Newspaper Reports of Marx's Speech in the Vienna Democratic Association on August 28, 1848

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Author(s) Karl Marx
Written August 1848

Printed according to the newspapers
Published in English for the first time in Marx-Engels Collected Works, Volume 7

[Neue Rheinische Zeitung No. 94, September 5, 1848][edit source]

Vienna, August 29. At yesterday’s meeting of the Democratic Association it was discussed whether the Association should approach the Emperor or the Imperial Diet so as to bring about the downfall of Minister Schwarzer or rather the fall of the entire Doblhoff Ministry. Herr Julius Fröbel and Herr Marx were present as guests and both took part in the debate from different standpoints.

Herr Julius Fröbel was of the opinion that the Association should approach the Emperor, whereas Herr Marx maintained that the democratic principle was to be found in the Imperial Diet. No one here is surprised that the Berlin “theoretical” so-called democrats in practice seek to “reach agreement” with the sovereigns.

[Der Radikale No. 64, August 31, 1848][edit source]

Vienna, August 30. The meeting of the Democratic Association on the 28th of this month is one of the most interesting and important events in our current history. Among the guests present we mention the well-known political writer Julius Fröbel and the editor of the Neue Rheinische Zeitung, Herr Karl Marx; both of them have become important on account of their particular fate. As writers, too, they occupy a definite position which is of importance for Germany.... Herr Marx was of the opinion that it was a matter of indifference who was Minister, for here too—as in Paris—it was now a question of the struggle between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. His speech was very witty, trenchant and instructive.…

[Wiener Zeitung No. 252 (supplement), September 17, 1848][edit source]

... in a Viennese Association, where a debate about the dismissal of the Ministers was in progress, an academic from abroad really had the audacity to say the following:

“Up to now the speakers mentioned only two great powers, the Imperial Diet and the Emperor, to whom they intended to appeal in order to bring about the dismissal of the Ministers; but the greatest power, the people, has been forgotten! We must appeal to the people and must try to influence it employing every possible means. We must raise a storm against the Government, and must work towards this end in every possible way, even using Mephistophelian means. We must use the press, posters and discussions to achieve this.[1]

  1. This excerpt was in the retrospective review signed PBS and published in the supplement to the Wiener Zeitung. The author of the review wrote with overt hostility about the “encroaches” of the Left organisations, criticising “a certain association” — this refers to the Vienna Democratic Association — because it let foreign politicians “drastically criticise” the measures of the Austrian Government and breed “distrust”. Having cited Marx, the author exclaims: “For me these words are unforgettable as they reflect all the chasm, all plans of this party.”