Marx-Engels Correspondence 1865
Source: MECW Volume 42, p. 75;
First published: abridged in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, Stuttgart, 1913 and in full in MEGA, Berlin, 1930.
1. Letter from Siebel reporting on his meeting with Klings, with which I had ‘charged’ him. My only comment on it is that I am not going to interfere in the affair any further. If Klings succeeds — without our help — in getting rid of B. Becker and his testamentary importance, together with the beastly old girl [Sophie von Hatzfeldt], that suits me. There is nothing to be done with the Workers’ Association as bequeathed by Baron Izzy [Lassalle]. The sooner it is disbanded, the better.
2. Rheinische Zeitung with leading article, probably by Red Becker. It amounts to an appeal ad misericordiam from the ‘men of Progress’.
My opinion is now that the two of us must issue a statement, and that this crisis particularly gives us the opportunity to reoccupy our ‘legitimate’ position. About 10 days ago, I wrote to Schweitzer that he must stand up to Bismarck and the workers’ party must drop even the appearance of flirting with Bismarck, etc. By way of thanks, he has ‘all ready’ been philandering with Pissmarck more than ever.
‘Yet again’ Moses Hess is ‘all ready’ denouncing the ‘International Association’ for the second time in No. 16 of the Social-Demokrat, which contains the letter I wrote about Proudhon, bristling with misprints. I wrote a furious letter to Liebknecht about it yesterday, telling him that this was the very last warning; that I do not give a farthing for ‘good will’ when its actions are those of ill-will; that I cannot make it clear to the members of the ‘International Committee’ here that things like that occur in bonne foi out of pure stupidity; that while their gutter rag continues to eulogise Lassalle, even though they know what treachery he had up his sleeve, and while it conducts this cowardly flirtation with Bismarck, it has the effrontery to let the Plonplonist Hess accuse us here of Plonplonism, etc.
My opinion is now that we should take up Moses’ denunciation or insinuation in order d'abord to issue a brief declaration of war against Bonaparte Plon-Plon, at the same time making honourable mention of Moses’ friend, the Rabbi Ein-Horn. Then we should use this to declare ourselves ditto against Bismarck, as well as against the rogues or fools who are dreaming or drivelling about an alliance with him for the sake of the working class. Then, of course, in conclusion the beastly men of Progress should be told that they have, on the one hand, run their cause into the ground by their political cowardice and helplessness, and that, on the other hand, if they are demanding an alliance with the working class against the government — which at the moment is, of course, the only correct line — then they would at least have to make the concessions to the workers that accord with their own principle of free trade and ‘democratism’, in other words, repeal of all the exceptional laws against the workers, which in addition to the combination laws quite specifically include the present Prussian legislation on the press. They would ditto have to proclaim, at least in principle, the restoration of universal suffrage, which was abolished by the coup d'état in Prussia. This would be the minimum to be expected of them. Maybe something ought to be put in about the military question as well. At all events, the thing needs to be tied up quickly. And you must get your ‘Ideas’ about the whole statement down on paper. I will then add mine to it and knead it all together, will send the whole thing back to you once again and so forth. The moment seems to me to be favourable for this ‘coup d'état’. We cannot miss this moment for our ‘restitutio in integrum’ out of consideration for Liebknecht or for anyone else.
At the same time, you must not fail to let the Social-Demokrat have your article on the military question [Engels, The Prussian Military Question and the German Workers’ Party] so soon as possible.
I would of course write to them — quoad statement — that, if they do not accept same immediately, same will ‘all ready’ appear in other papers.
If they do accept it, well and good, and it will not even matter if it blows them sky high. (Although Bismarck will take care not to resort to forcible measures at the present moment.) If they do not accept it, we have a decent excuse for getting rid of them. At all events, the air must be cleared and the party purged of the stench left behind by Lassalle.