E. Belfort Bax

Congress Procedure

(24 September 1910)

Congress Procedure, Justice, 24th September 1910, p.10. (letter)
Transcribed by Ted Crawford.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

Dear Comrades, –

That we need a thorough overhauling of the procedure of International Congresses was, I think, brought home to the whole British delegation, without exception, by recent events in Copenhagen It is clearly the imperative duty of the International Bureau to set to work on reorganising the constitution of these congresses without delay. At Copenhagen the full congress was called upon to vote on resolutions merely on the strength of a single speech, made by the so-called “reporter” of the respective commissions. It actually missed resolutions without having seen the text of them, which was not circulated among the delegates until after they had been already adopted, and when it was consequently too late for amendments to be proposed. The actual text of the resolution, supposed to represent the collective wisdom of the congress, was, as a matter of fact, drafted by two or three persons at the close of the labours of the commission, which had only a rough sketch before it and not the text as subsequently printed. Hence, not even the commission itself had the opportunity of pronouncing on the finished product – not to speak of the congress!

As one of the two British delegates on the commission on “resolutions” and “capital

punishment” (curious combination!) I speak feelingly on this point, and must personally repudiate all responsibility for at least the last two-thirds of the clumsy and stupid resolution published in last week’s Justice, with its tactless and stupid reference to the indignation following the judicial murder of our late Socialist comrade Ferrer, with its laboured emphasis on the political issue. This latter had already been given the necessary prominence in separate resolutions, and a single short paragraph on the point here would have been amply sufficient. The object of the resolution was to protest against the institution of capital punishment as forming part of the ordinary criminal law, which some would-be enlightened persons defend, rather than to hammer the point against political executions, which hardly anyone defends in principle in the present day.


E. Belfort Bax


Last updated on 10.8.2004