International Workingmen’s Association 1868
Record of Speech by Karl Marx

On the Successes of The International in Germany and France

Source: MECW Volume 21, p. 381;
First published: in The Bee-Hive Newspaper, July 25, 1868;

In the Minutes of the General Council meeting of July 21, 1868, Marx’s speech is given as follows: “Citizen Marx. Germany. The General Working Men’s Union is going to do in a round-about way what the Prussian law prohibits to be done directly. There is another working men’s union in the Southern and Eastern States of Germany which has some affiliations in Switzerland; they also are going to join. A newspaper, Le Réveil, published by Ledru-Rollin’s party, makes favourable comments upon the International Association”. The record of Marx’s speech is reproduced from a more detailed report of this Council meeting in The Bee-Hive Newspaper, July 25, 1868.

From the Newspaper Report of the General Council Meetings of July 21, 1868

A letter from Germany announced that the Working-Men’s Unions of the Southern States of Germany[446] are going to hold a Congress at Nürnberg in the first week of September. The first question to be decided by that Congress is the adhesion of the whole federation to the International Working-Men’s Association.

Attention was called to an article in Le Réveil, a newspaper, published by the friends of Ledru-Rollin at Paris, in which the attitude of the members of the Paris Committee is approvingly commented upon, and the political sagacity and the superior moral conduct of the working classes of Europe, contrasted with the intriguing stupidity of the ruling classes. The article contains the following remarkable passage:

“It is to the union of ideas and sentiments that prevails amongst the working men of the different countries of Europe that we trust for the maintenance of peace. In a few days the Congress of the International Association is going to assemble. All the countries of Europe will be represented there, perhaps with the exception of France, and will it be too much to say that by the wisdom of its resolutions this assembly of all the European delegates of labour may become the Amphitryonite council of Europe? Yes; if to-morrow, by mastering the immortal principles of the French revolution, and taking in hand the sacred interests of labour, which comprehend order, security, and liberty, this Congress decreed peace, the word would be received with enthusiasm by all Europe.”

446 Marx refers to the Union of German Workers’ Associations headed by August Bebel. In his letter of July 17, 1868, Wilhelm Liebknecht gave Marx details of the preparations for a general congress of the Union and of his and Bebel’s intention to raise there the question of affiliating to the International.