Proposal from the London District of the Communist League to the Central Authority in Cologne

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Note from MECW :

The proposal to expel the representatives of the sectarian faction from the Communist League was made after the factionalists had refused to abide by the decision of the Cologne Central Authority to set up in London two independent districts of the League, directly subordinate to the Central Authority. Willich, Schapper and their followers formed their own central authority in an attempt to influence all the League organisations and isolate the supporters of Marx and Engels, whose expulsion they announced. In opposition to the Communist League, Willich and Schapper set up their own organisation, which in this and other documents is referred to as the Sonderbund, by analogy with the separatist union of seven Swiss cantons (see Note 25). On November 11, 1850, the London district formed from the supporters of Marx and Engels submitted the proposal in question to the Cologne Central Authority to expel members of the Sonderbund, and particularly its leaders, from the Communist League. The Central Authority endorsed the proposal and incorporated it in its Address of December 1. The text of the proposal has come down to us as part of this Address, which fell into the hands of the police in 1851 and later appeared in bourgeois semi-official periodicals and police-sponsored publications (see Note 444).

To expel all members of the Sonderbund and in particular Schapper, Willich, Schärttner, Lehmann, Dietz (Oswald), Geben, Fränkel (the last seven by name) and to inform all League districts and communities of this decision as well as the Sonderbund in London and its leaders.[...]

1. They have communicated reports, and false reports at that, concerning the split in London to leaders of secret societies outside the League and to refugees of various nationalities.

2. They are in a state of open rebellion against the legally constituted Central Authority in Cologne; they act in defiance of the latter’s decisions and have an emissary[1] travelling around Germany to found a Sonderbund.

3. They have violated, and still violate, in their relations with the members of the London district, all obligations binding on the members of secret societies.

4. They have, since the separation, broken all the laws of secret societies and to permit them to remain in the League any longer would only serve them to hasten its disintegration.

  1. Gaude.— Ed