Letter to Friedrich Engels, January 30, 1865

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Author(s) Karl Marx
Written 30 January 1865


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Source: Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Selected Correspondence (Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1975).
Published in Marx-Engels Collected Works, Volume 42

To Friedrich Engels in Manchester

... What kind of people our Progressives[1] are is shown once more by their conduct in the combination question. (By the way, the Prussian Anti-Combination Law, like all continental laws of this description, takes its origin from the decree of the Constituent Assembly of 14 June 1791, in which the French bourgeois strictly punish anything of the sort, and indeed any kind of workers’ associations – condemning violators to, for instance, a year’s loss of civil rights – on the pretext that this is a restoration of the guilds and a contravention of constitutional liberty and the ‘rights of man’. It is very characteristic of Robespierre that at a time when it was a crime punishable by guillotining to be ‘constitutional’ in the sense of the Assembly of 1789, all its laws against the workers remained in force.)

  1. Progressives – members of the Prussian bourgeois Progressive Party (Fortschrittspartei) which came into being in June 1861. The party stood for Germany’s unification under Prussian supremacy, the convocation of an all-German parliament and the creation of a strong liberal government responsible to the chamber of deputies. Its fear of the working class and hatred of the socialist movement caused the Progressive Party to accept the ascendancy of the Prussian Junkers and a semi-absolute monarchy in Germany – Progress Publishers.