Reply to Bucher's "Declaration" (1878)

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Author(s) Karl Marx
Written 27 June 1878

Published in the Frankfurter Zeitung und Handelsblatt, No. 180, June 29, 1878; Vossische Zeitung, No. 152, July 2, 1878; Vorwärts, No. 78, July 5, 1878
Published in English for the first time in Marx-Engels Collected Works, Volume 24
Keywords : Press

Note from MECW vol. 24 :

Marx's letter "Herr Bücher" was reprinted from The Daily News by many German papers. A number of errors were made in the translations; this prompted Bücher to come up with his "Declaration", to which Marx replied with the given item printed in German newspapers under the title "Marx und Bücher".

Mr. Lothar Bucher has published a "declaration" in the Norddeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung of June 21[1], which in the first instance establishes the unpleasant circumstance that my letter to The Daily News was reprinted by the National-Liberal and Party-of-Progress newspapers.[2] Mr. Bûcher declares that 3,000 lines would be required in order to straighten out the distortions I had compressed together. Thirty lines are more than sufficient to establish once and for all the truth of Bucher's "corrections" and "supplementary statements". The letter in which Mr. Bûcher tries to bring me to heel for the Staats-Anzeiger is dated October 8, 1865, and thus originates from the period of the conflict between the Prussian liberal and Party-of-Progress bourgeoisie and Mr. von Bismarck. The letter says, amongst other things:

"With regard to the content, it goes without saying that you only follow your scientific conviction; however, consideration for the readers—haute finance[3]—not the editorial office, will make it advisable that you allow the innermost core to shine through only for those properly versed in these matters."

By contrast, Mr. Bucher's "correction" says that he

"asked Mr. Marx if he would supply the articles requested, in which it was important for the treatment to be objective. There is not a word in my letter pertaining to Mr. Marx's 'own scientific standpoint' ".

Further, the same letter says:

" The Staats-Anzeiger requires a monthly report on the movements in the money market (and, of course, also in the commodity market, inasmuch as the two are inseparable). I was asked if I could not perhaps recommend someone, and replied that no one would do it better than you. I have consequently been asked to contact you."

According to his own unambiguous words therefore, Mr. Bûcher began his "correspondence" with me at the request of someone or other. By contrast, his "correction" asserts:

"No one, not even the editor of the Staats-Anzeiger,[4] knew anything of this correspondence or learned anything about it."

So much on Mr. Bucher's method of making corrections. And now a sample of his method when it comes to making supplementary statements! My letter to The Daily News mentions only Mr. Bucher's "naive" inquiry of me, but refrains from mentioning a word about my answer to him. He, however, in his anxiety to make the "curious occurrence" appear in a trivial light, has to "supplement" me and therefore invents the following:

"Mr. Marx replied that he would not write for a reactionary newspaper."

How am I to answer with such banalities a letter whose "innermost core" doesn't "only" shine through, but flashes through blindingly in the following closing passage:

"Progress" (he means the liberal or Party-of-Progress bourgeoisie) "will cast its skin many times before it dies; and therefore anyone who wishes to have an effect within the state in his lifetime, must rally round the government"

Karl Marx

London, June 27

  1. A. L. Bücher [Declaration concerning Karl Marx's letter in The Daily News], Berlin, den 20. Juni, Norddeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, No. 145, June 21, 1878.— Ed
  2. Berliner Freie Presse, No. 138, June 16 and Vossische Zeitung, No. 139, June 16, 1878.— Ed
  3. Finance aristocracy.— Ed.
  4. Adolf Rutenberg.— Ed.