Letter to Léon Fontaine, July 25, 1865

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Author(s) Karl Marx
Written 25 July 1865


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Source: Marx-Engels Collected Works, Volume 42, p. 170;
First published: Marx and Engels, Works; Moscow, 1934.
Keywords : Letter, Germany, Italy, Paris, Geneva

To Leon Fontaine in Brussels

[Draft] [London,] 25 July 1865[edit source]

Dear Citizen,

Some considerable time ago I sent a letter to you by an Englishman, who was to visit Germany and travel through Brussels. Since then I have had no news, either from you or from my Englishman. I shall not refer back to my reply to your letter, but will deal solely with current matters.

Mr Le Lubez has rejoined the Central Council as delegate from an English branch, and the Italian society in London has reinstated Mr Wolff as its representative on the Council.

Mr Charles Limousin, one of our correspondents in Paris and editor of the Tribune ouvrière..., following the seizure of the Tribune ouvrière, and being unable to find another printer in Paris, went to Brussels in an attempt to bring out the paper there. Whilst there, he investigated the state of our affairs. He was told that, after it had unanimously approved your proposal that it should amalgamate with our Association, the Société Fédérative had withdrawn:

1. because it insisted on the right to choose its own correspondents and not have them imposed on it by the Central Council;

2. because it refused to pay for the membership cards, although it remitted 1f. 50 just as before.

According to Mr Limousin’s letter, you had then approached the Société typographique, but with the same result owing to the same difficulties.

With regard to the election of correspondents, the Central. Council has acknowledged the right of affiliated societies to choose their own representatives. It has only retained the power to confirm them. Things were different in Brussels because no society had yet been constituted there. Would it not be possible to reach a compromise, whereby the societies would accept you as their correspondent, but they would, for their part, choose an administrative committee, as was done in Paris and Geneva?

With regard to the dues, the societies will readily realise that the Central Council would be prevented from any general action if all the affiliated societies claimed the right not to pay dues. It appears that the objection is to paying dues twice. Would it not be possible to find an amicable solution to these matters? The Central Council will make any concession compatible with its responsibilities.

For my part, I am convinced that your actions were dictated solely by your zeal for the common cause, and I am appealing to this same zeal in asking you to work for reconciliation and restoration of relations. You would oblige me greatly by replying immediately, firstly because I have to give the Central Council a report on this affair, and secondly because a preliminary conference of members of the various administrative committees will be taking place in London on 25 September.

The Central Council is persuaded that the congress cannot take place this year, but the preliminary conference in London will make preparations for it.

With fraternal greetings
Ch. Marx