Letter to Carl Klings, October 4, 1864

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Author(s) Karl Marx
Written 4 October 1864

Source: Marx-Engels Collected Works, Volume 42, p 3;.
First published: in Russian, in Bolshevik, No. 8, 1934.
Collection(s): Bolshevik

To Carl Klings in Solingen

London, 4 October 1864 1 Modena Villas, Maitland Park, Haverstock Hill[edit source]

Dear Friend,

I was glad to receive further signs of life from the workers of the Rhine Province, as conveyed in your letter of 28 September.

B. Becker or M. Hess? I know them both; both are old members of the movement. Both are honest. Neither of them is capable of leading a movement of any import. Becker is a weak man, in fact, and Hess a muddle-head. It is therefore difficult to decide between the two. I also think it scarcely signifies which of the two you elect, as there will be no difficulty in finding the right people at the decisive moment.

Enquiries have reached me, e.g. from Berlin, as to whether I would accept the presidency? I replied that it was impossible, because for the present I am still forbidden to take up residence in Prussia. [in any case, if I were to assume the leadership, the government would immediately suppress the whole thing] However, I would certainly think it a good gesture by the party, vis-à-vis both the Prussian government and the bourgeoisie, if the workers’ congress were to elect me, to which I would make a public reply explaining why I cannot accept the election. Such a step would be important for the following reason in particular: a big public meeting of workers took place here in London on 28 September, with English, German, French and Italian workers participating. The Parisian workers had, moreover, sent over a special delegation, headed by Tolain, a worker, who was put up as a candidate by the working class in Paris in the last elections for the Corps législatif.

At this meeting, a Comité was elected — an international Comité to represent the workers’ interests, which is directly linked to the workers in Paris and includes the leaders of the London workers. I was elected as representative of the German workers (and my old friend Eccarius, the tailor, along with me). [to establish a liaison between the German workers’ movement and the English one] If I were thus nominated by the German congress — although I would have to decline the election now — the Comité and with it the workers in London and Paris would regard this as a gesture on the part of the German workers. Next year, the Comité will be calling an international workers’ congress in Brussels. Unfortunately, I shall not be able to attend in person, as I am still exiled from the model state of Belgium, just as I am from France and Germany.

I shall send you some ‘Manifestoes’ at the first safe opportunity.

This letter will be brought to you by one of my friends from Barmen.

I have been sick throughout the past year (being afflicted with carbuncles and furuncles). Had it not been for that, my work on political economy, ‘Capital’, would already have come out. I hope I may now complete it finally in a couple of months and deal the bourgeoisie a theoretical blow from which it will never recover.

Farewell; you may count on my remaining ever a loyal champion of the working class.

K. M.