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The International Workingmen's Association

Its Establishment, Organisation, Political and Social Activity, and Growth

Wilhelm Eichhoff - 1869

This pamphlet was written with Karl Marx's active assistance.[*]

1. Foundation of the Association

The immediate motive for the foundation of the International Working Men's Association was the latest Polish insurrection. The London workers sent a deputation to Lord Palmerston with an appeal in which they called on him to intervene on behalf of Poland. At the same time, they issued an address to the workmen of Paris, calling on them to take joint action. The Parisians responded by sending delegates to London. To welcome them, a public meeting gathered at St. Martin's Hall, Long Acre, on September 28, 1864, at which Britons, Germans, Frenchmen, Poles and Italians were represented in large numbers.

This meeting gave birth to the International Working Men's Association. Apart from the political purpose for which the meeting was called, it also raised the subject of general social conditions. It revealed that workmen of all nations had the same grievances, that they were subjected to the same basic evils in all countries. It showed that the interests of all of them coincided. It elected a provisional Central Council, later renamed the General Council which made its seat in London and was composed of various nationalities. The Council was provisionally entrusted with the central administration of the future Association, the publication of the Inaugural Address (a kind of programme), and the drafting of the Provisional Rules.

Unanimity and enthusiasm reigned at the meeting. Each nation was represented by men who did it honour. As a result, the. English workers, who had fought the ruling classes independently of, and uninfluenced by, the political and social movements of the rest of Europe since 1824, when the legislature was compelled to grant them the right of association[395], now came out of their national isolation for the first time and agreed with the workmen of all nations on the necessity for joint action. Hence the enthusiasm: the gathering was aware that it was ringing in a new era in the workers' movement.

The International Workingmen's Association. Wilhelm Eichhoff 1869

2. Difficulties in the Initial Period of the Association

New movements are not created overnight even if they are called upon to fill a pressing need of the times. To begin with, it is essential to steer clear of reefs on which new organisations have foundered so often before or which have, at the very least, diverted them from their original and true goal, for representatives of declining forms of the movement join the new one to make it a vehicle of the old. This was the case here, too. The Italian members of the provisional Central Council were followers of Mazzini. They laid before the Central Council a draft of the Inaugural Address and the Provisional Rules[396] drawn up by Mazzini himself. In his address, Mazzini repeated his old political programme garnished with a bit of socialist phraseology. He thundered against the class struggle. His Rules were formulated in a strictly centralised manner fit for secret political societies. From the start they would have destroyed the very basis of an international working men's association which was not conceived to create a movement but only to unite and weld together the already existing and dispersed class movement of various countries.

Mazzini's name was in high repute at the time among the English workers, notably since Garibaldi's triumphant visit to London[397]. Mazzini was therefore fairly confident that he would be able to take charge of the International Working Men's Association. But he had reckoned without his host. Karl Marx, who had been elected to the provisional Central Council at the meeting in St. Martin's Hall, submitted his drafts of the Inaugural Address and Provisional Rules in opposition to Mazzini's. Both of his drafts were unanimously adopted and published, and the Provisional Rules later won final acceptance at the Geneva Congress in 1866.

It was therefore a German who gave the International Working Men's Association its definite tendency and organisational principles. And we might also note that the Central Council in London has repeatedly been confirmed in its functions.

The International Workingmen's Association. Wilhelm Eichhoff 1869

3. The Inaugural Address of Karl Marx[398]

In the closest possible translation of the English original, the Address reads as follows:

Working Men,

It is a great fact that the misery of the working classes has not diminished from 1848 to 1864, and yet this period is unrivalled in the annals of history for the development of its industry and the growth of its commerce. In 1850, a moderate organ of the British bourgeoisie, seemingly of more than average information, predicted that if the exports and imports of England were to rise 50 per cent, English pauperism would sink to zero[399]. Alas! On April 7th, 1864, Mr. Gladstone,' the British Chancellor of the Exchequer, delighted his audience' by the statement that the total import and export trade of England had grown in 1863 to £443,955,000, which amounted to about three times the trade of the comparatively recent epoch of 1843. With all that, he was compelled to refer to the social misery. He had to speak of those who were on the border of starvation, of wages that had not increased by a single penny, of human life that was in nine cases out of ten but a daily struggle for existence. He did not speak of the people of Ireland, gradually replaced by machinery in the north, and by sheep-walks in the south, though even the sheep in that unhappy country are decreasing, it is true, not at so rapid a rate as the men. He did not repeat what then had been just betrayed by the highest representatives of the upper ten thousand in a sudden fit of terror. When the garotte panic[400] had reached a certain height, the House of Lords caused an inquiry to be made into, and a report to be published upon, transportation and penal servitude. Out came the murder in the bulky Blue Book of 1863[401], and proved it was, by official facts and figures, that the worst of the convicted criminals, the penal serfs of England and Scotland, toiled much less and fared far better than the agricultural labourers of England and Scotland. But this was not all. When, consequent upon the Civil War in America, the operatives of Lancashire and Cheshire were thrown upon the streets, the same House of Lords sent to the manufacturing districts a physician commissioned to investigate into the smallest possible amount of carbon and nitrogen, to be administered in the cheapest and plainest form, which might just suffice to avert starvation diseases. Dr. Smith, the medical commissioner of Parliament, ascertained that 28,000 grains of carbon, and 1,330 grains of nitrogen were the weekly allowance that would just about be enough to keep an average adult over the level of starvation diseases, and he found furthermore that this quantity pretty nearly agreed with the scanty nourishment to which the pressure of extreme distress had actually reduced the poor cotton operatives. [We need hardly remind the reader that, apart from the elements of water and certain inorganic substances, carbon and nitrogen form the raw materials of human food. However, to nourish the human system, those simple chemical constituents must be supplied in the form of vegetable or animal substances. Potatoes, for instance, contain only carbon, while bread contains carbonaceous and nitrogenous substances in a due proportion. – Note by Karl Marx.]

But that is not all. The same learned Doctor was later on again deputed by the government to inquire into the nourishment of the poorer part of the working class. The results of his researches are contained in the "Sixth Report on Public Health", published by order of Parliament in the course of the present year (1864). What did the Doctor discover? That the silk weavers, the needle women, the kid glovers, the stocking weavers, and other workers, received, on an average, not even the distress pittance of the cotton operatives, not even the amount of carbon and nitrogen "just sufficient to avert starvation diseases".

"Moreover," we quote from the report, "as regards the examined families of the agricultural population, it appeared that more than a fifth were with less than the estimated sufficiency of carbonaceous food, that more than one-third were with less than the estimated sufficiency of nitrogenous food, and that in three counties (Berkshire, Oxfordshire, and Somersetshire) insufficiency of nitrogenous food was the average local diet." "It must be remembered," adds the official report, "that privation of food is very reluctantly borne, and that, as a rule, great poorness of diet will only come when other privations have preceded it." ... "Even cleanliness will have been found costly or difficult, and if there still be self-respectful endeavours to maintain it, every such endeavour will represent additional pangs of hunger. These are painful reflections, especially when it is remembered that the poverty to which they advert is not the deserved poverty of idleness; in all cases it is the poverty of working populations. Indeed, the work which obtains the scanty pittance of food is for the most part excessively prolonged."

Further, the report brings out the strange, and rather unexpected fact that of the four divisions of the United Kingdom, those of England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, the agricultural population of England, the richest division, is considerably the worst fed, but that even the agricultural labourers of Berkshire, Oxfordshire, and Somersetshire, fare better than great numbers of skilled indoor operatives of the East End of London.

Translator's note. In the Preface to his recently published book, Das Kapital. Kritik der politischen Oekonomie. Von Karl Marx. Hamburg 1867, Marx observes most correctly:

"The social statistics of Germany and the rest of Continental Western Europe are, in comparison with those of England, wretchedly compiled. But they raise the veil just enough to let us catch a glimpse of the Medusa head behind it. We should be appalled at the state of things at home, if, as in England, our governments and parliaments appointed periodically commissions of inquiry into economic conditions; if these commissions were armed with the same plenary powers to get at the truth; if it was possible to find for this purpose men as competent, as free from partisanship and respect of persons as are the English factory inspectors, her medical reporters on public health, her commissioners of inquiry into the exploitation of women and children, into housing and food. Perseus wore a magic cap that the monsters he hunted down might not see him. We draw the magic cap over eyes and ears as a make-believe that these are no monsters." – [Note by Eichhoff.]

Such are the official statements published by order of Parliament in 1864, during the millennium of free trade, at a time when the Chancellor of the Exchequer told the House of Commons that

"the average condition of the British labourer has improved in a degree we know to be extraordinary and unexampled in the history of any country or any age".

Upon these official congratulations jars the dry remark of the official Public Health Report:

"The public health of a country means the health of its masses, and the masses will scarcely be healthy unless, to their very base, they be at least moderately prosperous.

Dazzled by the "Progress of the Nation" statistics dancing before his eyes, the Chancellor of the Exchequer exclaims in wild ecstasy:

"From 1842 to 1852 the taxable income of the country increased by 6 per cent; in the eight years from 1853 to 1861, it has increased from the basis taken in 1853, 20 per cent! The fact is so astonishing to be almost incredible!... This intoxicating augmentation of wealth and power," adds Mr. Gladstone, "is entirely confined to classes of property!"[402]

If you want to know with how many victims of broken health, tainted morals, and mental ruin, that "Intoxicating augmentation of wealth and power entirely confined to classes of property" was, and is being, produced by the classes of labour, look to the picture hung up in the last "Public Health Report" of the workshops of tailors, printers, and dressmakers! Compare the "Report of the Children's Employment Commission" of 1863, where it is stated, for instance, that

the potters as a class, both men and women, represent a much degenerated population, both physically and mentally, that the unhealthy child is an unhealthy parent in his turn, that the future was fraught with the gradual extinction of the race, and that the degenerescence of the population of Staffordshire would be even greater were it not for the constant recruiting from the adjacent country, and the intermarriages with more healthy races.

Glance at Mr. Tremenheere's Blue Book on the "Grievances Complained of by the journeymen Bakers"! And who has not shuddered at the seemingly paradoxical statement made by the inspectors of factories, and illustrated by the Registrar General, that the Lancashire operatives, while put upon the distress pittance of food, were actually improving in health during this time, because of their temporary exclusion by the cotton famine from the cotton factory, and that the mortality of the children was decreasing, because their mothers were now at last allowed to give them, instead of Godfrey's cordial, their own breasts.

Again reverse the medal! The Income and Property Tax Returns laid before the House of Commons on July 20, 1864, teach us that the persons with yearly incomes, valued a at £50,000 and upwards, had, from April 5th, 1862, to April 5th, 1863, been joined by a dozen and one, their number having increased in that single year from 67 to 80. The same returns disclose the fact that about 3,000 persons divide amongst themselves a yearly income of about £25,000,000 sterling, rather more than the total revenue doled out annually to the whole mass of the agricultural labourers of England and Wales. Open the census of 1861, and you will find that the number of the landed proprietors of England and Wales had decreased from 16,934 in 1851, to 15,066 in 1861, so that the concentration of land had grown in 10 years 11 per cent. If the concentration of the soil of the country in a few hands proceeds at the same rate, the land question will become singularly simplified, as it had become in the Roman Empire, when Nero grinned at the discovery that half the Province of Africa was owned by six gentlemen.

We have dwelt so long upon these facts, "so astonishing to be almost incredible", because England heads the Europe of commerce and industry. It will be remembered that not long ago one of the refugee sons of Louis Philippe publicly congratulated the English agricultural labourer on the superiority of his lot over that of his less florid comrade on the other side of the Channel. Indeed, with local colours changed, and on a scale somewhat contracted, the English facts reproduce themselves in all the industrious and progressive countries of the Continent' In all of them there has taken place, since 1848, an unheard-of development of industry, and an undreamed-of expansion of imports and exports. In all of them the augmentation of wealth and power entirely confined to classes of property was truly intoxicating. In all of them, as in England, a minority of the working classes got their real wages somewhat advanced; while in most cases, given the universally rising prices, the monetary rise of wages denoted no more a real access of comforts than the inmate of the metropolitan poor-house or orphan asylum, for instance, was in the least benefited by his first necessaries rising in price according to official estimates from £7 7s. 4d. in 1852 to £9 15s. 8d. in 1864. Everywhere the great mass of the working classes were sinking down to a lower depth, at the same rate, at least, that those above them were rising in the social scale. In all countries of Europe it has now become a truth demonstrable to every, unprejudiced mind, and only denied by those, whose interest it is to hedge other people in a fool's paradise, that no improvement of machinery, no appliance of science to industrial and agricultural production, no aids and contrivances of communication, no new colonies, no emigration, no opening of markets, no free trade, nor all these things put together will do away with the miseries of the industrious masses; but that, on the present false base, every fresh development of the productive powers of labour must tend to deepen social contrasts and point social antagonisms. Death of starvation rose almost to the rank of a social institution, during this intoxicating epoch of economical progress, in the metropolis of the British Empire, That epoch is marked in the annals of the world by the quickened return, the widening compass, and the deadlier effects of the social pest called a commercial and industrial crisis.

After the failure of the Revolutions of 1848, all party organisations and party journals of the working classes were, on the Continent, crushed by the iron hand of force, the most advanced sons of labour fled in despair to the Transatlantic Republic, and the short-lived dreams of emancipation vanished before an epoch of industrial fever, moral marasme, and political reaction. The defeat of the Continental working classes a soon spread its contagious effects on this side of the Channel. While the rout of their Continental brethren unmanned the English working classes, and broke their faith in their own cause, it restored to the landlord and the money-lord their somewhat shaken confidence. They insolently withdrew concessions already advertised. The discoveries of new goldlands led to an immense exodus, leaving an irreparable void in the ranks of the British proletariat. Others of its formerly active members were caught by the temporary bribe of greater work and wages, and turned into loyal subjects. All the efforts made at keeping up, or remodelling, the Chartist movement, failed signally; the press organs of the working class died one by one of the apathy of the masses, and, in point of fact, never before seemed the English working class so thoroughly reconciled to a state of political nullity. If, then, there had been no solidarity of action between the British and the Continental working classes, there was, at all events, a solidarity of defeat.

And yet this period has not been without its compensating features. We shall here only point to two great facts.

After a thirty years' struggle, fought with most admirable perseverance, the English working classes, improving a momentaneous split between the landlords and money-lords, succeeded in carrying the Ten Hours' Bill[403]. The immense physical, moral, and intellectual benefits hence accruing to the factory operatives, half-yearly chronicled in the reports of the inspectors of factories, are now acknowledged on all sides. Most of the Continental governments had to accept the English Factory Act in more or less modified forms, and the English Parliament itself is every year compelled to enlarge its sphere of action. But besides its practical import, there was something else to exalt the marvellous success of this working men's measure. Through their most notorious men of science, such as Dr. Ure, Professor Senior, and other sages of that stamp, the British bourgeoisie had predicted, and to their heart's content proved, that any legal restriction of the hours of labour must sound the death knell of British industry, which, vampire like, could but live by sucking blood, and children's blood, too. In olden times, child murder was a mysterious rite of the religion of Moloch, but it was practised on some very solemn occasions only, once a year perhaps, and then Moloch had no exclusive bias for the children of the poor. This struggle about the legal restriction of the hours of labour raged the more fiercely since, apart from frightened avarice, it told indeed upon the great contest between the blind rule of the laws of supply and demand which form the political economy of the bourgeoisie, and social production controlled by social foresight, which forms the political economy of the working class. Hence the Ten Hours' Bill was not only a great practical success; it was the victory of a principle; it was the first time that in broad daylight the political economy of the bourgeoisie succumbed to the political economy of the working class.

But there was in store a still greater victory of the political economy of labour over the political economy of property. We speak of the cooperative movement, especially the cooperative factories raised by the unassisted efforts of a few bold "hands".

Translator's note: It is common usage in England to describe workers as hands, while sheep and oxen are counted by heads. [Note by Eichhoff.]

The value of these great social experiments cannot be over-rated. By deed, instead of by argument, they have shown that production on a large scale, and in accord with the behests of modern science, may be carried on without the existence of a class of masters employing a class of hands; that to bear fruit, the means of labour need not be monopolised as a means of dominion over, and of extortion against, the labouring man himself; and that, like slave labour, like serf labour, hired labour is but a transitory and inferior form, destined to disappear before associated labour plying its toil with a willing hand, a ready mind, and a joyous heart. In England, the seeds of the cooperative system were sown by Robert Owen; the same working men's experiments, tried on the Continent, were, in fact, the practical upshot of the theories, not invented, but loudly proclaimed, in 1848.

The experience of the period from 1848 to 1864 has proved beyond doubt that, however excellent in principle, and however useful in practice, cooperative labour, if kept within the narrow circle of the casual efforts of private workmen, will never be able to arrest the growth in geometrical progression of monopoly, to free the masses, nor even to perceptibly lighten the burden of their miseries. It is perhaps for this very reason that plausible noblemen, philanthropic bourgeois spouters, and even keen political economists, have all at once turned nauseously complimentary to the very cooperative labour system they had vainly tried to nip in the bud by deriding it as the Utopia of the dreamer, or stigmatising it as the sacrilege of the Socialist. To save the industrious masses, cooperative labour ought to be developed to national dimensions, and, consequently, to be fostered by national means. Yet, the lords of land and the lords of capital will always use their political privileges for the defence and perpetuation of their economical monopolies. So far from promoting, they will continue to lay every possible impediment in the way of the emancipation of labour. Remember the sneer with which, last session, Lord Palmerston put down the advocates of the Irish Tenants' Right Bill. The House of Commons, cried he, is a house of landed proprietors[404]. To conquer political power has therefore become the great duty of the working classes. They seem to have comprehended this, for in England, Germany, Italy, and France there have taken place simultaneous revivals, and simultaneous efforts are being made at the political reorganisation of the working men's party.

One element of success they possess-numbers; but numbers weigh only in the balance, if united in an alliance and led towards a known goal. Past experience has shown how disregard of that bond of brotherhood which ought to exist between the workmen of different countries, and incite them to stand firmly by each other in all their struggles for emancipation, will be chastised by the common discomfiture of their incoherent efforts. This thought prompted the working men of different countries assembled on September 28, 1864, in public meeting at St. Martin's Hall, to found the International Working Men's Association.

Another conviction swayed that meeting.

If the emancipation of the working classes requires their fraternal concurrence, how are they to fulfil that great mission if the foreign policy of governments pursues criminal designs, playing upon national prejudices, and squandering in piratical wars the people's blood and treasure? It was not the wisdom of the ruling classes, but the heroic resistance by the working classes of England that saved the West of Europe from plunging headlong into an infamous crusade for the perpetuation and propagation of slavery on the other side of the Atlantic[405]. The shameless approval, mock sympathy, or idiotic indifference, with which the upper classes of Europe have witnessed the mountain fortress of the Caucasus falling a prey to, and heroic Poland being assassinated by, Russia; the unresisted encroachments of that barbarous power, whose head is at St. Petersburg, and whose hands are in every Cabinet of Europe, have taught the working classes the duty to master themselves the mysteries of international politics; to watch the diplomatic acts of their respective Governments; to counteract them, if necessary, by all means in their power; when unable to prevent, to combine in simultaneous denunciations, and to vindicate the simple laws of morals and justice, which ought to govern the relations of private individuals, as the rules paramount of the intercourse of nations.

The fight for such a foreign policy forms part of the general struggle for the emancipation of the working classes.

Proletarians of all countries, Unite!

The International Workingmen's Association. Wilhelm Eichhoff 1869

4. The Rules of the Association[406]

These follow in the final, essentially unchanged, wording as sanctioned by the Geneva Congress (1866):


That the emancipation of the working classes must be conquered by the working classes themselves; that the struggle for the emancipation of the working classes means not a struggle for class privileges and monopolies, but for equal rights and duties, and the abolition of all class rule;

That the economical subjection of the man of labour to the monopoliser of the means of labour, that is the sources of life, lies at the bottom of servitude in all its forms, of all social misery, mental degradation, and political dependence;

That the economical emancipation of the working classes is therefore the great end to which every political movement ought to be subordinate as a means;

That all efforts aiming at that great end have hitherto failed from the want of solidarity between the manifold divisions of labour in each country, and from the absence of a fraternal bond of union between the working classes of different countries;

That the emancipation of labour is neither a local, nor a national, but a social problem, embracing all countries in which modern society exists, and depending for its solution on the concurrence, practical and theoretical, of the most advanced countries;

That the present revival of the working classes in the most industrious countries of Europe, while it raises a new hope, gives solemn warning against a relapse into the old errors, and calls for the immediate combination of the still disconnected movements;

For these reasons: –

The first International Working Men's Congress declares that this International Association and all societies and individuals adhering to it will acknowledge truth, justice, and morality, as the basis of their conduct towards each other, and towards all men, without regard to colour, creed or nationality;

This Congress considers it the duty of a man to claim the rights of a man and citizen, not only for himself, but for every man who does his duty. No rights without duties, no duties without rights[407];

And in this spirit they have drawn up the following Rules of the International Association: –

1. This Association is established to afford a central medium of ,communication and cooperation between Working Men's Societies existing in different countries, and aiming at the same end, viz., the protection, advancement, and complete emancipation of the working classes.

2. The name of the Society shall be: "The International Working Men's Association".

3. The General Council shall consist of working men belonging to the different countries represented in the International Association. It shall from its own members elect the officers necessary for the transaction of business, such as a president, a treasurer, a general secretary, corresponding secretaries for the different countries, &c. The Congress appoints annually the scat of the General Council, elects a number of members, with power to add to their numbers, and appoints time and place for the meeting of the' next Congress. The delegates assemble at the appointed time and place without any special invitation. The General Council may, in case of need, change the place, but has no power to postpone the time of meeting.

4. On its annual meetings, the General Congress shall receive a public account of the transactions of the General Council. In cases of urgency, it may convoke the General Congress before the regular yearly term.

5. The General Council shall form an international agency between the different cooperating associations, so that the working men in one country be constantly informed of the movements of their class in every other country; that the inquiry into the social state of the different countries of Europe be made simultaneously, and under a common direction; that the questions of general interest mooted in one society be ventilated by all; and that, when immediate practical steps should be needed, as, for instance, in case of international quarrels, the action of the associated societies be simultaneous and uniform. Whenever it seems opportune, the General Council shall take the initiative of proposals to be laid before the different national or local societies. To facilitate the communications, the General Council shall publish periodical reports.

6. Since the success of the working men's movement in each country cannot be secured but by the power of union and combination, while, on the other hand, the usefulness of the International General Council must greatly depend on the circumstances whether it has to deal with a few national centres of working men's associations, or with a great number of small and disconnected local societies; the members of the International Association shall use their utmost efforts to combine the disconnected working men's societies of their respective countries into national bodies, represented by central national organs. It is self-understood, however, that the appliance of this rule will depend upon the peculiar laws of each country, and that, apart from legal obstacles, no independent local society shall be precluded from directly corresponding with the General Council.

7. The various branches and sections shall, at their places of abode, and as far as their influence may extend, take the initiative not only in all matters tending to the general progressive improvement of public life but also in the foundation of productive associations and other. institutions useful to the working class. The General Council shall encourage them in every, possible manner.

8. Each member of the International Association, on removing his domicile from one country to another, will receive the fraternal support of the Associated Working Men.

9. Everybody who acknowledges and defends the principles of the International Working Men's Association is eligible to become a member. Every branch is responsible for the integrity of the members it admits.

10. Every section or branch has the right to appoint its own corresponding secretary.

11. While united in a perpetual bond of fraternal cooperation, the working men's societies, joining the International Association, will preserve their existent organisations intact.

12. Everything not provided for in the present Rules will be supplied by special Regulations subject to the revision of every, Congress.

The International Workingmen's Association. Wilhelm Eichhoff 1869

5. The Preliminary Conference in London, September 1865[408]

The Central Council (later named the General Council) elected at the meeting in St. Martin's Hall had decided to hold the first Congress of the International Working Men's Association in Brussels at the beginning of September 1865. Later, it found this decision to be ill-advised, because, on the one hand, there had not been time enough for the Association to sink deeper roots, while on the other, the Belgian Government, which bows to orders from Paris in matters of internal policy, renewed the law that permits it to expel foreigners at will[409]. Instead of a general Congress in Brussels, the Central Council therefore convened a preliminary conference in London. Only delegates of the few leading committees from the Continent could take part in it.

The London Conference determined what questions would be discussed at the next general Congress in September 1866. Geneva was chosen as the place of the Congress.

The International Workingmen's Association. Wilhelm Eichhoff 1869

6. The Geneva Congress, 3rd to 8th September 1866[410]

Sixty delegates were present, of whom 45 were members of 25 sections of the International Working Men's Association and 15 were members of 11 affiliated societies.

At the beginning of the debates, there ensued a heated discussion about the right of participating in the Congress. Many, individual members of the Association had come from France who, though they could not present credentials from any section, wished to be admitted as delegates of the Paris sections and to participate in the proceedings of the Congress. They referred to the French legislation which forbade them to have a regular organisation. Some members supported their demand. In their opinion, the organisation of the Congress had been neither complete nor final, and they should not therefore be too strict or scrupulous and should rather admit to the proceedings any individual member who subscribed to the principles of the Association. The British delegates maintained, however, that they had come as representatives of branches and societies each of which had many thousands of members and that on these grounds they demanded the representative system to be applied at the Congress; admission of individuals who represented no organised body would impair the rule of equality in voting and prejudice the rights of the British delegates. The Congress decided that the right of participating in the debates and in the voting should be granted exclusively to delegates who were able to present regular credentials.

After the credentials had been checked, the Congress proceeded to elect the Presidium and the Bureau, and a member of the London General Council, watchmaker Jung, was elected to the chair. He conducted the ensuing debates most skilfully. The hot-blooded Frenchmen, who would rather hear themselves speak, than others, made It rather difficult to run the proceedings, but the president's tact, calm and dignity, supported by the firm and sensible attitude of the English and German workers, prevailed over every threatening disturbance.

It would take us too far to present even a brief summary of the debates here.

Detailed reports on the proceedings of all congresses of the Association are contained in the journal Der Vorbote. Politische und sociale Zeitschrift, which has been published since 1866 as the central organ of the German-speaking section of the International Working Men 's Association under the editorship of Joh. Phil. Becker by the publishing house of the Association at Pré-l'Évêque 33 in Geneva. [Note by Eichhoff.]

The discussion chiefly concerned the "Instructions for the Delegates of the Provisional General Council", whose provisions were in substance endorsed by the Congress. The most important points were the following:

§ 1 of these Instructions concerns the organisation of the International Association. The Rules, set forth above, which had, stood the test of two years' practice, were recommended for final adoption, London was proposed as the seat of the General Council for the next year, and the proposal to elect the General Council and a General Secretary, with a weekly, salary of £2 as the only paid officer of the Association was laid before the Congress.

The Congress sanctioned the Provisional Rules, decided that London should remain the seat of the General Council, confirmed the provisional General Council in London in its functions for the administrative year of 1866 to 1867, and fixed the opening of the next congress ill Lausanne on the first Monday of September 1867.

§ 2 of the Instructions concerns the international aid which the Association could give the workmen of all countries in their struggle against capital. This question, it points out, embraces the whole activity of the Association, which aims at combining and generalising the till now disconnected efforts for emancipation by, the working classes in different countries. In one case the Association could already claim credit for having successfully counteracted the intrigues of capitalists always ready to misuse the foreign workman as a tool against the native workman in the event of strikes. It is one of the great purposes of the Association to make the workmen of different countries not only feel but act as brethren and comrades ill the army of emancipation. As one more international combination of efforts it was proposed to carry out a "statistical inquiry into the situation of the working classes of all countries to be instituted by the working classes themselves". To make it successful, the most relevant questions were listed in the scheme that is given below. By initiating so great a work, the workmen will prove their ability to take their own fate into their own hands. It was therefore proposed that all branches of the Association should immediately commence the work, and that the Congress should invite all workmen of Europe and the United States of America to collaborate in gathering the elements of the statistics of the working class; that all reports and evidence should be forwarded to the General Council which should elaborate them into a general report, adding the evidence as an appendix, and that this report together with its appendix should be published after having received the sanction of the Congress.

The proposed general scheme of inquiry contains the following items, which may of course be modified to stilt local conditions:

1. Industry, name of.

2. Age and sex of the employed.

3. Number of the employed.

4. Salaries and wages: (a) apprentices; (b) wages by the day or piece work; (c) scale paid by middlemen. Weekly, yearly average.

5. (a) Hours of work in factories. (b) The hours of work with small employers and in homework, if the business be carried on in those different modes. (c) Nightwork and daywork.

6. Mealtimes and treatment.

7. Sort of workshop and work: overcrowding, defective ventilation, want of sunlight, use of gaslight, cleanliness, etc.

8. Nature of occupation.

9. Effect of employment upon the physical condition.

10. Moral condition. Education.

11. State of trade: whether season trade, or more or less uniformly distributed over the year, whether commodities are subject to great price fluctuations, whether exposed to foreign competition, whether destined for home consumption or for export, etc.[411]

These proposals of the General Council were adopted by the Congress unanimously, and the workers' statistical inquiry into and assessment of their own condition have been proceeding steadily, since.

§ 3 of the Instructions concerns the limitation of the working day. This, it says, is a preliminary condition, without which all further attempts at improvement and emancipation are bound to founder. It is needed to restore the health and physical energies of the working class, that is, the great body of every nation, as well as to secure them the possibility of intellectual development, sociable intercourse, social and political action. For this reason the Congress should declare itself in favour of a legal limitation of the working day to eight hours. This limitation being generally claimed by the workmen of the United States[412], the vote of the Congress would raise it to the common platform of the working classes all over the world. Nightwork is to be permitted in but exceptional cases, ill trades and branches specified by law, with the tendency being to gradually suppress all nightwork. This proposal, however, referred only to adult persons 18 years of age and older, male or female, though the latter should be rigorously excluded from all nightwork whatever, and all sort of work hurtful to the delicacy of the sex, or exposing their bodies to poisonous and otherwise deleterious effects.

The Congress acceded to these proposals with a majority of 50 to 10 votes. The minority, consisted of those French delegates who were content to have a legal limitation of the working day to 10 hours.

§ 4 of the Instructions attacks the social evil of "juvenile and children's labour (both sexes) " at its very root.

The tendency, of modern industry to make children and juvenile persons of both sexes cooperate in the great work of social production Is admitted to be a progressive, sound and legitimate tendency, although under capital it has been distorted into all abomination. In a rational state of society, every child of the age of 9 years should begin to become a productive labourer so that no able-bodied adult person should have to be exempted from the general law of nature, which says: work in order to be able to cat, and work not only with the brain but with the hands too.

For the present, however, the Congress is concerned only, with the working population. Here it distinguishes three classes of children and juvenile persons of both sexes, each of which is to be treated differently; the first class to range from 9 to 12, the second from 13 to 15, and the third front 16 to 17 years of age. It was proposed that the employment of the first class in any workshop or housework should be legally, restricted to two, that of the second class to four, and that of the third to six working hours, and that for the third class there should be legally provided a break of at least one hour for meals or relaxation.

It was said to be desirable to begin elementary school instruction before the age of 9 years, but the Congress dealt here only with the indispensable antidotes against the tendencies of a social system which degrades the working man into a mere instrument for the accumulation of capital, and compels parents by the necessity of obtaining a livelihood to sell their own children. The right of children and juvenile persons must be vindicated. They are unable to act for themselves. It is therefore the duty of society to care for their well-being.

If the bourgeoisie and aristocracy neglected their duties toward their offspring, it was their own fault. Sharing the privileges of these classes, the child was also condemned to suffer from their prejudices.

The case of the working class stood quite different. The working man was no free agent. In regrettably too many cases, he was even too ignorant to understand the true interests of his child, or the normal conditions of human development. The more enlightened part of the working class, however, fully understood that the future of its class, and therefore of mankind, altogether depend upon the formation of the rising working generation. The workers knew perfectly well that above all else the children and the juvenile workers were to be saved front the crushing effects of the present system of labour. This could be done only by converting social reason into social force, and, under given circumstances, there existed no other method of doing so, than through general laws enforced by the power of the state. If the working class supported the government in enforcing such laws, it would not thereby in the least fortify governmental power. On the contrary, it would transform that power, now used against it, into its own agency. By a general act it would achieve what it would vainly have attempted by a multitude of isolated individual efforts.

Proceeding from this standpoint, the Congress declared that no parent and no employer should be allowed to use juvenile labour, except when combined with education.

Three things were to be understood by education:

First, mental education.

Second, bodily education, such as is given in schools of gymnastics, and by military exercise.

Third, technological training, which imparts the general principles of all processes of production, and simultaneously initiates the child and young person in the practical use and handling of the elementary instruments of all trades.

A gradual and progressive course of mental, gymnastic, and technological training should correspond to the classification of the juvenile labourers. The costs of the technological schools should be partly met by, the sale of their products.

The combination of paid productive labour, mental education, bodily exercise and polytechnic training, would raise the working class far above the level of the higher and middle class.

It was self-understood that the employment of all persons up to 17 years inclusively in nightwork and all health injuring trades should be strictly prohibited by law.

The Congress agreed unanimously with these explanations, and added a resolution to the effect that the technical training of juvenile persons should be of a practical as well as of a theoretical nature so that not factory overseers and foremen but working men should be trained at the projected technological schools.

The International Workingmen's Association. Wilhelm Eichhoff 1869

7. The Lausanne Congress, 2nd to 8th September, 1867 [413]

Sixty-four delegates came to this Congress, among whom the German element was represented by 25 members.

All opening ceremonies were dispensed with, and the Congress proceeded at once to elect the Presidium and the Bureau. Eugène Dupont, member of the General Council and delegate of the French section in London, was elected to the chair, and coped smartly with his none too simple duties. He was fortified in his task by the magnificent behaviour of the assembly. No unfriendly words had to be smoothed over, no improper pronouncements had to be rebutted, no tactless motions had to be registered. This time, too, the difficulty of conducting the discussion in three languages (English, German, and French) was happily overcome, as it had been at the first congress.

The most important at this Congress were the reports of the individual sections and affiliated societies on the actual successes and the growth of the Association. It would take us too far afield if we were to reproduce the content of these most interesting reports if only in outline, and we may dispense with it here all the more because the present expansion of the Association will be taken up In a later section. The official proceedings of the Congress of 1867 have been published in French by Chaux-de-Fonds, Imprimerie de la Voix de l'Avenir.

Indicative of the spirit of the Congress was the following:

Gaspare Stampa from Milan, delegate of the Central Council of Italian working men's associations, which embraces 600 workers' societies and has its seat in Naples, announced at the sitting of the 4th of September that Garibaldi would be passing through Lausanne on his way to the Peace Congress In Geneva; he moved that the Congress should appoint a deputation to go to Villeneuve to greet Garibaldi on behalf of the Congress, and to invite him to visit the Congress in his capacity as honorary president of the above-mentioned Italian working men's associations. Other delegates opposed this motion. However popular Garibaldi may be, a Congress representing the working class could not pay homage to any single individual. If, however, Garibaldi wished to assume his seat at the Congress as honorary president of the Italian working men's associations, he would be as heartily received as any other delegate. Having done with Stampa's motion, the Congress passed on to the agenda.

The nearly simultaneous holding of the international Peace Congress[414] in Geneva (9 to 12 September), lit which many members of the Working Men's Congress intended to take part in a private capacity, compelled the latter to define its position in relation to the Peace League in Geneva. This was done in the following heartily applauded resolution:

"Considering that the pressure of war weighs more heavily, on the working class than on any other class of society, because it is not only robbed by it of its means of subsistence but is also the class that is made to shed most blood in it;

"Considering that the pressure of so-called armed peace weighs as heavily on the working man as that of war by consuming the best energies of the people in unproductive and destructive labour;

"Finally, considering that any radical remedy of this evil necessitates altering the prevailing social conditions which repose on the exploitation of one part of society by another,

"The Congress of the International Working Men's Association declares its complete and emphatic allegiance to the Peace League constituted in Geneva or) the 7th of September, and to its efforts in the interest and for the maintenance of peace, and demands not only that war be abolished but also that standing armies be disbanded, and that a universal and free alliance of the peoples be constituted in their place on the basis of reciprocity and justice, but with the proviso that the working classes be emancipated from their unfree and oppressed condition and social discrimination, and that an end be put to the mutual struggle of classes through the rectification of the obtaining contradictions."

The Geneva Working Men's Congress of 1866 had been an object of lively debate in the French press, especially that of Paris and Lyons. The big London papers, however, had passed it over in dead silence. Not so the Congress in Lausanne a year later. The Times had its own correspondent there. Furthermore, it published editorial articles about the International Working Men's Association, and its example was followed by the dailies and weeklies of all England. After The 'rimes had set the tone, the other papers, too, no longer considered it beneath their dignity to devote not only notices but even long editorials to the labour question. All of them discussed the Working Men's Congress. It was only natural that many papers treated the subject in a superior and ironic vein. For every undertaking has its funny side apart front the sublime, and how could the Working Men's Congress with its loquacious Frenchmen be completely free of it? But for all that, the English press has on the whole treated the Congress very decently. Even The Manchester Examiner, which is in fact the organ of John Bright and the Manchester School[415], portrayed it in a pertinent editorial as an important and epoch-making event. Where it was compared with its. step-brother, the Peace Congress, the comparison was always in favour of the elder brother. In the Working Men's Congress they discerned a threatening and fateful tragedy, whereas nothing but farce and burlesque was seen in the other.

The International Workingmen's Association. Wilhelm Eichhoff 1869

8. The International Working Men's Association,
The Trades Unions, and the Strikes

With the foundation of the International Working Men's Association a new era began for the English Trades Unions. Previously, they were exclusively engrossed in the struggle over wages and the working time and were bound down by the narrow-mindedness of the medieval guilds system.

The trades unions are not only a wholly lawful but also a governmentally recognised body sanctioned by Act of Parliament in 1825b and necessitated by, the dally conflicts between labour and capital. Their purpose is to stand up for the interests of workmen against masters and capitalists. Their ultima ratio is the strike, whose legality is enshrined in the aforementioned Act of Parliament on the condition that any direct breach of the peace is avoided and no forcible restraint of trade is attempted Under the protection of this Act, the trades unions have spread in all factory districts of England and have, by virtue of their numbers, organisation and funds, grown into a powerful body which confronts, and commands the respect of, the employers, and makes its influence felt in many different ways. They have survived all the periods of political reaction, all the counter-schemes of the masters and capitalists, all the shortages and commercial crises of the past decades, and have the same importance for the organisation of the working class as the establishment of communes in the Middle Ages had for the middle classes of bourgeois society, as Karl Marx has, indeed, demonstrated as early as 1847 in his work against Proudhon, entitled Misère de la Philosophie. Réponse à la Philosophie de la Misère par Mons. Proudhon (Paris 1847).

It has now been brought home to these trades unions that, on the one hand, without knowing it, they are a means of organising the working class, and that alongside their immediate and current aims they must not forget the general aim of winning the complete political and social emancipation of the working class. On the other hand, it has equally been brought home to them that no ultimate success was possible without international combination and that by its very nature the workers' movement cut across state and national borders.

That is why – the following resolution was framed and adopted at the big conference of delegates from the trades unions of the United Kingdom at Sheffield in 1866 [416]:

"That this conference, fully appreciating the efforts made by the International Association to unite in one common bond of brotherhood the working men of all countries, most earnestly recommend to the various societies here represented, the advisability of becoming affiliated to that body, believing that it is essential to the progress and prosperity of the entire working community."

The London Trades' Council[417], Which is the central body, of England's trades unions, had by then concluded an agreement with the General Council of the International Working Men's Association in London. The Secretary of the Trades' Council, Mr. Odger, was and still is also a member of the General Council of the International Association. Only from then on did the activities of the trades unions in England gain a universal character, which became evident very soon when they took a direct part for the first time in the political movement. How successful they were is common knowledge. After the fall of the Russell-Gladstone cabinet in June 1866 it had seemed that the parliamentary reform would be indefinitely postponed. The Tory leaders declared to the loud acclaim of the majority that no reform was necessary. At this point, the workers took charge of the movement. Mass meetings on a large scale were called in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, Bristol, and other cities, in which the trades unions took part in their own capacity. The Trades' Council gave its support to the Reform League[418], the governing body of the movement. Within a few months, victory was achieved, and the Tory government was forced to initiate the parliamentary reform.[419]

In England as well as on the Continent the years 1866 to 1868 were especially plentiful in strikes on the part of the workers arid in factory lock-outs on the part of the capitalists. The common reason for this was the crisis of 1866[420] and its aftermaths. The crisis paralysed speculation. Large enterprises came to a standstill, and those entrepreneurs who, owing to the changed situation oil the money market, were unable to meet the financial commitments they had made at the time when speculation was at its highest, were forced into bankruptcy. The stagnation of all trading enterprises had reached a point where it was surpassed only by the extraordinary glut of gold in the banks of England and France. Arid the gold had piled tip in the banks because it could no longer find any use for business purposes. This led to a general stoppage of commerce and a general decline of prices. Victuals alone, notably bread, the workers' most vital necessity, had gone up in price owing to the crop failures of 1866 and 1867. And precisely during this general shortage came the calamity of universal crisis, which made itself felt to the workmen through the reduction of the working time and the lowering of wages by the employers. Hence the many strikes and lock-outs. It so happened, furthermore, that the laws against working men's coalitions had only just been lifted in France and other countries of the Continent. Unquestionably, too, the resolutions of the working men's congresses in Geneva and Lausanne had had a moral effect, made still stronger by the workmen's awareness everywhere that they could rely on the powerful backing of the International Association.

But that part of the European bourgeois press which denounced the International Working Men's Association for inciting these conflicts was mistaken. Nowhere did the Association initiate any strikes, and confined itself merely to intervening where the character of the local conflicts justified its doing so and required it to take action.

Specifically, it intervened in three important cases, where it also used the opportunity to make successful propaganda for its principles.

First, a few general remarks about the tactics of the Association during the English workers' strikes, in which its cooperation had been required. An account of this is given lit the "Third Annual Report" which the London General Council placed before the Congress in Lausanne, and which says:

"It used to be a standard threat with British capitalists, riot only, in London, but also in the provinces, when their workmen would not tamely submit to their arbitrary dictation, that they, would supplant them by an importation of foreigners. The possibility of such importations taking place was in most cases sufficient to deter the British workmen from insisting on their demands. The action taken by the General Council has bad the effect of putting a stop to these threats being made publicly. Where anything of the kind is contemplated it has to be done in secret, and the slightest information obtained by the workmen suffices to frustrate the plans of the capitalists. As a rule, when a strike or a lock-out occurs concerning any of the affiliated trades, the Continental correspondents of the Association are at once instructed to warn the workmen in their respective localities riot to enter into any engagements with the agents of the capitalists of the place where the dispute is. However, this action is not confined to affiliated trades. 'The same action is taken on behalf of other trades upon application being received.–

Indeed, this was how the manoeuvres of the English capitalists were frustrated during the strikes relative to workshop and factory lock-outs of railway excavators, conductors and engine drivers, zinc workers, wire-workers, wood-cutters, and so on. In a few cases, such as the strike of the London basket-makers, the capitalists had secretly smuggled in labourers from Belgium and Holland. Following an appeal of the General Council of the International Working Men's Association, however, the latter made common cause with the English workers.

Still greater services were rendered to a certain group of workers by the Association's administrative committee lit Paris. In Roubaix, the ribbon manufacturers introduced arbitrary, penal regulations in their factories which naturally mainly amounted to deductions from wages. The inescapable result of this system of fines was the dismissal of the workers who protested against it, the lock-out leading to a revolt and to an armed intervention by the authorities[422]. Here, however, the Central Council of the International Association in Paris stepped in and proved that the manufacturers had made themselves guilty of breaking the law with their regulations by, playing legislator, judge and gendarme off their own bat. As a result, the French government was compelled to declare that any, private factory regulations, insofar as they were not purely administrative, but imposed fines, were unlawful and constituted an unmitigated usurpation.

The decisive and most important cases of intervention by the International Working Men's Association, however, were the following three:

1. Closure of the Paris Bronze Workshops in February 1867

The great, fundamental importance of this conflict was the following:

Trade unions had only just been legally allowed in France. The bronze-workers, a body of approximately 5,000 persons, were the first to take advantage of this and to form a union on the English model at the beginning of 1866. Naturally, from the start, this association was a thorn in the side of the masters, and they decided to destroy it at the first opportunity. This opportunity came in February 1867, when the union found itself compelled to intervene on behalf of its members and to require five of the masters to comply with its directions. Instantly, the capitalists formed a coalition, which demanded of their workers that they either resign front the union or leave the workshops. This culminated in a lock-out of some 1,500 bronze-workers by 87 employers.

In this case, therefore, the existence of this important factor of the movement in France hung in the balance.

At the beginning of the lock-out, the union of bronze-workers had a fund of 35,000 francs. It decided to pay each of the dismissed workers 20 francs weekly, and to obtain a loan from the English trades unions for this purpose through the good offices of the International Association against a monthly repayment of 5,000 francs.

The workers won thanks to the moral and pecuniary support of the London General Council, which obtained the desired contributions from the English trades unions, arid also thanks to the intervention of the Paris Central Council of the International Association which persuaded the other trade unions lit France to render the bronze-workers vigorous support.

Besides the social significance of the French workers' coming out victorious with the help of their English brethren, the case has its international importance, of which the Courrier français of March 24, 1867 says the following:

"M. Thiers said that no new policy, is conceivable ill international relations. Yet a noteworthy arid in no was, isolated fact has just taken place which, coming from the people, serves notice of something that is really new.

"we cannot tell if the bitter, hundreds of years old and almost inhuman hatred between the English and the French is still rooted in the bosom of a part of the two nations. Bill tile fact that the English proletariat offers alliance and assistance to the Paris bronze-workers to support them in a question of employment arid wages is a symptom of a new polity which the old parties do not and cannot comprehend."

2. The Geneva Strike in the Spring of 1868

A thorough description of this strike is given in the following little brochure: Die internationale Arbeiterassociation und die Arbeitseinstellung in Genf im Fruhjahr 1868. Von Joh. Phil. Becker. Deutsche Verlagshalle, 33, 1868. The workers who read this book are most strongly to both the brochure of the stout-hearted Joh. Phil. Becker, the proceeds front which are exclusively intended for covering the costs incurred ill supporting the strike, and the monthly journal Vorbote. Joh. Phil. Becker is himself a worker in origin arid has fought for the working class with sword, word arid pen all his life long with the utmost self-sacrifice arid devotion. A veteran of the labour movement, he is as energetic as lie is original ill his thinking, and deserves the recognition of the entire working class in contrast to the present-day petits grands hommes of "satiated virtue arid solvent morality'' who are pushing themselves forward everywhere ill labour circles. He is the life and soul of the international labour movement ill Switzerland and has, indeed, also enlisted all the German elements who so fat. adhered to the Association in Germany itself. [Note by Eichhoff.]

While the case of the Paris bronze-workers concerned the existence of trade unions in France, the case here concerned the existence of the International Working Men's Association on the Continent. [423]

The conflict between the International Working Men's Association and a part of the employers in Geneva broke out and ran its course in the following way.

Ever since August 1867 there were signs of deep dissatisfaction over their condition among the Geneva building workers. A general meeting of the building workers, held on January 19, 1868, moved to elect a joint committee, which would enter into negotiations with the employers and by amicable agreement secure a reduction of the working time from 12 to 10 hours and a wage increase of 20 per cent. A memorandum was drawn up and forwarded to all the masters. Instead of deferring to the workers, the employers formed a counter-coalition and called a general meeting of building masters for the 18th of March, their provisional committee turning down the repeated proposals of the workers' committee to have amicable talks between delegates of the two sides before the general meeting was to take place.

This attitude of the masters' provisional committee showed the workers what they should expect from the coming general meeting of masters. Their committee declared that it had failed in its task of negotiating an understanding with the masters' committee, and in the evening of the 14th of March it requested the Geneva Central Committee of the International Working Men's Association to take the matter in hand and to mediate an agreement.

It was the duty of the Association to comply with this request. It appointed a commission of three Geneva citizens, whose private attempts at mediation, however, also failed to yield results. On the 20th of March, therefore, after the general meeting of the 18th had finally constituted an employers' association, the commission issued a public invitation to the "Messieurs les building contractors', to come to a meeting on the 23rd of March. On the very next day a public reply appeared in the newspapers which let the commission of the International Association know in the name of the general meeting of the 18th of March that the masters' general meeting had decided, with only three votes against, to have no negotiations with it whatsoever.

In the morning of the 23rd of March, the commission formed by the International Association made this state of affairs known in wall posters, serving notice that if no favourable result was achieved by the evening of that day and all prospects of an amicable understanding with the employers vanished, it would beat the drums and call a general meeting of all the sections of the International Association. At six in the evening the signal was given, and members of the Association thronged from all sides to the Rue du Rhône, where the union had its premises. The bourgeoisie was panic-stricken. Shops and houses were locked up, the cash-boxes were placed in safety, and the employees of some of the comptoirs were issued arms and ammunition. In the meantime, the Association, 5,000 men strong, marched in model order to the shooting-range, where the announced general meeting discussed the gravity of the situation and unanimously assured the building workers of the support of the International Association. After this had taken place, it was not the International Association but the governing bodies of the trade unions which, to their members' thunderous cheers and enthusiastic assurances of support, declared a strike of block-cutters, bricklayers, plasterers and house-painters in Geneva. Thereupon, the gathering dispersed quietly – By nine in the evening Geneva had already, resumed its usual appearance.

Word of the strike, which had been unavoidable, was sent to the General Council of the International Association in London and the administrative councils in Brussels, Paris, and Lyons on the 25th of March; they, were approached for urgent support because the Geneva section of the Association had been unprepared for the strike, whose magnitude exceeded its capacities.

In the meantime, the masters lost no time either to invite workers for themselves, mainly from Ticino and Piedmont. But these were brought to the premises of the International Association the moment they arrived, and were there informed of the state of affairs and won over to the side of the strikers.

It goes without saying that during this time the International Association was subjected to the most savage attacks and the most venomous accusations. The journal de Genève set the tone and was most vigorously backed by the Neue Zurcher Zeitung, the Neue freie Presse of Vienna, and other organs of the radical, liberal and conservative bourgeoisie. As a result of the energetic behaviour of the Geneva Central Council, the cause of the strike faded completely into the background, while the International Association was pushed to the forefront of the movement.

On the 28th of March, the masters' association put up wall notices dated the 26th of March, in which the masters promised to consider the workers' grievances in all fairness, warned them against the despotism and menace of the International Working Men's Association, which they said was maintained on foreign money and had instigated the strike, reminded them of the previous friendly mutual understanding, and called on them to return to work in good faith as individuals; the masters would be glad to improve the workers' lot and would for the time being grant them an 11-hour working day. Should they, however, contrary to expectations, fail to comply with this, the masters would be compelled, for their part, also to close down workshops in those branches of the building trade which had not yet joined in the strike.

All attempts to come to an understanding foundered because the masters did not wish to deal with delegates of the International Association, and since no individual workers reported to work, the threatened factory lock-out was carried into effect on the 30th of March, and the workshops of joiners, carpenters and tinners were closed down. – The moral effect which this closure had on the Geneva workers is best illustrated by the fact that a number of unions which had previously stood aloof from the International Association, formed sections and asked it for admission. Thus the coach-makers, farriers, saddlers, upholsterers, file-cutters, curriers, and others. During these few days the Association won marry more than a thousand new members.

Workmen employed in the jewellery trade, such as goldsmiths, watchmakers, bowl-makers, and engravers, who with only few exceptions are all citizens of Geneva, held a meeting attended by more than 2,000 persons on the 30th of March, and resolved as one man to apply all moral and material means to help bring the cause of the building workers to victory. In reference to the International Association, the assembly declared itself quite firmly against the false and malicious statement that the Geneva workers were being subjected to tyrannical pressure by a foreign society.

If until then the International Association had applied itself diligently to settling the conflict, it was now, since all attempts at reaching an understanding had failed, a matter of obtaining means for a longer duration of the strike. The Geneva Central Committee of the International Association had to support some 3,000 workers and their families, which was a burden the Geneva workers could not conceivably cope with on their own.

But contributions were already pouring in from all sides. First of all, most appreciative acknowledgments are due to the Geneva working men and their unions for their spirit of self-sacrifice. It may be said without exaggeration that the employed workers of Geneva shared their bread with those who were out of work. And not just each and everyone gave willingly part of his wage; the unions' savings banks and relief funds contributed sums ranging from 500 to 5,000 francs. The unions of other Swiss cities and the German workers' societies in Switzerland were not found wanting either. Contributions arrived from Germany, – Hanover (Workers' Union), Hamburg (Workers' Educational Society), Schwerin (building workers), Rostock, Kaukehmen, Solingen, Mannheim (Tailors' Union), Esslingen (Workers' Educational Society), Munich (Workers' Educational Society), and other towns. Especially active, however, were the General Council of the International Association in London and its administrative committees in Brussels and Paris. At the beginning of April the General Council was already able, despite the formal difficulties that it had had to overcome in order to obtain larger sums, to promise the Geneva Central Committee at least 40,000 francs monthly from England alone until the victorious culmination of the strike, partly as a loan and partly as a grant. And by the good offices of the Brussels and Paris administrative committees considerable contributions came from unions in those two cities, e.g. 2,000 francs from the printers, 1,500 francs from the tinners of Paris, and so on.

The masters saw then that their plan of starving out the workers had failed. But since they had vowed that they would not deal with the Central Council of the International Association, this was done on their behalf by M. Camperio, President of the State Council and Chief of the justice and Police Department of Geneva. He notified the Central Committee of the Association on the 8th of April to send delegates of all building trades to his office with a view to reaching an understanding. An agreement came about already on the third day of the negotiations. The masters conceded the workers a reduction of the working time by 1 and in some cases 2 hours, and a wage increase of 10 per cent.

In the evening of the same day (11th of April) M. Camperio let it be known in wall notices that the conflict between the workmen and the employers had been settled through his mediation, that the strike was to be considered over, and that work would be resumed on Monday (13th of April).

The International Working Men's Association, too, lost no time in announcing the happy end of the strike in wall poster.", and, while thanking the workmen for their brave conduct during the weeks of the struggle, it called on them to forget all that had happened and go to work on Monday in good cheer.

For the International Working Men's Association the conflict resulted in a mass adherence of workmen in Switzerland.

3. The Blood, Conflict Between the Belgian Government and the Miners of Charleroi (March 1868)

Belgium is a paradise for the bourgeoisie. Its Constitution the ideal of a model bourgeois state. Its government is the agent of the bourgeoisie, representative of the domination of capital. Nothing is more natural there than that the least collision between the interests of capital and labour should precipitate a conflict which culminates in a bloody solution by powder and lead.[424]

The more resolutely the International Working Men's Association concerns itself there with the cause of the oppressed and persecuted, the more necessary it appears to present an exhaustive account of the causes of the labour disturbances in the coal basin of Charleroi.

Among the national industries of various countries, coal and iron stand at the head of the list. The two industries form an organic whole. No ironworks and no furnace can operate without coal, and for the collieries, too, the furnaces and therefore, makes itself instantly felt in the other, and a metallurgical crisis, which recurs periodically like all crises, has an immediate and direct bearing on the price of coal.

The country that nature has favoured the most in respect of coal and iron is England. There, both coal and iron lie fairly close to the surface and can be extracted with little effort. France, on the other hand, is the most disinherited, for it produces practically no coal of its own and its ironworks are dependent on English or Prussian coal. But though for France importation of foreign coal is an economic necessity, it subjects coal-producing Belgium to highly disagreeable competition because England and Prussia (with a waterway along the Rhine and its tributaries) are in a more favourable position as regards transport, and because transportation costs have a bearing on the local price of coal.

The general price of coal in each country, on the other hand, depends on the wages that are paid for working it. Indeed, the international relevance of this factor strikes the eve owing to the difference in tile amount of labour time consumed in different countries to produce the same quantity of coal. Wages, too, are as different as the working time and in England they are at least 26 2/3 per cent higher than on the Continent.

[According to estimates by Richard Whiting. to deter mine how much worse off the workers were in France than then. colleagues in England, lie assumed that, considering the difference in the price of the most important necessities in the two countries, the worker got just as far with 5 francs ill France its he did with 5 shillings (that is, 6 francs) in England. This made a difference of 16 2/3 per cent by reason of just the price discrepancies. Having in this simple way identified francs and shillings as equal values for both countries, Whiting found in addition that wages in France were at least 10 per cent lower than those in England. while wages in France, Belgium, and Rhenish Prussia were approximately the same. – Note In Eichhoff.]

The implications for colliery workers of different countries are the following:

Whenever an iron and steel crisis or some other unfavourable commercial factor depresses the price of coal, the mine-owners try, to lower wages. Knowing, however, that wages are already so low that any further reduction is a hardship that may, in certain circumstances, such as a time of shortages, drive the worker to desperation, they are compelled to look for a plausible excuse.

As a rule, there are only two such excuses, one applicable only to England, and the other only to the Continent.

The plausible excuse of the English mine-owner is the low wages on the Continent.

The plausible excuse of the continental mine-owner is the low price and competition of English coal.

To what social straits the Belgian coalminers have been reduced in these circumstances is vividly described in the following article' i ii the Demokratisches Wochenblatt:

[Demokratisches Wochenblatt, organ of the German People's Party, Leipzig, printed and published by, C. W. Vollrath. Its editor-in-chief is Wilhelm Liebknecht. – Note by Eichhoff.]

"A sadder plight than that of the Belgian coalminer is hardly conceivable. Reduced to the condition of an industrial machine, lie has been Stripped of all social rights and duties. He is nothing more than a chattel which figures in the mine-owner's inventors, alongside horses, donkeys, implements, and other working material. That is a fact. A mining company considers itself richer when it has a greater number of workers ill its hands. When it establishes a workers' town for 'humanitarian reasons' the direct gain is at most 2 to 3 per cent. Bill the indirect gain is immeasurably greater, for the company acquires an additional number of workers utterly dependent on the mine for their subsistence, thus ensuring the operation of the mine under any circumstances. It would be more appropriate to call the coalminer a serf or slave rather than a free man, which is a title that bourgeois economists so generously apply to him.

"Among all the labouring classes the Belgian coalminers wear the badge of slavery more distinctly than the others. Ignorance, brutishness, physical and moral degradation – those are the sad effects of the unrestricted domination of capital in an industry that is ill itself probably more demeaning to man than any other. To be sure, the bourgeoisie indulges itself in ascribing the coalminer's misery to his own ingrained faults and vices, his lack of foresight, frivolity and dissipation. Wisely, it avoids tracing the case to its sources, lest it reveal the causes and circumstances that inevitably produce a condition which cannot find succour ill vain pity, but which it is ill the general interest to remedy, and as quickly as possible.

"Among the specific reasons that make the coalminer a machine of flesh and bone, the main one is the nature and condition of the work itself, and then also the extraordinary length of working time And it is all economic law of the present social system that working hours tend to increase in much the same proportion as the labour continuously tends to grow harder.

"The coalminer's labour is purely, physical; it calls for no mental effort at all. His brain is almost completely idle. Deprived of any, stimulus, his mental aptitudes remain ill an elementary, inert, dormant state. Consequently, his mentality is narrow-minded to the extreme. just as his activity is purely physical, so his needs and tastes are also of a purely, physical and brutish nature. The coalminer's intellectual and moral degradation is not at all surprising if you look at the nature of his trade. Considering the ruinous effects of the physical exertion that disfigures his body, it is indeed quite impossible for his habits and morals not to conflict with reason.

"The coalminer's worth is measured exclusively, by his muscles; intelligence counts for nothing, for it is not needed. It takes neither skill nor talent nor education to work in a mine; physical strength alone is enough. A brief description of the various operations in a Coalmine will show the reader that under the present economic system it is impossible for the miner to improve himself either physically or mentally or morally.

"Working a mine is generally divided as follows: the ouvriers a veine cut the coal from the seam, the bouteurs take it to the gallery, and the chargeurs a la taille load it into carts or tubs. The seloneurs pull the tubs to the shafts where the coal is raised to the surface. The coupers de voies, the releveurs and the meneurs de terres dig shafts and galleries, and take out the earth and stones. All these jobs are done in the dim light of a little lamp, in all unhealthy, dust-laden atmosphere. To do his job, the coalminer must assume unnatural poses, either lying on his side or kneeling, crouching or bending laboriously, and often fie can only crawl in order to move forward or backward. All this makes his condition worse, more painful, than that of all excavator or field labourer, whose jobs are also admittedly of all entirely, manual nature, but at least performed in open air and daylight.

"Is it any wonder, therefore, that the coalminer should be mentally, and morally at so loss: a level? How can a man who labours daily for 15 to 18 hours in a murky, unaired hole, retain a trace of the qualities that distinguish a human being from a beast? The best organised creature with the happiest spiritual aptitudes is bound t o degenerate swiftly ill such a regime, which seeks to destroy the individual's abilities. Nowadays, one can no longer deny the influence of the body on the spirit, of the physical on the moral. The physical state of the individual is usually an indication of the mental. The report of the Mons Chamber of Commerce for 1844, an official paper, portrays the coalminer in the following terms: 'These workers are pale of face in their young years, their frame is bent, they are and their walk is slow. Almost without exceptions, they bear the stamp of premature senility, at the age of 40 to 50.'

"Bidaut, a mining engineer, wrote in an official report in 1843: 'It is quite indisputable that this occupation (that of the coalminer), which deprives one of sunlight, subjects one to inhaling gases other than plain air, makes the body assume unnatural postures, exposes one to constant dangers, and so on, is of a kind that removes man the farthest from the normal conditions of life and should therefore be an object of special regulations. For me this is beyond any doubt.'

"What was true in 1843 is still true in 1868. The physical and moral condition of the coalminer, even though it may not have deteriorated, has certainly not improved. Far from having been reduced, the working time has since been lengthened, and wages, even if we disregard the current decline of business, are still the same while the price of victuals has gone up. Though considerable improvements have been introduced in mining, the workers have derived no benefit therefrom. If, for example, the miner no longer goes down into the mine and up again by ladder, the time and energy saved thereby benefit the master because more work is done. The effect of all this is that the miner lacks mental flexibility, that he scorns schooling and education as being the pursuit of 'idlers', that he does not send his children to school, and indulges in the coarsest of pleasures and amusements. While the mine-owner has an interest in keeping the miner in this brutish state, he is helped by a profusion of lesser businesses which profit exclusively off the workers and would, therefore, cease to be profitable if the worker were sober, prudent, and provident. They set traps for the miner at every step to part him from his last penny. And how easy is it to seduce people who lack the least schooling and whose mental capacity is in hibernation!

"This state of affairs cannot and must not continue. It is futile to appeal to the obligations of humanity; they are impotent against the laws of bourgeois economics. But the bourgeoisie is badly mistaken if it thinks it can reduce the workers to serfs and beasts without being itself affected by the moral consequences thereof. Suffice it to look at the bourgeoisie of the coal regions and factory towns. Whence the contempt for culture, for learning, and the lack of independent thinking outside the limits of its enterprises, and whence the crude lust for pleasure that distinguishes the bourgeois? It is quite the same as it was with the planters and slave-owners of the United States. There it was slavery and slave labour that caused the demoralisation. Here, too, similar effects would seem to justify the conclusion that the causes are the same. The lower the worker is pushed the lower his master sinks in his wake; he becomes morally corrupted as surely as the one whom he has ceased to regard as a human being.

"The workers have themselves found a remedy against the evils they suffer from private industry and which retroactively cover the body of society with festering sores. This remedy is education and cooperation. Nothing but a reduction of working time can put the benefits of enlightenment and education within reach of the worker. Nothing but participation in the benefits of capital call deliver him from the misery to which he is now helplessly exposed.

"The moral and material improvement of the worker is a question of social justice and of the public weal. There is no way to solve this question other than public education and the establishment of cooperative societies. It is up to the state to set these remedies in motion, to encourage and to support them. It will destroy itself if it looks on idly while the effects of the bourgeois economic system corrupt and erode society."

In February 1867 there had already been disturbances among the miners of Marchienne, which could only be quelled by armed force. The cause was the prevailing shortages, notably the high price of bread due to the crop failure of 1866. Calling on the English workers for contributions to support the families of the unfortunate victims of the massacre, the General Council of the International Association issued the following appeal at the beginning of March 1867":

Central Council of the International Workingmen's Association
18, Bouverie Street, E.C., London

To the Miners and Iron-Workers of Great Britain

Fellow working men, it is but a few days since The Times, presaged the ruin and destruction of the British iron trade if the Unionists persisted in not working under a certain price. The Belgians, it was said, with cheap coals and low wages, would engross the trade, both in the home and the foreign market. Two men, Creed and Williams, expatiated in The Times on the felicity of the Belgian coal and iron-masters not being bothered with vexatious factory laws and Trades Unions; the Belgian miners and iron-workers worked contentedly, with their wives and children, from 12 to 14 hours a day, for less than their British equals received for ten hours' work a day. However, hardly was the ink of the print dry, when tidings arrived that these contented beings had revolted. The iron trade, says the Economiste belge, has been queer for some time on account of the high price of coal and an indifferent yield of the mines. The same journal says: "The ignorance of the mining population is so profound, their brutality so great, their way of spending their money so disorderly and so improvident that the highest wages would be insufficient. This is no wonder. The responsibility rests with those who keep them in a worse than brutish drudgery from the cradle to the grave.

At the beginning of February, three furnaces stopped in the neighbourhood of Marchienne; the other iron-masters forthwith announced a reduction of wages of ten per cent; the coal-masters of Charleroi followed suit, vet the Economiste belge says that coals were never more in demand, nor at a higher price than at present. The outrage, was aggravated by a simultaneous rise in the price of flour, the coal and iron-masters being also the proprietors of the flour mills of the district. A great many of the work-people became exasperated, and not being organised and in the habit of deliberating upon their common affairs, they, had no plan of action for their guidance.

They gathered upon the high roads and went from place to place to prevent such as might be disposed to work under reduction. The colliers of Charleroi arrived by a flour mill guarded by a hundred soldiers whose guns were loaded with ball cartridges. This provoked an attack, the result is: killed, wounded, and prisoners. These poor provoked and ill-used victims have left families outside the graves and the prison walls who are in dire want. Nobody ventures ill Belgium to say a word in their behalf. Mistaken and misguided as these men were as to their course of action, they yet fell in labour's cause, and those they have left behind deserve sympathy and support. Some pecuniary help to the widows and orphans, and the moral influence it would produce, if coming from abroad, would raise the drooping spirits of the whole class, and might lead to communications and interchanges of opinion which would give our Continental brethren a better idea of how labour's battles must be fought, and what organisation and education tile fighting army requires.

The Central Council of the International Working Men's Association appeals to you to take the case into your consideration, for the cause of the labourers of one country is that of the labourers of all countries.

George Odger, President
J. George Eccarius, Vice-President
R. Shaw. Secretary

Despite their own sad plight, Britain's miners and iron-workers responded willingly and warmly to the appeal that was addressed to them. That was the reason why the influence of the International Association on the labouring population of Belgium kept rising steadily, until events occurred in the district of Charleroi in March 1868 which laid the way open for it all over Belgium and decided its social superiority.

The reason for this year's labour disturbances was the following.

There had been a considerable over-production of coal. In Belgium coal consumption had declined, partly due to the general Monetary and financial crisis of 1866 which occasioned an iron and steel crisis, affecting mainly the iron-works and blast-furnace industry of France and Belgium, and partly' because of the competition of Prussian against Belgian coal. the Belgian mine-owners had, in fact, formed a coalition to push up the price of their coal. But then the owners of the iron-works and furnaces found it more profitable to bring their coal from abroad. And to protect themselves against price increases they, concluded contracts for several years in advance. For the mine-owners it was now a question of making good the damage they had brought down on themselves by their greed, and, above all, a question of reducing production. It might be mentioned in passing that a large proportion of the Belgian coalmines are run by public companies which have great assets and distributed enormous dividends among their shareholders in the previous few years. The owners and directors of the mines now decided to reduce the working week to four days, which meant a loss of 33 1/3 per cent of their regular wage for the workers. When this, tool failed to restore the balance between supply and demand, the coal-masters decided to reduce the price of coal. But to avoid having to lower the dividends of their shareholders, they reduced by another 10 per cent the wages that were already down to 66 2/3 per cent of normal. Yet at this very time the price of the most indispensable victuals was higher than ever owing to the two crop failures of 1866 and 1867. The half-starved coalminers, already painfully affected by, their days of involuntary idleness, remonstrated against the wage cut, which doomed them to hunger. The strike became universal and spread throughout the district of Charleroi. Hunger and misery drove the wretches to rebellion and pillage, for otherwise the women would surely not have in a manner of speaking pin themselves at the head of the crowds of workers, marching in front and holding poles to which they had nailed some miserable rags.

Now the capitalists let the government and military forces intervene and most deliberately provoked bloody conflicts in which many workers were killed, wounded or thrown behind bars. The first clash occurred on the 25th of March in the vicinity of Charleroi. The workers were about to comply with the well-meaning entreaties of an officer who pleaded with them to disperse, when a stone was flung and hit the major in command, giving the latter air excuse to open fire. Seven killed and 13 wounded was the outcome of that first collision, followed by others with the gendarmerie and cavalry. In Arsimont, gendarmes and the public prosecutor came to the scene even before any acts of violence had occurred, making arrests among workers, who had only just announced a strike. Directly in the wake of the police came the soldiers, who pounced without ado on the lot of workers returning home from the mine.

In modern history only the scenes of carriage and bloodshed during the Negro uprising in Jamaica[426] can compare with these atrocities. Here, as in Jamaica, the capitalists celebrated bloody orgies. Here, as in Jamaica, they hoped to break what was left of the workers' spirit of resistance and self-esteem by acts of extreme brutality. The cheerful, insolent and humorous tone affected by them as they revelled in their terreur branche may be seen, among others, from the following passage in their organ, Indépendance belge, of the 1st of April 1868:

"The land is inundated with troops, and as these withdraw all individuals named as the leaders, as well as all those generally, known to be dangerous, will be under lock and key. That is a prudent measure necessitated by the circumstances... The arrests are accompanied with a military show of pomp and force, partly to create a crushing impression on the spirits of the populace and partly to be ready for any surprise attack that may be tried to snatch the prisoners front under the armed custody of the authorities... Considering such organised pressure on the masses, it is easy to see that the rising cannot conceivably break out again. The bloody drama has also had a profoundly intimidating effect... The restless but not in the least dangerous mass of rioters will be reduced to a state of complete impotence before nightfall. All leaders whom they had listened to in the past few days are being thrown behind bars, and even those whose voice they might perhaps be minded to heed are likewise being imprisoned... It is in fact no longer the military but the police who are dealing with an iron hand... One seeks advice from burgomasters, police officials and gendarmerie brigadiers in the rural communities, and has all those in one's own area indicated in reports as trouble-makers arrested."

In the midst of the stupefaction to which these brutalities reduced the afflicted part of the workers, the Brussels Central Committee of the International Association for Belgium raised its voice in the press, called public meetings, stigmatised the industrialists and their accomplice, the government, galvanised the Belgian working class to joint resistance, supplied the persecuted with legal counsel and defence lawyers, and declared the cause of the Charleroi coalminers the common cause of the International Working Men's Association. The General Council in London, like the two committees in Paris and Geneva, supported the committee at Brussels.[427]

After having suppressed the coalminers' movement in the district of Charleroi by force of arms, the employers did nothing at all to conciliate the unemployed and starving workers. They were perfectly happy to be able to close down their mines for some time. The government, too, did nothing. The workers, who received no support from any quarter but the International Working Men's Association, which was already badly taxed by the simultaneous events in Geneva and whose aid committees were only being organised, were on the edge of death from starvation. But at this time the townsmen of Charleroi, who saw the daily increasing misery, began to have misgivings. The Liberal association of Charleroi threatened the government that if no work was immediately provided to the jobless workers, it would dissolve its election committee and leave the field free for the Catholics. The threat had the desired effect. It was fear of losing votes in the next elections, not the crying distress of the starving workers, that drove the liberal government to initiating considerable public works in May 1868.

In the meantime, the proceedings against the men arrested in March are following their course. Whatever the outcome may be, whether the judges convict or acquit them, the government will have suffered, a setback. The workers know that they can expect nothing but powder and lead or imprisonment from the government. They cannot expect the government to redress their legitimate grievances or to protect and help them against the abuses of their employers. The government has itself opened their eyes to where help can come from and to whom they must turn: not the government but rather the International Working Men's Association.

The International Workingmen's Association. Wilhelm Eichhoff 1869

9. The Political Activity of the General Council of the International Working Men's Association

Faithful to the programme in which it called on working men to lay the ground for their social emancipation by seizing political power, the General Council did not in the least allow its social activity prevent it from taking political action in propitious circumstances. The most important steps in this field were the following.

1. Even before the Association was founded some of the members of the General Council had worked among their men for the cause of the North American Union. To the extent to which the government and the ruling classes had favoured the Confederates, making the most of the distress caused in England by the blockade of American harbours as a lever and employing all possible means to instigate demonstrations of English workers in favour of the Secessionists[428] – to that same extent labour leaders had foiled these intrigues, informed the government and people of the United States in their addresses of the true feelings of the masses in Britain, and organised mass demonstrations of London workers in favour of the Union. Lincoln's re-election on November 8, 1864 was an occasion for the General Council to send him an address with its best wishes. At the same time, it called mass meetings in support of the Union. That was why Lincoln, in his message of reply, expressly acknowledged the services of the International Working Men's Association for the good cause.

2. The General Council also convened public meetings front time to time to keep up the English workers' sympathy for Poland and to expose Russia's abuses in Europe.

3. When following the 1866 events in Germany[429] a war between France and Prussia appeared imminent and the government papers in France did their utmost to fan the flames, to fire the national ambitions of the French, and to excite national hatred between France and Germany, the Paris Central Committee of the International Working Men's Association organised workers' demonstrations all over France against the war party, sent messages of sympathy to German working men and workers' unions, and prevented the French workers from falling, into the trap that had been set for them. Time will show how much the anti-chauvinist attitude of the French labouring classes moulded by this vigorous action helped to prevent a war for which there had then been a suitable pretext.

4. The General Council of the International Working Men's Association took a conspicuous part in the establishment and consolidation of the English Reform League, whose agitation brought about the parliamentary reform of 1867. Members of the General Council are still the most active members of the Executive of the Reform League. The public demonstrations in London that forced the resignation of Mr. Walpole, the Tory, Home Secretary, and the indignation meetings in all the leading cities of the land were, indeed, initiated by them.

5. The murder trial of the Fenians in Manchester was branded by the General Council as a travesty of justice.

[On September 18, 1867, armed Fenians attacked a police van in Manchester and freed two political prisoners (Fenian officers). A police sergeant was killed during the attack. Contrary to English law, which provides for periodical assizes to be held in all counties, the case was put before a special commission, an extraordinary, tribunal, at which the Fenians who are accused of basing taken part in the attack were charged with the murder of the police sergeant. Mr. Blackburn was named judge and contrived to prevail on the jury by all sorts of stratagems that each of the defendants proved to have taken part in the attempt to free the prisoners had thereby, incurred guilt for murder. Thereupon, Mr. Blackburn passed down five convictions and five death sentences. Of the convicted men two were reprieved and three were hanged. On June 2, 1868, the selfsame Mr Blackburn conducted the proceedings against Mr. Eyre, the ex-governor of Jamaica, and prevailed on the Grand Jury, with references to an alleged judgement of Lord Chief Justice Sir A. Cockburn. that Mr. Eve had not exceeded the administrative powers vested in him, thus saving Mr. Eve from being convicted. On June 8, Blackburn was by Lord Chief Justice Sir A. Cockburn in public session at Queen's Bench[430] of having falsified the facts, and pleaded commission of a legal mistake. – Note by Eichhoff.]

When the executions drew close in November 1867, the General Council sent a petition to the English government, warning it against the bloodshed. Besides, at the height of the panic created in London by the Manchester events, the Council held a public session in support of the rights of Ireland and the Irish. This was the first of the actions in favour of the unfortunate victims of that miscarriage of justice. The Times and the rest of the daily press reported the event. The mood among the London workers was so strongly altered thereby and the plan of the English aristocracy to exploit English national prejudices and split the working class with its strong Irish element into two hostile factions, was so effectively baulked that the organs of the English aristocracy, such as the Saturday Review, began denouncing the International Working Men's Association as being dangerous to the state.

The International Workingmen's Association. Wilhelm Eichhoff 1869

10. Conflicts with Governments

1. Conflict with the French Government

It is commonly known that in France there exists a law that no Society of more than 20 persons may, be constituted without authorisation of the government. To judge front the wording of the law, most of the industrial and commercial companies in France are unlawful and exist oil sufferance only. For by decision of the Court of the authorisation is tacit if the society in question is public and is not dissolved by the government for some length of time. Whether authorised or not, one may assume that the government may at the very most dissolve societies to whose establishment it had tacitly acquiesced, but that it has no right to punish its members.

As for the organisation of the International Working Men's Association in France, the case is as follows. All branch societies in France exist merely as members of the English society, on whose General Council they are represented by Eugène Dupont. (In addition, there is in London a French group and a German one.) Though they act in common in certain cases, the French sections are not connected with one another, and have intercourse only with the General Council in London. Each of the societies forms a separate body with an executive committee at its head which corresponds with the General Council in London. The establishment of the society in France was initiated by the Paris Administrative Committee of the Paris group. The Committee bad notified the Interior Minister and the Prefect of the Paris police of its inauguration and existence as long ago as 1864. Since that date the Paris Committee, like the committees in the other cities of France, had functioned publicly. Open meetings of members of the Association were held from week to week, and reports about them were published in public newspapers. Indeed, in clear contrast to the secret societies of past decades, the society is by nature a public one, and the meetings of the General Council lit London are reported each week in London newspapers.

The first conflict between the International Working Men's Association and the French government occurred in September 1867, after the Congress at Lausanne. [Eichhoff is mistaken: the conflict occurred in 1866, after the congress Geneva.] A part of the documents of the Congress had been entrusted to the care of Jules Gottraux, one of the French delegates, who was to despatch them from France to England[432]. The moment he crossed the French border, the papers were seized[433]. The General Secretary of the London General Council' addressed himself in writing to the French Minister of the Interior" and demanded the return of the confiscated papers because they were British property. He received no reply. Thereupon, the General Council of the Association turned to Lord Stanley, the British Foreign Secretary. The latter instructed Lord Cowley, the British Ambassador in Paris, to demand that the papers be returned, and the French government Complied.

The second conflict occurred at about the same time. No printer in Paris had dared to print a memorandum which the Paris delegates had read out at the Geneva Congress and in which they, set forth their standpoint and defended their were, by the way, one-sidedly Proudhonistic, specifically French, and decidedly not accepted by the Association. For this reason, the Paris Committee bad the memorandum printed in Brussels. But it was seized on the border as it was being brought into France. On March 3, 1867, the Paris Central Committee of the Association wrote to Rouher, the Minister of State and the Emperor's alter ego, demanding the reasons for the seizure. [Eichhoff is mistaken: the letter was dated March the 9th] In his reply, addressed to the offices of the Par's Bureau of the Association at Rue de Gravilliers 44, Rouher invited a member of the Committee to an interview. The Committee appointed a delegate, who went to see the Minister. Rouher demanded altering and modifying a few objectionable places. The delegate refused to do so because any modifications would rob the document of its meaning. Thereupon, Rouher made the following characteristic pronouncement: "Still if you would introduce some words of gratitude to the Emperor, who has done so much for the working classes, one might see what could be done." The delegate replied that the Association did not deal in politics and that neither flattery nor defamation, whether of an individual or a political party, came within its competence. Thereupon Rouher broke off the conversation and left the seizure of the memorandum in force.

The French government imagined that it could use the International Working Men's Association as a tool. It was in for a disappointment. On the other hand, it was aware of the growing strength and increasing influence of the Society on the occasion of the strikes at Amiens, Roubaix and Paris. Finally, a few weeks after the above conversation, it became aware with the greatest displeasure of the Society's agitation against imperialist chauvinism. It decided to take action. Whence arose

The third conflict[434]. In the beginning of 1868, one night the Paris police raided the homes of the members of the Paris Central Committee. All letters and papers that they found there were confiscated. The police deduced therefrom that the registered members of the Paris group numbered. some 2,000. (Since then this number has risen considerably.) The charge preferred was participation in a secret society, but it was dropped after two months' investigation. Instead, charges of breaching police regulations were presented, namely, of forming a society of more than 20 persons in the absence of the government's authorisation.

On March 20, 1868, the case came before the penal court of the Seine department. Engraver Tolain, a co-defendant, spoke on behalf of the 15 defendants. The hearing yielded the following picture[435]:

President. Do you admit that the International Working Men's Association, whose member you and your co-defendants have become, has never been authorised?

Tolain. I think this is not the proper time to reply to this question. In our common plea we intend to prove that the overt activity of our society presupposes a tacit acknowledgment of its existence.

President. But you do admit that the authorisation was never received?

Tolain. It was never even required of us. To what government, indeed, should an international association turn for authorisation? Should it be the French, the Belgian, the British or any of the German governments? It could not have known, and no one could have told it. What would a French authorisation count for in England, for example, or vice versa?

President. Did you discuss political matters at your gatherings?

Tolain. Never, nowhere.

President. A manifesto printed in Brussels in 1866' has been confiscated from you, whose content consists of politics, even of effusive politics (politique transcendentale).

Tolain. The manifesto is my personal property, and I believe that in France I am the only one to own a copy of it. It was drawn up and published by English workers because, may it be known to the court, every group in every country has the right to set forth its particular opinion without thereby obligating the groups of other nations to solidarity. It is therefore not unusual for an English or German branch society to discuss questions of politics that we ourselves would not venture to touch. I declare that we have always kept our distance from politics at our meetings.

President. How is your Association organised, where is its scat, what are its purposes, and what are the functions of the General Council and the Paris Bureau?

Tolain. The General Council was constituted in London in 1864. No permanent scat was ever fixed for it. The fact that it has had its scat in London for three years is due to difficulties that we have been unable to overcome. To inform you of its purposes I could hardly do better than to read you its Rules. (He reads the Rules).

President. Tell me something about the organisation of the Paris Bureau.

Tolain. The Paris Bureau was formed following art appeal to all workers published in the newspapers. The object of creating the Bureau was to have a centre of activity for the Paris group, to send delegates to international congresses, and to transact other business on behalf of the Society. All this was done in broad daylight and quite openly,. The Statutes of the Paris Bureau were set forth in a printed booklet, h and the weekly dues of every member were fixed at 10 centimes.

President. Has this Bureau engaged in direct propaganda to expand the Society?

Tolain. Now and then we were asked for advice as to how a bureau is formed In most cases we referred to the General Council in London.

President. Has the Paris Bureau interfered in any, strikes, such as that of the Paris bronze-workers, or at Roubaix, Amiens, and elsewhere – ,

Tolain. The Association has indeed taken a most active part in the above-mentioned events in the belief that by studying the causes of the strikes it was doing a good service to the employers as well as the workers.

Public prosecutor Lepelletier's speech began as follows:

"Gentlemen, the defendants who stand before you are hard-working, intelligent and upright workers. They have never been convicted of anything, nothing has tainted their morality, and in substantiating the charge brought against them I, gentlemen, can say nothing that would prejudice their honour."

Thereupon the public prosecutor endeavoured to prove that the law had beer, breached and that there were grounds for conviction. Referring to the defendants' arguments invalidating the charge, he observed:

"What reproaches are being cast upon the prosecution? Gentlemen, if you have read the Siècle, the Opinion nationale, and the Courrier français of the past few days, you will have found expressions of regret in them by that portion of the press which sympathises with the International Association. Their reasoning is as follows For three years, the Association has existed in broad and blessed daylight. It may riot have been allowed by, the authorities, but tolerated. Its aim was the material and moral emancipation of the workers, its means to this end being the study, of economic questions and their solution according to the principles of truth, morality, and justice... And such long sufferance was suddenly followed by, ruthless criminal prosecution for no reason at all other than the plain arbitrariness of power and a whim of violence. If the members of the Association had at least gone back on their programme and had applied themselves to problems involving clanger to the state, if they had at least engaged in politics! But, on the contrary, they hat] steered clear of them at their sittings. had not touched them at their congresses, and had restricted their activity lo tile narrow limits of their statutes, which were well known to the authorities and, at least indirectly, tacitly, acknowledged by them

"This, gentlemen, is the reproach that is cast upon us. I have neither understated nor exaggerated it. Is it a justified reproach? Is it true that the Association did not engage in politics? Is it true that it confined itself to the study of economic questions as provided for in its programme?"

Thereupon the public prosecutor endeavoured to prove the Paris Bureau's involvement in political matters, which was not hard to do considering the Association's general attitude in the Luxembourg affair[436], and demanded that the defendants be convicted in the interests of the law.

Here defendant Tolain rose to his feet and placed before the court the following petition:

"Considering that the illegality of a society derives from the absence of authorisation front the authorities; that no formal procedure has been established to obtain such authorisation; that the said authorisation can also be dispensed tacitly; that demanding a special form of authorisation means tightening a law which even the legislator himself has recognised as exceptional; that public confidence is shaken thereby; furthermore, that it follows from the discussions concerning the law of 1834 and from utterances of government representatives that the said authorisation may, be granted tacitly; that such tacit permission or sufferance is the form ill which all industrial and commercial companies of more than 20 members exist; that conceding the power to persecute such societies without first revoking t his practice is an infringement upon the public consciousness, since it is self-evident that the government considers them lawfully authorised by virtue of their obvious existence; considering that the tacit authorisation of the Association follows 1) from the continuous publicity of its existence and actions, truly far more pronounced than ill the case of commercial companies; 2) from the two letters of the International Association to the Minister of the Interior and the Prefect of the Police, in which the establishment and existence of the Association were recorded as long ago as 1864; considering that definitive and formal authorisation of the administration is contained in a letter addressed to the Secretary of the Society by the office of the Minister of the Interior, or, more precisely, by the Minister of State who was his temporary deputy; that the legitimacy, of the Association was in no way questioned during an interview with the Minister; that the prosecution cannot demonstrate that the Association has in the interval changed either its, theories or its aims; considering that actually the Secretary of the Association, who had been invited to explain the memorial of the French delegates to the Congress of 1866, set forth the very, same theories and aims which are now being reproved and prosecuted; that at that time even the prosecutor's office regarded the Society as amply legalised because it had known of its existence and nevertheless stated at the public proceedings of January 4, 1867 that no prosecution was being contemplated; for all these reasons we plead with the court to dismiss the prosecution's indictment."

Upon submitting this petition, Tolain took the floor on behalf of the other defendants. His speech was a passionate protest against the lack of rights of the labouring classes. He described the dangers which the workman incurred when he endeavoured to clarify his social status by mutual instruction, by learning the relations that affect his most vital interests, and when he tried to secure improvements. Whatever he may do, whatever caution lie may exercise, however pure and harmless his intentions may be, he was always threatened, persecuted, and subject to prosecution. In the past 20 years countless industrial innovations had created new requirements and completely reconstructed the social economy. Deliberately or riot, the government itself had followed the movement and collaborated assiduously in this, reconstruction.

"We workers", Tolain went on to say, "were deeply interested to know what was to become of us, and this was the reason for out-uniting in the International Association. Working men wanted to see for themselves, and not through the eyes of the official bourgeois economics. English workers gathered to receive the French workers; they and we were moved by one and the same concern, the social question. The perfection of machines, the English workers said, changed the social situation of working men each passing day, so let us enlighten each other, let us find the means to safeguard our subsistence. We had the same interests and were inspired by, the same ideas. Since then the common slogan says that the workman cannot expect arty, improvement of his social condition unless he achieves it by Ins own efforts. This slogan was proclaimed at a public meeting ill London in 1864."

Thereupon Tolain described the establishment, organisation and activity of the General Council in London and the Paris Bureau. Having again declared that the government had granted them tacit authorisation, he said that they, on the other hand, had not applied for official authorisation out of principle because they would not concede to the government the power to permit or forbid rights that were the natural endowment of workers and all citizens. And lie concluded with the following significant declaration:

"I must add that the position ill which we have been put should be properly considered. Whatever your sentence may be, we shall do the same tomorrow as we did the day before; this is neither hatred nor pigheadedness on our part; it is the consciousness of our right. From now on we lay claim to dealing ourselves with all matters of concern to its; we have only v one means of putting an end to out. present situation, and that is to overstep the law ill order to show how bad it is. So far, we have riot wished to breach the law because, let me repeat, the police, the government, the municipal authorities and the public ill large, have known everything, seen everything, and accepted everything oil sufferance."

The sentence of the court read:

"Considering that, as follows front the investigations and proceedings, the defendants hake for three years been Paris members of a society known by the name of the International Working Men's Association, that the aforenamed society consisted of more than 20 persons, and that it was not authorised;

"considering that the associated workers were bound among themselves by the purposes of the Association and worked together for the achievement of these purposes, that the said purposes were to improve the situation of the workers b) cooperation, production and credit, and that they gathered at regular intervals and constituted themselves into a permanent corporation;

"considering that Articles 291 and 292 of the Code penal arid the Law of April 10, 1834b are police and general security laws applicable to anyone who breaches them on French territory, that it is irrelevant that the scat of the Society is located in London, and that it is perfectly sufficient to establish that the Paris Bureau has committed a breach of the aforenamed laws;

"considering that notice of the existence of the aforenamed Society in newspapers or its sufferance by the authorities does not relieve it of the need for an explicit authorisation of the government;

"considering that the defendants, by acting in this have committed offences covered by, and punishable under Articles 291 and 292 of the Code penal and § 2 of the Law of April 10, 1834;

"the Court hereby dissolves the International Working Men's Association established in Paris under the name of Paris Bureau, and sentences each of the defendants to a fine of 100 francs which, in the event of insolvency, shall be replaced by 30 days' imprisonment.

The convicted filed an appeal against this sentence. In the meantime, the Paris group acted precisely as Tolain had told the court. In place of the prosecuted 15, a new Bureau, consisting of nine members of the Association, was elected. Their election was announced in the newspapers.' In a signed appeal they called publicly on the Paris workmen to contribute funds in support of the strike in Geneva.

The case of the 15 was heard in the second instance on April 22, 1868.

The main points of the indictment were the Bureau's open refusal to abide by the imperial penal law banning societies of more than 20 persons; the political nature of the Society, which subjected all pillars of the existing order to criticism; the power of the Society, which no government could withstand if it were allowed to embrace all countries as it has been doing so far; by now, it was alleged, it has become a sort of universal intermediary for workers' strikes.

As in all other cases, the accused defended themselves on their own, without legal counsel. Referring to the lack of an official authorisation, they declared:

"If we, the Paris correspondents of the London General Council, had been notified, after informing the police and the competent authorities of the constitution of our Bureau, that an explicit authorisation was required, we would have thought of some other organisation for we are making it quite clear that it would never have occurred to us to submit to the humiliation of seeking authorisation. The very, first principle of our Rules would have forbidden us to do so. For it says that emancipation of the working classes must be conquered by the working classes themselves. Those, however, who accept authorisation also accept submission, subordination and the right of patronage or, in short, serfdom, from which, indeed, in all its forms, the International Association aims to liberate the working classes."

The Court of Appeal confirmed the sentence of the penal court and, besides, sentenced the appellants to paying the costs of the hearing. The grounds of the sentence were in substance the same as those of the sentence of the first instance; only the following phrase was new:

"That the danger was aggravated by the enormous power of the organisation and by the broad expansion of its activity."

In the meantime legal proceedings were also instituted against the nine members of the new Bureau elected in March, and the latter appeared before the penal court on May 22, 1868.

The hearings of the case were similar to those of March the 20th.[437]

The defence was presented by co-defendant bookbinder Varlin. After this workman, too, had dismissed the legal arguments of the prosecution with a logic and insight that would have done credit to any jurist, he went on to portray the moral-political and social-economic side of the case, and here rose to such power of expression and conviction as could only have conic front someone who knew the rightness of the cause and its profound moral justice. He said:

"In our eyes a strike is only a crude means to establish the wage; we use it much against our will for it subjects the workman and his family, to weeks and months of most severe privations without the assurance of finally winning a fan. wage. The International Association has set itself the task of gaining a peaceful settlement to the labour question by studying the economic conditions; but as obstacles are being raised to our studies and the solution of the social question is thereby delayed, we shall frequently have to resort to strikes so as to protect our livelihood.

"But I must touch on yet another point.

"Before the law you are the judges and we are the accused; but before the principles we are two parties – you the party of order at any price, the party, of stability, and we the party of reform, the party of socialism. Let us take all impartial look: what is the social order whose perfections it has been our crime to question? It is eroded to the marrow by inequality, its life is menaced by selfishness, it is being strangled by the iron claws of anti-social prejudices. Despite the declaration of human rights and the short-lived victories of the people's will, it depends on a handful of rulers whether or not streams of the people's blood shall be shed in fratricidal battles of nation against nation, of people who languish under the same burdens and who long for the same emancipation.

"Enjoyments exist for but a small minority, which, indeed, indulges in them to the fullest measure and in the most refined manner. The great mass of the people, on the other hand, suffer in misery and ignorance – here groaning under unbearable burdens, there racked by hunger, and languishing everywhere ill the darkness of prejudices and in the superstitious belief that their slaver y can never end.

"If you want particulars, see how the gambling on the stock exchange plays havoc and mischief, how both abundance and hunger are at the will of powerful financiers beside whose mountains of gold there abide ruin and malicious bankruptcy. In industry, unbridled competition holds down the working man and destroys any sensible relationship between production and consumption. A shortage of hands for the necessary, but an abundance of the unnecessary; while millions of poor children go about without a stitch to cover their bodies, shawls of a preposterous price, costing more than 10,000 working days, are displayed at world exhibitions. The working man does not earn enough even for the bare necessities, while the world teems with over-satiated idlers.

"The old world went under because the thorn of slavery stuck in its flesh; if the modern age cares as little for the suffering of the masses, if it forces them to work without respite, to suffer, if it denies them [he necessities so that a few may live in luxury and pleasure, if the modern age refuses to see that such a state of society is altogether outrageous, its end, too, will not be far distant.

'W. Palley, from Oxford University, says in the newspaper, La Cooperation, of this May:

"Think of a flock of pigeons in a cornfield. Instead of picking away, ninety-nine of them consume nothing but the straw and chaff, while gathering the corn in a large heap expressly for just one pigeon, often the weakest and the most pitiful of all; this one struts clucking, gorging itself, stamping and spoiling, while the hard-working ones stand in a ring and look on good-naturedly; suddenly one of their number, possibly braver or perhaps hungrier than its brethren, ventures to snap away a grain; now all the rest throw themselves upon the malefactor out of blind submissiveness to pull it about, to recover the plunder, to drive it out of their community.'

"Glance at this picture. You will, of course, find that this cannot occur ill nature, but is repeated a hundredfold every day among human beings who are endowed with reason. The conclusion, however, is twofold. You will conclude therefrom that man stands above animals by virtue of his reason. I say to you, however, that despite his reason man can learn a thing or two fruit] animals!

"Does he not belong to those 99, the creature who is born in misery, who hardly ever sees his mother because she must go to her work, who suffers hunger and cold, is exposed to every possible harm, who grows up in filth and from early childhood contracts the germ of the disease that follows him to his grave? He Is barely eight, has barely gained a minimum of strength, and off he goes to work – to work in thin, unhealthy air, mistreated, doomed to ignorance, and laid open by bad examples to every possible vice. So it proceeds until the child is older. Now, at 20, the lad must leave his parents, who need him, so as to be robbed of his humanity in some soldiers' barracks or to be shot dead on some battlefield. If he escapes with his life, he may marry (provided he is allowed to do so by the English philanthropist Malthus or the French minister Duchâtel, who happen to think that a workman needs neither wife nor family, that no one forces him to stay alive if he cannot provide for himself). So he marries, and soon poverty, privation, unemployment, disease, and children move into his house. And when now, seeing the misery of his own, he ventures to demand a fair wage, he is tied hand and foot by hunger as ill Preston, shot down as in Charleroi, put behind bars as in Bologna, subjected to a state of siege as in Catalonia, or bundled before a court as in Paris...

"So the wretch trudges on along the road of suffering and humiliation. At a mature age, without a comforting memory of his youth, he is startled to find that old age is creeping up; should he have no family or only a poor one, he will finally die like an evil-doer in an institution for beggars.

"Yet the man produced four times as much as he consumed. What has society done with the surplus? Ask the hundredth pigeon – the one that does nothing at all and lives off the labour of the other 99.

"History shows us that any nation or social organisation that strays off the path of strict justice and follows that of injustice, falls prey. to decay and dissolution; and precisely this is the solace we can derive with certainty, from the lessons of the past at this time of luxury and misery, coercion and slavery, ignorance and stultification, demoralisation and degeneracy, for so long as a human being can starve to death on the threshold of a palace crammed with treasure, the state institutions remain unstable.

"Feel the pulse of our time: you will discover a muted resentment between the class that wants to hang on to everything and the class that wants to regain the fruit of its industry. The crass superstitions which, we thought, had been erased by the 18th century, are coming back to the surface; wanton egoism and dissolution everywhere. Those are signs of decay. The ground is reeling and slipping from under your feet: Beware!

"The class that has so far only appeared on and off on the world stage to perform some great act of justice, suppressed at all times and under all governments, the class of labour, now offers you a means of revival. Be wise and acknowledge its legitimacy; do not interfere with its cause, which is beneficial for all. Only the breath of absolute freedom can clear the an. and drive away the clouds that threaten us...

"Once a class forfeits the moral superiority that put it in power, it must step off the stage if it wants to avoid the atrocities that are the last resort of all perishing regimes. Let the bourgeoisie comprehend that its strivings are not great enough to meet all the needs of the times and that. it can therefore do nothing but dissolve itself in the younger class that is ringing in a powerful political rebirth, equality, and solidarity through freedom."

The sentence of the court for each of the nine accused was 3 months in prison and a fine of 100 francs; the convicted filed an appeal, which was eventually dismissed.

Apart from its social significance, the French government's persecution of the International Working Men's Association has political implications, too. For the first time since the coup d'état of 1852[438] a society existing in France has dared to offer resistance under civil law to criminal prosecution and to claim civil rights for itself which the one who was elected by universal suffrage could not very well deny it through his organs without bringing his many years of flirting with the working class to a sudden end. It is safe to assume that the prosecution originated with Minister of State Rouher. But so great was his embarrassment over the imaginary need for action on political grounds that, while prosecuting the Paris Bureau, he has not dared to dissolve groups of the Association in Lyons, Rouen, Roubaix, Bordeaux, Marseilles, and so on.

The Paris newspaper Le Réveil, organ of Ledru Rollin's party, refers most approvingly to the behaviour of the members of the Paris Committee.' It contrasts the political insight and moral superiority of the working class to the intrigues and narrowmindedness of the ruling classes. It makes the following noteworthy observation:

"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 day's 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 resolution, 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."

2. Conflict with the Belgian Government

Spurred by the newspapers of the Belgian bourgeoisie, with Indépendance belge at their head, the Belgian government tried to portray the International Working Men's Association as the instigator of the disturbances in the district of Charleroi.' The court investigation of the Belgian workers arrested in March soon showed, however, that this charge was groundless and that from the outset it had been nothing but a deliberate and malicious lie.

Nevertheless, in May 1868, Jules Bara, the Belgian Minister of justice and Police, took advantage of the debate concerning the renewal of the law on the expulsion of foreigners[439] in the Belgian Chamber of Deputies viciously to attack the International Working Men's Association to make of its existence the principal pretext for the proposed renewal of the foreigners' law, and to go so far as to declare that he would not tolerate the convocation of the next general congress of the Association, which had at its congress in Lausanne appointed it for Brussels on September 7, 1868.

Thereupon, the administrative committees of the Brussels and all the other groups of the International Association in Belgium wrote a joint letter to M. le Ministre, dated May the 22nd, which was printed and made public.' The letter made clear to the Minister that he had absolutely no say in the matter, and that the Congress would be held in Brussels. The opening passages of this irreverent letter read:

"M. le Ministre, the undersigned send you their thanks for the gr cat service you have rendered their cause by taking it up at a sitting of the Chamber and thereby allowing the parliamentary records to be used for the dissemination of our principles.

"It appears that you scorn us no longer. For a long time your newspapers glossed over in silence the successes of the Association in this country; like the ostrich, you shut your eyes to escape the danger. Yet today you have to consider its a power. You have given us official consecration, and recognise by your attitude that we oppose you as a power ...

"But you are reluctant to admit that you and your like are unpopular in Belgium, and when a foreigner comes to assist our Association you hasten to lay the blame for everything done here at his door."

Then, having firmly denied the Minister's insinuations that the movement of the Belgian workers was inspired and led front abroad, the letter went on to say:

"You should be aware, M. le Ministre, that we will not be run by a man any more than by a cask of gin. We are perfectly capable of acting on our own, and our activity is guided exclusively by the striving for justice, which exists in every honourable consciousness. Having barely come into the world, our league already numbers thousands of followers in our country; all of us are of the same opinion, and all of us are firmly determined to go forward to the common goal – the emancipation of labour.

"These ideas seem incredible to you, M. le Ministre; listen to a few others."

Here the Minister was informed in detail of the aspirations of the International Working Men's Association, and advised to obtain further particulars from the documents of its Congresses. Then the transgressions of the government were put before him; he was reminded of the workers needlessly killed in the Charleroi district, who were dealt death instead of bread. It was recognised that strikes were an insufficient means of improving the working men's situation; but they were the only legitimate means labour still had to protest against the abuses of capital. In conclusion, the letter said:

"Yes, M. le Ministre of 'justice', we want to achieve the triumph of justice which you have betrayed. Yes, we will do so without you, despite you, and against you...

"You have said you would not tolerate our Congress. Surely, you must have been most aroused, M. le Ministre, when you spoke those absurd words... For example, you have proclaimed the 'right of assembly', and we are eager to see what measures you will employ to breach it with impunity... Despite all your big talk, the Congress is going to take place in Brussels in September... One last word: you speak of the flash of lightning that we loosen upon Belgium. But it is you yourself who have called it forth by your rigid authoritarian government. The real thunderstorm is there beside you, yet you fail to notice it.–

At its meeting on June 16, 1868, the General Council of the International Association in London confirmed the decision of the Belgian Committee to hold the Congress in Brussels at the appointed time despite the announced opposition of the government.[440]

The administrative committees in France have also sent messages of agreement, declaring their determination to take part in the Congress at Brussels and to defy the consequences.

The Courrier français of Paris commented as follows on the simultaneous attacks on the International Working Men's Association in Switzerland, France, and Belgium:

"These happenings are very interesting because at this moment the Association is gaining ground on a remarkable scale on the whole of the European continent. Everywhere, reaction is using it as a bit of a scapegoat, and this proves that everywhere it is considered the vanguard of social reformation."

The International Workingmen's Association. Wilhelm Eichhoff 1869

11. Growth of the Association

In England, some fifty trades unions with their branch societies in the United Kingdom have joined the International Working Men's Association since the resolution of the Trades Union Congress at Sheffield in 1866. Among the new members are workmen's groups, such as the 30,000 railway excavators, which never before participated eit her in trades unions or in any other movements.

In Ireland, a section exists in Dublin.

In the United States of North America, the National Labour Congress which met in Chicago resolved on August 20, 1867' to establish relations with the International Association for joint action. Since then, the General Council at London has been corresponding with the General National Labour Union of the United States. It will be represented by a special delegate at this year's Congress in Brussels.

In France the groups that correspond directly and exclusively with London are great in number. Sections exist in Paris, Rouen, Lyons, Marseilles, Bordeaux, Lille, Roubaix, Argentan (Orne), Caen, Digne (Basses-Alpes), Fleurieux (sur Saône), Fuveau (Bouches-du-Rhône), Flers (Orne), Granville (Manche), Harcourt, Thierry (Calvados), Havre, Lisieux, Neuville (sur Saone), Nantes, Neufchâteau (Vosges), Orleans, Crets (Bouches-du-Rhône), Villefranche (Rhône), Vienne (Isère), and other places. It is noteworthy that several French rural communities have also adhered to the Association. In the French colonies, a group exists in Algiers and another in Guadeloupe.

In Belgium the main seats of the Association are in Brussels, Liège, Verviers, and Louvain. Mass adherence to the Association has been witnessed among coalminers and ironworkers this year.

In Holland two sections exist, in Rotterdam and in Amsterdam.

In Spain a section in Barcelona.

In Italy, the general association of labour with its main seat in Naples and Milan, consisting of 600 workmen's societies, has the same kind of cartel with the International Association as the trades unions in England and the National Labour Union in the United States. Besides, special groups of the International Association exist in Genoa and Bologna.

In Switzerland working men have been seeking admission en masse since the Geneva strike. The main groups are in the towns of the Basle and Berne cantons, where communities in the villages de la montagne des Bois have also adhered; Geneva, where the society in the city alone numbers more than 6,000 members, and the cantons Neufchâtel, Vaud, and Zurich. The Swiss Grütli Union [442] and the various German workers' educational societies in Switzerland are affiliated to the Association.

In Germany there are several groups. But most of these have declared that despite their sympathies they are unable to join officially owing to the absence of legal authorisation[443]. The connections with Germany are therefore still deficient. The special Central Bureau for Germany is the same as that for the German-speaking Swiss, and is located at Geneva under Joh. Phil. Becker at Pré-l'Evêque 33. In the General Council at London, Germany is represented by Karl Marx, Secretary for Germany, resident at 1 Modena Villas, Maitland Park, Haverstock Hill, London N. W., and by George Eccarius, General Secretary of the Association.

The periodicals of the Association are:

The Bee-Hive Newspaper in London.

The Workmen's Advocate in Chicago.

Le Courrier Français in Paris. Le Siècle, La Liberté, and L'Opinion Publique also publish the resolutions and other material of the Association.

The democratic organs in Lyons, Rouen, Bordeaux, and other cities.

La Voix de l'Avenir in Lausanne.

Der Vorbote in Geneva.

The Demokratische Wochenblatt in Leipzig, which, though not an organ of the Association, voices its principles.

La Tribune du peuple, La Liberté, L'Espiègle, Le Devoir, Le Mirabeau, La Cigale, l'Ingenu, Le Peuple Belge, all in Belgium (Brussels, Verviers, and elsewhere).

Finally, the labour newspapers in Italy.

The International Workingmen's Association. Wilhelm Eichhoff 1869


The author has one more pleasant duty to perform before he takes leave of the German workers, to whom this book is dedicated.

Under the heading, "The Eight Hours Movement", the Köllnische Zeitung of July 19, 1868, carried the following heartening report:

"Agitation that was being conducted ill the United States in the past few years has suddenly been crowned with complete success, due less to its own intrinsic merit than to tilt, coincidence of external circumstances which influenced the legislature. Once before, the working time in governmental workshops and factories was reduced from twelve to ten hours a day. Not content, the workers demanded a further reduction, to eight hours (arid, mind you, without any reduction ill the existing wages, whence the name, "The Eight Hours Movement"). Congress repeatedly dismissed this demand, but has not (fared to consign a renewed motion to the same fate. For both parties need the workers' votes in the coming presidential elections, and neither of them, probably against its innermost conviction to the contrary, wishes to affront the movement and incur the discontent of those numerous voters. In England, too, a part of the workers have written a slogan on their banner that smacks of a play on words: 'Eight hours' work, eight hours' rest, eight hours' sleep, and eight shillings' wage.' As long as the said movement keeps within the pale of the law and as long as no intimidation and no illicit pressure are applied against the workers who think for themselves and want their labour power to be used as they themselves deem right, the authorities will have to, and will prefer to, allow the agitation to follow its natural course,. The all-powerful unwritten law that regulates supply and demand will eventually make itself felt here as well"

That the Kölnische Zeitung, an organ of the German bourgeoisie, is not particularly delighted over the unexpected success of the eight hours movement in America, should surprise no one who, like that paper, believes in the "omnipotence" of the "unwritten" law of supply and demand.

The New-Yorker Handelszeitung, too, is right from the standpoint of "supply and demand – when it testily declares:

"We can only deplore this decision, which reeks of demagoguery. Both Houses of Congress have fixed the working time ill governmental workshops at eight hours without changing the wages, and the President has promptly signed the Act. In other words, the national authorities have introduced the eight-hour system. They are entitled to do so: the master can set the working time in his establishments. But by doing so they have sanctioned agitation that is without rhyme or reason. And they know it. Generally speaking, legislation has as little to do with regulating the relationship between the working man and the employer as it has with how often the noble and free citizen of this Republic should put on a fresh shirt or if he should go through life ill whole or torn stockings; and if the attempt to immobilise one-fifth of the productive forces is really timely is surely also open to question. A man who wanted to win the favour of the blind part of the labouring masses threw ill a firebrand, and within sight of the coming national elections no one wanted to run the danger of burning his fingers oil it. The price of labour as that of any other commodity is regulated fly the relationship between supply and demand. If the legislature wishes to deal with the matter it is bound to make a fool of itself. That the gentlemen Representatives and Senators fail to see this cannot be possible. To out great surprise, even a mail like Senator Sumner has given vent to a lot of fine words about the workers' educational needs allegedly being served in this way – words of whose total lack of meaning he himself must have been profoundly aware. Only he is a friend of the people who does not shrink from telling them the truth even in peril of doing himself damage. Once the elections are over, the workers will notice that they have been deceived."

The immediate future will show if the eight hours movement is "without rhyme or reason" and if the American workers will notice that they "have been deceived" once the presidential elections are over.

For Europe that question is secondary compared to the great event that the legislature of the United States has sanctioned the eight hours movement.[444]

The consequences will not be long in coming. From the workshops and factories of the United States government the eight-hour principle will make its way forward and gain recognition as a moral and legitimate demand of the working class everywhere in America, England and the European continent – wherever to this day the belief in the "omnipotence" of supply and demand has raised the duration of the working day to the limits of human endurance and pressed down wages to the lowest limits of the worker's needs.

Now we are beginning to witness what Karl Marx, that painstaking explorer of and authority on social conditions, prophesied on July 25, 1867:

"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." [Preface to the First Edition of Capital]

The International Workingmen's Association. Wilhelm Eichhoff 1869


[*] Wilhelm Eichhoff wrote this pamphlet with Marx's active assistance. This was the first work on the history of the International Working Men's Association. Wilhelm Eichhoff conceived it in the summer of 1868, when his brother Albert, a publisher, planned to issue the Workers' Calender (Arbeiterkalender) for 1869. Wilhelm Eichhoff proposed that the leading item should be devoted to the history of the establishment, spread and activity of the International Working Men's Association. On June 6, 1868 Wilhelm Eichhoff informed Marx of his intention and asked the latter to send the necessary material and help him in writing the article. On June 27 Marx sent to Berlin many documents of the Association, newspaper cuttings and notes on the activity of the International. The day before Marx wrote to Engels: "...I am writing something for Eichhoff. Tomorrow I shall send it off". In his reply of June 29, Eichhoff thanked Marx for the material and wrote that he was going to use Marx's manuscript word for word and supplement and expand it as advised by Marx.

There is every reason to believe that Marx drew up the thesis and plan that determined the work's structure, general tendency and basic conclusions.

Eichhoff's work grew into a pamphlet because of the abundance of material sent by Marx. Eichhoff's letters show that in the course of his work Marx answered his numerous questions, gave advice and made suggestions. Some sections of the pamphlet include documents of the General Council (the Inaugural Address, Rules and Instructions for the Delegates of the Provisional General Council) or give their contents. Eichhoff used the Minutes of the Geneva and Lausanne congresses of the International, addresses of the General Council and local sections, Becker's pamphlet Die Internationale Arbeiterassociation und die Arbeitseinstellung in Genf im Frühjahr 1868, the pamphlet Procès de L'Association Internationale des Travailleurs. Bureau de Paris published in 1868, and extracts from English, German, French and Belgian newspapers on the activity of local sections of the International. A number of pages in the pamphlet contain Marx's own material which he subsequently used elsewhere.

Thus, the description of the Charleroi events, the information about an incident with the Geneva Congress documents on the French frontier and talks of Minister Rouher with the delegate of the Paris Committee of the International Working Men's Association were partially included by Marx in the Fourth Annual Report of the General Council.

Marx presumably wrote the section about the political activity of the General Council, the list of periodicals of the Association, etc. From July 12 to 22, 1868 Marx edited the pamphlet and read the proofs. On July 29 a specimen copy of the pamphlet was sent to Marx in London, and the entire edition was printed in August 1868. Copies were also sent to Engels, Liebknecht, Becker, Lessner, Kugelmann, to the General Council, the German Workers' Educational Society in London, and others.

[395] In 1824, under public pressure, the British Parliament lifted the ball on the trade unions. In 1825, however, it passed a Bill on workers' combinations, which, while confirming the raising of the bait on trade unions, greatly restricted their activity. lit particular any agitation for workers to join unions and take part in strikes was regarded as compulsion and violence and punished as a crime.

[396] The Statutes submitted by Luigi Wolff to the Sub-Committee on October 8, 1864 were an English translation entitled Fraternal Bond Between the Italian Workmen's Associations, which had been published in Il Giornale delle Associazioni Operaie on July 31, 1864 and adopted by a congress of Italian pro-Mazzini working men's associations, field in Naples at the end of October. By submitting these Statutes, written from bourgeois-democratic positions, to the International Working Men's Association, Mazzini and his followers sought to spread their influence on it.

[397] At the beginning of April 1864 Garibaldi made a fund-raising journey to England to finance an expedition against Austrian rule in Venice. Garibaldi hoped to get support from English ruling circles. The people gave the Italian national hero an enthusiastic welcome. At first the British Government treated Garibaldi as an honoured guest. However, the discontent of the English ruling circles was aroused by his meeting with Mazzini, who was living in London as a political emigrant, and his speeches in defence of the Polish insurgents.

Garibaldi left England at the end of April.

[398] Eichhoff's pamphlet included the programme documents of the International – Inaugural Address and Rules. They were given in a new and highly accurate translation made by Eichhoff and edited by Marx. This helped to familiarise more people in Germany with these documents. Eichhoff translated the Address from the pamphlet Address and Provisional Rules of the Working Men's International Association published in London in 1864. Eichhoff's translation was later reprinted in a number of German works about the International.

Here, the text of the Address is reproduced from the 1864 English edition, with an account of the changes in Eichhoff's German translation. The most significant discrepancies are indicated in footnotes.

[399] Apparently a reference to the articles "The Trade and Navigation Returns" and "Pauperism. – July 1850 and 1849" published in The Economist, Vol. VIII, August 10, 1850.

[400] Garotters – highway robbers who strangled their victims. In the early 1860s the practice was so widespread in London that it was the subject of a special debate in Parliament.

[401] This refers to reports of the commissioners appointed to inquire into the situation in the various branches of English industry published in the Blue Books, collected documents of the British Parliament and Foreign Office published since the seventeenth century.

[402] The passage quoted by Marx from Gladstone's speech of April 16, 1863 appeared in nearly all the London newspaper reports of this parliamentary session (The Times, The Morning Star, The Daily Telegraph, April 17, 1863), but was omitted in Hansard's semi-official report of parliamentary debates in which the text was corrected by the speakers themselves. The German bourgeois economist Brentano used this as a pretext for accusing Marx of unscrupulous misquotation. Marx replied to this libel in his letters to the Volksstaat editors written on May 23 and July 28, 1872.

After Marx's death the same accusation was made in November 1883 by the British bourgeois economist Sadley Taylor.

This accusation was refuted by Eleanor Marx in two letters to the magazine To-Day in February and March 1884 and then by Engels in the preface to the fourth German edition of Capital in June 1890 and in the pamphlet Brentano contra Marx in 1891.

[403] The Ten Hours' Bill, the battle for which had been fought for many years, was passed by Parliament in 1847 against a background of the sharply intensified contradictions, generated by the repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846, between the landed aristocracy and the industrial bourgeoisie. To revenge themselves on the industrial bourgeoisie, a section of Tory M.P.s supported the Bill. Its provisions applied only to women and children. Nevertheless, many manufacturers evaded it in practice.

In 1850 Engels wrote two articles on the Ten Hours' Bill. True, they were written when Marx's economic teaching was not yet sufficiently developed, and this can be seen in a certain underestimation of the struggle for a shorter working day.

[404] At the 1863 parliamentary session, the Irish deputies led by Thomas Maguire demanded legislative measures limiting the irregularities of the landlords and, in particular, they demanded that tenants should have the right to receive compensation for all their expenditures on a rented plot when the lease expired or was terminated. In his speech on June 23 Palmerston called these demands "communistic doctrines" and described them as "subversive of all the fundamental principles of social order" (The Times, June 24, 1864).

[405] During the US Civil War the English workers opposed the government's attempts to interfere in the war on the side of the Southern slave-holding states. Their massive campaign, which reached its peak at the end of 1861 and the beginning of 1862, prevented the reactionaries front drawing Europe into the war on the side of the slave-holders and helped considerably to strengthen the international solidarity of the workers.

[406] The Rules and Administrative Regulations of the International Working Men's Association were approved by the Geneva Congress on September 5 and 8, 1866. These Rules were based on the text of the Provisional Rules, written by Marx in October 1864, with certain changes and additions. The Administrative Regulations were drawn up by a Congress commission of which Eccarius was a member. The German text of the two documents was published by Johann Philipp Becker in Der Vorbote, September 1866.

In the autumn of 1867 Eccarius, instructed and assisted by Marx, prepared a new official edition of the Rules and Administrative Regulations which was sanctioned by the General Council on November 5. The pamphlet Rules and Administrative Regulations of the International Working Men's Association came off the press in London in 1867.

Eichhoff translated the Rules into German according to this pamphlet, omitting the section "Administrative Regulations".

[407] This and the preceding paragraphs of a declarative character were included by Marx in the Preamble to the Provisional Rules on the insistence of other members of the Sub-Committee who discussed the document on October 27, 1864.

[408] The London Conference of the International Working Men's Association was held from September 25 to 29, 1865. It was convened on the insistence of Marx who believed that the International's sections were riot strong enough to hold a general congress as envisaged by the Provisional Rules. The conference was attended by nine delegates from France, Switzerland and Belgium, and the Central (General) Council members. On September 28 a meeting (soirée) was held in St. Martin's Hall to celebrate the first anniversary of the founding of the Association.

The conference heard the Central Council's reports and reports of local sections. The main question discussed was the agenda of the forthcoming congress and the order of its convocation. It was decided to hold it in Geneva in May 1866 (later it was postponed by the Central Council until the beginning of September 1866). Despite the Proudhonists, who demanded that the Polish question should be excluded from the agenda of the congress and that airs member of the Association may have the right to take part in it, the conference retained the item on the restoration of Poland's independence and recognised as competent only elected delegates. The conference also adopted the Council's other proposals on the work of the congress. Prepared and conducted under Marx's leadership, the London Conference of 1865 played a big role in the establishment of the International and in shaping it as an organisation.

[409] The Aliens Law adopted in Belgium on September 22, 1835 and prolonged every three wars. Despite the widespread protest campaign in the press and at meetings it was renewed at the end of June 1865. In May 1868, the Belgian Government, for fear of fresh mass action, prolonged it without discussion in the Chamber of Deputies.

[410] The Geneva Congress of the International met from September 3 to 8, 1866. It was attended by 60 delegates from the Central (General) Council, the different sections of the Association and the workers' societies of England, France, Germany and Switzerland. The Instructions for the Delegates of the Provisional Central Council were drawn up by Marx in August 1866, when the final preparations were being made for the Geneva Congress. They were written in English and then translated into French by Paul Lafargue.

The Instructions were read at the congress as the General Council's official report. The congress became the scene of a heated debate between Marx's followers and the Proudhonists, who countered the Instructions with their own programme. Jung, Eccarius and other members of the General Council managed to have most points of the Instructions adopted as congress resolutions. The Proudhonists were only able to have their resolutions passed on matters of Secondary importance.

The Geneva Congress approved the Rules (based on the Provisional Rules drawn up by Marx) and the Regulations of the International Working Men's Association, and marked the end of the International's organisational period.

Compared with the original English text, Eichhoff's German translation of the Instructions contains some differences in reading and abridgements.

[411] The general scheme of statistical inquiry into the condition of the working class as proposed by Marx was unanimously accepted by the Geneva Congress. In practice, however, the collection of data and their publication in the form of the Central Council's reports were hampered by lack of money and negligence on the part of local sections. The Lausanne (1867), Brussels (1868) and Basle (1869) congresses of the International confirmed the need to carry the Geneva Congress resolution on workers' statistics, while the London Conference of 1871 included point "c" of Section 2 of the Instructions in the Administrative Regulations of the Association.

[412] After the Civil War, the movement for the legislative introduction of an eight-hour working day intensified in the USA. Leagues of struggle for an eight-hour working day were formed all over the country. At its inaugural congress in Baltimore in August 1866, the National Labour Union declared the demand for an eight-hour working day to be an indispensable condition for the emancipation of labour.

The National Labour Union was founded in the USA at a congress in Baltimore in August 1866, with the active participation of William Sylvis, a prominent leader in the American labour movement. lit a letter to Ludwig Kugelmann on October 9, 1866, Marx wrote with satisfaction about the Baltimore congress: "... Most of the demands I had put up for a w ere put up there too, by the correct instinct of the workers". The Labour Union established contacts with the International Working Men's Association in October 1866, but its delegate to the next congress of the International, Richard Trevellick, elected by the Union's congress in Chicago in August 1867, was unable to conic to Lausanne. At the last sessions, of the Basle Congress of the International (September 1869) Cameron was the National Labour Union delegate. At the Union's congress in Cincinnati in August 1870, Cameron reported on his participation in the International's Congress, and the Union adopted a resolution on its adherence to the principles of the International Association and its intention to join it. The resolution was not implemented, however. Its leaders soon became involved in utopian projects of money reform. In 1870 and 1871, many trade unions withdrew, and in 1872 the Union virtually ceased to exist.

[413] The Lausanne Congress of the International was held from September 2 to 8, 1867. Marx took part in preparing the congress but did not attend it because he was busy reading the proofs of Volume I of Capital. He withdrew his candidature at the General Council meeting of August 13, 1867.

Sixty-four delegates from six countries (England, France, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and Italy) were present at the congress. Apart from the General Council's report, the congress beard local reports. The latter showed that the influence of the International on the proletarian masses had increased and that its organisations in different countries had become stronger. The Proudhonist-minded delegates at the congress tried to change the International's line and programme principles. Despite the General Council's efforts, they managed to impose their own agenda on the congress and sought to revise the Geneva Congress decisions in a Proudhonist spirit. They carried out a number of their resolutions, in particular on the question of co-operation and credit.

The Proudhonists, however, failed to achieve their main aim. The congress confirmed the Geneva resolutions on economic struggle and strikes. In contrast to the Proudhonists' demand for abstention from political struggle, the Lausanne Congress resolution on political freedom emphasised that the social emancipation of workers was inseparably bound up with their political emancipation. Nor did the Proudhonists manage to take over the leadership of the International. The congress re-elected the General Council in its previous composition and retained London as its seat.

[414] The Lausanne Congress ignored the General Council's resolution on the attitude of the International Working Men's Association towards the Congress of the League of Peace and Freedom, and resolved to take part officially in the League's congress. The League's congress itself (several members of the General Council and of the International attended) revealed a big difference between the proletarian and the abstract-pacifist approach to the struggle for peace. Marx's tactics as regards the League of Peace and Freedom was fully acknowledged by the Brussels Congress of the International in 1868 which opposed the official affiliation to the League.

[415] The Manchester School – a trend in economic thought reflecting the interests of the industrial bourgeoisie. It advocated Free Trade and non-interference by the state in economic affairs. in the 1840s and 1850s the Free Traders were all independent political group; later they constituted the Left wing of the Liberal Party.

[416] The conference of trades delegates in Sheffield was held from July 17 to 21, 1866 and was attended by 138 delegates representing 200,000 organised workers. A resolution calling on trade unions to join the International Working Men's Association was published in a book, Report of the Conference of Trades' Delegates of the United Kingdom, held in Sheffield, on July 17th, 1866, and Four Following Days, Sheffield, 1866.

[417] The London Trades Council was elected at a conference of trade union delegates held in London in May 1860. The Council headed the London trade unions numbering many thousand members,. and was fairly influential among the British workers.

In the first half of the 1860s it headed the British workers' campaign against intervention in the USA, in defence of Poland and Italy, and later for the legalisation of the trade unions. The leaders of the following large trade unions played a major role in the Council: the Amalgamated Society of Carpenters and joiners (Robert Applegarth), the Shoemakers' Society (George Odger), the Operative Bricklayers' Society, (Edwin Coulson and George Howell) and the Amalgamated Engineers (William Allan). All of them, except Affair, were members of the General Council of the International Working Men's Association.

The General Council did its best to draw into the International the broad mass of British workers and endeavoured, on the one hand, to get the local trade union organisations affiliated to it and, on the other, to induce the London Trades Council to join the International as a British section. "The London Council of the English Trade Unions (its secretary is our president, Odger) is deliberating at the present moment as to whether it should declare itself to be the British Section of the International Association. If it does so, government of the working-class here will in a certain sense pass into out. hands, and we shall be able to give the movement a good 'push on'," wrote Marx to Ludwig Kugelmann on October 13, 1866.

On the initiative of the English members of the General Council, the London Trades Council discussed the question of joining the International at its meetings in the autumn of 1866.

After the repeated deferment of the question, Which "as due to the struggle between the reformist leaders of the London Council who opposed affiliation and local trade unionists, it was finally, decided at the Council meetings of January 9 and 14, 1867, to co-operate with the International Association "for the furtherance of all questions affecting the interests of labour; at the same time continuing the London Trades Council as a distinct and independent body as before" (The Times, January 15, 1867). This decision was discussed by, the General Council of the International on January 15, 1867, after which the London Trades Council continued to maintain its contact with the International through those of its members Who were also members of the General Council.

[418] In the spring of 1865 the Central (General) Council of the International initiated, and participated in, the setting up of a Reform League in London as a political centre of the mass movement for the second election reform. The League's leading bodies – the Council and Executive Committee – included the General Council members, mainly trade union leaders. The League's programme was drafted under Marx's influence. Unlike the bourgeois parties, which confined their demands to household suffrage, the League advanced the demand for manhood suffrage. This revived Chartist slogan won it the support of the trade unions, hitherto indifferent to politics. The League had branches in all big industrial cities. The vacillations of the radicals in its leadership, however, and the conciliation of the trade union leaders prevented the League from following the line charted by. the General Council of the International. The British bourgeoisie succeeded in splitting the movement, and a moderate reform was carried out in 1867 which granted franchise only. to the petty bourgeoisie and the upper layers of the working class.

[419] This refers to the reform finally adopted by the British Parliament on August 15, 1867. The law extended suffrage to people resident in town for a period of not less than 12 months and renting houses or flats. in counties the right to vote was granted to tenants with an annual income of £12. The extension of suffrage increased the number of voters from one to two million. Apart from the middle-class strata of town and country,, the law also applied to a better-off section of the working class. However, the bulk of the toiling people of England, as before, had no right to vote.

[420] The economic crisis of 1866 involved mainly Britain, France and the USA. It was preceded by the US Civil War which caused the notorious "cotton famine". The latter proved extremely advantageous for big manufacturers and ruinous for hundreds of small factory owners.

The 1866 crisis chiefly affected finances. At the same time the mining and iron and steel industries reduced production, railway construction was curtailed and so on.

[421] This refers to the abrogation of the 1791 Le Chapelier law prohibiting workers' coalitions and strikes (France, 1864) and to the lifting of the ban on workers' coalitions (Belgium, 1867).

[422] The strike of weavers and spinners in Roubaix in March 1867 was caused by the dismissal of a great number of workers following the introduction of machinery.

A strike of dyers in Amiens in July 1867 was supported by the workers, in other trades.

In February 1867 the bronze-workers of Paris refused to dissolve their credit society on their employers' demand and went on strike. Thanks to the General Council (it discussed the matter at its meetings of March 5, 12, 19 and 26, and April 2 and 9, 1867), the Paris workers received financial aid from the British trade unions. The strike ended in the victory for the they managed to save their organisation.

In March and April 1868, 3,000 building workers went on strike in Geneva. They demanded the reduction of the working (lay to 10 hours, higher wages and pay by the flour for pay by the day. They were joined by workers in other trades. 'File aid front the workers of Switzerland, Britain, France and Germany helped the Geneva builders to win the strike.

[423] This appraisal of the Geneva strike was given by Marx – see "The Fourth Annual Report of the General Council of the International Working Men's Association" and the "Report of the General Council to the Fourth Annual Congress of the International Working Men's Association.

[424] This description of the situation in Belgium was written by Marx – see "The Belgian Massacres".

[425] This appeal was drawn up by Eccarius on the instructions of the General Council (meeting of February 26, 1867) and published in The International Courier, No. 8, March 13, 1867.

[426] Eyre, the Governor of the British colony of Jamaica, organised the brutal suppression of a Negro uprising in October 1865. This massacre caused a public outrage in Britain, and the British Government was compelled to dismiss Eyre from his post.

[427] In the spring of 1868, the workers of the Charleroi coalfield declared a strike, in reply to the mine-owners' reduction of production to four days a week and lowering of wages by ten per cent. In the bloody clashes between the miners and police troops, twenty-two people were arrested and put on trial.

The Brussels Central Section launched a broad campaign in support of the strikers both in Belgium and abroad. It organised meetings of protest and gave wide coverage of the events in the columns of La Tribune du Peuple, La Liberté and other newspapers. On April 12, 1868 it issued a manifesto to the workers of Belgium and other countries (see La Tribune du Peuple, April 19 1868). The section maintained regular ties with the General Council of the International. The Council discussed the Charleroi events at its meetings of April 21, May 12 and June 2, 1868 and organised aid to the strikers. The Brussels Section set up a special committee to brief lawyers for the defence of the detainees. The managed to swing public opinion in favour of the accused, and on August 15 they were acquitted by the jury. This led to a rise in membership of the International in Belgium.

[428] The Secessionists advocated the withdrawal of the Southern States from the USA before and during the Civil War of 1861-65. In 1861 the slave-holders staged a rebellion and proclaimed the establishment of the Confederate States of America.

[429] This refers to the Austro-Prussian war of 1866 which wound up the long rivalry between Austria and Prussia and predetermined the unification of Germany under the supremacy of Prussia. Several German states – including Hanover, Saxony, Bavaria, Württemberg and Bade-fought on Austria's side Prussia formed an alliance with Italy. After a serious defeat at Sadowa ou July, 3 Austria began peace negotiations and signed a treaty in Prague ou August 23. Austria conceded Schleswig and Holstein to Prussia, paid small indemnities to her and gave the province of Venetia to Italy. The German Confederation, which was founded in 1815 by decision of the Vienna Congress and embraced over 30 German states, ceased to exist. and North German Confederation was founded in its place under Prussia's supremacy. Austria, Bavaria, Baden, Württemberg, Hesse-Darmstadt remained outside the Confederation. As a result of the war, Prussia annexed tile Kingdom of Hanover, the Electorate of Hesse-Cassel, the Grand Duchy of Nassau and the free city of Frankfurt am Main. On the events of the Austro-Prussian war see Engels' "Notes on the War in Germany".

[430] The Court of the King's (Queen's) Bench – one of the oldest courts in England. In the nineteenth century, up to 1873, it was an independent supreme court for criminal and civil cases.

[431] In France according to Article 291 of the Criminal Code and the Law of April 10, 1834 any society with a membership exceeding 20 had to be sanctioned by the respective authorities.

[432] Jules Gottraux, a Swiss-born subject of Great Britain and a member of the international, was detained by the French police on the French-Swiss frontier on September 30, 1866 when he was returning to London from his trip to Switzerland. The police confiscated letters, printed matter and other material entrusted to him by the International's leaders in Geneva to be handed over to the General Council. The documents seized included the preliminary report on the work of the Geneva Congress which had been drawn Lip by Council member Frederick Card and published in Geneva as a pamphlet in French.

(Later, this gave rise to a rumour that the French authorities had confiscated the Congress minutes, which in reality had by that time been brought to London by Hermann Jung.) The General Council lodged a complaint with the French Minister of Home Affairs about this irregularity and demanded the return of the seized documents. When he refused to reply to the complaint, written by Fox on the Council's instructions, the General Council decided to use the fact publicly to expose the regime of the Second Empire (See also the record of Marx's speech at the General Council meeting of November 27, 1866). At the beginning of December the Council approached the British Foreign Secretary asking him to make a corresponding demarche to the French Government, which forced the French authorities to return, on December 21, the materials taken from Gottraux. Fox wrote a special article on the actions of the Bonapartist authorities. It was published in The Commonwealth on January 12, 1867 and in The Working Man on February 1, 1867.

[433] Eichhoff's description of the incident on the French frontier, and the events associated with the seizure of the Memorial of the French delegation draws on Marx's material, contained in "The Fourth Annual Report of the General Council of the International Working Men's Association,".

[434] In December 1867 the homes of the Executive Committee members of the Paris Section of the International were searched. This was followed by an investigation and then the first trial against the International in France. The case was heard on March 6 and 20, 1868. Among the documents seized by the police during the searches was a letter of November 23, 1867 from Dupont, the Corresponding Secretary for France, to a member of the Paris Section, André Murat, in which the French members of the International were informed of the campaign in organised in defence of the imprisoned Fenians. The French authorities tried to use this letter to incriminate the International in the organisation of the Fenian conspiracy.

The court declared the Paris Section dissolved and fined the Committee.

In the autumn of 1867 the General Council of the International Working Men's Association launched a widespread campaign among the English workers in support of the Irish national liberation movement led by the Fenians. The memorial written by, Marx was an integral part of this campaign.

The Fenians were Irish revolutionaries who named themselves after the "Féne" – a name of the ancient population of Ireland. Their first organisations appeared in the 1850s in the USA among the Irish immigrants and later in Ireland itself. The secret Irish Revolutionary Brotherhood, as the organisation was known in the early 1860s, aimed at establishing an independent Irish republic by means of an armed uprising. The Fenians, who expressed the interests of the Irish peasantry, came chiefly from the urban petty bourgeoisie and intelligentsia and believed in conspiracy tactics. The British Government attempted to suppress the Fenian movement by severe police reprisals.

On September 18, 1867, the Fenians made an armed attack on a prison van in an attempt to liberate Kelly and Deasy, two of their leaders. The latter managed to escape but a policeman was killed during the clash. Five Irishmen (Maguire, Condon, Larkin, Allen and O'Brien) were charged with murder and brought to trial. Although there was no direct evidence, they were sentenced to death. Maguire was subsequently pardoned, and Condon, as an American citizen, had his sentence commuted to life imprisonment. The others were executed.

The Fenian trial in Manchester aroused a storm of protest in Ireland and England. On the insistence of Marx, the General Council of the International began, on November 19, a discussion on the Irish question during which the leaders of the international proletarian organisation expressed their solidarity with the struggle of the Irish people for independence and condemned the position of the reformist trade union leaders who, in the wake of the English bourgeois radicals, denied the right of the Fenians to resort to revolutionary methods in the struggle. The discussion was scheduled to continue on November 26, but when the news of the conviction was received, the General Council convened a special meeting on November 20 and addressed a memorial to the Home Secretary, asking for the commutation of the death sentence. The British Government ignored the memorial.

Because of opposition from the trade union leaders, the English labour press did not publish the memorial in its original wording. A report on the special meeting of the General Council, published in The Bee-Hive, No. 319, November 23, 1867, only summarised it, and trained the General Council members who had signed it. The French translation was published by Le Courrier français, November 24.

In English the memorial was first published in full in The General Council of the First International. 1866-1868, Moscow, 1964.

This document is also preserved in the form of the manuscript copy, made by Mrs. Marx which fully coincides with the text entered into the Minute Book. Written as ail article, this copy was apparently, to be sent to the press. In this volume the memorial is reproduced from this copy.

[435] The text to the end of this section is based on the book Procès de l'Association Internationale de Travailleurs. Bureau de Paris (Paris, 1868) and consists either of an abridged rendering of the text or direct quotations. On interrogation of Tolain see also pp. 12-15 of this book.

[436] A reference to the conflict between the ruling circles of Prussia and France over their claims to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg early in 1867. It was accompanied by military preparations and brash militarist propaganda in both states and marked a stage in the preparations for the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-71.

On October 17, 1867 Liebknecht criticised, in a speech to the North-German Reichstag, Bismarck's policy on the Luxembourg question. At the General Council meeting of October 22, Marx read sonic extracts from it. The speech was included in the report of this Council meeting published in The Bee-Hive, October 26, 1867. Marx attached great importance to it and instructed Lafargue to translate it into French and send it to France for publication in Le Courrier français.

[437] The first trial of the International's Paris Executive Committee took place in March 1868, the second from May 22 to June 19, 1868.

[438] On December 2, 1852 Louis Napoleon Bonaparte was proclaimed Emperor of France under the name of Napoleon III, and this led to the fall of the Second Republic. The coup d'état which resulted in the establishment of Louis Napoleon's dictatorship, had taken place a year earlier, on December 2, 1851.

[439] The Aliens Law adopted in Belgium on September 22, 1835 and prolonged every three wars. Despite the widespread protest campaign in the press and at meetings it was renewed at the end of June 1865. In May 1868, the Belgian Government, for fear of fresh mass action, prolonged it without discussion in the Chamber of Deputies

[440] The Lausanne Congress of the International in 1867 designated Brussels as the venue of the next general congress. On February 24, 1868, the General Council called on all sections to begin preparing the Congress agenda. However, the Belgian Minister of Justice, Jules Bara, declared in the Chamber of Deputies on May 16 that he would not permit the convocation of the Congress in Brussels and urged the deputies to renew the Aliens Law of 1835, under which any foreigner could be expelled from the country as politically unreliable. in view of this, at the General Council meeting of May 26, 1868, Marx raised the question of not meeting in Brussels (see The Bee-Hive Newspaper, May 30, 1868). The resolution drawn up by Marx to this effect was read by Jung at the General Council meeting of June 2, since Marx had left for Manchester.

Bara's statement and the prolongation of the Aliens Law caused great discontent in Belgium. The Brussels Section of the International sent the Minister a protest letter which was published in La Tribune du Peuple, May 24, 1868.

In their letters to the General Council, De Paepe and Vandenhouten, the leaders of the Brussels Section, urged the Council not to yield to the government because this threatened the further existence of the International in Belgium. Consequently, on Marx's proposal, the General Council meeting of June 16 cancelled the resolution of June 2 and Brussels remained the venue for the next animal congress.

The text of the June 2 resolution was included in the Minutes of the General Council meeting of June 2, 1868, and was also published in The Bee-Hive Newspaper, June 6, 1868.

[441] The National Labour Union was founded in the USA at a congress in Baltimore in August 1866, with the active participation of William Sylvis, a prominent leader in the American labour movement. lit a letter to Ludwig Kugelmann on October 9, 1866, Marx wrote with satisfaction about the Baltimore congress: "... Most of the demands I had put up for a w ere put up there too, by the correct instinct of the workers". The Labour Union established contacts with the International Working Men's Association in October 1866, but its delegate to the next congress of the International, Richard Trevellick, elected by the Union's congress in Chicago in August 1867, was unable to conic to Lausanne. At the last sessions, of the Basle Congress of the International (September 1869) Cameron was the National Labour Union delegate. At the Union's congress in Cincinnati in August 1870, Cameron reported on his participation in the International's Congress, and the Union adopted a resolution on its adherence to the principles of the International Association and its intention to join it. The resolution was not implemented, however. Its leaders soon became involved in utopian projects of money reform. In 1870 and 1871, many trade unions withdrew, and in 1872 the Union virtually ceased to exist.

[442] Grütli Union (Grütli-Verein) – a Swiss reformist organisation founded in 1838 as an educational association of artisans and workers. Its name emphasised its Swiss national character: according to a legend, representatives of three Swiss cantons met in 1307 in the Grütli (Rutli) meadow and concluded an alliance on a joint struggle against Austrian rule.

[443] This refers to the reactionary Prussian law on associations adopted on March 11, 1850.

[444] The movement for the eight-hour working day began in the USA in the 1840s and 1850s. In the 1860s the movement acquired a mass character, with leagues of struggle for an eight-hour working day and trade unions taking part. The National Labour Union was also active in it.

Under pressure from the mass movement, the American Congress passed a law introducing the eight-hour day on June 25, 1868, applying to all government enterprises and federal institutions. However, in practice it was either not carried out or was violated by the employers. The National Labour Union called on the trade unions to resist the employers.

The National Labour Union was founded in the USA at a congress in Baltimore in August 1866, with the active participation of William Sylvis, a prominent leader in the American labour movement. lit a letter to Ludwig Kugelmann on October 9, 1866, Marx wrote with satisfaction about the Baltimore congress: "... Most of the demands I had put up for a w ere put up there too, by the correct instinct of the workers". The Labour Union established contacts with the International Working Men's Association in October 1866, but its delegate to the next congress of the International, Richard Trevellick, elected by the Union's congress in Chicago in August 1867, was unable to conic to Lausanne. At the last sessions, of the Basle Congress of the International (September 1869) Cameron was the National Labour Union delegate. At the Union's congress in Cincinnati in August 1870, Cameron reported on his participation in the International's Congress, and the Union adopted a resolution on its adherence to the principles of the International Association and its intention to join it. The resolution was not implemented, however. Its leaders soon became involved in utopian projects of money reform. In 1870 and 1871, many trade unions withdrew, and in 1872 the Union virtually ceased to exist.

Source: MECW, Volume 21, pp. 322-380;
Written: by Wilhelm Eichhoff in July 1868;
First published: as a pamphlet in August 1868 under the title,
Die Internationale Arbeiterassociation. Ihre Grundung, Organisation, politisch-sociale Thätigheit und Ausbreitung.

Source: Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 21 (pp.322-379), Progress Publishers, Moscow 1980
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