E. Belfort Bax

Reflections on Comrade Rickert

(27 October 1900)

Reflections on Comrade Rickert, Justice, 27th October 1900, p.6 (letter).
Transcribed by Ted Crawford.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

DEAR COMRADE, – Just a line or two of rejoinder to comrade Rickert. My friendly strictures on the attitude of the German party re international congresses, and which were certainly made more in sorrow than in anger, were based on facts I indicated, and hence their justice or injustice can be judged of by the reader. I was certainly not aware that Liebknecht opposed the frequent holding of such congresses. He was, I know, in favour of 1899 rather than 1900, in 1896 as the date for the then next congress.

Anyway, I do not see that the reasons for the antipathy of the German party to international congresses given by comrade Rickert are particularly cogent. (1) A powerful party like the German ought to be able to set aside for a few days (say) every two years, some of its representatives to assist at a great piece of international propaganda. For a party that already spends so much at home, it seems the pettiest cheese paring to begrudge a few pounds occasionally for an international gathering. (3) If I understand comrade Rickert rightly that the passage to his letter in “quotes” as to the extension of a movement nationally inevitably leaning to its growing in “influence and power internationally” emanates from our late esteemed comrade Liebknecht, I must, it all modesty, beg to differ as to the immediate effect, at least, of a great national movement being necessarily in the direction of the drawing closer of international ties. Facts seem to me to point in as opposite direction. And, meanwhile, it seems, in my humble judgement (as Hyndman would say) exceedingly desirable that such a strong party at home should be continually brought face to face with its obligations as part of the one great international movement.

Comrade Rickert is in error as to the British section renouncing their right to have speeches translated at the Paris Congress. This was only done on one occasion as a protest against what was deemed the undue length allotted to one particular question in the proceedings to the detriment of others. Hence the analogy our comrade seeks to draw from it falls to the ground.

The suggestion was never made by me that the German party had the intention of being a “mere reforming party”. My suggestion referred to a tendency, let us hope a passing tendency, especially noticeable with certain sections of the party, not to any intention of the party as a whole. – yours fraternally,


E. Belfort Bax


Last updated on 11.6.2004