Marx-Engels Correspondence 1883

Engels to Eduard Bernstein
In Zurich


Written:27 February - March 1, 1883;
Source: Marx and Engels Correspondence;
Publisher: International Publishers (1968);
First Published: Gestamtausgabe;
Translated: Donna Torr;
Transcribed: Sally Ryan in 1999;
HTML Markup: Sally Ryan.

London, March 1, 1883

From the outset we have always fought to the very utmost against the petty-bourgeois and philistine disposition within the Party, because this disposition, developed since the time of the Thirty Years' War, has infected all classes in Germany and has become an hereditary German evil, sister to servility, abject subservience and all the hereditary German vices. This is what makes us ridiculous and despicable abroad. It is the main cause of the slackness and the weakness of character which pre-dominate among us; it reigns on the throne as often as in the cobbler's lodging. Only since a modern proletariat has been formed in Germany has a class developed there with hardly anything at all of this hereditary German disease about it, a class which has given evidence of a free outlook, energy, humour, tenacity in struggle. And are we not to fight against every attempt artificially to inoculate this healthy class--the only healthy class in Germany--with the old hereditary poison of philistine slackness and philistine narrow-mindedness?