The International Workingmen's Association, 1872

The Hague Congress

Commission to Investigate the Alliance

Translated: by Richard Dixon & Alex Miller, for Progress Publishers, 1976.
Transcribed: by

Notes taken in German by Theodor Cuno, Chairman of the Investigation Commission, during the interrogation of witnesses. The notes cover three double sheets (12 pages); each double sheet is signed by Cuno and dated. The numbers (1,2, 3) are written twice on each sheet: in black ink and in red pencil.

Sitting of Thursday, September 5, 1872.

[In the original the heading is preceded by "Record of Interrogation of Witnesses" in pencil, instead of "Minutes of 5/lX 1872" which is struck out.]

1. Engels reads out the General Council's report on the Alliance and at the same time produces letters from Spain confirming what is stated in the report. (Letter from Perron, Geneva, June 22, 1869.)

2. General Rules of the International Working Men's Association after the Geneva Congress, 1866.

Guillaume explains that the Alliance which sent the letter mentioned in 1) is a different one, i.e., a public Alliance.

The dissolution of the Alliance in Spain was reported in La Emancipacion of June 2, 1872.

3. Reading of the rules of the Alliance which was dissolved in 1869; in the main these rules coincide with those of the Alliance dissolved in 1872 (La Federacion No. 155) but they contain an article saying: No means not leading directly to the triumph of the working-class cause may be used in our struggle.

4. In the rules of the Madrid oficios varios [various professions] there is also an article which reads literally the same as other articles in the rules of dissolved Geneva Alliance.

5. Article 1 of the Alliance dissolved in 1872 is very ambiguous; it reads literally: The Alliance of Socialist Democracy is composed of members of the International and has the aim of spreading the principles of its programme. The "its" here is too equivocal.

Article 2 says that the Alliance is completely secret.

Article 9 says that any member may be expelled without any reason being given.

The results of the agitation conducted by the Alliance were:

1. that many Spanish workers believed that its rules were identical with those of the International;

2. that serious disagreements arose between the Spanish Federal Council and the working masses.

6. The Saragossa Congress brought these matters to light and posed the alternative between the Alliance and the International. [1]

The whole investigation prompts the conclusion that the Alliance recognises two classes in the International, one which is clever and the other which is stupid; the former uses the latter for its special ends.

7. A resolution was adopted by 21 pretended sections in Italy to break entirely with the General Council and to assemble an anti-authoritarian congress [2] in Neuchâtel; but the congress in Neuchâtel has not yet taken place.

Engels, asked what relation exists between the Spaniards and the Italians, replies that he does not know for certain, but that he was told by somebody whom he cannot name that this had been said. A counterorder came from Bakunin in respect of the congress in Neuchâtel. As regards the relation between Spain and Italy and also as regards the counterorder, José Mesa wrote to Engels but he cannot state whether it is really true.

The decision of the Congress at Rimini is open revolt against the General Rules.

8. It is noted that there are differences between the rules of the Alliance in Spain (secret) and those in Switzerland, for instance on atheism and on the right of inheritance.

9. Bakunin's letter to Mora, i.e., to a Spanish friend on April 5, 1872 from Locarno. [In the margin opposite point 9 is written in Cuno's hand: "Documents written in Bakunin's own hand".]

"Dear member of the Alliance and Comrade, our Alliance comrades," etc., notes that persons who have done much for the International are now behaving in a dictatorial and authoritarian manner, one wishes to tolerate these people in the International but to render their influence harmless. Bakunin believes it would be difficult now to hold a congress on the Continent (and yet he reproaches the General Council for not holding a congress in 1871, although that was within a far shorter time of the fall of the Commune). He places his greatest hope in Spain and Italy because of the ardour of its youth struggle. [In the margin is written "Frère Morago".] He speaks everywhere only of the Rules and Programme of the Alliance as of those of the International. The letter notes further the presence of members of the Alliance in Italy, Spain and Switzerland. In Italy Cafiero, the editors of the Campana, the Gazzettino Rosa, and Martello, in Switzerland Guillaume, Neuchâtel, 5, rue de la Place d'Armes, Adhémar Schwitzguébel, engraver. Engels observes that hence in any case either Guillaume's statement that he is not a member of the Alliance is a lie or Bakunin's letter is not true.

10. The Spanish Alliance dissolved itself according to La Federacion No. 155 because its existence had been revealed. That was also the reason for the publication of the rules.

11. The organisation of the Alliance within the International has three grades: 1. International Brethren. 2. National Brethren. 3. A half-secret organisation. It is obvious from the whole organisation that there are three different grades, some of which lead the others by the nose. The whole affair seems to be so exalted and eccentric that the whole Commission is constantly rolling with mirth. This kind of mysticism is generally considered as insanity. The greatest absolutism is manifested in the whole organisation. The most reckless, most untimely nonsense is apparent in the whole business. The idea of the whole business is domination over the International. -- Russian Social-Democracy.

It is proposed to declare the writings of the organisation, of which Bakunin is recognised as the author, to be either insane or two centuries behind the times.

12. Farga answers to the nickname of Rafar. [This sentence is written in pencil, in the margin on p. 8 of the original is the note: "Morago and Guillaume, who maintained regular correspondence with Farga Pellicer, know nobody by the name of Rafar. Pellicer admits that this was his pseudonym."]

Sitting of Friday, September 6, 1872.

Lafargue says that the founding of the Alliance in Madrid was inspired from Barcelona and he published its whole history in Madrid on June 27, 1872. [3] His pamphlet was neither attacked nor refuted by the people of the Alliance.

It is proved in this pamphlet that the Alliance did not found the International in Spain but that it appeared after the International. The Alliance has been established in eight places and has done much for the movement.

He maintains that it has never been dissolved in Spain. Mora and others demanded its dissolution, but the Saragossa Congress did not comply with this demand.

The best proof of this is the Madrid circular of June 2, 1872 signed: Mesa, Pages, Francisco Mora, Paulino [Pablo] Iglesias, Innocente Calleja, Valentin Saenz, Angel Mora, Luis Castillon, Hipolito Pauly.

The Cadiz Section alone replied to that circular.

As proof of this he quotes the statement published in La Emancipacion that the dissolution had not been accepted, a statement which nobody refuted.

Lafargue, Mora and others were expelled from the Spanish Federation for denouncing members of the Alliance; and he [Lafargue] believes this because there was no other ground. Lafargue considered this denunciation to be his duty because an article in the Spanish rules drawn up at the Valencia Conference forbids any other organisation within the International.

Lafargue knows Bakunin's handwriting and knows also of a letter written by Bakunin to a member of the International in Lisbon which was published in La Emancipacion on August 10, 1872 and has never been refuted. The letter attacked the General Council, but the Portuguese did not consider it worthy of a reply.

The Alliance published in Barcelona a statement about its dissolution and its Rules, but Lafargue believes it has never yet been dissolved there either, because the Barcelona members supported the convening of the Neuchâtel Congress.


Cuno asks Schwitzguébel whether he was ever a member of the secret society known as the Alliance. He gives an answer in writing (see No. 1, p. ).

In respect of the second question: Do you think that society still exists? (see No. 2, p. ).

To the first question Schwitzguébel answered neither yes nor no because it is a "question of principle'.

Asked whether he thought Bakunin could lie -- (see No. 3, p. ).

Fourth question: If Bakunin named you as being a member of the secret Alliance, would you accept his assertion? (see No. 4, p. ).

Fifth question: Bakunin mentions you in a letter as being a member of the secret Alliance: what have you to answer? (see No. 5, p. ).

Guillaume affirms that he never belonged to the open Alliance and refuses to give any information on the secret Alliance.

Marselau affirms that the Alliance dissolved itself after the Saragossa Congress. He was in prison during the Saragossa Congress. He was told that the Alliance had been dissolved; the Madrid members who had signed the circular of June 2, 1872 informed him of this there and he replied that this Alliance did not exist as far as he was concerned because it held no sittings. He doesn't know whether any other section besides that of Cadiz replied to the circular in question.

He never corresponded with anybody in the Alliance, either in Switzerland or elsewhere.

The Alliance in Seville was organised before the International in Spain; to be precise, the International in Seville was founded on May 28, 1871.

He was sent from Barcelona a membership card of the Alliance of Socialist Democracy for 1870. In 1871 he was told about the dissolution of the Alliance.

Soriano tried to persuade him and others to found a section of the International without having or knowing its programme. Only in Seville did he get to know any members of the Alliance. He cannot prove that he was in the International before 1871.

Lafargue and Mora were expelled before the question of the Alliance arose, because of an article in La Emancipacion and this was announced in the paper of the Madrid Federation.

He knows nothing" about the dissolution of the Alliance in Barcelona.

Does he know about a letter written by Bakunin? He recognised the Programme of the Alliance, and in that feels himself honoured.

Guillaume. The Barcelonians never welcomed the Rimini proposals, for these were nonsense in view of the small number of Italians, and he has in his possession the official despatches of the Italians to the Jura people and the Spaniards not to go to Neuchâtel, he persists in the statement which he made to Cuno in person.

He will not answer any of the five questions and to the third he answers that Bakunin cannot lie.

Cafiero affirms that he was never a member of the public Alliance. He will not answer questions about the secret Alliance or in general any questions about secret societies; he will answer when he is asked questions about a society which is contrary to the principles of the International.

He admits white lies but does not think Bakunin capable of a deliberate lie.

Walter retires from the commission because there are no proofs against the accused. See document W.

Wróblewski does not know Bakunin's handwriting, nor does he know who provided the General Council with evidence on the secret society of the Alliance. He is morally convinced that the Alliance exists and also that Bakunin is its leader. Bakunin is also a member of a "Comité Rouge" which has set itself the aim of revolutionising Europe. He has no proofs or evidence in his possession. He is convinced that the secret Alliance was founded after the Commune everywhere. He does not wish to reveal the moral and material proofs which he has and will not do so. He does not know the rules of the Alliance.

(Splingard does not regard this as moral proof.)

Marx can supply no proof that the Alliance has not been dissolved in Spain.

The secret rules which have been printed are not the true rules. He confirms what Lafargue said.

There is collusion between the members of the Rimini Congress and the Barcelonians, in respect of the latest publications in La Federacion. He is of the opinion that Cafiero is morally a member of the Alliance.

The rules of the Alliance in the various countries have appeared in different forms but they all have the aim of misusing the International.

He cites the official proofs of the existence of this secret society which have been published by the Russian court of justice.

The Geneva Alliance has never received the General Council's agreement to its reconstitution.

The Alliance has been dissolved three times.

Before the reading of the following document Marx says that Bakunin made Russian translations of Capital.

This information was given to Marx personally and it is a matter of not allowing certain misdeeds to become public.

Bakunin sent only two sheets of translation.

A letter, probably written by Nechayev, is read out.

Threats against a student belonging to the secret society if he continues to work for Bakunin. Bureau des Agents étrangers de la Société révolutionnaire russe: Justice du Peuple, 25/13 1870 No. 73. The letter contains threats and is definitely a document of a secret society to which Bakunin personally belongs. Address of the letter:

Herrn Lyubavin
Fandgasse 16, c/o Widow Wald

Bakunin says in his rules that the whole organisation is far more widespread than the rules say.

Morago says he cannot say whether more sections besides that of Cadiz replied to the circular of Mora, etc. He had belonged to the Alliance before the Saragossa Congress, but he withdrew earlier still because his companions did not consider the further existence of the Alliance advisable, since the members of the Alliance were not such as they had been at the beginning and instead of dominating the International as the rules prescribed the Alliance was dominated by the International.

He cannot say whether the Alliance still exists in Spain.

The reason for his leaving the Alliance was that Mora and the others were not really the men he had taken them for.

In reply to question 3, whether Bakunin was capable of lying, he says that he does not know Bakunin sufficiently well.

In reply to question 4, is it true or not when Bakunin says that he is a member of the Alliance, he answers: decidedly not!

He does not know what Bakunin means by "Frere" and he earnestly wishes to learn the truth about Bakunin.

Zhukovsky says that Bakunin was negotiating with a student and a bookseller to translate Marx's Capital. The outbreak of the Nechayev conspiracy took place at the same time. He agreed with Bakunin on payment for the translation of Capital but he heard that the deal could not materialise because Nechayev threatened the translator; but he does not think Bakunin capable of making use of a secret society to force somebody to do something. But it is a fact that Capital was translated by someone he does not know.

He has no relations with Bakunin. In reply to question 3 he can only give the same answer as Schwitzguébel and Guillaume.

Every conspirator is sometimes forced to lie.

Dupont can say nothing about the existence of the Alliance, either materially or morally.

Serraillier, after reading a letter of 1.9.72 to Cher Lalagarde signed A. Goltz, replies:

He believes in the existence of the secret Alliance, is morally convinced of it and bases this conviction on the documents produced by Engels.

He knows the rules of the Alliance dissolved in Spain.

He sees the same persons in the Alliance in Geneva and in Spain. In respect of the third Alliance he has documents which do not however directly prove that anybody is a member of this society.

The documents which he has do not contain the expressions allie, frere, etc.

To question 3 he answers that Bakunin is capable of lying.

He knows two different handwritings of Bakunin, one with big letters and one with small ones.

He does not know the draft organisation of a secret society drawn up by Bakunin.

He knows people who have made attempts against our organisation. La Emancipation of Toulouse published a number of articles against our organisation signed by Razoua and the two documents signed by Malon.

Dupont states:

If Bakunin is involved in the third Alliance, then the first and the second as well as the third are a series of conspiracies against our Association, led by Bakunin.

1st proof: In Paris he knew several members of the International who invited him to a sitting at Bedouge's in the Faubourg du Temple. Here the propaganda of the Alliance was to be finally determined (end of 1868); but he did not go there.

Six weeks after the Basle Congress a circular was already sent to all the countries where the International existed to bring about the founding of this society and offices were already established everywhere.

In Lyons Bakunin held a conference with Guillaume, Bastelica and Varlin, at which the Federation was to be founded in France. The General Council received official information about this conference as well as the rules and other information.

Serraillier. In La Emancipation of November 29, 1871 a report was published pointing out that the International was split into two parties, only one of which was genuine; the reply was extracted from the Revolution Sociale of the Jura people by Razoua.

In the issue of December 19, 1871 he replied: Which are the elements the General Council expelled because they were too intelligent? -- Bousquet, secretary to the Central Police Commissioner of Beziers.

Letter from Béziers dated November 13, 1871. It demands the expulsion from the International of Police Commissioner Bousquet.

Nevertheless the same Bousquet was given full powers by the Jura Committee and the relevant document was signed by the Béziers Committee (Comité d'Action révolutionnaire).

A letter dated Narbonne, July 24, 1872 confirmed that this police spy was a member of the Alliance (see document W).

A letter dated Toulouse, 14.7.72 from "Swarm" corroborated the story about Bousquet.

Letter about Louis Marchand. Bordeaux 24.11.71 showed him, also a member of the Alliance, to be guilty of spying and treachery.

Charles Daussac confirms the last letter:

"...That is the same Marchand who is now secretary of the society of refugees at Geneva". Bordeaux, November 22, 1871.

A Russian. member of the Alliance. came to Paris straight to Walter to ask him about his breaking away from the General Council.

Paris, 14.8.72. Letter from Walter.

Letter from Avignon, August 24, 1872, from Eduard Chamoux, in which a certain St. Martin, a member of the Alliance, is accused and convicted of being bought by the bourgeois.

Letter from Walter (see document W). He demands that the Jura members be expelled from the International (see document W).

Malon signed mandates in the name of the Jura people and he is convicted of being a venal traitor.

Swarm says about Bousquet that he is police commissioner in Béziers and came to an agreement with the Versaillais.

He works for the Jura people and for Bakunin. The proofs are based on his correspondence. He is one of the leaders who initiated the agitation against the organisation of the International.


1. The Congress of the Spanish Federation of the International at Saragossa was held from April 4 to 14, 1872. The Congress rejected the Swiss Bakuninists' demand for the immediate convocation of a general congress, but, under pressure from the anarchists, it adopted a resolution to support the Belgian Federation's proposal for a revision of the General Rules of the Association in order to strengthen the autonomy of the local organisations. The Congress rejected the proposal of some Bakuninist delegates to revise the Spanish Federation's Rules in. an anarchist spirit. When a new Federal Council was elected, however, the Bakuninists managed to secure a preponderance for members of the Alliance.

2. On August 4-6, 1872, a conference of the Italian anarchist groups gathered at Rimini. In a special resolution adopted on August 6, the conference called upon the sections of the International to send delegates, not to the regular congress at The Hague, but to a separate congress of Bakuninists to be held on September 2, 1872, at Neuchâtel. This splitting proposal was not supported by any of the International's sections, not even by the Bakuninist organisations. Having received the resolutions of the Rimini Conference, Engels addressed the Italian sections on behalf of the General Council and exposed this Bakuninist manoeuvre (see The General Council. 1871-1872. pp. 451-52).

3. This refers to the address to the members of the International in Spain. It was drafted by Lafargue on behalf of the New Madrid, Federation on June 27, 1872, and exposed the secret activities of the Alliance. The address was published as a leaflet entitled A los internacionales de la región Española, Madrid, 1872.