Letter to Louis Bauer, November 30, 1849

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Author(s) Karl Marx
Written 30 November 1849


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Source: Marx-Engels Collected Works, Volume 38, p. 218;
First published: in Marx and Engels, Works, First Russian Edition, 1934.

To Louis Bauer in London

Draft, London, 30 November 1849[edit source]

Sir,

In view of the inimical relations now obtaining between the two societies to which we belong — in view of your direct attacks upon the refugee committee here,[1] at any rate upon my friends and colleagues in the same — we must break off social relations if we are not mutually to expose ourselves to equivocal interpretations. Yesterday evening I thought it unseemly, in the presence of my wife, to express my views on this collision.

While expressing my utmost obligation to you for your medical assistance, I would beg you to send me your account.

Yours truly
Dr K. Marx

  1. Societies referred to are the German Workers’ Educational Society (London) (*) and the Democratic Association formed by a group of petty-bourgeois democrats headed by Kallenberg in London early in November 1849, and joined later by some former members of the Educational Society, Ludwig Bauer among them. Engels also wrote to Jakob Schabelitz on the collision between the two organisations (see Letter to Jakob Lukas-Schabelitz, December 22, 1849).

    The German Political Refugee Committee was set up on Marx’s initiative under the auspices of the German Workers’ Educational Society in London on 18 September 1849. Besides Marx and other members of the Communist League it included some petty-bourgeois democrats. At the meeting of the Educational Society on 18 November the Committee was transformed into the Social-Democratic Refugee Committee, the aim being to dissociate the proletarian section of the London refugees from the petty-bourgeois elements. The new Committee included only members of the Communist League. Marx was elected its chairman. Engels, who after his arrival in London was included in the Central Authority of the Communist League restored by Marx, also became a member of the Social-Democratic Refugee Committee.

    Besides rendering material aid to the proletarian refugees, the Committee played an important role in reorganising the Communist League and re-establishing ties between its members. In September 1850, Marx, Engels and their adherents withdrew from the Committee because the followers of the Willich-Schapper sectarian group were in the majority in the Educational Society to which the Refugee Committee was accountable.

    Early in November 1849, the petty-bourgeois democrats of the Democratic Association formed their own Refugee Committee headed by Ludwig Bauer, Friedrich Bobzin and Gustav Struve.
    (*) The German Workers’ Educational Society in London was founded in February 1840 by Kari Schapper, Joseph Moll and other members of the League of the Just, its aim being political education of workers and dissemination of socialist ideas among them. After the Communist League had been founded the leading role in the Society belonged to the League’s local communities. In 1847 and 1849-50 Marx and Engels took an active part in the Society’s work.