Marx-Engels Correspondence 1884

Engels to J.P. Becker
In Geneva


Published: Gesamtausgabe, International Publishers, 1942;
Transcribed: Sally Ryan;
HTML Markup: Sally Ryan.

London, 14 February 1884

Things are by no means so bad with the agitation in Germany, even if the bourgeois press suppresses most of what is happening and only now and then lets out an involuntary groan of terror that the Party is gaining ground at a tearing rate instead of losing it.

The police have opened up a really splendid field for our people: the ever-present and uninterrupted struggle with the police themselves. This is being carried on everywhere and always, with great success and, the best thing about it, with great humour. The police are defeated--and made to look foolish into the bargain. And I consider this struggle the most useful in the circumstances. Above all it keeps the contempt for the enemy alive among our lads. Worse troops could not be sent into the field against us than the German police; even where they have the upper hand they suffer a moral defeat, and confidence in victory is growing among our lads every day. This struggle will bring it about that as soon as the pressure is at last relaxed (and that will happen on the day the dance in Russia begins) we shall no longer count our numbers in hundreds of thousands but in millions. There is a lot of rotten stuff among the so-called leaders but I have unqualified confidence in our masses, and what they lack in revolutionary tradition they are gaining more and more from this little war with the police. And you can say what you like, but we have never seen a proletariat yet which has learnt to act collectively and to march together in so short a time. For this reason, even though nothing appears on the surface, we can, I think, calmly await the moment when the call to arms is given. You will see how they muster!