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Karl Marx

A report dated Paris, February 25 in No. 51 of the Kölnische Zeitung includes the following item à propos of the so-called Franco-German conspiracy[152]:

"Several of the accused, who have fled, among them a certain A. Majer, who is described as an agent of Marx and his confederates...."

The falsehood of this assertion, which generously accords me not only "confederates" but an "agent" as well, is proved by the following facts: A. Majer, one of the most intimate friends of Herr K. Schapper and the former Prussian lieutenant Willich, acted as book-keeper to the Refugee Committee headed by them[153]. I learned of the departure from London of this personage, who is a complete stranger to me, from a letter written by a friend[a] in Geneva in which he reported that a certain A. Majer was purveying the most absurd gossip about me. Finally I read in French newspapers that this A. Majer is a "politician".

London, March 3, 1852
Karl Marx

First published in the Kölnische Zeitung, No. 57, March 6, 1852
Printed according to the news paper


[a] Probably Ernst Dronke.— Ed.

[152] In September 1851 arrests were made in France among members of local communities belonging to the Willich-Schapper group, which was responsible for the split in the Communist League in September 1850. The petty-bourgeois conspiratorial tactics of this group, ignoring realities and aiming at an immediate uprising, enabled the French and Prussian police, with the help of the agent-provocateur Cherval, who headed one of these local communities in Paris, to fabricate the case of the so-called Franco-German conspiracy. In February 1852 the accused were sentenced on a charge of plotting a coup d'état. Cherval was allowed to escape from prison. The attempts of the Prussian police to incriminate the Communist League led by Marx and Engels failed. Conrad Schramm, a League member, arrested in Paris in September 1851, was soon released for lack of evidence. Nevertheless, the Prussian Police Superin¬tendent Stieber, one of the organisers of the Cologne Communist trial in 1852, repeated the false police accusation. His perjury was exposed by Marx (see this volume, pp. 404-38).

[153] In September 1849 Marx was elected to the Committee of Support for German Refugees formed by the German Workers' Educational Society in London. With a view to counteract the attempts of petty-bourgeois refugee democrats to influence the proletarian refugees, the Committee was reorganised into the Social-Democratic Refugee Committee, as suggested by Marx and other Communist League leaders. Engels was among the leaders of the new Committee. In mid-September 1850 Marx and Engels withdrew from the Refugee Committee because the majority of its members were under the influence of the Willich-Schapper group.

Source: Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 11 (p.223), Progress Publishers, Moscow 1979
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