History of The First International by G. M. Stekloff
233 Marx held that one of the urgent reasons for postponement was that the forced absence of the German and French delegates might gave a fortuitous majority to the Bakuninists.
234 Guillaume, op. cit., Vol. II., p 65.
235 Laveleye, op. cit., pp.202-203.
236 Cf. Testut l'Internationale et le jacobinisme au ban de I'Europe, 2 vols., Lachaud, Paris, 1872, Vol. II, p.28.
237 Op. cit., p.143.
238 Villetard, who, like other bourgeois historians, overestimates the importance of the part played by the International in the events of this period, writes: “At Paris, indeed, the leaders of the International were only able to secure positions of secondary importance after the revolution of September 4th, membership of various kinds of committees (watch committees, munition committees, etc.), set up in the municipal areas; commissions in the National Guard, etc. I have already quoted a letter in which he complained bitterly to Varlin because such men as Jules Favre and Gambetta were in power; and in which he advised Varlin to allow this ‘bourgeois scum’ to cut its own throat by signing the shameful peace which Prussia was about to impose.” (op. cit., p.253.) .
239 That very day, the Bakuninists Guillaume and G. Blanc issued “a manifesto to the branches of the International.” It was written by themselves and published at Neuchâtel. In this document they summoned all the internationalists to take up arms in defence of the French Republic against Prussian militarism. This manifesto aroused a great deal of dissatisfaction in the non-Bakuninist ranks of the International, all the more because two private members of the International had no authority to issue any such general appeal. (The manifesto was reprinted as a supplement to No.22 of “Solidarité”: Bakuninist periodical. Cf. Guillaume, op. cit., vol. II., pp.83 et seq.).
240 In a letter than appeared in the “Daily News” of January, 16, 1871, Marx showed that the struggle which the French Republic was still carrying out against the Prussian invaders was a struggle on behalf of the general welfare. France was fighting, not merely for her own national independence, but also for the freedom of Germany and Europe and – happily she was fighting with a fair prospect of success. In this estimate, Marx differed from Bakunin. The letter is certainly enough to show how foolish are the attempts of the French anarchists to represent Marx as merely a German patriot. But this is what they do. See, for instance, James Guillaume’s book, Karl Marx Pangermaniste (Paris, 1915), published in the early part of the recent war by the patriotic and jingo publishing firm of Colin.
241 This was the beginning of a phase of discouragement in the revolutionary masses, which became so intense as to prevent a belief in the successes of the Paris Commune, and to deter many of those who were of the same way of thinking as the communards from rising in its support.
242 Writing to Kugelmann under date December 13, 1870, Marx said: Whatever the outcome of the war, it has taught the French workers the use of arms, and this makes the future more hopeful.”
243 Cf. Prosper Lissagaray, Histoire de la Commune de 1871, Brussels, 1876) (English translation by Eleanor Marx Aveling, History of the Commune of 1871, Reeves and Turner, London, 1886); Louis Debreuilh; La Commune, pp. 250-496 of vo1. XI. of Jean Jaurès’ Histoire Socialiste 1789-1900; Paul Lanjalley and Paid Corriez, Histoire do la revolution du 18 mars, 1871; Gustave Geffroy, L'Enfermé (B1anqui), Paris, 1897; Karl Marx, The Civil War in France (republished in R.W. Postgate’s Revolution, and as a separate reprint from that work).
244The direct testimony of the members of the International at that date shows that the weakness of the movement, as far as France was concerned, was not moral, but organisational, and was due to a lack of fighting effectives. For instance, at a meeting of the leaders of the International held in Paris on February 15, 1871, Frankel said: “Since September 4th, the international has been scattered. Moral force we certainly have, in Paris at least, if not elsewhere in France; but we lack material force, through want of organisation. Many of our members do not understand the aims of the Association. (Laveleye, op. cit., p. 206.) The immediate demands and hopes of the internationalists were still extremely modest. In a manifesto to the workers, agreed to at the before-mentioned sitting, all that they asked for was: the organisation of credit; free, compulsory, and secular education; right of public meeting; freedom of combination; freedom of the press; the municipalisation of public services. (Ibid.)
245, Cf. Georges Weill, Histoire du mouvement social en France, 1851-1902. Molinari, who had first-hand knowledge of the socialist movement in Paris during those days, declares that the International took no part whatever in the revolution of March 18th (Le mouvement socialiste et les reunions publiques, (Paris, 1872, p.206.). This, of course, is an exaggeration, in the other direction. More characteristic of the attitude of bourgeois writers towards this matter are the words of Villetard: “Our work would be finished if we had merely to prove, not only that the International is in truth responsible for all the crimes of the Commune of Paris, but also that it accepts and indeed claims this responsibility as an honour.” (Op. cit., p.258). The last clause in the quotation is perfectly true! No less typical are the remarks of Testut, the most notable among those who, in the days after the Commune, were engaged in ferreting out information concerning the “vast powers and “secret plans” of the international. Having enumerated all the perturbations in the political life of Europe during the previous year, Testut went on to say: “Those who still believe that the aim of the International is to bring about the emancipation of the proletarian by economic means, will certainly enter a protest here. They will declare that in all the things we have just been studying the International played quite a secondary part, and that the activity of the Jacobin committees was the preponderant factor. We answer this objection by asserting that the committees were exclusively the work of the International. We have proved it by referring to documents whose authenticity is unchallengeable; but we can add another and even more irresistible argument, derived from the declaration of the adepts of the International themselves. It is enough to read the minutes of the sittings of the Parisian branches during the siege and during the Commune to be enlightened as to the tactics pursued everywhere by the International. There are the principles on which the tactics were based: to profit by all the new freedoms in order, to promote vigorous organisation; to form everywhere committees whose function it would be to co-ordinate the revolutionary movement, and to exercise pressure, alike material and moral, upon the decisions of the municipal councils; to place at the read of all these committees one or more members of the International who would ostensibly function as citizens and not as members of the International; to induce these committees to a undertake take all necessary manifestations, while dissimulating far as possible the role of the International so that if the manifestations should fail, the blame should fall on the committee and not on the International. In a word, throughout this period, the International which had been taken aback by the happenings of September 4th, and which had no prospect at that moment of entering the struggle with a serious likelihood of success, was seeking to carry out its activities under cover of the committees, (all of which under various names) were pursuing the same end - the revolutionary federation of the communes. If one of these committees should fail in an attempt at insurrection, it need merely vanish or reorganise itself upon a new foundation. How disastrous, on the other hand would have been the consequences of failure to the International, had it taken action in its own name. This would have disclosed the weakness of its resources, and the most cherished aim of the organisation at this period was to inculcate the belief that its strength was vast and invincible”. (Testut, L'Internationale et le Jacobinisme, etc., vol. II,
246 Fribourg was no better than his mate Tolain. This pitiful creature, though he had been one of the founders of the International, sent a letter to the “Soir” in which not content with condemning “the crimes of the Commune,” he spoke of the Communards as “a bard of ruffians,” as “the scum of all the parties,” and definitely dissociated himself from the second period of the International, the one following the Lausanne Congress (Cf. Villetard, op. cit, p.270). – Fribourg, in the book we have so frequently quoted, passing judgement upon the activities of the Commune, endeavoured in his usual fashion to throw all the responsibility upon the members of the intelligentsia. He wrote: Let the reader decide for himself whether a cold-blooded recourse to violence and crazy theorising are to be ascribed to the workers, or whether they do not rather bear the stamp of the doings of the political sprigs of the bourgeoisie with minds corrupted by vanity and idleness (Op. cit., p.146). – These workers and “socialists” have much less sound sense than Rudolf Meyer, conservative and monarchist, who, in his book on the Struggle of the Fourth Estate for Emancipation, writes: “The rising which led to the establishment of the Commune in Paris showed a torpid Europe with how much power the socialist movement was instinct, and how great were the deeds of which the fourth estate was capable. The International Workingmen’s Association was then at the climax of its development. It secured far more new adherents through the Commune than it had been deprived of by the overthrow of the Commune. But the split in the ranks was imminent.” (Op. cit., Vol. I, p.129.)
247 In a letter to Kugelmann, under date April 12, 1871, Marx wrote: “If you look at the concluding chapter of The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, you will see that in my opinion the fundamental characteristic of the revolution in France will be an attempt, not to transfer from one pair of hands to another the military and bureaucratic governmental machine as it has hitherto existed, but to destroy this machine. Such, indeed, is the preliminary condition of any genuinely popular revolution on the Continent. Of such a character is the attempt of our heroic Parisian comrades. What dexterity, what historical initiative, what a faculty for self-sacrifice are being displayed by these Parisians!... History records no examples of such heroism! If they are defeated, the only reason will be, their ‘magnanimity’ ... They did not want to begin the civil war - as if the monstrous gnome Thiers had not already begun it with his attempt to disarm Paris! However this may be, the present rising in Paris – even if the revolutionists are thrown to the wolves, the swine, and the cowardly foxes of the old system – is one of the finest achievements of our party since the days of the June rising in 1848. Compare these Parisians, ready to storm the very heavens, with the hangers-on of the German-Prussian Holy Roman Empire, with its antediluvian masquerades, its reek of the barracks, its churches, its cadet corps, its philistinism.” (Letter 89.)
248 This was not precisely an advantage, but constituted one of the fundamental blunders of the Commune. Marx’s mistaken observation was that the Commune “was that long sought-for political form by means of which the economic emancipation of labour might be achieved.” In actual fact the Commune did not achieve the political form which could give expression to the dictatorship of the proletariat. The Russian revolution, by means of Soviet rule, was destined to find this particular political form. In the days of the Commune such an issue had not been thought of. While endeavouring to realise the idea of rule by the working class in persistent warfare with the bourgeoisie, the Commune was trying to base its power upon universal suffrage exercised by all the dwellers in the traditional geographical areas, the old fashioned “constituencies.” The slowness and indecision characteristic of the Commune were especially manifest in the method of election. This was the primary cause of the weakness of the Commune during the first, most important, and most decisive days of its activity; and was one of the main factors of its defeat. The error of the Communards was due to the influence of the democratic illusions which were stilt cherished by the proletariat.
249 The Belgians proposed holding the congress on September 5th in Amsterdam. Suspecting that this plan emanated from Bakunin, and that such a congress might be packed with his adherents, Marx’s proposal was: “Appeal to all the branches whether they do not think that under present circumstances (when the German and French delegates would be excluded from the congress), power should be given to the General Council; (1) to postpone the congress; (2) to enable the Council to convoke the congress at the moment it shall consider opportune.” The suggestion was agreed to. In Marx’s view, this was all the more necessary seeing that Bakunin had made his preparations for the Amsterdam gathering. “At the last congress, at Basle, he would have defeated us had it not been for the German elements in Switzerland” (cf. Briefwechsel, vol. IV., p.311). It is obvious that Marx and his friends fully recognised the strength of the Bakuninist faction, and how dangerous its existence was to the integrity of the International.
250 The conference had in mind the various groups of the Bakuninist Alliance, and the Genevese Section of Propaganda and of Social Revolutionary Action which had recently been formed by the Communards who had sought asylum in the Swiss city. This particular group was dissolved on the eve of the London Conference.
251 The conference could hardly have been so simple as to believe that by such regulations it could throw dust in the eyes of the governments. It merely showed its distrust of secret organisations, and its belief that they were prone to become sectarian in character, and a hunting ground for provocative agents. But this regulation did not prevent the French and the Spanish internationalists from forming secret societies, against which the General Council never raised a protest.
252 This proves that the General Council had not yet received any documents showing the existence of the secret Alliance. Had such documents been in Utin’s possession, he would certainly have handed them over to Marx. They must have been sent to the General Council later – partly from Spain, and partly from Switzerland, in the year 1872.
253 In actual fact, the young Russian conspirators were in touch only with Bakunin, and, under pretence of supporting the program of the International, simply spread the ideas of the anarchist Alliance in general and the ideas of Nechaeff in particular.
254 This account was subsequently issued as pamphlet under the title, L'Alliance de la démocratie socialiste.
255 In a letter to Engels (dated March 14, 1869), Marx laughs at the claims of the Bakuninists. He writes: “They tell us that their ‘revolutionary’ program has had more effect in Italy, Spain, and so forth, in a few weeks, than that of the International Workingmen’s Association has had in as many years. If we reject their program, we shall be responsible for a split between countries of ‘revolutionary’ working-class movements which are, according to their reckoning, France, Switzerland, (!) Italy, and ... Spain – and lands where the working-class movement is developing slowly (viz. England, Germany, the United States, and Belgium).” Marx was greatly tickled by the inclusion of Switzerland in the former group and, as far as Spain was concerned, he maintained that there were more priests than workers there. (Briefwechsel, vol. IV., p.147-8.) The subsequent course of events was to prove that Marx’s witty remarks notwithstanding, many of the Bakuninist contentions were perfectly correct.
256 For the history of the internationalist movement in Spain, in addition to the section “The Alliance in Spain” in the pamphlet entitled L'Alliance, etc., to which I already had occasion to refer, and besides such publications as the Memoir of the Jura Federation:, Guillaume’s L'Internationale, and Nettlau’s biography of Bakunin, Cf. Nettlau’s contribution, Bakunin und die Internationale in Spanien, which appeared in the “Archiv für Geschichte des Socialismus,” vol. IV”, issued in Vienna by Grünberg. Consult also the report of a special committee of the International concerning the relationships between the Alliance of the Socialist Democracy and the International Workingmen’s Association , published in London on July 21, 1873. In 1920, a German translation of this was published at Stuttgart with preface and notes by Wilhelm Blos, as an anti-Bolshevik tract, under the title Marx odor Bakunin, Demokratie oder Diktatur? Also consult: Anselmo Lorenzo (a Bakuninist), El proletariado militanto, part one. Barcelona, 1901; Francisco Mora (a Marxist), Historia del socialismo obrero español; Madrid, 1902; and also the writings of Sorge.
257 Already in February, 1870, Engels recognised that “Italy and Spain will have to be left to him (Bakunin), at least for the nonce.” (Briefwechsel, vol. IV., p.213.)
258 For a history of the International in Italy, in addition to the pamphlet L'Alliance de la démocratie socialiste, etc., and Guillaume’s L'Internationale, cf. Giovanni Domanico, L'Internationale, vol. I, 1900; Nettlau’s biography of Bakunin and his article Bakunin und die Internationale in Italien, “Archive für Geschichte des Socialismus” issued by Grünberg in Vienna, 1912; and Sorge’s writings.
259 Bakunin, La théologie politique de Mazzini et l'Internationle, 1871. Also his articles: Réponse d'un internationale à Mazzini, (which appeared in Italian in the Milan “Gazzettino Rosa” on August 14, 1871; and in French in the socialist paper “Liberté” of Brussels where it was published on August 18 and 19, 1871); Réponse à l'Unità Italiana (which appeared in Italian on October, 10, 11, and 12, 1871, as a supplement to the “Gazzettino Rosa”); [the Circular to my Italian Friends on the Occasion of the Workers’ Conference convened at Rome for November 1, 1871, by the Mazzinist Party.] The three last-named articles appear in vol. VI. of the French edition of Bakunin’s works. (Oeuvres, Paris, 1913.)
260 This way of stating the question revealed the secret of the Jura Federation. This body was endeavouring to become a second centre of the International, existing as an equal among equals in regard to the General Council. The Jura Federation was very much shocked at the tactless behaviour of the Italians who, by their imprudent question, had laid bare the Jura Federation’s secret hopes.
261 We see that in the days of the First International there was a conspicuous contrast between the readiness of the objective or material factors of the social revolution, and the unreadiness of the subjective or spiritual factors, especially in such lands as Britain. In our own time, the same contrast is even more striking – and not in Britain alone.
262 Cf. Guillaume, op. cit., vol. I, pp.262-266.
263 The “Eastern Post,” a journal which at that time was looked upon as an official organ of the General Council (though later the paper turned against the Council), collected information concerning a number of British branches of the International. These branches were formed during the years 1871 and 1872, carried on energetic activities, and were full of hope in the further growth of the movement. Branches existed, not only in the larger towns such as London and its suburbs, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Leeds, Hull, Portsmouth, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Coventry, Sheffield, Halifax, Plymouth, Woolwich, etc., but likewise in the smaller towns and even in Wales. All these branches were formed soon after the creation of the Federal Council, and when unity of action had been inaugurated for the political and economic struggle.
264 In a letter to Kugelmann under date April 6, 1868, Marx wrote that the enthralment of the British working class to bourgeois ideology was, “a penalty which England – and thereby the British working class as a whole – had to pay for its immemorial crime against Ireland.” Again, in his letter to Kugelmann dated November 29, 1869, Marx says: “I am coming more and more to the conviction – and some means must be found to knock this same conviction into the English workers’ heads – that nothing decisive will ever be accomplished in England until the workers have entirely severed their political outlook on the Irish question from that of the ruling class; until they not only make common cause with the Irish, but take the initiative in dissolving the Union set up in 1801 and replacing it by a free federal relationship. Such action must not be undertaken merely out of sympathy with Ireland, but must be promoted in the interests of the British proletariat itself. If not, then the English people will remain in the leading strings of the ruling class, for it will have to make common cause with the British bourgeoisie against Ireland. Every movement of English workers is hampered in consequence of the Irish quarrel – and in England itself a considerable number of the workers are of Irish origin. The first condition for emancipation here – the overthrow of the British land-owning oligarchy – cannot be realised, for the fort cannot be stormed here so long as the strongly defended outposts in Ireland have not fallen. Over there, however, as soon as matters are in Irish hands, as soon as the Irish people are up against their own law-givers and their own rulers, as soon as Ireland becomes an autonomous country, the overthrow of the landed aristocracy (in a great measure constituting the very same individuals as the English landlords) will be enormously easier than here in England, because in Ireland the question is not a simple economic one, but likewise a national one, because the landlords over there, unlike their English congeners who are the traditional dignitaries and representatives of the nation, are the hated oppressors of the Irish nation. Not only is the social development of England her self paralysed by existing relationships to Ireland; her foreign policy, and especially her policy in regard to Russia and to the United States, suffers likewise. Since the British working class plays a decisive role in the task of social emancipation, we must needs use Great Britain as the fulcrum for our lever.” In the resolution sent to the Federal Committee of Romand Switzerland in Geneva, in January 1871. Marx gives definite expression to these ideas when he writes in the name of the General Council: “The position of the International Workingmen’s Association on the Irish question is very precise; our first task is to further the revolution in England; in order to do this the big blow must be struck in Ireland: ‘ (Cf. Guillaume, op. cit., vol. I, p.267.)
265 These words were uttered by Marx at the session of the General Council held in August, 1871. The fight for the nine-hour working day, conducted under pressure from the masses, and for the most part against the wishes of the trade-union bureaucracy, culminated in an engineers’ strike in Newcastle. The bosses, in order to break the resistance of the workers, began to import strike-breakers from abroad. Delegates from among the strikers, under the leadership of John Burnett, president of the Nine Hours League, approached the General Council with the request for help, since they felt sure that the international could prevent the threatened introduction of foreign labour. It was during the discussion that ensued that Marx voiced the above-mentioned opinion. Of course, the international acceded to the request, as was its custom in such circumstances. At the October meeting in London, stress was laid upon the services which the International could render during strikes (as had been shown in the engineers’ strike), and in the fight for the nine-hour working day.
266 Marx, with his native shrewdness, had long since seen through Odger as a political type. This is well shown in a letter to Kugelmann under date April 6, 1868. After pointing out that Gladstone and his fellow-liberals were only making use of the Irish question in order once again to come into power, and above all because it was a good “electoral cry” for the next election which would be mainly concerned with the question of “household suffrage,” Marx continues: “This turn of affairs is harmful to the workers’ party – in especial since the intriguers among the workers who hope to sit in the next parliament (Odger, Potter, and so on) have proposed to make common cause with the liberal bourgeoisie.” – Odger had deplored the manifesto (The Civil War in France) issued by the General Council on the occasion of the Paris Commune, although his name appeared among the signatories of the document; together with Lucraft he had announced that he no longer was a member of the Council. (Cf Villetard, op. cit., p.273.)
267 Without awaiting the decision of an international congress, the British Federal Council arrogated to itself this right, and openly declared its intention to enter into independent relationships with the Spanish Federal Council, which professed anarchist principles and constituted an opposition to the General Council. The British were not only not anarchistically inclined, but were guilty of bourgeois-liberal leanings. They were, however on the look out for supporters in the event of a conflict arising between the British Federation and the General Council, or rather between themselves and the communist elements in the General Council. At the Hague Congress the British Federation took up a definitely hostile attitude towards the General Council.
268 All these decisions were the results of the intrigues of Hales and Co. It is an amazing fact that Hales was at this time the secretary of the very General Council against which he was intriguing whenever and wherever an opening offered! It is true that in August he was relieved of his post as secretary owing to his ambiguous attitude. Hales’ conduct was, in fact, typical of the spirit which pervaded the British Federal Council from its very inception, and yet the Federal Council had set itself the task of organising an independent working-class party!
269 Of these 21, some had been delegated to the Hague by various branches. Thus, Arnaud represented the Caroage (Switzerland) branch; Cournet, the Copenhagen Central Committee; Engels, the Breslau (Prussia) branch; and also branch 6 in the U.S.; Frankel, Charles Longuet, Ranvier, and Seraillier, represented various French branches; Marx had been delegated by branch 1 in the U.S., and also by the Leipzig and Mainz branches; Vaillant represented La Chaux-de-Fonds (Switzerland), a French branch, and the San Francisco branch; Wroblewski had been delegated by the Polish branch in London; Eccarius represented the last-makers’ branch in London; Hales had been delegated by the Hackney Road (London) branch; and so on.
270 As an actual fact, France was not only represented by these three delegates, among whom two, i.e., Swarm (alias d'Entraygues) and Walter (alias Van Heddeghem) proved to be police agents; for, as we saw in the previous note, a number of delegates representing French branches came from England.
271 The verification of the eleven French mandates was especially difficult. France was under a police terror at the time, and consequently the congress had decided that the mandates issued by the French branches should be known only to the members who had composed the credentials committee, and that the congress itself should be kept in ignorance as to the names of the towns which the delegates represented. – The American delegates were Sorge and Dereure; but the U.S. were further represented by Vaillant, Marx, Engels, and Maltman Barry (at that time on the staff of the “Standard”). The validity of the last four credentials was challenged. It was during the discussion of this matter that Marx pronounced his well-known dictum, saying that the leaders of the English workers were sold to the liberal bourgeoisie. (Concerning the matter of the U.S. delegation, cf Briefe und Auszüge etc., an Sorge, Dietz, Stuttgart, 1906, pp.59, et seq.) – As to the German credentials, the Bakuninists objected that in Germany as yet no branches of the International existed, there being only individual adherents of the Association and that, therefore, Germany could not send duly accredited delegates to the congress. This was no more than a formal remonstrance, for in reality the strength of socialism in Germany was obvious to every one. – For details concerning all these disputes, cf. Memoire de la Federation jurassienne, and Guillaume’s L'Internationale, vol. II, pp.324, et seq.; also Jaeckh, The International. – The only credential that was definitely turned down by the congress was one held by West in the name of an American branch. The branch had never paid in any contributions, and was interested in the propaganda of free love, spiritualism, and so forth. Zhokoffsky’s etc credentials were not accepted. – Apropos of the Bakuninist charges of “packing,” Robert Michels writes in a footnote to p.205 of his Political Parties, London, 1915: “The locale of the congress was a convenient one for the English, the French, and tile Germans, who were on the whole favourable to the General Council, but extremely inconvenient for the Swiss, the Spaniards, and the Italians, who were on the side of Bakunin. Bakunin himself, who was living in Switzerland, was unable to attend the Congress, for to reach The Hague he must have crossed Germany or France, and in both these countries he was liable to immediate arrest.”
272 In connexion with the Bakuninist complaints concerning “the dictatorship” exercised by Marx over the International, Rudolph Meyer writes: “Marx was not inclined to convert the General Council into a kind of ‘corresponding agency,’ nor did he want to assume the part of ‘correspondent,’ as Guillaume wished him to do. With all due respect for the forms, he had made himself the autocrat of the Council, and had done so with perfect right. For, above all, he is the Father of the International Workingmen’s Association. He is the originator of its principles and its organisation. Has not Professor Beesly remarked: “No one is more directly responsible for the successes of the International than is Dr. Karl Marx, who, in the matter of a profound knowledge of history and of the statistics concerning the industrial movement throughout Europe, has no rival.
“Furthermore, he is the most gifted of all the leaders. He possesses in addition (as his speech at the Hague Congress showed) the enthusiasm which is necessary to carry out the titanic task involved in organising the International. If his idea is to be fulfilled, a head is certainly needed in the General Council, a head with plenty of brains in it. Such a head we find on Marx. It really does not matter whether the rules do or do not give the corresponding secretary for Germany all the power that Karl Marx wields!” (Meyer, op. cit., Vol. I, p.144)
273 In the course of his speech, Marx said that according to the old rules the General Council had been given the right to expel branches. “If the Council had exercised this right it could, by suspending one after the other all the branches composing a federation, have suspended the whole of the said federation. Is it not better, then, to express ourselves clearly, and to declare that the General Council does possess this right?”
274 There was a certain group of members in the Council itself who wished to transfer the headquarters of the General Council to the Continent. Some of the members of this group were Eccarius, Jung, Johannard, and even Serraillier. The last-named from now onwards came more and more under the influence of the Blanquists. Nearly all the British members of the Council were of the same opinion as Eccarius and Co., and were anxious to transfer the headquarters in order that they might be left free to organise the British movement along the lines they considered the best. Already in 1867, certain British members had complained of the “German dictatorship,” i.e., the ideological and political supremacy of Marx, and had wished for the removal of the headquarters of the International from London to the Continent. Fox, a radical writer and a member of the Council, had written to Becker urging him “to do all in his power to remove the seat of the General Council from London.” (Cf. Briefwechsel, Vol. III., p.412. A similar idea had been working in Marx’s own mind during 1868. Following upon the mass adhesions of the Germans to the International, as a result of the Nuremburg Congress, Marx, in his letter to Engels under date August 4, 1868, wrote: “My plan is that the seat of the General Council shall be transferred to Geneva next year, and we shall only function in London as a British Council. This seems to me a wise move, coming as it will from ourselves. It will show the idiots in Paris, etc., that we are not at all keen on keeping this delightful dictatorship in our own hands. What do you think about the matter?” Engels, in his reply, was loath to agree to the proposal. He did not consider that Becker was the leader the International needed. Besides, if the General Council were removed from “the highly respected London, which is looked upon as the Medina of the refugees,” to Geneva, who was to guarantee that “the Proudhonists will not consider it a matter of international courtesy to choose Brussels or Paris as headquarters? ... The greater the issues involved, the more necessary is it that you should keep at the helm.” (Ibid, Vol. IV. pp.74-5.) In a subsequent letter, dated September 12, 1868, Marx writes: “Mr. Tolain and the other Parisians want to remove the seat of the General Council to Brussels.” (Ibid, p.80.)
275 The General Council elected by the Hague Congress consisted of the following members: two Irishmen, Kavanagh and Saint-Clair; a Swede, Laurel; an Italian, Fornacieri; three Frenchmen, David, Levièle, and Bertrand; a German, Bolte; an Englishman, Speyer, and an American, Ward.
276 This last point is emphasised in the Address written by Marx in 1864.
277 As a matter of fact neither Guillaume nor Schwitzguébel had formally belonged to the Alliance (which, by the way was constantly changing its composition and its form); but they were avowed champions of the Bakuninist outlook, and agents for the propaganda of Bakunin’s doctrines.
278 In this respect, thanks to the conspiratorial machinations of the Bakuninist intriguers, there was made a blunder, whose details could hardly be realised at that time. The committee (with the kindly aid of the Bakuninists, who were joint members of the committee) was confounding three distinct organisations (1) the Bakuninist secret Alliance; (2) the Geneva group of the Alliance, and its successor, the Group of Social Revolutionary Activity, which had sent Zhukoffsky to the Hague Congress as its delegate; and (3) the Spanish branches of the International which had anarchist leanings, had taken the name of Alianza, and had, in a actual fact, accepted the Bakuninist program. (Guillaume, L'Internationale, Vol. II., p.274.)
279 Even to-day, when a mass of documents has been published concerning Bakunin’s activities, the question of the Alliance cannot yet be said to have been cleared up; at the time of the Hague Congress it was extremely difficult to examine the question adequately. The fact of the matter was that there existed many secret societies founded by Bakunin, and some of them were contemporaneous one with the other; others, again, got no farther than the project stage of development, though to the casual observer relying upon written documents, it might appear that these projected secret societies were actualities. Max Nettlau in his biography of Bakunin writes concerning these affairs: “In fact, we have to do with various documents, with schemes concerning which it is impossible to say whether they were ever realised. As I have shown elsewhere, these schemes seem of little importance on close examination. No one into whose hands the drafts came in a legitimate way could fail to know this. They were sent from Geneva to Marx and Engels, presumably by Utin. Did the latter conceal from his correspondents the essential unimportance of the documents? Or did Marx, although better informed himself, conceal the facts from the committee?” (Michael Bakunin, German lithograph, p.724.) There is no ground for this last supposition. Neither Marx nor Engels questioned the reality of the secret Alliance; and all the attempts of Guillaume, Nettlau, and others, to show that the Alliance was created by the Marxists’ imagination, conflict with the facts which they themselves report.
280 Meyer, op. cit., Vol. I., pp.140-142.
281 It is interesting to note that from the very outset Marx had wished he could “throw off the incubus” of work in the International. But he recognised that he “could not do so yet awhile” either in the matter of the international Workingmen’s Association or in that of the Reform League. The fear that these organisations might fall a prey to bourgeois elements held him to his post. (Cf. Briefwechsel, vol. III., pp. 284 et seq. Letter to Engels under date December 26, 1865.)
282 Laveleye, op. cit., pp. 218-222.
283 Meyer, op. cit., Vol. I., p.173.
284 Protokoll des Internationalen Arbeiter-Congress zu Paris, 1889, Deutsche Uebersetzung, mit einem Vorwort von Wilhelm Liebknecht, Nuremburg, 1890, p.7.