International Working Men’s Association 1871

Statement by the General Council on Jules Favre’s Circular

Written: by Karl Marx;
Source: The Times, June 13, 1871;
Transcribed: for by Tony Brown.

To the Editor of The Times

Sir, —

On June 6, 1871, M. Jules Favre issued a circular to all the European Powers, calling upon them to hunt down the International Working Men’s Association. A few remarks will suffice to characterize that document.

In the very preamble of our statutes it is stated that the International was founded “September 28, 1864, at a public meeting held at St. Martin’s Hall, London. For purposes of his own Jules Favre puts back the date of its origin behind 1862.

In order to explain our principles, he professes to quote “their (the International’s) sheet of the 25th of March, 1869.” And then what does he quote? The sheet of a society which is not the International. This sort of manoeuvre he already recurred to when, still a comparatively young lawyer, he had to defend the National newspaper, prosecuted for libel by Cabet. Then he pretended to read extracts from Cabet’s pamphlets while reading interpolations of his own — a trick exposed while the court was sitting, and which but for the indulgence of Cabet, would have been punished by Jules Favre’s expulsion from the Paris bar. Of all the documents quoted by him as documents of the International not one belongs to the International. He says, for instance,

“The Alliance declares itself Atheist, says the General Council, constituted in London in July, 1869.”

The General Council never issued such a document. On the contrary, it issued a documenta which quashed the original statutes of the “Alliance” — L'Alliance de la Démocratie Socialiste at Geneva — quoted by Jules Favre.

Throughout his circular, which pretends in part also to be directed against the Empire, Jules Favre repeats against the International but the police inventions of the public prosecutors of the Empire, and which broke down miserably even before the law courts of that Empire.

It is known that in its two addresses (of July and September last) on the late war’ the General Council of the International denounced the Prussian plans of conquest against France. Later on Mr. Reitlinger, Jules Favre’s private secretary, applied, though of course in vain, to some members of the General Council for getting up by the Council a demonstration against Bismarck, in favour of the Government of National Defence; they were particularly requested not to mention the Republic. The preparations for a demonstration with regard to the expected arrival of Jules Favre in London were made — certainly with the best of intentions — in spite of the General Council, which in its address of the 9th of September had distinctly forewarned the Paris workmen against Jules Favre and his colleagues.

What would Jules Favre say if in its turn the International were to send a circular on Jules Favre to all the Cabinets of Europe, drawing their particular attention to the documents published at Paris by the late M. Millière?

I am, Sir, your obedient servant,

John Hales,

Secretary to the General Council of the International Working Men’s Association
256, High Holborn, W.C., June 12, 1871