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The International Workingmen's Association, 1871

Karl Marx and Frederick Engels


RESOLUTIONS OF THE CONFERENCE OF DELEGATES OF THE INTERNATIONAL WORKING MEN'S ASSOCIATION ASSEMBLED AT LONDON FROM 17TH TO 23RD SEPTEMBER 1871

(CIRCULAR ISSUED BY THE GENERAL COUNCIL

OF THE ASSOCIATION)


The resolutions of the London Conference were mainly drafted and moved at its sessions by Marx and Engels. Several resolutions were based on preliminary drafts prepared by them (see this volume, pp. 407-08), Marx's speeches at the Sub-Committee meeting on September 9, 1871 (ibid., pp. 565-66) and also the speeches by Marx and Engels at the Conference. Marx's and Engels' positions were also reflected in resolutions moved by other delegates at the Conference. In his capacity as Conference Secretary for editing and translating resolutions, Engels took a major part in drafting and editing them.

Marx and Engels deemed it necessary to inform the members of the International and the international working-class movement in general about the major decisions of the Conference as quickly as possible. On their initiative, the Conference commissioned the delegates to make reports in the sections of the International about the adopted resolutions. The General Council charged a special commission headed by Marx with the official publication of the resolutions of the London Conference in English, French and German. Marx and Engels carried out the final editing of the Conference resolutions, which they received in rough form. The translation of the resolutions into French and German was done under their direct supervision.

In view of the fact that the decisions of the 1871 London Conference, which was of a consultative nature, were not, according to the Rules, obligatory, in contrast to the decisions of regular congresses, its resolutions approved by the General Council and published as a circular letter of the General Council, were addressed to all the federations and sections of the International.

The resolutions were published in pamphlet form in English and French at the beginning of November 1871.

The resolutions were published in German in Der Volksstaat, No. 92, November 15, 1871 and as a separate edition early in February 1872. In November-December 1871, on the basis of these three editions approved by the General Council, many newspapers reprinted these resolutions in full or in an abridged form. They were translated into Italian, Spanish, Polish, Serbo- Croatian and Flemish and widely circulated.

The resolutions were published in the principal organs of the International in 1871: L'Egalite,No. 22, November 19, L'Internationale,No. 150, November 26, Die Tagwacht, Nos. 48, 49 and 50, November 25, December 2 and 9, Der Vorbote, No. 12, December, La Emancipation, No. 24, November 27, La Federacion, No. 119, November 26, L'Egnaglianza, No. 21, December 3, and others.

The decisions were supported by most of the sections and federations of the International.



I

COMPOSITION OF GENERAL COUNCIL


The Conference invites the General Council to limit the number of those members whom it adds to itself, and to take care that such adjunctions be not made too exclusively from citizens belonging to the same nationality.


II

DESIGNATIONS OF NATIONAL COUNCILS


1.— In conformity with a Resolution of the Congress of Basel (1869), the Central Councils of the various countries where the International is regularly organised, shall designate themselves henceforth as Federal Councils or Federal Committees with the names of their respective countries attached, the designation of General Council being reserved for the Central Council of the International Working Men's Association.


2.—All local branches, sections, groups and their committees are henceforth to designate and constitute themselves simply and exclusively as branches, sections, groups and committees of the International Working Men's Association with the names of their respective localities attached.


3.—Consequently, no branches, sections, or groups will henceforth be allowed to designate themselves by sectarian names such as Positivists, Mutualists, Collectivists, Communists, etc., or to form separatist bodies under the name of sections of propaganda etc., a The French and German editions have respectively: "National or regional Councils, local branches, sections, groups and their respective Committees" and "National Councils, local branches, sections, groups and their Committees".— Ed.

Karl Marx and Frederick Engels pretending to accomplish special missions, distinct from the common purposes of the Association. 4.—Resolutions 1 and 2 do not, however, apply to affiliated Trades' Unions. in.


III

DELEGATES OF THE GENERAL COUNCIL


All delegates appointed to distinct missions by the General Council shall have the right to attend, and be heard at, all meetings of Federal Councils, or Committees, district and local Committees and branches, without, however, being entitled to vote thereat.



IV.

CONTRIBUTION OF lD.a PER MEMBER TO THE GENERAL COUNCIL


1.—The General Council shall cause to be printed adhesive stamps representing the value of one penny each, which will be annually supplied, in the numbers to be asked for, to the Federal Councils or Committees.


2.—The Federal Councils or Committees shall provide the local Committees, or, in their absence, their respective sections, with the number of stamps corresponding to the number of their members.


3.—These stamps are to be affixed to a special sheet of the livret or to the Rules which every member is held to possess.


4.—On the 1st of March of each year, the Federal Councils or Committees of the different countries shall forward to the General Council the amount of the stamps disposed of, and return the unsold stamps remaining on hand.


5.—These stamps, representing the value of the individual contributions, shall bear the date of the current year.



V

FORMATION OF WORKING WOMEN'S BRANCHES


The Conference recommends the formation of female branches among the working class. It is, however, understood that this resolution does not at all interfere with the existence or formation of branches composed of both sexes.

a The German edition has "(Groschen)" after "Id.", and the French one has "10 [centimes]" instead of "Id." here and below.— Ed. Resolutions of the London Conference



VI

GENERAL STATISTICS OF THE WORKING CLASS


1.—The Conference invites the General Council to enforce art. 5 of the original Rules relating to a general statistics of the working class, and the resolutions of the Geneva Congress, 1866,a on the same subject.


2.—Every local branch is bound to appoint a special committee of statistics, so as to be always ready, within the limits of its means, to answer any questions which may be addressed to it by the Federal Council or Committee of its country, or by the General Council. It is recommended to all branches to remunerate the secretaries of the committees of statistics, considering the general benefit the working class will derive from their labour.


3.—On the first of August of each year the Federal Councils or Committees will transmit the materials collected in their respective countries to the General Council which, in its turn, will have to elaborate them into a general report, to be laid before the Congresses or Conferences annually held in the month of September.


4.—Trades' Unions and international branches refusing to give the information required, shall be reported to the General Council which will take action thereupon.



VII

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS OF TRADES' UNIONS


The General Council is invited to assist, as has been done hitherto, the growing tendency of the Trades' Unions of the different countries to enter into relations with the Unions of the same trade in all other countries. The efficiency of its action as the international agent of communication between the national Trades' societies will essentially depend upon the assistance given by these same societies to the General Labour Statistics pursued by the International.

The boards of Trades' Unions of all countries are invited to keep the General Council informed of the directions of their respective offices.

a Resolutions of the Congress of Geneva, 1866, and the Congress of Brussels, 1868. The International Working Men's Association. Office of General Council, London [1869].—Ed.



VIII.

AGRICULTURAL PRODUCERS


1.—The Conference invites the General Council and the Federal Councils or Committees to prepare, for the next Congress, reports on the means of securing the adhesion of the agricultural producers to the movement of the industrial proletariate.


2.—Meanwhile, the Federal Councils or Committees are invited to send agitators to the rural districts, there to organise public meetings, to propagate the principles of the International and to found rural branches.



IX.

POLITICAL ACTION OF THE WORKING CLASS


Considering the following passage of the preamble to the Rules:

"The economical emancipation of the working classes is the great end to which every political movement ought to be subordinate as a means ; " a

That the Inaugural Address of the International Working Men's Association (1864) states: "The lords of land and the lords of capital will always use their political privileges for the defence and perpetuation of their economical monopolies. So far from promoting, they will continue to lay every possible impediment in the way of the emancipation of labour... To conquer political power has therefore become the great duty of the working classes;"

b

That the Congress of Lausanne (1867) has passed this resolution:

"The social emancipation of the workmen is inseparable from their political emancipation;"0

That the declaration of the General Council relative to the pretended plot of the French Internationals on the eve of the plebiscite (1870) says: "Certainly by the tenor of our Statutes, all our branches in England, on the Continent, and in America have the special mission not only to serve as centres for the militant organisation of the working class, but also to support, in their respective countries, every political movement tending towards the a K. Marx, Rules and Administrative Regulations of the International Working Men's Association (present edition, Vol. 20, Appendices).— Ed. b K. Marx, Inaugural Address of the Working Men's International Association (present edition, Vol. 20, p. 12).— Ed.

c Procès-verbaux du Congrès de l'Association Internationale des Travailleurs réuni à Lausanne du 2 au 8 septembre 1867, Chaux-de-Fonds, 1867.— Ed

accomplishment of our ultimate end—the economical emancipation of the working class;"3

That false translations of the original Statutes b have given rise to various0 interpretations which were mischievous to the development and action of the International Working Men's Association;

In presence of an unbridled reaction which violently crushes every effort at emancipation on the part of the working men, and pretends to maintain by brute force the distinction of classes and the political domination of the propertied classes resulting from itd;

Considering, that against this collective power of the propertied classes the working class cannot act, as a class, except by constituting itself into a political party, distinct from, and opposed to, all old parties formed by the propertied classes;

That this constitution of the working class into a political party is indispensable in order to insure the triumph of the social Revolution and its ultimate end—the abolition of classes;

That the combination of forces which the working class has already effected by its economical struggles ought at the same time to serve as a lever for its struggles against the political power of landlords and capitalists—e

The Conference recalls to the members of the International:

That in the militant state of the working class, its economical movement and its political action are indissolubly united.



X

GENERAL RESOLUTION AS TO THE COUNTRIES WHERE THE REGULAR ORGANISATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL IS INTERFERED WITH BY THE GOVERNMENTS


In those countries where the regular organisation of the International may for the moment have become impracticable in consequence of government interference, the Association, and its a K. Marx, "Concerning the Persecution of the Members of the French Sections" (present edition, Vol. 21, p. 127).— Ed.

b See K. Marx, Provisional Rules of the Association (present edition, Vol. 20).— Ed.

c The German and French editions have "false" instead of "various".— Ed.

d The German edition has "based on it" instead of "resulting from it".— Ed.

e The German and French editions have "its exploiters" instead of "landlords and

capitalists".— Ed.


local groups, may be reformed under various other names, but all secret societies properly so called are and remain formally excluded.



XI

RESOLUTIONS RELATING TO FRANCE


1.—The Conference expresses its firm conviction that all persecutions will only double the energy of the adherents of the International, and that the branches will continue to organize themselves, if not by great centres, at least by workshops and federations of workshops corresponding with each other by their delegates.


2.—Consequently, the Conference invites all branches vigorously to persist in the propaganda of our principles in France and to import into their country as many copies as possible of the publications and Statutes of the International.



XII

RESOLUTION RELATING TO ENGLAND


The Conference invites the General Council to call upon the English branches in London to form a Federal Committee for London which, after its recognition by the provincial branches and affiliated societies,3 shall be recognised, by the General Council, as the Federal Council for England.



XIII

SPECIAL VOTES OF THE CONFERENCE


1.—The Conference approves of the adjunction of the members of the Paris Commune whom the General Council has added to its number.


2.—The Conference declares that German working men have done their duty during the Franco-German war.


3.—The Conference fraternally thanks the members of the Spanish Federation for the memorandum presented by them on the organisation of the International by which they have once more proved their devotion to our common work.


a The German and French editions have "trade unions" instead of "societies".— Ed


4.—The General Council shall immediately publish a declaration to the effect that the International Working Men's Association is utterly foreign to the so-called conspiracy of Netschayeff who has fraudulently usurped3 its name.



XIV.

INSTRUCTION TO CITIZEN OUTINE


Citizen Outine is invited to publish in the journal L'Égalité a succinct report, from the Russian papers, of the Netschayeff trial.

Before publication, his report will be submitted to the General Council.



XV

CONVOCATION OF NEXT CONGRESS


The Conference leaves it to the discretion of the General Council to fix, according to events, the day and place of meeting of the next Congress or Conference. 15



XVI

ALLIANCE DE LA DÉMOCRATIE SOCIALISTE.

(THE ALLIANCE OF SOCIALIST DEMOCRACY)


Considering that the "Alliance de la Démocratie socialiste" has declared itself dissolved (see letter to the General Council d.d. Geneva, 10th August 1871 signed by citizen N. Joukowsky, secretary to the "Alliance"),

That in its sitting of the 18th September (see No. II of this circular) the Conference has decided that all existing organisations of the International shall, in conformity with the letter and the spirit of the general rules, henceforth designate and constitute themselves simply and exclusively as branches, sections, federations, etc., of the International Working Men's Association with the names of their respective localities attached;

That the existing branches and societies shall therefore no longer be allowed to designate themselves by sectarian names such as Positivists, Mutualists, Collectivists, Communists, etc., or to form separatist bodies under the names of sections of propaganda, Alliance


a The German and French editions have "usurped and exploited".— Ed.

b The German and French editions have "or Conference instead of it".— Ed.


de la Démocratie socialiste, etc., pretending to accomplish special missions distinct from the common purposes of the Association3;

That henceforth the General Council of the International Working Men's Association will in this sense have to interpret and apply article 5 of the administrative resolutions of the Basel Congress b: "The General Council has the right either to accept or to refuse the affiliation of any new section or group," etc.c;

The Conference declares the question of the "Alliance de la Démocratie socialiste" to be settled.



XVII

SPLIT IN THE FRENCH-SPEAKING PART OF SWITZERLAND


1.—The different exceptions taken by the Federal Committee of the Mountain sections as to the competency of the Conference are declared inadmissible. (This is but a resume of article 1 which will be printed in full in the Egalité of Geneva.d )


2.—The Conference confirms the decision of the General Council of June 29th, 1870.

At the same time, in view of the persecutions which the International is at present undergoing, the Conference appeals to the feelings of fraternity and union which more than ever ought to animate the working class;

It invites the brave working men of the Mountain sections to rejoin the sections of the Romance Federation;

In case such an amalgamation should prove impracticable it decides that the dissident Mountain sections shall henceforth name themselves the "Jurassian Federation".

The Conference gives warning that henceforth the General Council will be bound to publicly denounce and disavow all organse of the International which, following the precedents of the Progrès and the Solidarité, should discuss in their columns, before

a The French edition has "from the purpose common to the mass of militant proletariat united within the International Working Men's Association" instead of "from the common purposes of the Association".— Ed.

b Association Internationale des Travailleurs. Compte-rendu du IVe Congrès International, tenu a Bàle, en septembre 1869, Brussels, 1869.— Ed.

c The German and French editions have "pending appeal to the next congress" instead of "etc.".— Ed.

d See this volume, pp. 419-22.— Ed.

e The German and French editions have "all would-be organs".— Ed.


the middle-class public, questions exclusively reserved for the local or Federal Committees and the General Council, or for the private and administrative sittings of the Federal or General Congresses.



NOTICE


The resolutions not intended for publicity will be communicated to the Federal Councils or Committees of the various countries by the corresponding secretaries of the General Council.

By order and in the name of the Conference,

The General Council:

R. Applegarth, M. J. Boon, Fred. Bradnick, G. H. Buttery, Delahaye, Eugène Dupont (on mission), W. Hales, G. Harris, Hurliman, Jules Johannard, Fred. Lessner, Lochner, Ch. Longuet, C. Martin, Z. Maurice, Henry Mayo, George Milner, Charles Murray, Pfänder, John Roach, Riihl, Sadler, Cowell Stepney, Alf. Taylor, W. Townshend, E. Vaillant,

John Weston Corresponding Secretaries:

A. Serraillier for France. Walery Wroblewski for Karl Marx Germany and Poland. Russia. Hermann Jung for Switzerland.

F. Engels Italy and Spain.

A. Herman Belgium. T. Mottershead Denmark.

J. P. MacDonnell Ireland. Ch. Rochat Holland.

LeMoussu for theFrench /. G. Eccarius United States.

branches of Leo Frankel Austria and the United States. Hungary.

F. Engels, Chairman—Hermann Jung, Treasurer

John Hales, Gen. Secretary, High Holborn, W.C.,

October 17, 1871

Drafted, edited and prepared for the press between October 8 and 23, 1871

Published as a pamphlet in English, German and French and in several press organs of the International in November-December 1871

Reproduced from the English pamphlet, verified with the German and French editions

16-1232

 

 

 


 

Marx - Engels