International Workingmen’s Association 1865
Source: MECW, Volume 20, p. 338;
Written: by Karl Marx in June 1865;
First published: in Russian, in Generalny Sovet Pervogo Internatsionala. 1864-1866, 1961.
These notes were made by Marx in his Notebook for the report he delivered in the Central Council on June 20 and 27, 1865. They are a version of the last part of the report, the basic conclusions of which were formulated as resolutions proposed to the Council. On the final text of the concluding part of the report.
This document was published in English for the first time in The General Council of the First International. 1864-1866, Moscow, 1962.
1) A general rise in the rate of wages will, broadly speaking, produce a general fall in the rate of profits, leaving the values of commodities unaltered.
2) Under very exceptional circumstances, only a general rise of wages could be realised. If obtained, it could only [be] lost under very exceptional circumstances. The general tendency of production, upon its present basis, is not to raise, but to lower wages. Even if a general rise in the rate of wages should obtain for any longer period, it would not abolish but only mitigate the slavery of the wages’ labourer, that is, of the mass of the people.
3) Trades’ Unions work well as far as they counteract, if even temporarily, the tendency to a fall in the general rate of wages, and as far as they tend to shorten and regulate the time of labour, in other words, the extent of the working day. They work well as far as they are a means of organising the working class as a class. They fail accidentally, by an injudicious use of their power, and they fail generally by accepting the present relations of capital and labour as permanent instead of working for their abolition.