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The General Council of the International Working Men’s Association To Committee Members of the Russian Section in Geneva
|Written||24 March 1870|
First Published: in Russian in Narodnoye Dyelo, No. 1, April 15, 1870
At its meeting of March 22, the General Council declared by unanimous vote that your programme and rules accord with the general rules of the International Working Men’s Association. It immediately admitted your section into the International. I am pleased to accept your proposal to take on the honourable duty of being your representative on the General Council.
You say in your programme:
“... that the imperial yoke oppressing Poland is a brake equally hampering the political and social emancipation of both nations — the Russian just as much as the Polish.”
You might add that Russia’s violent conquest of Poland provides a pernicious support and real reason for the existence of a military regime in Germany, and, as a consequence, on the whole Continent. Therefore, in working on breaking Poland’s chains, Russian socialists take on themselves the lofty task of destroying the military regime; that is essential as a precondition for the general emancipation of the European proletariat.
A few months ago I received from St. Petersburg Flerovsky’s work The Condition of the Working Class in Russia. This is a real eye-opener for Europe. Russian optimism, which is spread over the Continent even by the so-called revolutionaries, is mercilessly exposed in this work. It will not retract from its worth if I say that in one or two places it does not fully satisfy criticism from the purely theoretical point of view. It is the book of a serious observer, a courageous worker, an unbiased critic, a great artist and, above all, of a person intolerant of oppression in all its forms and of all national anthems, and ardently sharing all the sufferings and all the aspirations of the producing class.
Such works as Flerovsky’s and those of your teacher Chernyshevsky do real honour to Russia and prove that your country is also beginning to take part in the movement of our age.
London, March 24, 1870