The International Workingmen's Association, 1871

Activities of the Alliance of Socialist Democracy
Speech by Marx, September 18, 1871

Written: September 18, 1871;
Notes Engels took (in German) from Marx's speech before a committee of the London Conference.

The conflict began with the creation of the Alliance of Socialist Democracy, founded by Bakunin and others in Geneva. Marx read the two reports, of [December 22] 1868 and of March [9] 1869, against the Alliance; in the second report, the dissolution of the Alliance and the publication of the number of its members and sections were made a condition of the latter's admission to the International. These conditions have never been fulfilled; the Alliance has never really dissolved, but always maintained a kind of organization. The organ of the Geneva sections, L'Egalite, in its issue of December 11, 1869, rebuked Marx for not having done his duty by replying to its articles; to which the General Council replied that it was not his duty to enter into a newspaper polemic, but that he was, nevertheless, prepared to answer the questions and complaints of the Romanish Federal Council. This Circular Letter was sent to all the sections; they all approved the attitude of the General Council. The Swiss Council disvowed L'Egalite and broke with its management. The management was changed, and ever since then the organs of the followers of the Alliance have been Le Progres and, later, La Solidarite. Then at the Congress in Locle [April 4-6, 1870] it came to an open split between the two parties, the Romanish Federation and the Jura Federation (Alliance). The General Council let the matter rest; it absolutely forbade the new Council to act as the Romanish Federal Council alongside the existing one. Guillaume, who, contrary to our Statutes, preached abstention from all political actvities, at the outbreak of the [Franco-Prussian] war published an appeal, calling for the creation of an army in support of France, in the name of the International, which is even more contrary to our Statutes. [The article, "To the Sections of the International", by James Guillaume and Gaspard Blanc, was printed September 5, 1870].