Marx-Engels Correspondence 1873

Karl Marx to Friedrich Adolph Sorge in Hoboken, 27 September 1873

Source: Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Selected Correspondence (Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1975). Scanned and prepared for the Marxist Internet Archive by Paul Flewers.

... As I view European conditions it is quite useful to let the formal organisation of the International recede into the background for the time being, but, if possible, not to relinquish control of the central point in New York so that no idiots like Perret [1] or adventurers like Cluseret [2] may seize the leadership and discredit the whole business. Events and the inevitable development and complication of things will of themselves see to it that the International shall rise again improved in form. For the present it suffices not to let the connection with the most capable people in the various countries slip altogether out of our hands and as for the rest not to give a hang for the Geneva local decisions, in fact simply to ignore them. The only good decision adopted there, to postpone the Congress for two years, facilitates this mode of action. Furthermore the fact that the spectre of the International cannot be used during the impending reactionary crusade, and that on the contrary the bourgeoisie everywhere believes that the spectre is laid for good upsets the calculations of the Continental governments...


1. Henri Perret – took part in Swiss working-class movement, active member of International in Switzerland, member of Social-Democratic Alliance (1868-69), General Secretary of Latin Federal Committee (1868-69), in 1869 broke with Bakuninists but following Hague Congress of International began to advocate reconciliation with them – Progress Publishers.

2. Gustav-Paul Cluseret (1823-1900) – French political figure, member of International, close to Bakuninists, participant in revolutionary uprisings in Lyons and Marseilles (1870), member of Paris Commune, emigrated after its defeat – Progress Publishers.