From the Minutes of the Committee Meeting of the Cologne Workers' Association, January 15, 1849
After the minutes of the previous meeting have been read and adopted, Röser, the Chairman, asks whether Citizen Prinz, the editor, is present and, on being told that he has already left, says that as an official of the Association Prinz should be taken to task for his recent conduct and for the changes he has made in the paper without notifying the Association....
Citizens Marx and Schapper, seconded by many others, move that in addition to Citizen Prinz as editor of the official organ of the Association an editorial commission should be appointed which should see that this organ truly represents the interests of the Association and is directed in the spirit of our party.
The motion is adopted and Citizens Schapper, Röser and Reiff are appointed to this editorial commission.
Citizen Westermann reads out the “statement” issued from Brussels by Dr. Gottschalk and cannot declare himself in agreement with his course.
However, Citizen Marx, seconded by Schapper, moves that the matter should be left aside for the time being, since the statement issued was too doubtful and vague for any definite conclusions to be drawn from it; but that, to clear up the matter, a commission be appointed which should sum up the parts that appear vague, and send a letter to Dr. Gottschalk asking him for clarification and explanation.
This motion meets with general approval, and Citizens Dr. Marx, Anneke, Schapper, Röser and Esser are nominated and appointed to the commission....
Citizen Anneke proposes that the forthcoming elections be discussed at future meetings.
Citizen Schapper thinks that, if this had been done about four weeks ago, we could perhaps have achieved something good as a party of our own, but it is now too late, since we are not at all organised yet; it would not be possible for the Workers’ Association to get its own candidates elected.
Citizen Marx is also of the opinion that the Workers’ Association as such would not be able to get candidates elected now; nor is it for the moment a question of doing anything with regard to principle, but of opposing the Government, absolutism, and the rule of feudalism, and for that, simple democrats, so-called liberals, who are also far from satisfied with the present Government, are sufficient. Things have to be taken as they are. Since it is now important to offer the strongest possible opposition to the absolutist system, plain common sense demands that if we realise that we cannot get our own view of principle accepted in the elections, we should unite with another party, also in opposition, so as not to allow our common enemy, the absolute monarchy, to win.
It is hereupon resolved to take part in the general electoral committees which are to be set up in this town after its division into electoral districts, and to represent the general democratic principle there.
Citizens Schapper and Röser are appointed to effect a closer liaison between workers and democrats; they are to take part in the committee meetings of the Democratic Association and report here on them.
- Freiheit, Brüderlichkeit, Arbeit.—Ed.
- When the Zeitung des Arbeiter-Vereines zu Köln (see Note 180) ceased to appear, the newspaper Freiheit, Brüderlichkeit, Arbeit which began publication on October 26, 1848, became the organ of the Cologne Workers’ Association (see Note 179). The publisher was Röser, Vice-President of the Cologne Workers’ Association, and the responsible editor was W. Prinz. At the end of December 1848, as a result of Gottschalk’s interference in the paper’s affairs, its publication was interrupted. From January 14, 1849, the newspaper Freiheit, Arbeit began to appear, its publisher being the printer Brocker-Evererts. Prinz, its responsible editor and a supporter of Gottschalk, pursued the policy of splitting the Cologne Workers’ Association. He refused to submit to the editorial commission which had been appointed at the committee meeting of the Cologne Workers’ Association on January 15 and consisted of Schapper, Röser and Reiff; therefore the committee meeting of January 29 resolved that the Freiheit, Arbeit could not be regarded as the Association’s newspaper and that the Freiheit Brüderlichkeit, Arbeit should resume publication; Christian Joseph Esser was appointed its editor. The Freiheit Brüderlichkeit, Arbeit reappeared on February 8 and continued publication up to the middle of 1849. The Freiheit, Arbeit continued to appear until June 17, 1849. It sharply attacked Marx and the Neue Rheinische Zeitung’s editorial board and published various malicious insinuations against them.
- After December 23, when the members of the Cologne Workers’ Association, Anneke, Esser and Gottschalk, were acquitted, the last-named tried to keep aloof from the Association (at first he went to Bonn, and later to Paris and Brussels); at the same time, he endeavoured, through his associates, to cause a split in the ranks of the organisation and again impose a sectarian policy on it. in a statement written in Brussels on January 9, 1849, and published in the Freiheit, Arbeit on January 18, Gottschalk explained his “voluntary exile” by the fact that, despite the acquittal, many of his fellow citizens remained convinced of his guilt. He declared that he would come back only “at the call of the hitherto supreme arbiter in the country” (an allusion to Frederick William IV) or “at the call of his fellow citizens”. For an appraisal of this ambiguous statement see the decision of Branch No. 1 of the Cologne Workers’ Association (present edition, Vol. 9).
- According to the decree of December 5, 1848, the elections of electors were fixed for January 22, and the election of deputies to the Second Chamber of the Prussian Diet for February 5, 1849.
- The Democratic Society in Cologne was set up in April 1848; it included workers and artisans as well as small businessmen. Marx, Engels and other editors of the Neue Rheinische Zeitung who directed the Society’s activity wanted to orientate it towards a resolute struggle against the counter-revolutionary policy of the Prussian ruling circles and exposure of the liberal bourgeoisie’s policy of agreement. In April 1849, Marx and his followers, who had practically begun to organise an independent mass proletarian party, considered it best to dissociate themselves from the petty-bourgeois democrats and withdrew from the Democratic Society. Meanwhile they continued to support the revolutionary actions of the German democratic forces.