The International Workingmen's Association

Resolutions of the Central Council on
the Conflict on the Paris Section

Written: March 7, 1865;
First published: in Marx/Engels Gesamlausgabe, Abt. 3, Bd, 3, Berlin, 1930.

I) Resolution. Whereas citizen Tolain has several times tendered his resignation, and the Central Council has as often refused to accept it, the said Council now leaves it to Citizen Tolain and the Paris Administration to reconsider, whether or not under present circumstances, this resignation be opportune. The Central Council confirms beforehand whatever resolution the administration may come to on this point.

II) Resolution. In deference to the wishes of a meeting of 32 members of the Working Men's International Association held at Paris February 24, and in obedience to the principles of popular sovereignty and self-government, the Central Council cancels its, resolution relating to the appointment of an official vindicator for the French press. At the same time the Council seizes this opportunity of expressing its high esteem for Citizen Lefort, in particular as one of the initiators of the Working Men's International Society and in general for his approved public character, and further it protests that it does not sanction the principle that none but an ouvrier is admissible as an official in our society.

III) Resolution. The Council resolves that the present Administration with the addition of citizen Vinçard be confirmed. [In the Minute Book (March 7, 1865) this resolution reads: "The Council resolves that citizens Fribourg, Limousin and Tolain be confirmed in their anterior positions and that the addition to the Administration of Citizen Vinçard is acknowledged".]

IV) Resolution. The Central Council earnestly requests the Administration at Paris to come to an understanding with citizens Lefort and Beluze, so as to admit them, and the group of ouvriers they represent, to be represented in the Administration by three members, but the Council while emitting such a wish, has no power nor design to dictate.

V) The Administration at Paris having expressed its readiness to acknowledge a direct delegation from the Central Council, the Council accordingly appoints Citizen Schily to be its delegate to the said Administration.

Private instruction to Schily

"In case no compromise be arrived at, the Council declare that the group Lefort, after having taken out their cards of membership, will have the Power under our Statutes (see § 7) to form a Local branch Society."

This to be held out in terrorem [as a warning] but confidentially, to Fribourg et Co., in order to induce them to make the necessary concessions, supposed Lefort and Beluze (the director of the Banque du Peuple) are earnest in inducing their group to become members.

Adopted by the Central Council on
March 7, 1865


BACKGROUND: Early in 1865 a conflict arose among the Paris member of the International: a group of Proudhonist workers headed by Henri Tolain and Charles Limousin, on the one hand, and, on the other, a French lawyer and bourgeois republican Henri Lefort, who claimed to be the founder and leader of the International Working Men's Association in France. Those close to Lefort accused Tolain and other members of the Paris Administration of being in contact with the Bonapartists (Marx and Engels exposed this insinuation in the statement to Der Social-Demokrat. Nevertheless, wishing to draw into the International the workers grouped around Lefort, Marx supported the Central Council resolution of February 7 1865, on Lefort's appointment as "Counsel for the literary defence" of the International in France. Those present at the meeting of the Paris Section, however, lodged a protest against this decision, and sent Tolain and Fribourg to London on February 28 to speak on this point at the Central Council meeting. The Council referred the problem to the Sub-Committee which discussed it on March 4 and 6. Marx proposed a draft resolution which has survived in his notebook. When Marx drew it up, he tried to protect the French organization of the International from attacks by bourgeois elements and to strengthen the leadership of the Paris Section by bringing in revolutionary proletarians. (From the Collected Works.)