Karl Marx in Public Opinion 1871

To the Editor of Public Opinion

Source: the Public Opinion, August 26, 1871;
Transcribed: for marxists.org by Tony Brown.


In your publication of to-day you translate from the Berlin National-Zeitung, a notorious organ of Bismarck’s, most atrocious libel against the International Working Men’s Association, in which the following passage occurs:

“‘Capital,’ says Karl Marx, ‘trades in the strength and life of the workman;’ but this new Messiah himself is not a step farther advanced; he takes from the mechanic the money paid him by the capitalist for his labour, and generously gives him in exchange a bill on a State that may possibly exist a thousand years hence. What edifying stories are told about the vile corruption of Socialist agitators, what a shameful abuse they make of the money confided to them, and what mutual accusations they throw in each other’s faces, are things we have abundantly learned by the Congresses and from the organs of the party. There is here a monstrous volcano of filth, from whose eruptions nothing better could issue than a Parisian Commune.”

In reply to the venal writers of the National-Zeitung, I consider it quite sufficient to declare that I have never asked or received one single farthing from the working class of this or any other country.

Save the general Secretary, who receives a weekly salary of ten shillings, all the members of the General Council of the “International” do their work gratuitously. The financial accounts of the General Council, annually laid before the General Congresses of the Association, have always been sanctioned unanimously without provoking any discussion whatever.

I am, Sir, your obedient servant,

Karl Marx

Haverstock Hill, Aug. 19, 1871