History of the First International. PART ONE. 1864-1872
THUS we have learned that the conditions to which the working class is everywhere exposed by the development of capitalism, impel the proletariat, as soon as it makes its live appearance upon the historical arena, towards the uniting of its forces upon an international scale. Nothing can make headway against the internationally united forces of bourgeois society save the internationally united forces of labour. The spontaneous impulse of the proletariat towards international community and solidarity is the outcome of both political and economic forces. The workers see and feel that the governing classes of all countries are leagued against them, regardless of temporary differences and disputes. Owing to the intimate ties connecting the capitalist nations, political reaction and oppression in any one country affect the condition of the workers in all other countries. Economic factors have an even more dire influence, owing to the fusion of all the local and national markets into a single world-wide capitalist market.
This is why the very first unions of the workers exhibiting a more or less clearly avowed socialist character, took as their device the union of the proletarians of all lands, and advocated the international concentration of the workers’ forces for a common struggle against international capital. But down to the beginning of the sixties of the nineteenth century, the soil was not yet sufficiently prepared for the practical realisation of this ideal. The first tentative efforts of the proletariat during the thirties and the forties were crushed by the bourgeoisie. It was essential that time should elapse for the further development of the productive forces of capitalist society, that there should be a further advance of the class-conscious proletariat in respect both of numbers and of strength; and it was furthermore necessary that grave political clashes and disastrous economic crises should occur, so that the working class might increase in numbers and rise to its full stature, before appearing on the scene once more both nationally and internationally.
The years following the suppression of the revolution of 1848 were an epoch in which capitalism was undergoing extensive development in all the countries of western and central Europe. Now capitalism, developing the bourgeoisie at one pole of society, necessarily leads at the other pole to the development of the proletariat, which is the antipodes of the bourgeoisie. During the close of the fifties and the beginning of the sixties of the nineteenth century, the growth of the bourgeoisie led everywhere to an increase in activity in political life, and in especial promoted the struggle of the bourgeoisie to establish unified national States (Germany and Italy). Concomitantly, these developments gave birth in all countries to a workers’ movement, seeking its own class ends. The stormy epoch in which the bourgeois States were undergoing consolidation, to the accompaniment of spasmodic movements of the working class, was regarded by many as the initial stage of the social revolution. Subsequent events have, however, shown that in actual fact these disturbances constituted the final stages of the bourgeois revolution, with which was coincident the first phase of the struggle for proletarian emancipation.
The economic crisis of 1857 and the political crisis of 1859 culminated in the Franco-Austrian War (the War of Italian Independence), and there ensued a general awakening alike of the bourgeoisie and of the proletariat in the leading European lands. In Great Britain there was superadded the influence of the American Civil War (1861-4), for this led to a crisis in the cotton trade, which involved the British textile workers in terrible distress. This economic crisis, which began towards the close of the fifties speedily put an end to the idyllic dreams that had followed the defeat of Chartism. After the decline of the revolutionary ferment characteristic of the palmy days of the Chartist movement there had ensued an era in which moderate liberalism had prevailed among the British workers. Now, this liberalism sustained a severe, and, at the time it seemed, a decisive blow. There came a period of incessant strikes, many of them declared in defiance of the moderate leaders, who were enthroned in the trade union executives. In numerous cases these strikes were settled by collective bargains (“working rules”), then a new phenomenon, but destined in the future to secure a wide vogue.
Although many of the strikes were unsuccessful, they favoured the growth of working-class solidarity. Such was certainly the effect of the famous strike in the London building trade during the years 1859 and 1860, which occurred in connexion with the struggle for a nine-hour day, and culminated in a lock-out. At this time, a new set of working-class leaders began to come to the front-men permeated with the fighting spirit of the hour, and aiming at the unification of the detached forces of the workers. Such a process of unification was assisted by the steady growth of the “trades councils” which sprang to life in all the great centres of industry during the decade from 1858 to 1867. These councils, which were often formed as the outcome of strikes, or in defence of the general interests of trade unionism, integrated the local movements, and to a notable extent promoted the organisation of the proletariat.
The beginnings of the “new trade unionism” date from this epoch.
At the head of the reviving working-class movement of Great Britain was a group of alive individuals who were advocates of a new departure in trade unionism, and became known collectively as the junta. This group consisted of William Allan, secretary of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers; Robert Applegarth, secretary of the Amalgamated Society of Carpenters; George Odger, one of the leaders of a small union of skilled shoemakers (the Ladies’ Shoemakers’ Society), a noted London radical, and for ten years the secretary of the London Trades Council; and a number of influential personalities in the workers’ movement, among them Eccarius, a tailor by trade, a refugee from Germany, who had been one of the members of the old Communist League. The aim of the Junta was to satisfy the new demands which were being voiced by the workers as an outcome of the economic crisis and the strike movement. They hoped to broaden the narrow outlook of British trade unionism, and to induce the unions to participate in the political struggle. Influenced by the Junta, the trade unions – at first in London and subsequently in the provinces – began to interest themselves in political reforms, such as the extension of the franchise, the reform of the obsolete trade-union legislation, the amendment of the law relating to “master and servant,” national education, etc.
Simultaneously with the growth of interest in the political struggle, there was a revival of internationalist leanings among the British workers. Here and there, the direct economic interests of the workers exercised an influence. At this date, the standard of life of the British workers was higher than that of the workers in other lands, and consequently the strike movement in Britain was hindered by the competition of the Continental workers. When there was a strike in Britain, the employers would threaten to import foreign workers who would accept worse conditions – and did actually import strike-breakers from Belgium and elsewhere. Naturally, therefore, the movement could not be confined within national limits. It was impossible for the trade-union leaders to stand aloof from the general revolutionary movement which was then beginning in all countries. Simply in the interests of the local struggle, they had to appeal to the internationalist sentiments of the British workers. They had, though only for a time, to link the British movement with the campaign now being begun by the Continental proletariat.
The London Trades Council, founded in 1860, took a prominent part in organising popular demonstrations to welcome Garibaldi. During the American civil war, the British bourgeoisie (being financially interested in the supply of cotton from the southern States) openly displayed its sympathy with the southern slave-owners. In 1862, the London Trades Council wishing to protest against this scandalous attitude, organised a great meeting in St. James’s Hall in order to manifest the support given by the workers to the northern States, which were fighting against negro slavery. Internationalist sentiment, a legacy of Chartism, had never died out among the British workers, and it had been reinvigorated by the economic crisis. The workers showed their sympathy for all oppressed nationalities, for all who were struggling for freedom and national independence, such as the Italians, the Poles, etc. In especial, meetings were held to express sympathy with the Poles in their struggles with tsarist tyranny, and this agitation, as we shall see presently, gave an impetus towards the foundation of the First International.
In France, the Italian War of 1859 led to a vigorous movement of public opinion, and strengthened the feeling against the Napoleonic regime both in bourgeois and proletarian circles. As a result of the blood-bath of 1848 and of the coup d'état of December, 1851 (followed a few weeks later by the establishment of the Second Empire), the French workers were for a long time hindered from any open participation in the political struggle. Intimidated by harsh repressive measures and deprived of their leaders, they lost confidence in their own strength and renounced the idea of directly attacking the foundations of the capitalist system. For quite a long time, the masses were asleep, politically speaking. The proletarian vanguard, few in numbers, was indeed busied with thoughts of the deplorable condition of the workers; but, throughout these gloomy years, the fancy prevailed that their lot could be alleviated by minor reforms, by the foundation of co-operatives, and by various forms of mutual aid. There was no thought of revolution. It was especially during these years of depression that there occurred among the French workers, or rather, among the Parisian workers, an extension of the petty-bourgeois and pacifist influence of Proudhon.
The most essential point in Proudhon’s teaching (to which he himself gave the name of anarchism) was a refusal to contemplate the idea that the deliverance of the proletariat could be secured by a political revolution. An economic revolution must precede the political revolution. This economic revolution was to consist in the transformation of all producers into small owners. Such an end could be reached – so Proudhon thought – by spontaneous economic activity, by the organisation of the direct mutual exchange of products in the ratio of the labour incorporated in them. The exchanges would be effected through banks established for the purpose. It was also necessary to supply gratuitous credit to needy producers. Thus, the capitalist class would become superfluous, the exploitation of labour would cease, and the State would die out because it would have become functionless. In place of the State there would be a free society, founded upon the equitable exchange of products and services.
For a considerable period this doctrine, though permeated with the petty-bourgeois spirit, was very popular among the more advanced French workers. The rest of the workers, those who had not become indifferent to the political struggle, were still republican in sentiment; but their ideas continued to move within the orbit of bourgeois liberalism, and at the elections they voted for bourgeois republicans. Finally, a very small minority of the workers was Bonapartist.
But it was impossible that this state of affairs should continue. The development of capitalism in France advanced with rapid strides after the failure of the revolution of 1848, and as soon as the economic crisis which had been one of the main causes of that revolution had passed away. Economically speaking, France was an extremely prosperous country during the Second Empire. Manufactures and trade were more flourishing than during any other period of the nineteenth century. Only now was France being transformed into a modern capitalist country. Indubitably, however, this economic prosperity was one of the chief causes of the political indifference of the French workers. But such an effect cannot last for ever. In a certain phase, this process of rapid economic advance will arouse a vigorous temper in the working masses, and will incite them to fresh struggles. An impetus to this revival of the revolutionary movement among the French workers was given by the economic crisis of 1857, and by the political excitement aroused by the Italian war of 1859.
The policy of unmitigated repression, which had been the original policy of the Bonapartist Government as far as the working class was concerned, had gradually to be modified. At first came a period of demagogic flirtations, and then political concessions were made. The development of capitalism aroused among the workers a powerful tendency towards organisation, and police prohibitions were unable to arrest the movement. In 1854 began the revival of the old societies for mutual aid, and these had become numerous by 1863. Towards them, and also towards the co-operative banks and the productive co-operatives, the Government was fairly tolerant, in the hope that they would serve to divert the workers’ energies from political activities. The revolutionists, however, were able to take advantage of such constitutional possibilities for the organisation of their propaganda. As we shall see, the internationalists were especially adroit in turning them to account.
Side by side with these peaceful types of working-class organisation, there began to spring up unions endowed with a fighting spirit, although their aims were not as yet political. Even to them the Government, though it looked at them askance, was compelled to show a peaceful front, seeing that they confined their activities to the economic field, and took no part in the political struggle. They were centres round which the proletarian forces could gather; and they took the initiative in or led many of the strikes which occurred in the early sixties and became frequent in the course of the next few years.
But the French workers looked beyond the everyday economic struggle. During the ten years which followed the fierce repressions of June, 1848, they recovered their morale to a considerable extent, and re-entered the political arena. At first, indeed, they supported the bourgeois republicans, whose opposition to Bonapartism had aroused them from their slumbers, and they voted for republican candidates in the elections. (Napoleon III. had thought it prudent to restore universal suffrage, which had been abolished by the Legislative Assembly in 1850; he was the first to show how universal suffrage can be used for reactionary ends!) But among the advanced workers there was soon manifest a movement in favour of independent political action. The workers were already beginning to break away from bourgeois leadership. It was in the 1863 elections that for the first time workers’ candidates were run in opposition to bourgeois republicans, but they secured very few votes. Most of the workers voted for bourgeois opposition candidates, partly because class-consciousness was still lacking, and partly because a suspicion was abroad that the workers’ candidates had been put up by the police in order to split the republican vote. But in the by-elections of the year 1864, the movement in favour of independent working-class candidatures assumed a more definite and concrete form.
A group of working-class Proudhonists (among whom were Murat and Tolain, who were subsequently to participate in the founding of the International issued the famous Manifesto of the Sixty, which, though extremely moderate in tone, marked a turning point in the history of the French movement. For years and years the bourgeois liberals had been insisting that the revolution of 1789 had abolished class distinctions. The Manifesto of the Sixty loudly proclaimed that classes still existed. These classes were the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. The latter had its specific class interests, which none but workers could be trusted to defend. The inference drawn by the Manifesto was that there must be independent working-class candidates..
All this indicated that, as far as the French proletariat was concerned, the period of depression had been surpassed, and that, after long and painful experience, class consciousness was beginning to arise in the masses.
In Germany, too, the proletariat was beginning to recover from the reaction of the late forties and the fifties, and was founding new industrial and political organisations. In the sixties, this awakening of the German proletariat was a part of the general revival of the European working-class movement as a sequel of the economic crisis of 1857, and the war of 1859. At that time, most of the German workers still accepted the views and the political leadership of the liberal bourgeoisie which, denominating itself the Progressive Party (Fortschrittspartei) was then carrying on a struggle with the Prussian Government to secure the franchise. At the same time the Government, of which Bismarck, the reactionary junker, was the chief, was endeavouring to win the support of the workers and to use them as tools in its contest with the bourgeois liberals.
The very few circles then extant for the promotion of the political education of the workers were dragged along in the wake of bourgeois liberalism. In the economic field, bourgeois propagandists urged proletarians to practise “self-help” and “thrift,” declaring that this was the only way of improving the workers’ lot. The chief exponent of this sort of humbug was Schulze-Delitzsch, a Prussian official, founder of co-operative associations and a people’s bank – a Prussian counterpart of the French bourgeois economist, Bastiat.
In their attempts to secure independence of thought, the German workers had to free themselves from the influence both of conservative demagogy and of liberal sophistry. A notable part in the liberation of the German proletariat from bourgeois influence in political matters was played by Ferdinand Lassalle, who was instrumental in founding the first independent working-class political organisation in Germany. This was known as the General Union of German Workers (Allgemeine Deutsche Arbeiter Verein – A.D.A.V.) and it came into being on May 23, 1853. The aim of the Association was to conduct a “peaceful and legal” agitation on behalf of manhood suffrage. This, Lassalle thought, would lead to extensive working-class representation in parliament, and eventually to the passing of a number of desirable laws. One of these would be a law for the State aid of productive associations, whereby the workers would be freed from the tyranny of capital.
Lassalle was unable to fulfil his hopes for the speedy creation of a mass party of the workers. In the autumn of 1864, the membership was 4,600, and by the end of November, 1865, it was no more than 9,420, when the Association comprised fifty-eight branches. But his brief and stormy agitation had the effect, in large measure of freeing the German workers from the dominion of liberal bourgeois ideas.
Parallel with this movement initiated by Lassalle, there was in Germany at this time another movement for the creation of a workers’ party, but one of a very different character. Just as the General Union was linked with the name of Lassalle, so the other organisation, the League of German Workers’ Unions (Verband der deutschen Arbeitervereinen) was linked with the names of Bebel and Wilhelm Liebknecht. Both issued from the same source, namely from the workers’ educational circles that had been founded by the liberals. But whereas the Lassallist organisation spread mainly in Prussia, the other developed in South Germany, especially in Saxony. Returning to Germany from exile in 1862, Wilhelm Liebknecht began the propaganda of revolutionary-communism among the workers. Expelled from Prussia two years later, he went to Saxony, where he became acquainted with the young turner, August Bebel. Liebknecht soon freed Bebel’s mind from the influence of bourgeois ideas, so that the two joined forces as Marxist propagandists. At the time when the International was founded, there was a social democratic trend, but not yet a party. The Social Democratic Party of Germany was not founded until 1869 – at Eisenach. The various elements which were to form this Party already existed among the workers grouped around Bebel and Liebknecht.
To the same period belong the beginnings of the trade union movement in Germany, where the industrial organisation of the workers was destined to be more extensive than in any other land.
There was likewise, a stirring of the workers in Belgium, Austria, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland. Even in eastern Europe there was a political revival. This was comparatively weak in Russia, where the peasant question came to the front after the Crimean War; but it was strong in Poland, which once more raised the standard of the fight for national independence.
The conditions of the daily struggle (especially in such comparatively advanced countries as England and France) suggested to the workers the need of forming an international union of proletarian forces for a number of purposes. Among these may be mentioned: the sharing of experience and knowledge; conjoint efforts on behalf of social reform and improvements in the condition of the working class; the prevention of the import of foreign workers to break strikes; etc. Thus the needs of the industrial struggle gave an impetus towards the formation of the workers’ international. An additional impetus to the creation of the International Workingmen’s Association was furnished from the field of international politics, namely by the Polish rising – for the Polish question had long been of supreme interest to the European democracy, and especially to the workers. The international exhibition held in London during the year 1862 also served as an occasion for the drawing together of the British and the Continental workers.
In France, and especially in Paris and Lyons, funds were collected in the workshops in order that delegates of the French workers might be sent to the London exhibition. The Bonapartist Government, which was at that time coquetting with the workers, supported this enterprise, not foreseeing its consequences. From Germany, too, workers’ delegates were sent to London. On August 5, 1862, seventy delegates from the French workers were given a formal reception by their British comrades, and in the speeches on this occasion references were made to the need for establishing an international union among proletarians, who had identical interests and aspirations alike as individuals, citizens and workers. Henceforward, the idea of founding an international league of workers continued to ferment in the minds of French and British proletarians. Intercourse between them was maintained through the French political refugees living in London, and through the French workers who settled in Britain after a visit to the international exhibition. Furthermore, the German communists grouped round Marx entered into a close alliance with the beforementioned leaders of the new British labour movement, and did their utmost to convince British trade unionists how important was the idea of uniting the workers internationally.
When the Polish rising had been drowned in blood by the autocrat of the Russias, workers of advanced views both in Britain and in France protested vigorously, and this led once more to personal contact between the British and the French workers. On July 22, 1863, French delegates, Tolain, Perrachon, and Limousin, arrived in London bearing the answer to an address which had been sent to France by British comrades, and that very evening the Frenchmen were present at a meeting in St. James’ Hall in honour of the Poles. At this and other meetings there was further talk of the need for an international organisation of the workers; and the practical-minded British once more emphasised the significance of such a union in relation to the idea of preventing the import of foreign workers to break strikes.
Intercourse between the two countries continued, and an agitation in favour of an international union was carried on in the workshops. In September, 1864, when a new meeting was being organised in connection with the Polish question, some French delegates again visited London, this time with the concrete aim of setting up a special committee for the exchange of information upon matters interesting the workers of all lands. On September 28th, the British workers held a great international meeting for the reception of the French delegates. It took place in St. Martin’s Hall, and Beesly, the radical professor, was in the chair. The chairman, in his speech, pilloried the violent proceedings of the governments and referred to their flagrant breaches of international law. As an internationalist he showed the same energy in denouncing the crimes of all the governments, Russian, French, and British, alike. He summoned the workers to the struggle against the prejudices of patriotism, and advocated a union of the toilers of all lands for the realisation of justice on earth.
Then Odger read the address of the British to the French workers. Tolain responded with the French address, which declared that the oppression of any one people was a danger to the freedom of all other peoples. The masses were now coming to the front, conscious of their own strength, ready to fight tyranny on the political field, and to fight monopoly and privilege on the economic field. Industrial progress was threatening to involve mankind in a new slavery unless the workers reacted against capitalism. It was necessary that the toilers of all lands should unite for the struggle against the disastrous consequences of the capitalist regime.
After the speeches, the meeting unanimously adopted a resolution to found an international organisation of the workers. The centre was to be in London. A committee of twenty-one members was elected, and was instructed to draft rules and constitution. Most of the British members of the committee were noted trade-union leaders like Odger, Howell, Osborne, and Lucraft; and among them were sometime Owenites and Chartists. The French members were Denoual, Le Lubez, and Bosquet. Italy was represented by Fontana. Other members were: L. Wolff (Mazzini’s secretary), Eccarius, and occupying a modest position at the foot of the list, “Dr. Marx,” the soul and the future chief of the International.
The committee met on October 5th, co-opted additional members representing various nationalities (thus creating a temporary executive which became known as the General Council,) and collected £3 for preliminary expenses. Such were the slender financial resources with which these bold innovators initiated their attempt to subvert the old world and to set mankind free!
The initial step was to outline the program and to draft the rules and constitution of the International Workingmen’s Association. One scheme was presented by Major L. Wolff, Mazzini’s secretary, who had translated it from the rules and constitution of the Italian Workingmen’s Association (a Mazzinist organisation); a second was drafted by Weston, the veteran Chartist; a third by Le Lubez. Marx rejected them all, as unsuitable to the needs of the contemporary working class-movement. A fourth scheme presented by Marx himself, was adopted after long and animated discussion. This was the basis of the General Council’s activities. The Address and Provisional Rules of the International Workingmen’s Association (London, 1861) were drafted by Marx. The Address summarised the results of the historical experience of the working class, and, examining the daily life of the workers, inferred from this study the methods the proletariat must adopt in the struggle on behalf of its interests as a class. In its opening paragraph, the Address, basing its deductions upon British experience, showed that there had been no improvement in the condition of the working class during the period from 1848 to 1864, although the wealth of the capitalists had enormously increased during this very period. Two bright lights shone through the darkness of the period.
First of all there was the legal restriction of the working hours to ten per day in certain British industries. The significance of the legal limitation of working hours was as follows. It involved State interference “in the great contest between the blind rule of the supply and demand laws which form the political economy of the middle class, and social production controlled by social foresight which forms the political economy of the working class, hence the Ten Hours’ Bill was not only a great practical success, it was the victory of a principle; it was the first time that in broad daylight the political economy of the middle class succumbed to the political economy of the working class.”
The other bright feature of the situation was the triumph of the co-operative principle, and this was of even greater importance to the proletariat than the winning of the ten-hour day. The success of the enterprise, founded by the Rochdale pioneers, and of similar undertakings, had given a practical demonstration of the fact that, without the participation of capitalist exploiters, the workers were themselves competent to organise and carry on large-scale production and that in this way wage labour, like slavery and serfdom, would prove to be merely a transient historical form, and would be replaced by freely associated labour. But cooperative labour could not emancipate the mass of the industrial workers, unless it were to be organised on a national scale, and unless it were to enjoy the support of the State. These conditions could never be fulfilled while the State authority remained in the hands of landlords and capitalists.
“To conquer political power has therefore become the great duty of the working class." ... One element of success they possess – numbers; but numbers weigh only in the balance if united by combination and led by knowledge. Past experience has shown how disregard of that bond of brotherhood which ought to exist between the workmen of different countries and incite them to stand firmly by each other in all their struggles for emancipation, will be chastised by the common discomfiture of their incoherent efforts.” That was why the International Workingmen’s Association had been founded.
“If the emancipation of the working classes requires their fraternal concurrence, how are they to fulfil that mission with a foreign policy in pursuit of criminal designs, playing upon national prejudices, and squandering in piratical wars the people’s blood and treasure?” The Address then enumerates various recent manifestations of the conflicting predatory policies of the capitalist governments. These incidents had taught the working classes that it was their duty “to master themselves the mysteries of international politics; to watch the diplomatic acts of their respective Governments; to counteract them, if necessary, by all means in their power; when unable to prevent, to combine in simultaneous denunciations, and to vindicate the simple laws of morals and justice, which ought to govern the relations of private individuals, as the rules paramount of the intercourse of nations. The fight for such a foreign policy forms part of the general struggle for the emancipation of the working classes.”
The Address concludes with the same words as the Communist Manifesto: “Proletarians of all countries, unite!”
The address drafted by Karl Marx was followed by the Provisional Rules of the International Workingmen’s Association. To the rules, however, was prefixed a preamble, which ran as follows:
“That the emancipation of the working classes must be conquered by the working classes themselves; that the struggle for the emancipation of the working classes means not a struggle for class privileges and monopolies, but for equal rights and duties and the abolition of all class rule;
“That the economical subjection of the man of labour to the monopoliser of the means of labour, that is the sources of life, lies at the bottom of servitude in all its forms, of all social misery, mental degradation, and political dependence;
“That the economical emancipation of the working classes is, therefore, the great end to which every political movement ought to be subordinate as a means;
“That all efforts aiming at that great end have hitherto failed from the want of solidarity between the manifold divisions of labour in each country, and from the absence of a fraternal bond of union between the working classes of different countries;
“That the emancipation of labour is neither a local, nor a national, but a social problem, embracing all countries in which modern society exists, and depending for its solution on the concurrence, practical and theoretical, of the most advanced countries;
“That the present revival of the working classes in the most industrious countries of Europe, while it raises a new hope, gives solemn warring against a relapse into the old errors, and calls for the immediate combination of the still disconnected movements;
“For these reasons:
“These undersigned members of the Committee, holding its power by resolution of the public meeting held on September 28, 1864, at St. Martin’s Hall, London, have taken the steps necessary for founding the International Workingmen’s Association.
“They declare that this International Association, and all societies and individuals adhering to it, will acknowledge truth, justice and morality, as the basis of their conduct towards each other; and towards all men, without regard to colour, creed, or nationality.
“They hold it the duty of a man to claim the rights of a man and a citizen, not only for himself, but for every, man who does his duty. No rights without duties, no duties without rights.
“And in this spirit they have drawn up the following provisional rules of the International Association."
The International Workingmen’s Association was founded to afford a central medium of communication and co-operation between workingmen’s societies existing in different countries and aiming at the same end: namely, the protection, advancement, and complete emancipation of the working classes. The General Council was to sit in London, and was to consist of workers belonging to the different countries represented in the International Association. A general congress was to be held once a year, and the first of such congresses was to take place in Belgium during the year 1865. The members of the International Association were to use their utmost efforts to combine the disconnected workingmen’s societies of their respective countries into national bodies represented by central national organs; but no independent local society was to be precluded from directly corresponding with the General Council in London. While united in a perpetual bond of fraternal co-operation, the workingmen’s societies joining the International Association would preserve their existent organisations intact.