Marx-Engels Correspondence 1868
Source: MECW, Volume 43, p. 93;
First published: in Deutsche Worte, 1898.
Dear Eccarius and Lessner,
First, my thanks to Lessner for his long and interesting letter.
You must not allow the congress to last beyond this week.
Until now — as far as England is concerned — there has been nothing to discredit it.
If the Belgians and French should once again place masses of new stuff on the agenda, let them know it will not do, since
1. the Germans are very poorly represented, as their congresses are being held almost simultaneously in Germany;
2. England is almost not represented because of the suffrage movement;
3. the German Swiss are not yet represented at all, since they have only just affiliated, and those branches long in existence have exhausted their funds in the Geneva strike;
4. the discussions are being conducted one-sidedly, in French;
5. therefore, decisions on general theoretical questions must be avoided, since this can only lead to protests later from the non-Belgians and non-French.
The public is naturally interested mainly in the question of war.
Pompous declamations and high-faluting phrases do no harm here.
The decision to be taken in this connection would seem to be simply that the working class is not yet sufficiently organised to throw any decisive weight onto the scales; that, however, the congress protests in the name of the working class, and denounces those who instigate war; that a war between France and Germany is a civil war, ruinous for both countries and for Europe as a whole. A statement that war could only benefit the Russian government can hardly be made acceptable to the French and Belgian gentlemen.
Greetings to friend Becker.
If the question of crédit mutuel is raised, Eccarius should simply declare that the workers in England, Germany and the United States have nothing to do with Proudhonist dogmas and consider the credit question to be of secondary importance.
The resolutions of the congress should be telegraphed to the London newspapers. So don’t do anything discreditable.