Articles for The New Moral World by Frederick Engels

Rapid Progress of Communism in Germany

Written: April 1845;
Published: in The New Moral World, No. 37, March 8, 1845.

The New Moral World No. 37, March 8, 1845

Barmen, Feb. 2nd, 1845


Since I last addressed you, the cause of Communism has been making the same rapid progress as during the latter part of the year 1844. A short time ago I visited several towns on the Rhine, and everywhere I found that our ideas had gained, and were daily gaining more vantage ground than when I last left those places. Everywhere I found fresh proselytes, displaying as much energy in discussing and spreading the idea of Communism as could possibly be desired. A great many public meetings have been held in all the towns of Prussia, for the purpose of forming associations to counteract the growing pauperism, ignorance and crime among the great mass of the population. These meetings, at first supported, but when becoming too independent, checked by the Government, have, nevertheless, forced the Social question upon the public attention, and have done a great deal towards the dissemination of our principles. The meeting at Cologne was struck so much by the speeches of the leading Communists, that a committee for drawing up the rules of the association was elected, the majority of which consisted of thorough Communists. The abstract of rules was, of course, founded upon Communist principles; organisation of labour, protection of labour against the power of capital, &c., and those rules were adopted almost unanimously by the meeting. Of course the sanction of Government, which is necessary in this country for all associations, has been refused; but since those meetings have been held, the question of communities has been discussed everywhere throughout Cologne. At Elberfeld, it was pronounced as the fundamental principle of the association, that all men had an equal right to education, and ought to participate in the fruits of science. The rules of the association, however, have not yet been confirmed by the Government, and in all probability they will share in the lot of the Cologne rules, as the parsons got up an association of their own as soon as their plan, to make the Society a branch of the town mission, had been rejected by the meeting. The liberal association will be prohibited, and the parsons’ association will be supported by Government. This, however, is of the little importance as the question having been mooted once, is now generally discussed throughout the town. Other associations have been formed at Munster, Cleve, Düsseldorf, etc., and it remains to be seen what the results will be. As to Communist literature, a collection of papers relating to this subject has been published by H. Püttmann, of Cologne, containing among the rest, an account of the American communities, as well as of your own Hampshire Establishment, which has done very much towards annihilating the prejudice of the impracticability of our ideas. Mr. Püttmann, at the same time, has issued the prospectus of a quarterly review, the first number of which he intends issuing in May next, and which will be exclusively dedicated to the promulgation of our ideas. Another monthly periodical will be commenced by Messrs. Hess of Cologne, and Engels of Barmen, the first number to be published on the first of April next; this periodical will contain facts only, showing the state of civilised society, and preaching the necessity of a radical reform by the eloquence of facts. A new work by Dr. Marx, containing a review of the principles of Political Economy, and politics in general, will be published shortly. Dr. Marx himself has been forced by the French Conservative Government, to quit his abode at Paris. He intends to go to Belgium, and if the vengeance of the Prussian Government (which has induced the French Ministers to expel Marx) follows him even there, he must go to England. But the most important fact which has come to my knowledge since my last, is, that Dr. Feuerbach, the most eminent philosophical genius in Germany at the present time, has declared himself a Communist. A friend of ours lately visited him in his retired country seat, in a remote corner of Bavaria, and to him he declared his full conviction that Communism was only a necessary consequence of the principles he had proclaimed, and that Communism was, in fact, only the practice of what he had proclaimed long before theoretically. Feuerbach said, he had never been delighted so much with any other book, as with the first part of Weitling’s Guarantees I never dedicated, he said, a book to anybody, but I feel much inclined to dedicate to Weitling my next work. Thus the union between the German philosophers, of whom Feuerbach is the most eminent representative, and the German working men represented by Weitling, an union which, a year ago, had been predicted by Dr. Marx, is all but accomplished. With the philosophers to think, and the working men to fight for us, will any earthly power be strong enough to resist our progress?

An old friend of yours in Germany