Account of a Letter by Karl Marx to the Committee of the Social-Democratic Workers' Party

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The content of Marx’s letter to the Committee of the German Social-Democratic Workers’ Party of June 27, 1870 was given by the President of the court proceedings at the Leipzig trial (1872) of Wilhelm Liebknecht, August Bebel and Adolph Hepner, all three accused of high treason. It was presented as incriminating evidence at the trial of the Brunswick Committee of the Social-Democratic Workers’ Party in 1871.

The text is published here from Leipziger Hochverrathsprocess..., Leipzig 1872 which was reprinted in 1874 and 1894. The latter edition was prepared by Wilhelm Liebknecht on the instructions of the Committee of the Social-Democratic Workers’ Party. According to the President of the Leipzig court the letter was signed: “In the name of the General Council of the International Working Men’s Association, Karl Marx, Secretary for Germany.”

[London, June 27, 1870]

The second[1] letter concerns business matters of the International Working Men’s Association, the postponement of the congress in particular. Marx emphatically rejects Liebknecht’s proposal to postpone the congress until October, even though such a postponement would be very welcome to the General Council itself as the congress documents are not yet ready. But the French, Marx wrote, were already displeased about the congress being held in Mainz and not at least in Verviers, whereas the Parisians particularly wanted to have it in Paris. We must not provide any cause for unrest. Marx fears that if Liebknecht’s plan for postponement is sanctioned there will be minority congress of the French and the French-speaking Swiss under Bakunin and he says: “National petty jealousies have penetrated too deeply into people’s blood to be reasoned away in a day.