Articles for The New Moral World by Frederick Engels

Continental Socialism

Written: about September 20, 1844;
First Published: in The New Moral World No. 15, October 5, 1844;

Continental Socialism seems to deserve and to obtain a considerable portion of public attention at present. I forward you a few extracts from a letter addressed me from Barmen in Prussia, by a former contributor to the New Moral World.

“In Paris, on my way home, I visited a Communist Club of the mystic school. I was introduced by a Russian who speaks French and German perfectly, and who very cleverly opposed Feuerbach’s reasoning, to them. They mean just as much by the term God as the Ham Common folks by Love-Spirit. They however declared this a secondary question, and to all practical intents agreed with us, and said, “enfin, l'athéisme c'est votre religion": — In the end, atheism is your religion. Religion, in French, means conviction, feeling, not worship. They affirmed, that the noise and hubbub of the Bourgeois, or middle class, against England, is all nonsense; and they were very anxious to convince us, that they had not the slightest national prejudice, that the working men of France care nothing about Morocco, but know that the ouvriers, workers, of all countries are allies, having the same interests. The French middle class are quite as egotistical, as avaricious, and quite as insupportable in society as the English, but the French ouvriers are fine fellows. We have made much progress among the Russians at Paris. There are three or four noblemen and proprietors of serfs now at Paris who are radical Communists and Atheists. We have in Paris a German Communist Paper, the Vorwärts!, published twice-a-week. In Belgium there is an active Communist agitation going on, and a paper, the Débat Social, published at Brussels. In Paris there are about half-a-dozen Communist papers. Socialiste, Socialitaire, are very fashionable names in France; and Louis Philippe, the arch-bourgeois, supports the Démocratie Pacifique with money and protection. The religious exterior of the French Socialists is mostly hypocritical; the people are thoroughly irreligious, and the first victims of the next revolution will be the parsons. The Cologne folks have made enormous progress. When we assembled in a public house we filled a good room with our company, mostly lawyers, medical men, artists etc., also three or four lieutenants in the artillery, one of whom is a very clever fellow. In Düsseldorf we have a few men, amongst them a very talented poet. In Elberfeld, about half-a-dozen of my friends and some others are Communists. In fact there is scarcely a town in Northern Germany where we have not some radical Anti-Proprietarians and Atheists. Edgar Bauer, of Berlin, has just been sentenced to three years imprisonment for his last book.”

Thinking the above facts would be interesting to your readers, I forward them for insertion in your paper.