International Working Men’s Association
London Conference – September, 1871

Resolution on Working Class Political Action


Considering the following passage of the preamble to the Rules:

“The economic emancipation of the working classes is the great end to which every political movement ought to be subordinate as a means”;

That the Inaugural Address of the International Working Men’s Association (1864) states:

“The lords of land and the lords of capital will always use their political privileges for the defence and perpetuation of their economic monopolies. So far from promoting, they will continue to lay every possible impediment in the way of the emancipation of labour... To conquer political power has therefore become the great duty of the working classes”;

That the Congress of Lausanne (1867) has passed this resolution:

“The social emancipation of the workmen is inseparable from their political emancipation”;

That the declaration of the General Council relative to the pretended plot of the French Internationalists on the eve of the plebiscite (1870) says:

“Certainly by the tenor of our Statutes, all our branches in England, on the Continent, and in America have the special mission not only to serve as centres for the militant organization of the working class, but also to support, in their respective countries, every political movement tending towards the accomplishment of our ultimate end – the economic emancipation of the working class”;

That false translations of the original Statutes have given rise to various interpretations which were mischievous to the development and action of the International Working Men’s Association;

In presence of an unbridled reaction which violently crushes every effort at emancipation on the part of the working men, and pretends to maintain by brute force the distinction of classes and the political domination of the propertied classes resulting from it;

Considering, that against this collective power of the propertied classes the working class cannot act, as a class, except by constituting itself into a political party, distinct from, and opposed to, all old parties formed by the propertied classes;

That this constitution of the working class into a political party is indispensable in order to ensure the triumph of the social revolution and its ultimate end – the abolition of classes;

That the combination of forces which the working class has already effected by its economic struggles ought at the same time to serve as a lever for its struggles against the political power of landlords and capitalists

The Conference recalls to the members of the International:

That in the militant state of the working class, its economic movement and its political action are indissolubly united.