Th. Rothstein 1908

The Communist Club

Source: Justice, 29 February 1908, p. 9;
Transcribed: Ted Crawford,
HTML Markup: Brian Reid
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2007). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

DEAR COMRADE,—I think I can dispel the doubts of the members of the Communist Club as to the age of their institution. The club was opened in February—I believe,—7th 1840 so that it is now 68 years old. I base my assertion on the report in the Deutsche Londoner Zeitung of February 11, 1848, of the celebration by the club, then still called “Londoner Arbeiterbildungsverein,” of its eighth, as stated therein, anniversary. I think this is conclusive.

The particular celebration referred to was remarkable in that it was the first occasion on which the principles of the “Communist Manifesto”—in other words, of scientific Socialism—were proclaimed by a body of proletarians. The president of the club, Schapper, made an exceedingly able speech on the situation in Germany from the class war point of view, while our friend Lessner, happily still living among us, recited a striking poem (by Georg Herweg, I believe) in praise of hatred. “We have had enough of love,” was the refrain, “let us now hate!” It will be remembered that the “Communist Manifesto” itself was published about this time, but previous to that Marx had succeeded in converting the leaders of the club to his newly elaborated conception of Socialism, by personal intercourse and correspondence. Shortly afterwards the club changed its original motto: “All Men are Brethren” (which was also the motto of the Fraternal Democrats, the precursors of the International, led by Julian Harney and Ernest Jones) to that of “Proletarians of all countries, unite!” What a momentous movement was thus initiated by the club! Well may proletarian England pride herself on having harboured in her midst the cradle, as it were, of the International Socialist movement.- Yours fraternally,