To the English Socialist and Working Men's Organisations, August 1894

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Engels wrote this address at the request of Pablo Iglesias, a leader of the Spanish Working Men’s Socialist Party , set forth in his letter to Engels of July 27, 1894. Besides the rough draft addressed to the trade union congress, Engels mailed copies to the British socialist and workers ‘organisations listed below in the letter. The letter sent to the Fabian Society is extant. Engels also sent similar greetings to the Social Democrats of Austria and Germany.

The fourth congress of the Spanish Working Men’s Socialist Party took place in Madrid on August 29-September 1, 1894. It heard the reports of the Party’s National Council and the delegate to the International Socialist Workers’ Congress in Zurich (see Note 370), discussed the question of the party press and approved new Party Rules.

Dear Comrades, [1]

I am instructed by the Executive Council of the Spanish Working Men’s Socialist Party to inform the English Working Men’s [and ] Socialist Organisations that the said Spanish Socialist Party will hold their 4th annual Congress at Madrid on the 29 August and following days, and that they would be happy to receive on that occasion a few lines of congratulation—in Spanish or French—from English friends, directed to the address at foot.

The Belfast Trades Union Congress [of ] 1893 [2] having adhered to the International Socialist Movement by voting a resolution demanding the socialisation of all means of production and exchange, I feel bound to include its organ the Parliamentary Committee [of the Trades Union Congress][3] in the list of those to whom this invitation is sent. [4]

This invitation is sent to

The Legal Eight Hours League

The Social Democratic Federation

“ Independent Labour Party

“ Fabian Society

“ Parliamentary Committee of the Trades Union Congress

“ Gas Workers and General Labourers Union. [5]

I am yours respectfully

F. E.

Pablo Iglesias

H. Cortés 8 principal. Madrid.

  1. The version addressed to the Secretary of the Fabian Society opens with the words: "Dear Sir". — Ed.
  2. On September 4-9, 1893, the 26th annual British Trade Union Congress was held in Belfast. The mounting revolutionary mood among the rank-and-file members of unions compelled the congress to recognise the principle of collective ownership of the means of production, as well as the demand for the legislative introduction of the 8-hour working day.
  3. See Note 302.
  4. In the manuscript this paragraph is enclosed in square brackets; in the version addressed to the Secretary of the Fabian Society it is omitted. — Ed.
  5. The Legal Eight Hours and International Labour League was founded in 1890 by a group of British socialists with Engels’ participation. Its starting point was the Committee that organised the first May Day demonstration in Britain (1890) (see this volume, pp. 61-66). The League set as its goal the emancipation of the working class, implementation of the resolutions adopted by the Paris Congress of the Second International, etc. (see Note 91). In 1893, the League’s representatives contributed to the foundation of the Independent Labour Party. The Social Democratic Federation, see Note 98. The Independent Labour Party was founded in Bradford in January 1893 by the leaders of the new trade unions against the background of a growing strike movement and a stronger campaign for an independent policy on the part of the British working class. It was headed by Keir Hardie. The party programme called for collective ownership of the means of production, introduction of the 8-hour working day, a ban on child labour and introduction of social insurance and unemployment benefit. In his letters to Friedrich Adolph Sorge of January 18 and March 18, 1893, Engels welcomed the foundation of the party, hoping that it would become a truly mass workers ‘organisation (see present edition, Vol. 50). However, right from the start, the Independent Labour Party’s leadership concentrated on parliamentary methods and was not averse to reaching compromises with the Liberals. In 1900, the Independent Labour Party was incorporated into the Labour Party. The Fabian Society, a British reformist organisation founded by bourgeois intellectuals in 1884. Its recognised leaders were Sidney and Beatrice Webb. The Society got its name from the 3rd-century Roman military leader Quintus Fabius Maximus, nicknamed Cunctator (the Delayer) because of his cautious tactics in the war against Hannibal. The Fabian Society embraced mostly intellectuals, who insisted on the possibility of transition from capitalism to socialism through piecemeal reforms and gradual changes, combined with municipal (i.e. locally-organised) socialism. In 1900, the Society was incorporated into the Labour Party. The Gas Workers’ and General Labourers’ Union—see Not e 93 .