocate will never descend to scurrility or vulgar abuse, but seek to prove the justice of its claims by the soundness of its arguments, and the charity of its spirit.
Enrolling amongst its literary associates some of the brightest intellects of all countries, its articles upon Foreign Affairs will be the matured opinions of profound thinkers; and from its close connections with the International Working Mens Association, which has correspondents in all parts of the world, this department will be one of its most valuable features.
Upon domestic topics the result of the week will be faithfully recorded in a well-written Summary, and the various movements of political bodies will be chronicled and commented fairly on.
On all questions affecting the rights of Labour the platform will be its own, and every working man will feel that at least the columns of one journal will be open to him and those who advocate his cause.
To bring the proprietorship of the Workmans Advocate within the reach of the masses, the Shares are being issued at the sum of £1 each; and to make the mode of payment as easy as possible, the Directors have determined to accept deposits of 2s. 6d. per Share.
(By order of the Directors)
E. S. Mantz, Secretary
Please to allot me Shares in the Industrial Newspaper Company, for which I send as my first deposit, authorising the Secretary to instruct the district collector to wait upon me weekly.
To Mr. E. S. Mantz, Secretary,
Rose Cottage, 60, Downham Road, Kingsland.