International Workingmen’s Association 1868

Appeal to the German Workers In London

Source: MECW Volume 21, p. 385;
Drawn up: on about August 11, 1868;
First published: in the Hermann, August 15, 1868.

This appeal was written by Friedrich Lessner in connection with the Brussels Congress of the International to be held in September 1868 and was sent to Marx for review. When returning it to Lessner, Marx wrote on August 11, 1868: “Because of spelling mistakes I have entirely rewritten the enclosed appeal”. Marx’s extant manuscript is identical with the text of the appeal as published in the London newspaper Hermann, No. 502, August 15, 1868.


On September 7 of this year the third international workers’ congress will meet in Brussels.

The congress will discuss the best means of expanding and strengthening the international workers’ association and of raising the effectiveness of its joint activities; it will also discuss questions that immediately affect the interests of the working class and call for urgent solution. Finally, mutual agreement should be reached on the methods of propaganda.

The following questions will be put to the congress by the General Council:

1. Reduction and regulation of the working day;

2. The influence of machinery in the hands of the capitalists;

3. The nature of landed property;

4. The education of the working class;

5. Setting up credit institutions to promote the social emancipation of the working class;

6. The best ways of establishing cooperative producers’ societies.

We call on you to do everything in your power as associations and individuals to help in this undertaking made imperative by the times and circumstances. It is necessary through voluntary contributions to collect what is needed to allow the German workers in London to be represented by one or more delegates. It would be a disgrace, if, in the present turbulent times, there were not sufficient understanding of their own class interests among the thousands of German workers in London to ensure their representation at the Brussels Congress.

So, to work! It is high time that the workers of all countries unite and understand that a mighty association of all sections of the working class is necessary for a successful struggle against the arbitrary rule of the capitalists.

Let us not forget that in the United States of North America the eight-hour working day has already been proclaimed law for all government workshops.

Let us also recall those historic meaningful words which Karl Marx wrote in 1867 in the preface to his work Capital. A Critique of Political Economy: “As in the 18th century, the American War of Independence sounded the tocsin for the European middle-class, so in the 19th century, the American Civil War sounded it for the European working-class.”

Contributions will be received in the German Workers’ Educational Society on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, in the evening from 9 o'clock onwards by the secretary and treasurer.

Windsor Castle, 27 Long Acre, W. C.

On behalf of the German Workers’ Educational Society, German branch of the International Working Men’s Association:

The Executive Committee