Marx and Engels in Neue Rheinische Zeitung June 1848

The Neue Rheinische Zeitung


by Karl Marx

Neue Rheinische Zeitung No. 1
 Translated by the Marx-Engels Institute
Transcribed for the Internet by, 1994

Cologne, May 31 — IN MAINZ, Herr Hüser, with the help of old fortress regulations and antediluvian federal laws, has discovered a new method of making Prussians and other Germans even more slaves than they were before May 22, 1815. [On May 22, 1815, the Prussian King issued a decree for the establishment of provisional popular assemblies, with a promise for a constitution. — Ed.] We advise Herr Hüser to take out a patent on his new invention, which would in any case be very lucrative. According to this method, one sends out two or more drunken soldiers, who naturally start a fight with citizens. The public authority steps in and arrests the soldiers; this becomes sufficient for the commander of any fortress to declare the city to be in a state of siege, so that all arms can be confiscated and the inhabitants exposed to the mercy of the brutal soldiery. This plan is the more profitable in that Germany has more fortresses aimed against the interior than the exterior; it is particularly lucrative because any local commandant who is paid by the peoples — a Hüser, a Roth von Schreckenstein, or any similar feudal name — may dare more than a king or a kaiser, since he can suppress freedom of the press, since he can, for example, forbid the people of Mainz, who are not Prussians, to express their antipathies for the King of Prussia and the Prussian political system.

Herr Hüser's project is only a part of reactionary Berlin's great plan, which strives to disarm all civil guards, especially on the Rhine, as soon as possible, to destroy gradually the whole arming of the people now developing, and to deliver us defenselessly into the hands of an army consisting mostly of foreign elements either easily assembled or already prepared.

This is what has actually happened in Aachen, in Trier, in Mannheim, in Mainz, and it can happen elsewhere.