Letter to Laura Lafargue, May 3, 1892

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Author(s) Friedrich Engels
Written 3 May 1892


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First published, in the language of the original (English), in: F. Engels, P. and L. Lafargue, Correspondance, t. Ill , Paris, 1959

Extract: Marx and Engels on the Trade Unions, Edited by Kenneth Lapides;

Published in Marx-Engels Collected Works, Volume 49

To Laura Lafargue at Le Perreux

London, May 3, 1892[edit source]

My dear Laura,

A few lines in a hurry. What was intended as a defeat for us here, has ended in a veritable triumph. We had only two platforms on Sunday, but they were the only ones that drew both public and press. You will have seen our involuntary caricatures in the D[aily] Graphic I sent you. Platform No. 14, the international platform, was the great success of the day. By a conspicuous piece of good luck, Roussel of the Bourse du travail[1] was, it seems, sent out of the way of Prudent Dervillers and Argyriades by them and Adolphe Smith and came on our platform, so that we had two Frenchmen[2], two Russians[3], a German, Bernstein, an Austrian, Louise, a Pole, Mendelson and a Jew[4] besides la Española Mrs C. Graham and the Britishers.[5]

The demonstration itself was immense, even compared with the two previous ones and showed that things are moving here, though they move in that peculiar roundabout way in which the English delight.

In the evening we had the Mendelsons, Bernsteins, Tussy and Edward of course, and Bonnier brought Roussel, we were very jolly, had a Maibowle, and fat Roussel was effusively delighted, while Argyriades and Co. owned next morning to him, they had been bored to death in the company where they had, or rather had been, moved (sans calembour![6])

I am very anxiously awaiting the Socialiste to learn something about our electoral successes on May 1st in France, the papers you sent me do not contain anything to go by, and surely if we had not secured majorities, we must have got in at least some minorities.

Anyhow I am glad the thing passed off quietly everywhere. The idea that the 1st of May is to be a day of rows and riots is a mere trap set by the bourgeois and we have no interest whatever to fall into that trap. We want to show our strength, that’s all; as to when we are to use that strength, that’s our business, not that of our opponents, if we can help it.

Thanks for the papers — Dinner Bell! I have Pumps, Percy and family here, so cannot write much, must take them out to see some of the sights they have missed so long in the Isle of Wight. They send their kindest regards to you and Paul. Ditto from Louise.

Ever yours,

F. Engels

  1. Labour Stock-Exchange
  2. Paul Lafargue and Ferdinand Roussel
  3. Felix Volkhovsky and Sergei Stepnyak-Kravchinsky
  4. Shajer
  5. Edward Aveling, Eleanor Marx-Aveling, William Morris, Thomas Mann, Peter Curran and others
  6. this is not a pun