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Full text of "Critique of the Gotha programme"

KARL MARX 

CRITIQUE 

OF THE 

GOTHA 
PROGRAMME 



FOREIGN LANGUAGES PRESS 
PEKING 1972 




First Edition 1972 



Prepared ©for the Internet by David J. Romagnolo, dir@cruzio.com (May 1997) 
PDF created by dudeman5685@yahoo.com 



PUBLISHER'S NOTE 

The present EngHsh edition of Karl Marx's Critique of the Gotha Programme contains Marx's 
"Marginal Notes to the Programme of the German Workers' Party", his letter to Wilhelm Bracke 
of May 5, 1875, and Engels' "Foreword", his letter to August Rebel of March 18-28, 1875, and his 
letter to Karl Kautsky of February 23, 1891, which have been reprinted from the English edition of 
Selected Works of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Vol. II, Foreign Languages Publishing House, 
Moscow, 1951, with corrections of the translation where necessary, and with revisions of the 
"Marginal Notes" according to the original German manuscript as given in the Works of Marx and 
Engels, Vol. 19. Engels' letter to Bracke of October 11, 1875, and his letter to Bebel of October 
12, 1875, have been reprinted from the English edition of the Critique published by International 
Publishers, New York, 1938, likewise with corrections of the translation. Engels' other letters have 
been translated from the German original. 

Most of the notes at the end of the book are translations of those in the Chinese edition, while 
the rest are from the English editions mentioned above. 



CONTENTS 



FOREWORD by Frederick Engels 3 

MARX TO WILHELM BRACKS (May 5, 1875) 5 

MARGINAL NOTES TO THE PROGRAMME OF THE GERMAN 

WORKERS' PARTY 8 

I. 8 

n. 22 

m. 24 

IV. 26 

ENGELS ON THE GOTHA PROGRAMME 35 

ENGELS TO AUGUST BEBEL (March 18-28, 1875) 37 

ENGELS TO WILHELM BRACKE (October 1 1 , 1 875) 47 

ENGELS TO AUGUST BEBEL (October 1 2, 1 875) 51 

ENGELS TO KARK KAUTSKY (January 7, 1 89 1 ) 54 

ENGELS TO KARK KAUTSKY (January 15, 1891) 56 

ENGELS TO KARK KAUTSKY (February 3,1891) 58 

ENGELS TO KARK KAUTSKY (February 11,1891) 61 

ENGELS TO FREDERICK ADOLPH SORGE (February 11,1891) 65 

ENGELS TO KARK KAUTSKY (February 23,1891) 67 

ENGELS TO FREDERICK ADOLPH SORGE (March 4,1891) 72 

ENGELS TO AUGUST BEBEL (May 1-2, 1891) 74 

NOTES 81 



CRITIQUE OF 
THE GOTHA PROGRAMME^ 



Written by Karl Marx, April -- early 
Original in German 
May 18 75 

Published in Die Neue Zeit, No. 18, 
Vol. I, 1891, with abridgements. 



page 3 

FOREWORD BY FREDERICK ENGELS 

The manuscript published here ~ the covering letter to Bracke as well as the 
critique of the draft programme ~ was sent in 1875, shortly before the Gotha 
Unity Congress,i2] to Bracke for communication to Geib, Auer, Bebel and 
Liebknecht to be subsequently returned to Marx. Since the Halle Party Congressis] 
has put the discussion of the Gotha Programme on the agenda of the Party, I think 
I would be guilty of suppression if I any longer withheld from the public this 
important ~ perhaps the most important ~ document relevant to this discussion. 

But the manuscript has yet another and more far-reaching significance. Here for 
the first time Marx's attitude to the line adopted by Lassalle in his agitation from 
the very beginning is clearly and firmly set forth, both as regards Lassalle's 
economic principles and his tactics. 

The ruthless severity with which the draft programme is dissected here, the 
mercilessness with which the results obtained are enunciated and the 
shortcomings of the draft laid bare ~ all this today, after fifteen years, can no 
longer give offence. Specific Lassalleans now exist only abroad as 



page 4 

isolated ruins, and in Halle the Gotha Programme was given up even by its 
creators as altogether inadequate. 

Nevertheless, I have omitted a few sharp personal expressions and judgements 
where these were immaterial, and replaced them by dots. Marx himself would 
have done so if he had published the manuscript today. The violence of the 
language in some passages was provoked by two circumstances. In the first place, 
Marx and I had been more intimately connected with the German movement than 
with any other; we were, therefore, bound to be particularly perturbed by the 



decidedly retrograde step manifested by this draft programme. And secondly, we 
were at that time, hardly two years after the Hague Congress of the 
International,!!] engaged in the most violent struggle against Bakunin and his 
anarchists, who made us responsible for everything that happened in the labour 
movement in Germany; hence we had to expect that we would also be saddled 
with the secret paternity of this programme. These considerations do not now 
exist and so there is no necessity for the passages in question. 

For reasons arising from the Press Law, also, a few sentences have been 
indicated only by dots. Where I have had to choose a milder expression this has 
been enclosed in square brackets. Otherwise the text has been reproduced word 
for word. 

F. Engels 

London, January 6, 1891 

pages 

MARX TO WILHELM BRACKE 



London, May 5, 1875 

Dear Bracke, 

When you have read the following critical marginal notes on the Unity 
Programme, would you be so good as to send them on to Geib and Auer, Bebel 
and Liebknecht for them to examine. I am exceedingly busy and have already 
overstepped the limit of work allowed me by the doctor. Hence it was anything 
but a "pleasure" to write such a lengthy screed. It was, however, necessary so that 
the steps to be taken by me later on would not be misinterpreted by our friends in 
the Party for whom this communication is intended. 

After the Unity Congress has been held, Engels and I will publish a short 
declaration to the effect that our position is altogether remote from the said 
programme of principles and that we have nothing to do with it. 

This is indispensable because the opinion ~ the entirely erroneous opinion ~ is 
held abroad, assiduously nurtured by enemies of the Party, that we secretly guide 
from here the 



page 6 



movement of the so-called Eisenach Party. In a Russian bookm that has recently 
appeared, Bakunin still makes me responsible, for example, not only for all the 
programmes, etc., of that party but even for every step taken by Liebknecht from 
the day of his co-operation with the People's Party.i6] 

Apart from this, it is my duty not to give recognition, even by diplomatic 
silence, to what in my opinion is a thoroughly objectionable programme that 
demoralizes the Party. 

Every step of real movement is more important than a dozen programmes. If, 
therefore, it was not possible ~ and the conditions of the time did not permit it ~ 
to go beyond the Eisenach programme, one should simply have concluded an 
agreement for action against the common enemy. But by drawing up a 
programme of principles (instead of postponing this until it has been prepared for 
by a considerable period of common activity) one sets up before the whole world 
landmarks by which it measures the level of the Party movement. 

The Lassallean leaders came because circumstances forced them to come. If 
they had been told in advance that there would be no bargaining about principles, 
they would have had to be content with a programme of action or a plan of 
organization for common action. Instead of this, one permits them to arrive armed 
with mandates, recognizes these mandates on one's part as valid, and thus 
surrenders unconditionally to those who are themselves in need of help. To crown 
the whole business, they are holding a congress again before the Congress of 
Compromise, while one's own party is holding its congv^^^ post festum.m One 
obviously had a desire to stifle all criticism and to give one's own party no 
opportunity for reflection. One knows that the mere fact of 



page? 

unification is satisfying to the workers, but it is a mistake to believe that this 
momentary success is not bought at too high a price. 

For the rest, the programme is no good at all, even apart from its sanctification 
of the Lassallean articles of faith. 

I shall be sending you in the near future the last parts of the French edition of 
Capital. The continuation of the printing was held up for a considerable time 
owing to the ban of the French government. The thing will be ready this week or 
the beginning of next week. Have you received the previous six parts? Please let 
me have the address of Bernhard Becker, to whom I must also send the final 
parts. £8] 

The bookshop of the Volksstaat m has peculiar ways. Up to this moment, for 
example, I have not been sent a single copy of the publication on the Cologne 
Communist Trial. rioi 



With best wishes, 

Yours, 
Karl Marx 



pages 



MARGINAL NOTES 

TO THE PROGRAMME 

OF THE GERMAN WORKERS' PARTY 



1. "Labour is the source of all wealth and all culture, and since useful labour is 
possible only in society and through society, the proceeds of labour belong undiminished 
with equal right to all members of society." 

First Part of the Paragraph: "Labour is the source of all wealth and all 
culture." 

Labour is not the source of all wealth. Nature is just as much the source of use 
values (and it is surely of such that material wealth consists!) as labour, which 
itself is only the manifestation of a force of nature, human labour power. The 
above phrase is to be found in all children's primers and is correct in so far as it is 
implied that labour is performed with the appurtenant subjects and instruments. 
But a socialist programme cannot allow such bourgeois phrases to pass over in 
silence the conditions that alone give them 

page 9 

meaning. Only in so far as man from the beginning behaves towards nature, the 
primary source of all instruments and subjects of labour, as an owner, treats her as 
belonging to him, does his labour become the source of use values, therefore also 
of wealth. The bourgeois have very good grounds for falsely ascribing 
supernatural creative power to labour; since precisely from the fact that labour 
depends on nature it follows that the man who possesses no other property than 
his labour power must, in all conditions of society and culture, be the slave of 
other men who have made themselves the owners of the objective conditions of 
labour. He can work only with their permission, hence live only with their 
permission. 



Let us now leave the sentence as it stands, or rather hmps. What would one 
have expected in conclusion? Obviously this: 

"Since labour is the source of all wealth, no one in society can appropriate 
wealth except as the product of labour. Therefore, if he himself does not work, he 
lives by the labour of others and also acquires his culture at the expense of the 
labour of others." 

Instead of this, by means of the verbal rivet "and since" a second proposition is 
added in order to draw a conclusion from it and not from the first one. 

Second Part of the Paragraph: "Useful labour is possible only in society and 
through society." According to the first proposition, labour was the source of all 
wealth and all culture; therefore no society is possible without labour. Now we 
learn, conversely, that no "useful" labour is possible without society. 

One could just as well have said that only in society can useless and even 
socially harmful labour become a branch 

page 10 

of gainful occupation, that only in society can one live by being idle, etc., etc. ~ 
in short, one could just as well have copied the whole of Rousseau. 

And what is "useful" labour? Surely only labour which produces the intended 
useful result. A savage ~ and man was a savage after he had ceased to be an ape - 
- who kills an animal with a stone, who collects fruits, etc., performs "useful" 
labour. 

Thirdly. The Conclusion: "And since useful labour is possible only in society 
and through society, the proceeds of labour belong undiminished with equal right 
to all members of society." 

A fine conclusion! If useful labour is possible only in society and through 
society, the proceeds of labour belong to society ~ and only so much therefrom 
accrues to the individual worker as is not required to maintain the "condition" of 
labour, society. 

In fact, this proposition has at all times been made use of by the champions of 
tht prevailing state of society. First come the claims of the government and 
everything that clings to it, since it is the social organ for the maintenance of the 
social order; then come the claims of the various kinds of owners of private 
property, since the various kinds of private property are the foundations of 
society, etc. One sees that such hollow phrases can be twisted and turned as 
desired. 



The first and second parts of the paragraph have some inteUigible connection 
only in the following wording: 

"Labour becomes the source of wealth and culture only as social labour," or, 
what is the same thing, "in and through society." 

page 11 

This proposition is incontestably correct, for although isolated labour (its 
material conditions presupposed) can also create use values, it can create neither 
wealth nor culture. 

But equally incontestable is this other proposition: 

"In proportion as labour develops socially, and becomes thereby a source of 
wealth and culture, poverty and destitution develop among the workers, and 
wealth and culture among the non- workers." 

This is the law of all history hitherto. What, therefore had to be done here, 
instead of setting down general phrases about "labour" and "society," was to 
prove concretely how in present capitalist society the material, etc., conditions 
have at last been created which enable and compel the workers to lift this 
historical curse. 

In fact, however, the whole paragraph, bungled in style and content, is only 
there in order to inscribe the Lassallean catchword of the "undiminished proceeds 
of labour" as a slogan at the top of the Party banner. I shall return later to the 
"proceeds of labour," "equal right," etc., since the same thing recurs in a 
somewhat different form. 

2. "In present-day society, the instruments of labour are the monopoly of the capitalist 
class; the resulting dependence of the working class is the cause of misery and senitude in 
all its forms." 

This sentence, borrowed from the Rules of the International, is incorrect in this 
"improved" edition. 

In present-day society the instruments of labour are the monopoly of the 
landowners (the monopoly of property in land is even the basis of the monopoly 
of capital) and the capitalists. In the passage in question, the Rules of the 
International do not mention either the one or the other class of monopolists. They 
speak of the "monopoly of the means 

page 12 

of labour, that is, the sources of life.'' The addition, ''sources of life," makes it 
sufficiently clear that land is included in the instruments of labour. The correction 



was introduced because Lassalle, for reasons now generally known, attacked only 
the capitalist class and not the landowners. In England, the capitalist is usually not 
even the owner of the land on which his factory stands. 

3. "The emancipation of labour demands the promotion of the instruments of labour to 
the common property of society and the co-operative regulation of the total labour with a 
fair distribution of the proceeds of labour." 

"Promotion of the instruments of labour to the common property" ! Obviously 
this ought to read their "conversion into the common property"; but this only in 
passing. 

What are "proceeds of labour"? The product of labour or its value? And in the 
latter case, is it the total value of the product or only that part of the value which 
labour has newly added to the value of the means of production consumed? 

"Proceeds of labour" is a loose notion which Lassalle has put in the place of 
definite economic conceptions. What is "a fair distribution"? 

Do not the bourgeois assert that the present-day distribution is "fair"? And is it 
not, in fact, the only "fair" distribution on the basis of the present-day mode of 
production? Are economic relations regulated by legal conceptions, or do not, on 
the contrary, legal relations arise from economic ones? Have not also the socialist 
sectarians the most varied notions about "fair" distribution? 

To understand what is implied in this connection by the phrase "fair 
distribution," we must take the first paragraph 

page 13 

and this one together. The latter presupposes a society wherein "the instruments of 
labour are common property and the total labour is co-operatively regulated," and 
from the first paragraph we learn that "the proceeds of labour belong 
undiminished with equal right to all members of society." 

"To all members of society"? To those who do not work as well? What remains 
then of the "undiminished proceeds of labour"? Only to those members of society 
who work? What remains then of the "equal right" of all members of society? 

But "all members of society" and "equal right" are obviously mere phrases. The 
kernel consists in this, that in this communist society every worker must receive 
the "undiminished" Lassallean "proceeds of labour." 

Let us take first of all the words "proceeds of labour" in the sense of the 
product of labour; then the co-operative proceeds of labour are the total social 
product. 



From this must now be deducted: 

First, cover for replacement of the means of production used up. 

Secondly, additional portion for expansion of production. 

Thirdly, reserve or insurance funds against accidents, dislocations caused by 
natural calamities, etc. 

These deductions from the "undiminished proceeds of labour" are an economic 
necessity and their magnitude is to be determined according to available means 
and forces, and partly by computation of probabilities, but they are in no way 
calculable by equity. 

There remains the other part of the total product, intended to serve as means of 
consumption. 

page 14 

Before this is divided among individuals, there has to be deducted again, from 
it: 

First, the general costs of administration not directly belonging to production. 

This part will, from the outset, be very considerably restricted in comparison 
with present-day society and it diminishes in proportion as the new society 
develops. 

Secondly, that which is intended for the common satisfac tion of needs, such as 
schools, health services, etc. 

From the outset this part grows considerably in comparison with present-day 
society and it grows in proportion as the new society develops. 

Thirdly, funds for those unable to work, etc., in short, for what is included 
under so-called official poor relief today. 

Only now do we come to the "distribution" which the programme, under 
Lassallean influence, alone has in view in its narrow fashion, namely, to that part 
of the means of consumption which is divided among the individual producers of 
the co-operative society. 

The "undiminished proceeds of labour" have already surreptitiously become 
converted into the "diminished" proceeds, although what is withheld from the 
producer in his capacity as a private individual benefits him directly or indirectly 
in his capacity as a member of society. 



Just as the phrase of the "undiminished proceeds of labour" has disappeared, so 
now does the phrase "the proceeds of labour" disappear altogether. 

Within the co-operative society based on common ownership of the means of 
production, the producers do not exchange their products; just as little does the 
labour employed on the products appear here as the value of these products, as an 
objective quality possessed by them, since now, in 

page 15 

contrast to capitalist society, individual labour no longer exists in an indirect 
fashion but directly as a component part of the total labour. The phrase "proceeds 
of labour," objectionable also today on account of its ambiguity, thus loses all 
meaning. 

What we have to deal with here is a communist society, not as it has developed 
on its own foundations, but, on the contrary, just as it emerges from capitalist 
society; which is thus in every respect, economically, morally and intellectually, 
still stamped with the birth marks of the old society from whose womb it emerges. 
Accordingly, the individual producer receives back from society ~ after the 
deductions have been made ~ exactly what he gives to it. What he has given to it 
is his individual quantum of labour. For example, the social working day consists 
of the sum of the individual hours of work; the individual labour time of the 
individual producer is the part of the social working day contributed by him, his 
share in it. He receives a certificate from society that he has furnished such and 
such an amount of labour (after deducting his labour for the common funds), and 
with this certificate he draws from the social stock of means of consumption as 
much as the same amount of labour costs. The same amount of labour which he 
has given to society in one form he receives back in another. 

Here obviously the same principle prevails as that which regulates the 
exchange of commodities, as far as this is exchange of equal values. Content and 
form are changed, because under the altered circumstances no one can give 
anything except his labour, and because, on the other hand, nothing can pass into 
the ownership of individuals except individual means of consumption. But, as far 
as the distribution of the latter among the individual producers is con- 
page 16 

cemed, the same principle prevails as in the exchange of commodity-equivalents: 
a given amount of labour in one form is exchanged for an equal amount of labour 
in another form. 

Hence, equal right here is still ~ in principle ~ bourgeois right, although 
principle and practice are no longer at loggerheads, while the exchange of 
equivalents in commodity exchange exists only on the average and not in the 
individual case. 



In spite of this advance, this equal right is still perpetually burdened with a 
bourgeois limitation. The right of the producers is proportional to the labour they 
supply; the equality consists in the fact that measurement is made with an equal 
standard, labour. But one man is superior to another physically or mentally and so 
supplies more labour in the same time, or can work for a longer time; and labour, 
to serve as a measure, must be defined by its duration or intensity, otherwise it 
ceases to be a standard of measurement. This equal right is an unequal right for 
unequal labour. It recognizes no class differences, because everyone is only a 
worker like everyone else; but it tacitly recognizes unequal individual endowment 
and thus productive capacity of the worker as natural privileges. It is, therefore, a 
right ot inequality, in its content, like every right. Right by its very nature can 
consist only in the application of an equal standard; but unequal individuals (and 
they would not be different individuals if they were not unequal) are measurable 
only by the same standard in so far as they are brought under the same point of 
view, are taken from one definite side only, for instance, in the present case, are 
regarded only as workers, and nothing more is seen in them, everything else being 
ignored. Further, one worker is married, another not; one has more 

page 17 

children than another, and so on and so forth. Thus, with an equal performance of 
labour, and hence an equal share in the social consumption fund, one will in fact 
receive more than another, one will be richer than another, and so on. To avoid all 
these defects, right instead of being equal would have to be unequal. 

But these defects are inevitable in the first phase of communist society as it is 
when it has just emerged after prolonged birth pangs from capitalist society. Right 
can never be higher than the economic structure of society and its cultural 
development conditioned thereby. 

In a higher phase of communist society, after the enslaving subordination of the 
individual to the division of labour, and with it also the antithesis between mental 
and physical labour, has vanished; after labour has become not only a means of 
life but itself life's prime want; after the productive forces have also increased 
with the all-round development of the individual, and all the springs of co- 
operative wealth flow more abundantly ~ only then can the narrow horizon of 
bourgeois right be crossed in its entirety and society inscribe on its banners: From 
each according to his ability, to each according to his needs! 

I have dealt more at length with the "undiminished proceeds of labour," on the 
one hand, and with "equal right" and "fair distribution," on the other, in order to 
show what a serious crime it is to attempt, on the one hand, to force on our Party 
again, as dogmas, ideas which in a certain period had some meaning but have now 
become obsolete verbal rubbish, while again perverting, on the other, the realistic 
outlook, which it cost so much effort to instill into the Party but which has taken 
root in it, by means of ideological non- 



page 18 

sense about right, etc., so common among the democrats and French Sociahsts. 

Quite apart from the analysis so far, it was in general a mistake to make a fuss 
about so-called distribution and put the principal stress on it. 

The prevailing distribution of the means of consumption is only a consequence 
of the distribution of the conditions of production themselves; the latter 
distribution, however, is a feature of the mode of production itself. The capitalist 
mode of production, for example, rests on the fact that the material conditions of 
production are in the hands of non- workers in the form of property in capital and 
land, while the masses are only owners of the personal condition of production, of 
labour power. If the elements of production are so distributed, then the present- 
day distribution of the means of consumption results automatically. If the material 
conditions of production are the co-operative property of the workers themselves, 
then there likewise results a distribution of the means of consumption different 
from the present one. Vulgar socialism (and from it in turn a section of the 
democracy) has taken over from the bourgeois economists the consideration and 
treatment of distribution as independent of the mode of production and hence the 
presentation of socialism as turning principally on distribution. After the real 
relation has long been made clear, why retrogress again? 

4. "The emancipation of labour must be the work of the working class, relatively to 
which all other classes are only one reactionary mass.'' 

The first strophe is taken from the introductory words of the Rules of the 
International, but "improved." There it is said: "The emancipation of the working 
class must be the 

page 19 

act of the workers themselves"; here, on the contrary, the "working class" has to 
emancipate ~ what? "Labour." Let him understand who can. 

In compensation, the antistrophe, on the other hand, is a Lassallean quotation of 
the first water: "relatively to which (the working class) all other classes are only 
one reactionary mass.'' 

In the Communist Manifesto it is said: "Of all the classes that stand face to face 
with the bourgeoisie today, the proletariat alone is a really revolutionary class. 
The other classes decay and finally disappear in the face of modern industry; the 
proletariat is its special and essential product, " rin 

The bourgeoisie is here conceived as a revolutionary class ~ as the bearer of 
large-scale industry ~ relatively to the feudal lords and the lower middle class, 
who desire to maintain all social positions that are the creation of obsolete modes 



of production. Thus they do not form together with the bourgeoisie only one 
reactionary mass. 

On the other hand, the proletariat is revolutionary relatively to the bourgeoisie 
because, having itself grown up on the basis of large-scale industry, it strives to 
strip off from production the capitalist character that the bourgeoisie seeks to 
perpetuate. But the Manifesto adds that the "lower middle class" ... is becoming 
revolutionary "in view of [its] impending transfer into the proletariat." 

From this point of view, therefore, it is again nonsense to say that it, together 
with the bourgeoisie, and with the feudal lords into the bargain, "forms only one 
reactionary mass" relatively to the working class. 

Has one proclaimed to the artisans, small manufacturers, etc., and peasants 
during the last elections :£i2] Relatively to us 

page 20 

you, together with the bourgeoisie and feudal lords, form only one reactionary 
mass? 

Lassalle knew the Communist Manifesto by heart, as his faithful followers 
know the gospels written by him. If, therefore, he falsified it so grossly, this 
occurred only to put a good colour on his alliance with absolutist and feudal 
opponents against the bourgeoisie. 

In the above paragraph, moreover, his oracular saying is dragged in by main 
force without any connection with the botched quotation from the Rules of the 
International. Thus it is here simply an impertinence, and indeed not at all 
displeasing to Herr Bismarck, one of those cheap pieces of insolence in which the 
Marat of Berhnos] deals. 

5. "The working class strives for its emancipation first of all within the framework of 
the present-day national state, conscious that the necessary result of its efforts, which are 
common to the workers of all civilized countries, will be the international brotherhood of 
peoples." 

Lassalle, in opposition to the Communist Manifesto and to all earlier socialism, 
conceived the workers' movement from the narrowest national standpoint. He is 
being followed in this ~ and that after the work of the International! 

It is altogether self-evident that, to be able to fight at all, the working class must 
organize itself at home as a class and that its own country is the immediate arena 
of its struggle. In so far its class struggle is national, not in substance, but, as the 
Communist Manifesto says, "in form." But the "framework of the present-day 
national state," for instance, the German Empire, is itself in its turn economically 
"within the framework" of the world market, politically "within the framework" 



of the system of states. Every businessman knows that German trade is at the 
same time 

page 21 

foreign trade, and the greatness of Herr Bismarck consists, to be sure, precisely in 
his kind of international pohcy. 

And to what does the German workers' party reduce its internationahsm? To 
the consciousness that the result of its efforts will be "the international 
brotherhood of peoples" — a phrase borrowed from the bourgeois League of 
Peace and Freedom ji4i which is intended to pass as equivalent to the international 
brotherhood of the working classes in the joint struggle against the ruling classes 
and their governments. Not a word, therefore, about the international functions of 
the German working class! And it is thus that it is to challenge its own 
bourgeoisie ~ which is already linked up in brotherhood against it with the 
bourgeois of all other countries ~ and Herr Bismarck's international policy of 
conspiracy! £15] 

In fact, the internationalist avowal of the programme stands infinitely below 
even that of the Free Trade Party. The latter also asserts that the result of its 
efforts will be "the international brotherhood of peoples." But it also does 
something to make trade international and by no means contents itself with the 
consciousness ~ that all peoples are carrying on trade at home. 

The international activity of the working class does not in any way depend on 
the existence of the International Working Men's Association. This was only the 
first attempt to create a central organ for that activity, an attempt which was a 
lasting success on account of the impulse it gave but which was no longer 
realizable in its first historical form after the fall of the Paris Commune. 

Bismarck's Norddeutsche was absolutely right when it announced, to the 
satisfaction of its master, that the German 

page 22 

workers' party had sworn off internationalism in the new programme.ri6i 



II 

"Starting from these basic principles, the German workers' party strives by all legal 
means for the free state -- and — socialist society: the abolition of the wage system 
together with the iron law of wages - and ~ exploitation in every form; the elimination 
of all social and political inequality." 

I shall return to the "free" state later. 



So, in future, the German workers' party has got to beheve in Lassalle's "iron 
law of wages" !ii7] That this may not be lost, the nonsense is perpetrated of 
speaking of the "abolition of the wage system" (it should read: system of wage 
labour) "together with the iron law of wages." If I abolish wage labour, then 
naturally I abolish its laws also, whether they are of "iron" or sponge. But 
Lassalle's attack on wage labour turns almost solely on this so-called law. In 
order, therefore, to prove that Lassalle's sect has conquered, the "wage system" 
must be abolished "together with the iron law of wages" and not without it. 

It is well known that nothing of the "iron law of wages" is Lassalle's except the 
word "iron" borrowed from Goethe's "great, eternal iron laws."ii8] The word iron 
is a label by which the true believers recognize one another. But if I take the law 
with Lassalle's stamp on it and, consequently, in his sense, then I must also take it 
with his substantiation for it. And what is that? As Lange already showed, shortly 
after Lassalle's death, it is the Malthusian theory of population (preached by 
Lange himself). £i9] But if this theory is correct, then again I cannot abolish the law 
even if I abolish wage 

page 23 

labour a hundred times over, because the law then governs not only the system of 
wage labour but every social system. Basing themselves directly on this, the 
economists have been proving for fifty years and more that socialism cannot 
abolish poverty, which has its basis in nature, but can only make it general, can 
only distribute it simultaneously over the whole surface of society! 

But all this is not the main thing. Quite apart from tht false Lassallean 
formulation of the law, the truly outrageous step backwards consists in the 
following: 

Since Lassalle's death the path has been broken in our Party for the scientific 
understanding that wages are not what they appear to be, namely, the value, or 
price, of labour, but only a masked form for the value, ov price, of labour power. 
Thereby the whole previous bourgeois conception of wages, as well as all the 
previous criticism directed against this conception, was thrown overboard once 
for all and it was made clear that the wage worker has permission to work for his 
own subsistence, that is, to live, only in so far as he works for a certain time gratis 
for the capitalist (and hence also for the latter's co-consumers of surplus value); 
that the whole capitalist system of production turns on the increase of this gratis 
labour by extending the working day or by developing the productivity, increasing 
the intensity of labour power, etc.; that, consequently, the system of wage labour 
is a system of slavery, and indeed of a slavery which becomes more severe in 
proportion as the social productive forces of labour develop, whether the worker 
receives better or worse payment. And after this understanding has gained more 
and more ground in our Party, one returns to Lassalle's dogmas, although one 
must have known that Lassalle did not know what wages were, but following 



page 24 

in the wake of the bourgeois economists took the appearance for the essence of 
the matter. 

It is as if, among slaves who have at last got behind the secret of slavery and 
broken out in rebellion, a slave still in thrall to obsolete notions were to inscribe 
on the programme of the rebellion: Slavery must be abolished because the feeding 
of slaves in the system of slavery cannot exceed a certain low maximum! 

Does not the mere fact that the representatives of our Party were capable of 
perpetrating such a monstrous attack on the widespread understanding among the 
mass of our Party prove by itself with what criminal levity and with what lack of 
conscience they set to work in drawing up this com promise programme! 

Instead of the indefinite concluding phrase of the paragraph, "the elimination of 
all social and political inequality," it ought to have been said that with the 
abolition of class distinctions all social and political inequality arising from them 
would disappear of itself. 



Ill 

"The German workers' party, in order to pave the way to the solution of the social 
question, demands the establishment of producers' co-operative societies with state aid 
under the democratic control of the toiling people. The producers' co-operative societies 
are to he called into heing for industry and agriculture on such a scale that the socialist 
organization of the total labour will arise from them. " 

After the Lassallean "iron law of wages," the physic of the prophet. The way to 
it is "paved" in worthy fashion. In place of the existing class struggle there 
appears a news- 
page 25 

paper scribbler's phrase, "the social question,'' to the "solution" of which one 
"paves the way." Instead of arising from the revolutionary process of 
transformation of society, the "socialist organization of the total labour" "arises" 
from the "state aid" that the state gives to the producers' co-operative societies and 
which the state, not the worker, "calls into being, " It is worthy of Lassalle's 
imagination that a new society can be built with state loans just as well as a new 
railway! 

From the remnants of a sense of shame, "state aid" has been put ~ under the 
democratic control of the "toiling people." 



In the first place, the majority of the "toihng people" in Germany consists of 
peasants, and not of proletarians. 

Secondly "democratic" means in German "volksherrschaftlich" ["by the rule of 
the people"]. But what does "control by the rule of the people of the toiling 
people" mean? And particularly in the case of a toiling people which, through 
these demands that it puts to the state, expresses its full consciousness that it 
neither rules nor is ripe for ruling! 

It is superfluous to deal here with the criticism of the recipe prescribed by 
Bucheziao] in the reign of Louis Philippe r2ii in opposition to the French Socialists 
and accepted by the reactionary workers of the Atelier. \m The chief offence does 
not lie in having inscribed this specific nostrum in the programme, but in 
reverting, in general, from the standpoint of a class movement to that of a 
sectarian movement. 

That the workers desire to establish the conditions for co-operative production 
on a social scale, and first of all on a national scale, in their own country, only 
means that they are working to revolutionize the present conditions of production, 
and it has nothing in common with the foun- 

page 26 

dation of co-operative societies with state aid. But as far as the present co- 
operative societies are concerned, they are of value only in so far as they are the 
independent creations of the workers and not prot&eacuteg&eacutes either of the 
governments or of the bourgeois. 



IV 

I come now to the democratic section. 

A. "The free basis of the state. " 

First of all, according to II, the German workers' party strives for "the free 
state." 

Free state ~ what is this? 

It is by no means the aim of the workers, who have got rid of the narrow 
mentality of humble subjects, to set the state free. In the German Empire the 
"state" is almost as "free" as in Russia. Freedom consists in converting the state 
from an organ standing above society into one completely subordinate to it, and 
today, too, the forms of state are more free or less free to the extent that they 
restrict the "freedom of the state." 



The German workers' party ~ at least if it adopts the programme ~ shows that 
its sociahst ideas are not even skin-deep; in that, instead of treating existing 
society (and this holds good for any future one) as the basis of the existing state 
(or of the future state in the case of future society), it treats the state rather as an 
independent entity that possesses its own "intellectual, ethical and libertarian 
bases. " 

page 27 

And what of the riotous misuse the programme makes of the words "present- 
day state, " "present-day society, " and of the still more riotous misconception it 
creates in regard to the state to which it addresses its demands? 

"Present-day society" is capitalist society, which exists in all civilized 
countries, more or less free from medieval admixture, more or less modified by 
the special historical development of each country, more or less developed. On 
the other hand, the "present-day state" changes with a country's frontier. It is 
different in the Prusso-German Empire from what it is in Switzerland, it is 
different in England from what it is in the United States. "The present-day state" 
is, therefore, a fiction. 

Nevertheless, the different states of the different civilized countries, in spite of 
their manifold diversity of form, all have this in common, that they are based on 
modern bourgeois society, only one more or less capitalistically developed. They 
have, therefore, also certain essential features in common. In this sense it is 
possible to speak of the "nature of the present-day state" [Staatswesen], in 
contrast with the future, in which its present root, bourgeois society, will have 
died off. 

The question then arises: what transformation will the nature of the state 
{Staatswesen^ undergo in communist society? In other words, what social 
functions will remain in existence there that are analogous to present functions of 
the state? This question can only be answered scientifically, and one does not get 
a flea-hop nearer to the problem by a thousandfold combination of the word 
people with the word state. 

Between capitalist and communist society lies the period of the revolutionary 
transformation of the one into the other. 

page 28 

There corresponds to this also a political transition period in which the state can 
be nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat. 

Now the programme does not deal with this nor with the nature of the future 
state [Staatswesen] of communist society. 



Its political demands contain nothing beyond the democratic litany familiar to 
all: universal suffrage, direct legislation, popular rights, a people's militia, etc. 
They are a mere echo of the bourgeois People's Party, of the League of Peace and 
Freedom. They are all demands which, in so far as they are not exaggerated in 
fantastic presentation, have already been realized. Only the state to which they 
belong does not lie within the borders of the German Empire, but in Switzerland, 
the United States, etc. This sort of "state of the future" is di present-day state, 
although existing outside the "framework" of the German Empire. 

But one thing has been forgotten. Since the German workers' party expressly 
declares that it acts within "the present-day national state," hence within its own 
state, the Prusso-German Empire ~ its demands would indeed otherwise be 
largely meaningless, since one only demands what one has not got ~ it should not 
have forgotten the chief thing, namely, that all those pretty little gewgaws rest on 
the recognition of the so-called sovereignty of the people and hence are 
appropriate only in a democratic republic. 

Since one has not the courage ~ and wisely so, for the circumstances demand 
caution ~ to demand the democratic republic, as the French workers' programmes 
under Louis Philippe and under Louis Napoleonmi did, one should not have 
resorted, either, to the subterfuge, neither "honest"i24] nor decent, of demanding 
things which have meaning only 

page 29 

in a democratic republic from a state which is nothing but a police-guarded 
military despotism, embellished with parliamentary forms, alloyed with a feudal 
admixture, already influenced by the bourgeoisie and bureaucratically 
carpentered, and then to assure this state into the bargain that one imagines one 
will be able to force such things upon it "by legal means" ! 

Even vulgar democracy, which sees the millennium in the democratic republic 
and has no suspicion that it is precisely in this last form of state of bourgeois 
society that the class struggle has to be fought out to a conclusion ~ even it towers 
mountains above this kind of democratism within the limits of what is permitted 
by the police and not permitted by logic. 

That, in fact, by the word "state" is meant the government machine, or the state 
in so far as it forms a special organism separated from society through division of 
labour, is shown by the words "the German workers' party demands as the 
economic basis of the state: a single progressive income tax," etc. Taxes are the 
economic basis of the government machinery and of nothing else. In the state of 
the future, existing in Switzerland, this demand has been pretty well fulfilled. 
Income tax presupposes the various sources of income of the various social 
classes, and hence capitalist society. It is, therefore, nothing remarkable that the 
Liverpool financial reformers, bourgeois headed by Gladstone's brother j25i are 
putting forward the same demand as the programme. 



B. "The German workers' party demands as the intellectual and ethical basis of the 
state: 

1. "Universal and equal elementary education by the state. Universal compulsory 
school attendance. Free instruction." 



page 30 



Equal elementary education? What do these words suggest? Is it beheved that in 
present-day society (and it is only with his one has to deal) education can be equal 
for all classes? Or is it demanded that the upper classes also shall be compulsorily 
reduced to the modicum of education ~ the elementary school ~ that alone is 
compatible with the economic conditions not only of the wage workers but of the 
peasants as well? 

"Universal compulsory school attendance. Free instruction." The former exists 
even in Germany, the second in Switzerland and in the United States in the case 
of elementary schools. If in some states of the latter country higher educational 
institutions are also "free," that only means in fact defraying the cost of the 
education of the upper classes from the general tax receipts. Incidentally, the same 
holds good for "free administration of justice" demanded under A. 5. The 
administration of criminal justice is to be had free everywhere; that of civil justice 
is concerned almost exclusively with conflicts over property and hence affects 
almost exclusively the possessing classes. Are they to carry on their litigation at 
the expense of the national coffers? 

The paragraph on the schools should at least have demanded technical schools 
(theoretical and practical) in combination with the elementary school. 

"Elementary education by the state" is altogether objectionable. Defining by a 
general law the expenditures on the elementary schools, the qualifications of the 
teaching staff, the branches of instruction, etc., and, as is done in the United 
States, supervising the fulfilment of these legal specifications by state inspectors, 
is a very different thing from appointing the state as the educator of the people! 

page 31 

Government and church should rather be equally excluded from any influence on 
the school. Particularly, indeed, in the Prusso-German Empire (and one should not 
take refuge in the rotten subterfuge that one is speaking of a "state of the future"; 
we have seen how matters stand in this respect) the state has need, on the 
contrary, of a very stern education by the people. 

But the whole programme, for all its democratic clang, is tainted through and 
through by the Lassallean sect's servile belief in the state, or, what is no better, by 
a democratic belief in miracles, or rather it is a compromise between these two 
kinds of belief in miracles, both equally remote from socialism. 



"Freedom of science" says a paragraph of the Prussian constitution. Why, then, 
here? "Freedom of conscience!" If one desired at this time of the Kulturkampf 
[26]to remind hberahsm of its old slogans, it surely could have been done only in 
the following form: Everyone should be able to relieve his religious as well as his 
bodily needs without the police sticking their noses in. But the workers' party 
ought at any rate on this occasion to have expressed its awareness of the fact that 
bourgeois "freedom of conscience" is nothing but the toleration of all possible 
kinds of religious freedom of conscience, and that for its part it endeavours rather 
to liberate the conscience from the bogey of religion. But one chooses not to 
transcend the"bourgeois" level. 

I have now come to the end, for the appendix that now follows in the 
programme does not constitute a characteristic component part of it. Hence I can 
be very brief here. 

2. "Normal working day." 
page 32 

In no Other country has the workers' party limited itself to such an indefinite 
demand, but has always fixed the length of the working day that it considers 
normal under the given circumstances. 

3. "Restriction of female labour and prohibition of child labour." 

The standardization of the working day must include the restriction of female 
labour, in so far as it relates to the duration, intermissions, etc., of the working 
day; otherwise it could only mean the exclusion of female labour from branches 
of industry that are especially unhealthy for the female body or are objectionable 
morally for the female sex. If that is what was meant, it should have been said. 

"Prohibition of child labour!" Here it was absolutely essential to state the age 
limit. 

A general prohibition of child labour is incompatible with the existence of 
large-scale industry and hence an empty, pious wish. Its realization ~ if it were 
possible ~ would be reactionary, since, with a strict regulation of the working 
time according to the different age groups and other safety measures for the 
protection of children, an early combination of productive labour with education 
is one of the most potent means for the transformation of present-day society. 

4. "State supervision of factory, workshop and domestic industry." 

As against the Prusso-German state it should definitely have been demanded 
that the inspectors are to be removable only by a court of law; that any worker can 
have them prosecuted for neglect of duty; that they must belong to the medical 
profession. 



page 33 

5. "Regulation of prison labour." 

A petty demand in a general workers' programme. In any case, it should have 
been clearly stated that there is no intention from fear of competition to allow 
ordinary crim inals to be treated like beasts, and especially that there is no desire 
to deprive them of productive labour, their sole corrective. This was surely the 
least one might have expected from socialists. 

6. "An effective liability law." 

It should have been stated what is meant by an "effective" liability law. 

Be it noted, incidentally, that in speaking of the normal working day the part of 
factory legislation that deals with health regulations and safety measures, etc., has 
been over looked. The liability law only comes into operation when these 
regulations are infringed. 

In short, this appendix also is distinguished by slovenly editing. 

Dixi et salvavi animam mean [I have spoken and saved my soul]. 

Written by Karl Marx, April -- early May 1875 

Original in German 

Published in Die Neue Zeit, No. 18, 
Vol. I, 1891, with abridgements 



page 34 [Blank] 

page 35 



ENGELS ON 
THE GOTHA PROGRAMME 



page 36 [Blank] 



page 37 



ENGELS TO AUGUST BEBEL ^ 

in Zwickau 



London, March 18-28, 1875 

Dear Bebel, 

I received your letter of February 23 and am glad you are in such good health." 

You ask me what we think of the unification business. Unfortunately our fate 
has been exactly the same as yours. Neither Liebknecht nor anyone else has sent 
us any information and we too, therefore, know only what is in the papers, and 
there was nothing in them until the draft programme appeared about a week agol 
This draft has certainly astonished us not a little. 

Our Party has so frequently made offers of reconcilia tion or at least of co- 
operation to the Lassalleans and has been so frequently and contemptuously 
repulsed by the Hasenclevers, Hasselmanns and Tolckes that any child must have 
drawn the conclusion: if these gentlemen are now coming and offering 
reconciliation themselves they must 

page 38 

be in a damned tight fix. But considering the well-known character of these 
people it is our duty to utilize their fix in order to stipulate for every possible 
guarantee, so that they will not re-establish their impaired position in the public 
opinion of the workers at the expense of our Party. They should have been 
received with extreme coolness and mistrust, and union made dependent on the 
extent to which they were willing to drop their sectarian slogans and their state aid 
and to accept in its essentials the Eisenach programme of 1869[28] or an improved 
edition of it adapted to the present day. Our Party has absolutely nothing to learn 
from the Lassalleans in the theoretical sphere and therefore in what is decisive for 
the programme, but the Lassalleans certainly have something to learn from our 
Party; the first condition of union was that they should cease to be sectarians, 
Lassalleans, above all that the universal panacea of state aid should be, if not 
entirely relinquished, at any rate recognized by them as a subordinate transitional 
measure, one among and alongside of many other possible ones. The draft 
programme shows that our people are a hundred times superior theoretically to the 
Lassallean leaders ~ but to the same extent inferior to them in political cunning; 
the "honest" have been once more cruelly gypped by the dishonest. 



In the first place Lassalle's high-sounding but historically false phrase is 
accepted: relatively to the working class all other classes are only one reactionary 
mass. This statement is only true in a few exceptional cases: for instance, in a 
revolution of the proletariat, like the Commune, or in a country where not only the 
bourgeoisie has moulded state and society in its own image but where in its wake 
the democratic petty bourgeoisie, too, has already carried out this remoulding 
down to its final consequences. If in Germany, 

page 39 

for instance, the democratic petty bourgeoisie belonged to this reactionary mass, 
how could the Social-Democratic Workers' Party have gone hand in band with it - 
- with the People's Party ~ for years? How can the Volksstaatvm take almost the 
whole of its political contents from the petty bourgeois-democratic Frankfurter 
Zeitunglim And how can no less than seven demands be included in this 
programme which directly and literally coincide with the programme of the 
People's Party and the petty-bourgeois democracy? I mean the seven political 
demands, I to 5 and I to 2, of which there is not a single one that is not bourgeois- 
democratic.[3i] 

Secondly, the principle that the workers' movement is an international 
movement is, to all intents and purposes, completely disavowed for the present 
day, and that by the people who have upheld this principle most gloriously for 
five whole years under the most difficult conditions. The German workers' 
position at the head of the European movement is essentially based on their 
genuinely international attitude during the war; no other proletariat would have 
behaved so well. And now this principle is to be disavowed by them at the 
moment when the workers everywhere abroad are emphasizing it in the same 
degree as the governments are striving to suppress every attempted manifestation 
of it in an organization! And what is left of the internationalism of the workers' 
movement then? The faint prospect ~ not even of a future co-operation of the 
European workers for their emancipation ~ no, but of a future "international 
brotherhood of peoples," of the "United States of Europe" of the bourgeois of the 
Peace League! [32] 

It was of course quite unnecessary to speak of the International as such. But 
surely the very least was to make no retreat from the programme of 1 869 and to 
say something 

page 40 

to this effect: although the German workers' party is operating //r^-r of all within 
the state boundaries laid down for it (it has no right to speak in the name of the 
European proletariat and especially no right to say something false), it is 
conscious of its solidarity with the workers of all countries and will always be 
ready, in the future, as in the past, to fulfil the obligations imposed upon it by this 
solidarity. Such obligations exist even without exactly proclaiming or regarding 



oneself as a part of the International, for instance, help, abstention from 
blacklegging in strikes, care taken that the Party organs keep the German workers 
informed about the movement abroad, agitation against the threat or the outbreak 
of Cabinet-made wars, behaviour during such wars similar to that carried out in 
model fashion in 1870 and 1871, etc. 

Thirdly, our people have allowed the Lassallean "iron law of wages" to be 
foisted upon them, a law based on a quite antiquated economic view, namely, that 
the worker receives on the average only the minimum in wages, and indeed 
because, according to Malthus' theory of population, there are always too many 
workers (this was Lassalle's argument). Now Marx has proved in detail in Capital 
that the laws regulating wages are very complicated, that sometimes one 
predominates and sometimes another, according to circumstances, that therefore 
they are in no sense iron but on the contrary very elastic, and that the matter can 
by no means be dismissed in a few words, as Lassalle imagined. The Malthusian 
argument in support of the law, which Lassalle copied from Malthus and Ricardo 
(with a distortion of the latter), as it is to be found, for instance, in the Workers' 
Reader [Arbeiterlesebuch], page 5, [33] quoted from another pamphlet of Lassalle's, 
has been refuted in detail 

page 41 

by Marx in the section on the "Accumulation of Capital. "[MiThus by adopting 
Lassalle's "iron law" we commit ourselves to a false thesis with a false argument. 

Fourthly, the programme puts forward as its sole social demand ~ Lassalle's 
state aid in its most naked form, as Lassalle stole it from Buchez. And this after 
Bracke has very well exposed[35] the utter futility of this demand and after almost 
all, if not all, our Party speakers have been obliged to come out against this "state 
aid" in fighting the Lassalleans! Lower than this our Party could not humiliate 
itself. Internationalism reduced to Amand G&oumlgg[36] and socialism to the 
bourgeois republican Buchez, who put forward this demand in opposition to the 
socialists, in order to supplant them! 

At the most, however, "state aid" in the Lassallean sense is only a single 
measure among many others designed to attain the end here lamely described as 
"paving the way to the solution of the social question," as if a theoretically 
unsolved social question still existed for us! So if one says: the German workers' 
party strives for the abolition of wage labour, and with it of class distinctions, by 
the establishment of co-operative production in industry and agriculture and on a 
national scale, and it supports every measure appropriate for the attainment of this 
end! ~ then no Lassallean can have anything against it. 

Fifthly, there is not a word about the organization of the working class as a 
class by means of the trade unions. And that is a very essential point, for this is 
the real class organization of the proletariat, in which it carries on its daily 
struggles with capital, in which it trains itself, and which nowadays even amid the 



worst reaction (as in Paris at present) can simply no longer be smashed. 
Considering the 

page 42 

importance which this organization has attained also in Germany, it would be 
absolutely necessary in our opinion to mention it in the programme and, where 
possible, to leave open a place for it in the Party organization. 

All this has been done by our people to please the Lassalleans. And what has 
the other side conceded? That a heap of rather confused purely democratic 
demands should figure in the programme, of which several are a mere matter of 
fashion, as for instance, the "legislation by the people" which exists in 
Switzerland and does more harm than good if it does anything at all. 
Administration by the people, that would be something. Equally lacking is the 
first condition of all freedom: that all officials should be responsible for all their 
official acts to every citizen before the ordinary courts and according to common 
law. Of the fact that such demands as freedom of science and freedom of 
conscience figure in every liberal bourgeois programme and appear somewhat 
strange here, I shall say nothing more. 

The free people's state is transformed into the free state. Taken in its 
grammatical sense, a free state is one where the state is free in relation to its 
citizens, hence a state with a despotic government. The whole talk about the state 
should be dropped, especially since the Commune, which was no longer a state in 
the proper sense of the word. The "people's state" has been thrown in our faces by 
the anarchists to the point of disgust, although already Marx's book against 
Proudhon[37] and later the Communist Manifesto directly declare that with the 
introduction of the socialist order of society the state will dissolve of itself {sich 
von selbst aufl&oumlst ] and disappear. As, therefore, the state is only a 
transitional institution which is used in the struggle, in the revolution, in order to 
hold down one's adversaries 

page 43 

by force, it is pure nonsense to talk of a free people's state: so long as the 
proletariat still uses the state, it does not use it in the interests of freedom but in 
order to hold down its adversaries, and as soon as it becomes possible to speak of 
freedom the state as such ceases to exist. We would there fore propose to replace 
state everywhere by "community" [Gemeimwesen ], a good old German word 
which can very well represent the French word ''commune.'' 

"The elimination of all social and political inequality" is also a very 
questionable phrase in place of "the abolition of all class distinctions." Between 
one country and another, one province and another and even one locality and 
another there will always exist a certain inequality in the conditions of life, which 
it will be possible to reduce to a minimum but never entirely remove. Alpine 



dwellers will always have different conditions of life from those of people living 
on plains. The idea of socialist society as the realm of equality is a one-sided 
French idea resting upon the old "liberty, equality, fraternity," an idea which was 
justified as a stage of development in its own time and place but which, like all the 
one-sided ideas of the earlier socialist schools, should now be overcome, for they 
only produce confusion in people's heads and more precise modes of presentation 
of the matter have been found. 

I shall stop, although almost every word in this, moreover, flatly and flaccidly 
written programme could be criticized. It is of such a character that if adopted 
Marx and I can never give our adherence to the new party established on this 
basis, and shall have very seriously to consider what our attitude towards it ~ in 
public as well ~ should be. You must remember that abroad we are made 
responsible for any and every utterance and action of the German 

page 44 

Social-Democratic Workers' Party. Thus Bakunin in his work Statehood and 
Anarchy, where we have to answer for every thoughtless word spoken or written 
by Liebknecht since the Demokratisches Wochenblatt was started. [38] People like 
to imagine that we run the whole business from here, while you know as well as I 
that we have hardly ever interfered in the least in internal Party affairs, and even 
then only in order to make good, so far as is possible, blunders, and only 
theoretical blunders, which have in our opinion been committed. But you will 
realize for yourself that this programme marks a turning point which may very 
easily compel us to refuse any and every responsibility for the Party which 
acknowledges it. 

In general, the official programme of a party is of less importance than what the 
party does. But a new programme is after all a banner publicly raised, and the 
outside world judges the party by it. It should, therefore, on no account include a 
step backwards, as this one does in comparison with the Eisenach programme. 
One should also take into consideration what the workers of other countries will 
say to this programme, what impression will be produced by this bending of the 
knee to Lassalleanism on the part of the whole German socialist proletariat. 

At the same time I am convinced that a union on this basis will not last a year. 
Are the best minds in our Party to lend themselves to grinding out repetitions, 
learnt by rote, of the Lassallean precepts on the iron law of wages and state aid? I 
should like to see you doing it, for instance! And if they did do this, they would 
be hissed down by their audiences. And I am sure the Lassalleans will insist on 
just these points of the programme like that usurer Shylock on his pound of flesh. 
The separation will come; 

page 45 



but we shall have made Hasselmann, Hasenclever, T&oumllcke and Co. "honest" 
again; we shall come out of the separation weaker and the Lassalleans stronger; 
our Party will have lost its political virginity and will never again be able to come 
out whole-heartedly against the Lassallean phrases which it will have inscribed 
for a time on its own banner; and if the Lassalleans then once more say that they 
are the most genuine, the only workers' party, while our people are bourgeois, the 
programme will be there to prove it. All the socialist measures in it are theirs, and 
all our Party has put into it are the demands of the petty-bourgeois democracy, 
which is nevertheless described also by it in the same programme as a part of the 
"reactionary mass." 

I let this letter lie here as after all you are to be freed only on April I, in honour 
of Bismarck's birthday,[39] and I did not want to expose it to the chance of being 
intercepted in any attempt to smuggle it in. And now a letter has just come from 
Bracke, who has also his grave doubts about the programme and wants to know 
our opinion. I am therefore sending this letter to him to be forwarded, so that he 
can read it and I need not write all this stuff over again. Moreover, I have also told 
the unvarnished truth to Ramm;[40] to Liebknecht I only wrote briefly. I do not 
forgive him for never telling us a single word about the whole thing (while Ramm 
and others thought he had given us exact information) until it was too late, so to 
speak. To be sure, this is what he has always done ~ hence the large amount of 
disagreeable correspondence which we, both Marx and I, have had with him; but 
this time it is really too bad and we are certainly not going to co-operate. 

See that you manage to come here in the summer. You will, of course, stay 
with me, and if the weather is good 

page 46 

we can go to the seaside for a couple of days, from which you will derive a lot of 
benefit after your long spell in jail. 

Your friend, 

F.E. 

Marx has just moved. His new address is: No. 41, Maitland Park Crescent, N. 
W. London. 



page 47 



ENGELS TO WILHELM BRACKE 

in Brunswick 



122, Regent's Park Road 
London, N. W. 
October 11, 1875 



Dear Bracke: 



I have delayed answering your last letters (the last being that of June 28) Up to 
now, first, because Marx and I were not together for six weeks ~ he was in 
Carlsbad and I was at the seaside, where I did not see the Volksstaat — and then, 
because I wanted to wait a little to see how the new unification and the combined 
committee[4i] would behave in practice. 

We are entirely of your opinion that Liebknecht has muddled the whole 
business in his zeal to obtain the unification and to pay any price for it. It might be 
considered necessary, but there was no need to say or show it to the other 
contracting party. After that, one mistake has always to be justified by another. 
After the Unity Congress had once been set going on a rotten basis and trumpeted 
abroad, 

page 48 

it could not be allowed to fail at any price, and so one had to give way afresh on 
essential points. You are quite right: this unification bears within itself the seeds 
of a split, and I shall be glad if only the incurable fanatics fall away and not a 
whole retinue of otherwise able people it would be possible to make use of with 
good training. That will depend on the time when, and the circumstances in 
which, the inevitable takes place. 

The programme in its final wording consists of three ingredients: 

1. The Lassallean phrases and slogans, which should not have been accepted 
under any condition. If two fractions unite, they put in the programme what they 
agree on, not what is in dispute. But since our people conceded this, they 
voluntarily went through the Caudine Forks. [42] 

2. A series of vulgar democratic demands, set out in the spirit and style of the 
People's Party. 

3. A number of would-be communist principles, mostly borrowed from the 
Manifesto but so re-edited that on close inspection they one and all contain hair- 
raising nonsense. If one does not understand these matters, one should keep one's 



fingers off them or copy them hterally from those who admittedly do understand 
the thing. 

Fortunately, the programme has fared better than it deserves. The workers as 
well as the bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie read into it what should rightly be in 
it but is not, and it has not occurred to anyone from any side to investigate 
publicly a single one of these wonderful propositions for its real content. This has 
enabled us to keep silent about this programme. It comes to this, that nobody can 
translate these propositions into any foreign language without being compelled 
either to write down palpably crazy 

page 49 

Stuff or else, whether friend or foe, to inject a communist meaning into them. I 
myself have had to do so in a translation for our Spanish friends. 

What I have seen of the activity of the committee is so far not gratifying. 
Firstly, the attack on your and B. Becker's writings; [43] through no fault of the 
committee, it did not prevail. Secondly, Sonnemann, whom Marx saw on his 
journey, reported that he had asked Vahlteich to be a Frankfurter Zeitung 
correspondent, but the committee hsid forbidden Vahlteich to accept the offer! 
Surely this even goes beyond censorship, and I cannot conceive how Vahlteich 
could allow himself to accept such a ban. And the clumsiness of it! Rather they 
should have seen to it that the Frankfurter Zeitung should be served by our people 
everywhere in Germany! Finally, the conduct of the Lassallean members in the 
establishment of the Association's Berlin printing house does not appear to me to 
be very honest either; while our people had in all confidence appointed the 
committee as the supervisory council in the case of the Leipzig printing house, 
those in Berlin had first to be compelled to do so. However, I do not know the 
details here exactly. 

Meanwhile it is good that the committee is displaying little activity and 
confines itself, as C. Hirsch who was recently here says, to vegetating as a 
correspondence and information bureau. Any vigorous intervention on its part 
would only hasten the crisis, and people seem to sense this. 

And what weakness, to accept three Lassalleans and two of our people on the 
committee! 

Altogether, we seem to have come off with a black eye, and a big one at that. 
Let us hope that it rests at that, and that in the meantime propaganda has its effect 
among the Lassalleans. If the thing lasts until the next Reichstag elec- 

page 50 



tions,[44] it can be all right. But then Stieber and Tessendorf[45] will do their best, 
and the time will also come when it will be seen what has been taken over in 
Hasselmann and Hasenclever. 

Marx has come back from Carlsbad quite changed, vigorous, fresh, cheerful 
and healthy, and can soon get down seriously to work again. He and I send you 
hearty greetings. When you have a chance, let us hear from you again how the 
business is going. The Leipzigers[46] are all too deeply interested in it to tell us the 
real truth, and the internal Party history cannot be made public, particularly just 
now. 

Yours very sincerely, 

F.E. 



page 51 



ENGELS TO AUGUST BEBEL 

in Leipzig 



London, October 12, 1875 

Dear Bebel, 

Your letter fully confirms our view that the unification was precipitate on our 
part and bears within itself the seeds of future disunion. It would be well if this 
disunion could be postponed until after the next Reichstag elections. 

The programme, such as it is now, consists of three parts: 

1. The Lassallean principles and slogans, the adoption of which remains a 
disgrace to our Party. When two fractions want to agree on a programme, they 
include what they agree on and do not touch upon what they disagree on. True, 
Lassallean state assistance was in the Eisenach programme, but as one of many 
transitional measures and, according to all I have heard, it would almost certainly 
have been thrown overboard, on Bracke's motion, at this year's Congress, had it 
not been for the unification. Now it figures as the sole and infallible panacea for 
all social ailments. It was an immense moral defeat for our Party to allow the 

page 52 



"iron law of wages" and other Lassallean phrases to be foisted upon it. It became 
converted to the Lassallean creed. That simply cannot be argued away. This part 
of the programme is the Caudine yoke under which our Party crawled to the 
greater glory of the holy Lassalle; 

2. The democratic demands, which have been drawn up wholly in the spirit and 
style of the People's Party; 

3. The demands on the ''present-day state" (no one knows to whom the other 
"demands" are put), which are very confused and illogical; 

4. General principles, mostly borrowed from the Communist Manifesto and the 
Rules of the International, but which have been so re-edited that they contain what 
is either utterly false or pure bosh and nonsense, as Marx has shown in detail in 
the essay known to you. 

The whole thing is in the highest degree disorderly, confused, disconnected, 
illogical and discreditable. If the bourgeois press had possessed a single person of 
critical mind, he would have taken this programme apart sentence by sentence, 
investigated the real content of each phrase, demonstrated its nonsense with the 
utmost clarity, analysed its contradictions and economic howlers (for instance, 
that the instruments of labour are today "the monopoly of the capitalist class," as 
if there were no landowners; the talk about "the freeing of labour'' instead of the 
freeing of the working class, as labour itself is indeed much too free nowadays) 
and made our whole Party look frightfully ridiculous. Instead, the asinine 
bourgeois papers took this programme quite seriously, read into it what it does not 
contain and interpreted it communistically. The workers seem to be doing the 
same. It is this circumstance alone that made it possible for Marx and me not to 
dissociate ourselves 

page 53 

publicly from such a programme. So long as our opponents and likewise the 
workers inject our views into this programme, we may allow ourselves to keep 
quiet about it. 

If you are satisfied with the result achieved in the question of personal 
composition, we must have sunk pretty low in our demands. Two of ours and 
three Lassalleans! So here too ours are not allies enjoying equal rights but 
vanquished elements outvoted from the very start. The activities of the committee, 
as far as we know them, are not edifying either: 1) Decision not to include in the 
list of Party literature Bracke's work and B. Becker's two works on Lassalleanism; 
if this decision is recalled it will not be the fault of the committee or of 
Liebknecht; 2) Instructions to Vahlteich forbidding him to accept the post of 
correspondent for the Frankfurter Zeitung offered him by Sonnemann. 
Sonnemann himself had told this to Marx, who met him on a trip. What surprises 
me even more than the arrogance of the committee and the readiness with which 



Vahlteich submitted instead of letting them go whistle is the enormous stupidity 
of this decision. The committee should rather have seen to it that a paper like the 
Frankfurter Zeitung is served everywhere only by our people. . . . 

That the whole thing is an educational experiment which even under these 
circumstances promises to be very successful is something you are quite right 
about. The unification as such will be a great success if it lasts two years. But it 
undoubtedly was to be had much more cheaply. . . . 

page 54 



ENGELS TO KARL KAUTSKY 

in Stuttgart 



London, January 7, 1891 

DearKautsky:^^] 

Yesterday I sent you by registered mail Marx's manuscript which will have 
gladdened your heart. I doubt whether it can thus appear in the holy German 
Empire. Look it over from this angle and, where necessary, leave out the risky 
passages and replace them by dots. Where the context does not allow this, 
however, be so good as to indicate the places on the proof-sheets for me and, if 
possible, to tell me in a couple of lines the reasons why they are risky; I would 
then do whatever is possible. I would then put the changes in brackets and state in 
my introductory notes that these are altered passages. Therefore corrections on 
galley proofs, please! 

Perhaps even people besides the high and mighty police will feel displeased 
over this publication. If you believe you have to be considerate on this account, I 
would beg of you to send the manuscript to Adler[48] registered. Over there in 
Vienna 

page 55 

it can probably be printed in its entirety (with the exception, alas, of the 
magnificent passage about relieving one's religious needs), and printed it shall be 
in any case. But I should think that my very positive intention which is herewith 
communicated to you completely covers you against any and every possible 
complaint. Since you people cannot prevent its publication, it is much better that 
it shall appear in Germany itself, and in the Party organ specifically established 
for such things, namely. Die Neue Zeit. 



I have interrupted my work on Brentano[49] in order to get this manuscript ready 
for you; I must use the passages about the iron law of wages there too, and it was 
not worth the trouble not to get this ready for the printer at the same time. I had 
hoped to get through with Brentano this week, but so many upsets and letters have 
intervened that it will hardly be possible. 

Well, if there are obstacles, be good enough to let me know. . . . 

Yours, 

F. Engels 

page 56 



ENGELS TO KARL KAUTSKY 

in Stuttgart 



London, January 15, 1891 

Dear Baron: 

You will see from the proof-sheets herewith enclosed that I am no brute and 
have even dispensed some tranquillizing morphine and potassium bromide in the 
introduction which ought to have a sufficiently soothing effect on the elegiac 
mood of our friend Dietz.[50] In addition, I shall write Bebel today. I didn't tell him 
about this matter earlier because I did not want to put him in a false position vis- 
&agrave-vis Liebknecht. He would have been obliged to mention it to the latter, 
and Liebknecht, who had made extracts from the manuscript ~ as is proved by his 
speech on the Programme in Halle[5i] ~ would have moved heaven and earth to 
prevent its publication. 

If the passage "to relieve his religious as well as his bodily (needs)" cannot stay 
in, then cut out the words italicized and put dots in instead. The allusion becomes 
more delicate then, but it iS still comprehensible enough. 

page 57 

After that it is to be hoped there will be no more misgivings. 

I Otherwise I have done everything you have asked for, in order to please you 
and Dietz and, as you can see, even more. . . 



Yours, 
F.E. 

page 58 



ENGELS TO KARL KAUTSKY 

in Stuttgart 



London, February 3, 1891 

Dear Kautsky: 

You think we have been bombarded with letters on ac count of the Marx article 
~ quite the contrary, we have heard and seen nothing. 

When no Neue Zeit arrived on Saturday, I immediately thought something had 
happened again. On Sunday Ede[52] came and shared your letter with me. I 
thought then that the suppression plot had succeeded after all. At last, the issue 
arrived on Monday and after a little while I also dis covered the reprint in 
Vorw&aumlrts. [53] 

When punitive measures in the nature of the Anti-Socialist Law[54] failed, this 
bold leap was the best thing our people could do. But also it has the advantage 
that it fills a good part of the gap which can be bridged only with difficulty and 
which August[55] mentioned in his first fright. In any case, this fright was 
essentially based on the consideration: what will the enemy make of it? Since the 
thing was printed 

page 59 

in the official organ, the exploitation by the enemy will be blunted and we put 
ourselves in a position where we can say: See how we criticize ourselves ~ we are 
the only party that can allow itself to do this; try and imitate us! And this is also 
the correct standpoint which should have been taken in the first place. 

Consequently it also becomes hard for measures to be taken against you. My 
request to send the thing to Adler if need be was meant, on the one hand, to put 
pressure on Dietz, and on the other to cover your own responsibility, since to a 
certain extent I put you in a position where you had no choice. I also wrote 
August that I was taking the whole responsibility on myself alone. 



If the responsibility otherwise falls on somebody else, it is on Dietz. He knows 
that I have always been very accommodating towards him in such matters. I have 
not only fulfilled all his wishes to tone down the language but have toned down 
even beyond his demands. Had he marked more, it would have still been taken 
into consideration. But why should I not let pass what Dietz did not take offence 
at? 

For the rest, after their first fright most people except Liebknecht will be 
grateful to me for publishing the thing. It makes anything half-baked and all 
phrasemongering impossible in the next programme and supplies irrefutable 
arguments which most of them[56] would perhaps have hardly dared advance on 
their own initiative. It is no reproach that they did not change the bad programme 
under the Anti-Socialist Law because they could not do so. And now they 
themselves have given it up. They can now in fact admit without embarrassment 
that they acted clumsily during unification fifteen years ago and let Hasselmann, 
etc., hood- 
page 60 

wink them. In any case, the three parts of the programme, namely: 1 . specific 
Lassalleanism, 2. the vulgar democracy of the People's Party, and 3. nonsense, 
have not been improved by being preserved in vinegar for fifteen long years as the 
official Party programme, and if we dare not say this openly today, then when? 

Let us know, please, if you hear anything new. Best regards. 

Yours, 

F.E. 



page 61 



ENGELS TO KARL KAUTSKY 

in Stuttgart 



London, February 11, 1891 

Dear Kautsky: 

Many thanks for both your letters. I herewith return those from Bebel and 
Schippel. 



The Berliners' boycott of me has not been hfted, I hear and see nothing by 
letter, they are assuredly still undecided. On the other hand, the Hamburger 
Echom] had a very decent editorial, considering that those people are still very 
strongly imbued with Lassalleanism and even swear by the system of acquired 
rights. [58] Also I see from it and the Frankfurter Zeitung that the attacks of the 
enemy press are in full swing, if they have not already exhausted themselves. 
Once this has been overcome ~ and till now, as far as I can see, it was very mild - 
- people will recover from their first fright. By contrast, Adler's Berlin 
correspondent (A. Braun?) formally thanks me for publishing. [59] A few more 
such voices, and resistance will flag. 

page 62 

It became clear to me that the manuscript was deliberately hidden and kept 
from Bebel in May/June 1875 as soon as he gave me April 1 as the date of his 
release from prison; I have also written him that he must have seen it in the 
absence of "anything untoward." If necessary, I shall ask him for a reply to this. 
For a long time the document was in the hands of Liebknecht, from whom Bracke 
only got it back with difficulty; Liebknecht wanted to keep it entirely to himself in 
order to use it in the final editing of the proramme. How, is now quite clear. 

Please send me the manuscript of Lafargue's[60] article registered in a paper- 
wrapper, and I shall no doubt put the matter in order. By the way, his article on 
Padlewski was quite good and very useful in the face of the Vorwarts distortions 
regarding French policy. In this, Wilhelm[6i] is altogether out of luck. He puffs the 
French Republic every where, and his specially engaged correspondent, Guesde, 
pulls it down all over the lot. [62] 

Schippel's announcement about the fraction's explanation[63] leaves me utterly 
cold. If they so wish, I am ready to confirm to them that I am not used to asking 
for their permission. It is all the same to me whether this pleases them or not. I 
willingly grant them the right to pronounce their adverse opinion on this or that. I 
don't dream of replying unless the matter comes to such a pass that I am 
absolutely forced to deal with it. So let's wait. 

On this account, too, I shall not write to Bebel, first, because he himself must 
tell me what sort of final opinion he has formed on the matter and, second, 
because every resolution of the fraction is signed by all, whether they voted 

page 63 

for it or not. Furthermore, Bebel is wrong if he believes I shall allow myself to be 
driven into an acrimonious polemic. For that, however, they would first have to 
come at me with untruths, etc., which I could not possibly let pass. On the 
contrary, I am indeed soaked through and through with conciliatoriness, I really 
have no reason to be angry and am burning with the craving to build any bridge ~ 
a pontoon, a trestle bridge, an iron or stone bridge, even a golden one ~ over the 
possible abyss or rift suspected from afar by Bebel. 



Strange! Schippel now writes of the many old Lassalleans who are proud of 
their Lassallery ~ and when they were here,[64] it was unanimously stated: There 
are no more Lassalleans in Germany! This was actually one of the main reasons 
which dissipated my many misgivings. And here comes Bebel too and thinks that 
a great number of the best comrades have been badly hurt. But then they should 
have [told] me how things stood. 

Besides, if now after fifteen years one cannot talk straight-forwardly about 
Lassalle's theoretical nonsense and his acting the prophet, then when should one? 

But the Party itself, the executive, the fraction and tutti quanti (all the others) 
are shielded by the Anti-Socialist Law from all blame, except that they accepted 
such a programme (and this cannot be avoided). As long as the Law was in force, 
any revision was out of the question. As soon as this ended, revision was put on 
the agenda. So what more does one want? 

And it is also necessary that people finally stop treating Party functionaries ~ 
their own servants ~ with the eternal 

page 64 

kid gloves and standing most obediently instead of critically before them, as if 
they were infallible bureaucrats. 

Yours, 

F,E, 



page 65 



ENGELS TO FREDERICK ADOLF SORGE 

in Hoboken 



London, February 11, 1891 

Dear Sorge: 

Received your letter of January 16. . . . 

You have read Marx's article in the Neue Zeit, The great anger it first caused 
among the socialist bosses in Germany seems to be abating now. In the Party 



itself, however ~ with the exception of the old Lassalleans ~ there was much 
rejoicing. The Berlin correspondent of the Yitnna Arbeiter-Zeitung^m] which you 
will receive by the next mail (I think it's Adolf Braun, Victor Adler's brother-in- 
law and Liebknecht's sub-editor on the Vorw&aumlrts ), formally thanks me for 
the service I have rendered the Party. Liebknecht, of course, is raging, since the 
whole Critique is specifically aimed at him and he is the father of the rotten 
programme which he begot with that bugger Hasselmann. I understand the initial 
horror of those people who had hitherto insisted that they should be treated ever 
so gently by the "comrades" when now they are handled sans fa&ccedilon 
(unceremoniously) 

page 66 

and their programme is revealed as pure nonsense. As Karl Kautsky who has 
acted very courageously in the whole matter writes me, there is a plan to release a 
fraction edict to the effect that the publication took place without their prior 
knowledge and that they disapproved of it. They can willingly have the fun. But 
even this may not happen, if assent increases within the Party and they find the 
clamour that "a weapon against us ourselves has thus been put in the enemy's 
hands" is not worth much. 

In the meantime, I am boycotted by these gentlemen, which is quite all right 
with me, since it saves me wasting a lot of time. It won't last too long anyway. . . . 

Yours, 

F.E. 



page 67 



ENGELS TO KARL KAUTSKY ^ 

in Stuttgart 



London, February 23, 1891 

Dear Kautsky, 

You will have received my hasty congratulations of the day before yesterday. 
So now to return again to the matter in hand, Marx's letter.[67] 



The fear that it would put a weapon in the hands of our opponents was 
unfounded. Mahcious insinuations, of course, are being attached to anything and 
everything, but on the whole the impression made on our opponents was one of 
complete bewilderment at this ruthless self-criticism and the feeling: what an 
inner power must be possessed by a party that can afford such a thing! That can 
be seen from the hostile newspapers you sent me (for which many thanks) and 
from those to which I have otherwise had access. And, frankly speaking, that 
really was my intention when I published the document. I was aware of the fact 
that at the first moment some persons here and there would be most unpleasantly 
affected by it, but this was inevitable, and it 

page 68 

was amply outweighed, in my view, by the contents of the document. I knew, 
also, that the Party was quite strong enough to stand it, and I reckoned that it 
would today also be able to stomach this unconcealed language used fifteen years 
ago; that one would point with justihable pride to this test of strength and would 
say: Where is there another party that can dare the like? That has been left, 
meanwhile, to the Saxon and Yitrma Arbeiter-Zeitung and to the Z&uumlricher 

P0St.[68] 

It is very nice of you that in No. 21 of the Neue Zeit you take upon yourself the 
responsibility for the publication;[69] but do not forget that, after all, I gave the first 
impulse and moreover to a certain extent I put you in a position in which you had 
no choice. I claim, therefore, the main responsibility for myself. As far as details 
are concerned, one can certainly always have different opinions about them. I 
have deleted and altered everything that you and Dietz have objected to, and if 
Dietz had marked even more I would still, as far as possible, have been amenable 
even then; of that I have always given you proof. But, as far as the main point is 
concerned, it was my duty to publish the thing once the programme had come up 
for discussion. And especially now, after Liebknecht's report in Halle, in which he 
utilizes his extracts from it in part unceremoniously as his own property, and in 
part as objects of attack without mentioning the source, Marx would certainly 
have confronted this rehash with the original and it was my duty in his place to do 
the same. Unfortunately, at that time I had not yet got the document; I only found 
it considerably later after much search. 

You say that Bebel writes to you that Marx's treatment of Lassalle has caused 
bad blood among the old Lassalleans. 

page 69 

That may be so. People, you see, do not know the real story and nothing appears 
to have happened to enlighten them about it. If these people do not know that 
Lassalle's whole greatness rests on this, that for years Marx allowed him to parade 
the results of Marx's research as his own and, owing to defective education in 



economics, to distort them into the bargain, then that is not my fault. But I am 
Marx's hterary executor and as such I have my duty to perform. 

Lassalle has belonged to history for twenty-six years. While under the 
Exceptional Law historical criticism of him has been left in abeyance, the time is 
at last at hand when it must have its say and Lassalle's position in relation to Marx 
be made plain. The legend that conceals and glorifies the true image of Lassalle 
can surely not become an article of faith of the Party. However highly one may 
estimate Lassalle's services to the movement, his historical role in it remains an 
equivocal one. Lassalle the socialist is accompanied step by step by Lassalle the 
demagogue. Everywhere, Lassalle, the conductor of the Hatzfeldt law suit,[70] 
shows through Lassalle the agitator and organizer: the same cynicism in choice of 
means, the same preference for surrounding himself with suspicious and corrupt 
people who can be used as mere tools and discarded. Until 1862 a specifically 
Prussian vulgar democrat in practice, with strong Bonapartist leanings (I have just 
looked through his letters to Marx), he suddenly switched round for purely 
personal reasons and began his agitation; and before two years had gone by he 
was demanding that the workers should take the part of the monarchy against the 
bourgeoisie, and intriguing with Bismarck, akin to him in character, in a way that 
would certainly have led to the actual betrayal of the movement, if 

page 70 

fortunately for him he had not been shot in time. In his agitational writings, the 
correct things that he borrowed from Marx are so much interwoven with his own 
Lassallean, invariably false expositions that the two are hardly to be separated. 
The section of the workers that feels itself injured by Marx's judgement knows 
Lassalle only through his two years of agitation, and even these only through 
coloured spectacles. But historical criticism cannot stand eternally, hat in hand, 
before such prejudices. It was my duty finally to settle accounts between Marx 
and Lassalle. That has been done. For the time being I can content myself with 
that. Moreover, I myself have other things to do now. And Marx's published 
ruthless judgement of Lassalle will by itself have its effect and give others 
courage. But should I be forced to it, there would be no choice for me: I should 
have to clear away the Lassalle legend once for all. 

That voices have been raised in the Reichstag group saying that the Neue Zeit 
should be placed under censorship is indeed a fine affair. What is this, the ghost 
of the Reichstag group's dictatorship during the Anti-Socialist Law (which was, of 
course, necessary and excellently carried out), or is it due to remembrance of von 
Schweitzer's[7i] whilom strict organization? It is indeed a brilliant idea to put 
German socialist science, after its liberation from Bismarck's Anti-Socialist Law, 
under a new Anti-Socialist Law to be manufactured and carried out by the Social 
Democratic Party authorities themselves. For the rest, it is ordained that trees shall 
not grow into the sky. 



The article in the Vorzw&aumlrts does not stir me much. I shall wait for 
Liebknecht's account of what happened and shall then reply to both in as friendly 
a tone as possible. 

page 71 

In the Vorw&aumlrts article there are only a few inaccuracies to be corrected (for 
example, that we did not desire unity, that events proved Marx wrong, etc.) and a 
few obvious things to be confirmed. With this answer I intend then for my part, to 
close the discussion unless new attacks or false assertions compel me to continue. 

Tell Dietz that I am working on the Origin.vm But today Fischer writes to me 
and wants three new prefaces as well! [73] 

Yours, 

F.E. 



page 72 



ENGELS TO FREDERICK ADOLF SORGE 

in Hoboken 



London, March 4, 1891 

Dear Sorge: 

Received your letter of February 19. In the meantime you probably have heard 
much more about the Social-Democratic fraction's great indignation concerning 
the publication of Marx's letter about the Programme in the Neue Zeit. The matter 
is still in progress. For the time being, I let those people make fools of themselves, 
and for that matter Liebknecht has perpetrated some dubious things in the 
Vorw&aumlrts, Naturally I shall reply in due course, but without unnecessary 
squabbling, although this may well be scarcely possible without some light irony. 
Of course, all the people who count theoretically are on my side ~ with the sole 
exception of Bebel, who in fact is not without cause in feeling I have hurt him ~ 
but that was unavoidable. I have not been able to look at the Volkszeitungm\ for 
four weeks be cause of overwork and therefore do not know whether the 

page 73 



reflected lightning has struck in America ~ the remnants of Lassalleanism are 
foaming in Europe, and you have enough of them there, too. . . . 



Yours, 
F.E. 



page 74 



ENGELS TO AUGUST BEBEL in Berlin 

London, May 1-2, 1891 

Dear Bebel, 

I am replying today to your two letters of March 30 and April 25. [75] It was with 
great joy that I read your silver wedding went so well and made you look forward 
to your golden one. I wish with all my heart that you may both live to see it. We 
need you for a long time yet after the devil has taken me ~ to use Old Dessauer's 
words. 

I must return to Marx's Critique of the Programme, I hope for the last time. I 
must deny that ''nobody would have objected to the publication in itself." 
Liebknecht would never have voluntarily agreed to it and would have done his 
utmost to prevent it. Since 1875 this Critique has stuck in his craw to such an 
extent that he thinks of it the moment there is talk of a "programme." His whole 
speech at Halle hinges on this subject. His puffed up Vorw&aumlrts article is 
simply an expression of his bad conscience about this selfsame Critique. And 
indeed it is in the first place directed against him. We 

page 75 

regarded him as the father of the Unity Programme — in its rotten aspect, and I 
still do so. And that was the point which determined my unilateral action. Had I 
been able to thrash the matter out with you alone and then send it off immediately 
to Karl Kautsky for printing, we could have reached agreement in two hours. But 
then I considered you to be obliged ~ personally and from a Party viewpoint ~ to 
discuss it with Liebknecht also. And then I knew the outcome. Either suppression 
or an open row, at least for some time, even with you, if I still went ahead. The 
following proves that I was not wrong: Since you came out of clink on April 1 
[1875] and the document is dated only May 5, it is clear ~ until further 



elucidation ~ that the thing was deliberately kept from you, and this can have 
happened only through Liebknecht. But for the sake of sweet peace you have let 
him send the lie out into the world that you didn't get to see the thing because you 
were in jail. And so you would have had consideration for him even before 
publication in order to avoid a scandal in the executive. I find this understandable 
too, but I hope you too will understand that I had to consider that in all probability 
things would have been handled in this way. 

I have just been looking the thing over again. Perhaps some more could have 
been left out without harm to the whole. But surely not much. What was the 
situation? We knew as well as you and as, for instance, the Frankfurter Zeitung of 
March 9, 75, which I happened to find, that the matter was decided with the 
acceptance of the draft by your plenipotentiaries. Thus Marx wrote the thing only 
to absolve his conscience and without any hope of success; dixi et salvavi animam 
meam (I have spoken and saved my soul) is written in evidence underneath. And 
Liebknecht's bluster 

page 76 

with the "categorical no" is therefore nothing but vain boasting, and he knows it 
too. Since you people blundered in the choice of your representatives and then 
had to swallow the programme so as not to let the whole unification come to grief, 
you surely cannot object if the warning which had reached you before the final 
decision was taken is published now, after fifteen years! This stamps you neither 
as blockheads nor as cheats, unless you claim infallibility for your official actions. 

To be sure, you yourself had not read the warning. But that also has been 
published and so you are in an exceptionally favourable position, as compared 
with those who did read it and still acquiesced in the draft. 

I hold the covering letter to be very important. For the only correct policy is 
explained in it. Parallel action during a period of probation, that was the only 
thing which could have saved you from bartering away principles. But Liebknecht 
was unwilling at any price to forego the glory of having brought about unification, 
and yet it is a miracle that he did not go even further in his concessions. From 
bourgeois democracy he has brought over and maintained a real mania for 
unification. 

That the Lassalleans came because they had to, because their whole party was 
falling to pieces, because their leaders were either scoundrels or donkeys whom 
the masses were no longer willing to follow, all this can be said today in well 
chosen, mild words. As a matter of course their "tight organization" ended in 
complete dissolution. It is therefore ridiculous when Liebknecht excuses the 
acceptance en bloc of the Lassallean creed on the ground that the Lassalleans 
sacrificed their tight organization ~ there was nothing left to be sacrificed! 

page 77 



Do you wonder where the obscure and confused phrases in the programme 
come from? But they are all precisely Liebknecht incarnate, the phrases over 
which we have quarrelled with him for years and with which he is infatuated. He 
has always been confused theoretically, and to this day our sharp formulation is 
an abomination to him. On the other hand, as an old People's Party member he 
still loves high-sounding phrases which can mean everything possible or nothing 
at all. Since confused Frenchmen, Englishmen and Americans in those days spoke 
of the "emancipation of labour" instead of that of the working class because they 
did not know any better, and since the language of the people being spoken to had 
to be used even here and there in the documents of the International, this was 
reason enough for Liebknecht to put the screws on the German Party to force it 
back to the same vanquished standpoint in its modes of expression. And it is 
absolutely impossible to say that he did this "against his own better knowledge," 
since he really did not know any better then, and I am not sure whether this does 
not also apply today. At any rate, he is forever falling back into the old vague 
modes of expression even today ~ of course, they are easier to use rhetorically. 
And since he cared at least as much for the basic democratic demands he thought 
he understood as for the economic principles he did not clearly understand, he 
was surely honest when he thought he had concluded a brilliant deal by bartering 
democratic staples for Lassallean dogmas. 

As for the attacks on Lassalle, these were among the most important things to 
me, as I have said. By accepting all the essential Lassallean economic phrases and 
demands the Eisenachers actually became Lassalleans, at least according 

page 78 

to the programme. The Lassalleans had sacrificed nothing, absolutely nothing, 
which they could have retained. To complete the latter's victory, you accepted as 
your Party song the moralizing rhymed prose with which Herr Audorf 
commemorates Lassalle.[76] And during the thirteen years of the Anti-Socialist 
Law it was self-evidently impossible to stand up to the cult of Lassalle inside the 
Party. This had to be terminated, and this I have instigated. I shall no longer allow 
Lassalle's spurious fame to be maintained and proclaimed anew at Marx's 
expense. The people who personally knew and idolized Lassalle have thinned out, 
and among all the others the cult of Lassalle is purely fabricated, fabricated by 
our silent toleration against our better knowledge and therefore without even the 
justification of a personal attachment. The inexperienced people and the 
newcomers have been adequately taken into consideration by the publication of 
the thing in the "Neue Zeit.'' But I can in no wise concede that in such matters 
historical truth must step back ~ after fifteen years of lamb-like patience ~ in 
favour of convenience and because of the possibility of giving offence inside the 
Party. At all such times it is inevitable that some good people get hurt. And that 
there upon they grumble. And if they then say that Marx was envious of Lassalle, 
and if German papers and even (! !) the Chicago Vorbotenn (which writes for a 
greater number of specific Lassalleans ~ in Chicago ~ than exist in all Germany) 
join the chorus, it affects me less than a flea-bite. We have had altogether 



different things thrown at our heads and have still got on with the agenda. There is 
the example of Marx handling Saint Ferdinand Lassalle roughly and that is 
enough for the moment. 

page 79 

And now one more thing: Since you people are trying to stop publication of the 
article by force and have sent warnings to the Neue Zeit that the Party would turn 
it into Party property and put it under censorship if such things happened again, 
the Party's taking possession of your whole press must needs appear in a strange 
light to me. How do you distinguish yourselves from Puttkamer if you introduce 
an Anti-Socialist Law into your own ranks? This is really immaterial to me 
personally, no party in any country can condemn me to silence if I am determined 
to speak. But I would like you to consider whether you might not do better by 
being less sensitive and somewhat less ~ Prussian ~ in your behaviour. You ~ the 
Party ~ needs socialist science, which cannot exist without freedom of movement. 
For that, one has to put up with inconveniences, and it's best to do so with grace, 
without flinching. Even a slight tension, not to speak of a rift, between the 
German Party and German socialist science would be a misfortune and an 
unparalleled disgrace. It is self-evident that the executive and you personally 
maintain, and must maintain, an important moral influence on the Neue Zeit as 
well as on everything else being published. But that must suffice for you and it 
can, too. The Vorw&aumlrts is always boasting about the inviolable freedom of 
discussion, but one does not see much of it. You just don't know how strange such 
a propensity to coercive measures appears here abroad, where one is accustomed 
to seeing the oldest party chiefs duly called to account in their own party (for 
instance, the Tory government by Lord Randolph Churchill). And then you must 
also not forget that in a big party discipline can by no means be so tight as in a 
small sect, and that the Anti-Sociahst 

page 80 

Law which hammered the Lassalleans and the Eisenachers together (although 
according to Liebknecht, his splendid programme really achieved this!) and made 
such close cohesion necessary no longer exists. . . . 

F.E. 



From Marx 
to Mao 


Marx/Engels 
Collection 


Reading 
Guide 


Notes on 

the Text 

Below 



page 81 

NOTES 

^^^ Marx's Critique of the Gotha Programme is one of the most important contributions to the 
development of the theory of scientific communism and an example of uncompromising struggle 
against opportunism. It was written in April and early May of 1875 and sent to the leadership of 
the Eisenachers (Wilhelm Bracke) on May 5, 1875. The work contains a critical examination of 
the draft progranmie of the united German Social-Democratic Party and was prepared for the 
Gotha Unity Congress. 

The Critique of the Gotha Programme was first published by Engels in 1891 despite the 
opposition of the opportunist leadership of the German Social-Democratic Party. It appeared, 
together with Engels' "Foreword," in Die Neue Zeit, the theoretical organ of the German Social- 
Democratic Party, Vol. 1, No. 18, 1891. 

Engels also published Marx's relevant letter to Wilhelm Bracke of May 5, 1875, together with 
the Critique of the Gotha Programme. 

It is clear from Engels' letter to Karl Kautsky of February 23, 1891, that Engels had to agree to 
tone down some of the more incisive passages. The present edition is a verbatim translation from 
Marx's manuscript, [p.i] 

^^^ At the Gotha Congress, which took place from May 22 to 27, 1875, the two existing German 
workers' organizations ~ the Social-Democratic Workers' Party (the Eisenachers) founded by 
Liebknecht and Bebel in Eisenach in 1869 and led by them, and the Lassallean General 
Association of German Workers headed by Hasenclever, Hasselmann and T&oumllcke ~ united 
to form the Socialist Workers' Party of Germany. [p.3j 

^^^ The Congress of the German Social-Democratic Party at Halle ~ the first after the repeal of the 
Anti-Socialist Law ~ decided on October 6, 1890, on the motion of Wilhelm Liebknecht, the main 
author of the 

page 82 

Gotha Programme, to prepare a new draft programme for the next Party congress. This new 
programme was adopted in October of the following year at the Erfurt Congress (the Erfurt 
Programme), [p.3] 

^^^ The Hague Congress of the First International, held in September 1872, was marked by the 
struggle against Bakunin. The majority at the congress supported the stand of the General Council 
led by Marx. Bakunin was expelled from the International, [p.4] 

^^^ Bakunin's Statehood and Anarchy, Zurich, 1873. [p.6] 

^^^ The People's Party of Germany, established in 1865, consisted mainly of petty-bourgeois 
democrats from the South German states and a section of the bourgeois democrats. It opposed the 
hegemony of Prussia over Germany and advanced general democratic slogans which also reflected 
the secessionist tendency of some German states. It advocated building a German federation and 
opposed unifying Germany under a centralized democratic republic. 

In 1866, the People's Party of Saxony, which had workers as its nucleus, merged with the 
German People's Party, forming its left wing. The combined Party agreed to settling the question 
of national unification by democratic means and later developed in a socialist direction. After 
breaking with the petty-bourgeois democrats, it participated in founding the Social-Democratic 
Workers' Party in August 1 869. [p.6] 



^^^ The Unity Congress of German Social-Democracy was held on May 22-21, 1875, in Gotha; 
the congress of the Lassalleans had taken place earlier in May, while the congress of the 
Eisenachers was convened afterwards, on June 8, in Hamburg. [p.6i 

^^^ The first French translation of Volume I of Capital, which Marx himself edited, was published 
in instalments in 1872-75 in Paris, [p.7] 

^'^^ The publishing house of the Social-Democratic Workers' Party attached to the editorial board 
of Volksstaat (People's State), the central organ of the party, [p.7] 

^^°^ The second edition of Marx's pamphlet. Revelations About the Cologne Communist Trial 
(Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Works, German ed.. Vol. 8, pp. 405-70). It was issued in 1875 
by the Volksstaat bookshop at Leipzig, [p.7] 

^^^^ Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party, Foreign Languages 
Press, Peking, 1970, p. 44. [p.i9] 

f^^^ The Reichstag elections of January 10, 1874. [p.i9] 

^^^^ "The Marat of Berlin" is an ironic reference to Hasselmann, the chief editor of Neuer 
Sozialdemokrat. 

page 83 

The magazine Neuer Sozialdemokrat was the organ of the Lassallean General Association of 
German Workers, appearing three times a week in Berlin from 1871 to 1876. It pursued a line 
which faithfully reflected the Lassallean policy of accommodation to the Bismarck regime and 
propitiation of the German ruling classes, as well as the Lassallean leadership's opportunism and 
nationalism. Adopting a sectarian stand, it consistently opposed the Marxist leadership of the 
International and the German Social-Democratic Workers' Party, and supported the hostile 
activities of the Bakuninists and other anti-proletarian elements against the General Council of the 
International. [p.20] 

^^^^ The International League of Peace and Freedom was a bourgeois pacifist organization set up 
in Switzerland in 1867 by a group of petty-bourgeois Republicans and liberals (Victor Hugo, 
Giuseppe Garibaldi, and others taking an active part in it). In 1867-68 Mikhail Bakunin joined in 
the work of the League. During its early period, the League attempted to use the working class 
movement to attain its own ends. It asserted that war could be eliminated through the 
establishment of a "United States of Europe," thus spreading illusions among the masses in order 
to divert the proletariat from class struggle. [p.2i] 

^^^^ After the fall of the Paris Commune, Bismarck attempted in 1871-72 to conclude a formal 
treaty with Austria and Russia for united action against the revolutionary movement in general, 
and against the First International in particular. In accordance with Bismarck's proposal, the Three 
Emperors' League of Germany. Russia and Austria-Hungary was formed in October 1873 to take 
common action once a "European disturbance" occurred. [p.2i] 

^^^^ The Norddeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung editorial of March 20, 1875, on the draft programme. It 
stated that "Social-Democratic agitation has in some respects become more prudent: it is 
renouncing the International." 

Norddeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (North-German General Newspaper), a reactionary daily 



published in Berlin from 1861 to 1918, was the organ of the Bismarck government from the sixties 
to the eighties, [p.22] 

^^^^ Lassalle formulated this law as, "The iron economic law which, under present-day conditions, 
under the rule of the supply and demand of labour, determines wages is this: that the average 
wage always remains reduced to the necessary subsistence level which in any given nation is 
habitually needed for eking out a living and for propagation. 

"It is the pivot around which the actual daily wage constantly swings pendulum-like, without 
ever rising above it or falling below it for long. The actual daily wage cannot remain above this 
average for any length 

page 84 

of time, otherwise the lightened, improved condition of the workers would give rise to an increase 
of the working population and, consequently, of the supply of factory hands, which in turn would 
bring wages down to the original level or below. 

"Wages cannot remain far below this necessary subsistence level for long, because this would 
cause migration, celibacy, abstention from producing children and thus finally reduction in the 
number of workers due to poverty, whereby the supply of factory hands would be lowered and 
wages would return to their original higher level. The actual average wage is, therefore, destined 
to be always fluid, to fluctuate around this pivot to which it must constantly return, to be 
sometimes above and sometimes below it" (Arbeiterlesebuch [Workers' Reader], two speeches by 
Lassalle in Frankfort-on-Main on May 17 and 19, 1863, Hottingen-Zurich, 1887). 

Lassalle first explained this "law" in his pamphlet "An Open Answer to the Central Committee 
for Convening a General Congress of German Workers at Leipzig" (Zurich, 1863, pp. 15-16). 

[p.22] 

"^^ A quotation from Goethe's ''Das Gottliche.'' [p.22] 

^^'^^The theory advanced by Friedrich Albert Lange (1828-75) in his work Die Arbeiterfrage in 
ihrer Bedeutung f&uumlr Gegenwart und Zukunft (The Labour Question: Its Significance for the 
Present and the Future), Duisburg, 1865, pp. 144-61 and 180. [p.22] 

^^°Thilippe Joseph Buchez (1796-1865), French historian and publicist. In the 1840s he 
advocated French Catholic socialism, which demanded the formation of producers' co-operative 
societies with state aid. [p.25] 

['"Louis Philippe (1773-1850), King of France in the period of the "July Monarchy." He 
ascended the throne after the July Revolution of 1830, and the February Revolution of 1848 
brought his reign to an end. [p.25] 

[^'^ L' Atelier (Workshop), a monthly published in Paris from 1840 to 1850 by artisans and workers 
influenced by Catholic socialism. Its edito rial board included workers' representatives who were 
re-elected every three months, [p.25] 

['^^ Napoleon III (Louis Bonaparte), Emperor of France (1852-70). [p.28] 

['^^ "Honest" was the epithet applied to the Eisenachers. [p.28] 

['^^ Robert Gladstone, a Liverpool merchant and liberal who advocated a progressive income tax 
which should fall primarily on the big land owners. He was the brother of William Gladstone 
(1809-98), British Liberal Prime Minister in the last half of the 19th century, [p.29] 



page 85 

^^^^ "Kulturkampf ' (struggle for culture), a term applied by bourgeois liberals to the legal 
measures adopted by the Bismarck government in the 1870s. Under the pretext of fighting for 
secular culture, they were aimed against Catholicism and the party of the "Centre" which 
supported the secessionism and anti-Prussian tendency of the officials, landowners and 
bourgeoisie of the medium-sized and smaller southwest German states. However, in the 1880s, 
Bismarck repealed most of these measures in order to muster all the reactionary forces of the 
states. [p.3i] 

^^^^This letter is closely related in content to Marx's Critique of the Gotha Programme and 
expresses Marx's and Engels' common view on the union of the two German workers' parties 
which was planned for early 1875. The immediate reason for this letter was the publication in 
Volksstaat and in Neuer Sozialdemokrat, March 7, 1875, of the draft programme of the would-be 
united German Social-Democratic Workers' Party. The draft was revised only slightly and adopted 
at the Unity Gotha Congress of May 1875. It has since been known as the Gotha Programme. 

Marx and Engels favoured merging the two workers' parties. However, they held that the 
unification was possible only on the basis of sound principles. In his letter to Bebel, Engels 
criticized the draft and warned the Eisenachers not to give in to the Lassalleans. Not until 36 years 
later was the letter first published in Bebel's book Aw^ meinem Lehen (From My Life), Part 2, 
Stuttgart, 1911. [p.37] 

^^^^ The programme adopted at the General German Social-Democratic Workers' Congress at 
Eisenach on August 7-9, 1869, which was attended by German, Austrian and Swiss Social- 
Democrats. The German Social Democratic Workers' Party, later known as the Eisenach party, 
was founded at this congress. The Eisenach Programme adhered in general to the line of the 
International, [p.38] 

^^'^^ Der Volksstaat, central organ of the German Social-Democratic Workers' Party (Eisenachers), 
published in Leipzig from October 2, 1869, to September 29, 1876, twice weekly at first, then 
three times a week from July 1873. The journal represented the viewpoint of the revolutionaries in 
the German working-class movement and was therefore subjected to frequent persecution by the 
government and police. As the editors were arrested from time to time, the editorial board 
membership was always changing, but the leadership of the paper remained in the hands of 
Wilhelm Liebknecht. August Bebel also played a prominent role. Marx and Engels had been 
contributors since the journal's founding and often helped the editorial board, [p.39] 

page 86 

^^°^ The Frankfurter Zeitung was the shortened name of the Frankfurter Zeitung und 
Handelsblatt, originally a daily with a petty-bourgeois democratic orientation, published from 
1856 to 1943 at Frankfort-on-Main. [p.39] 

^^" These political demands of the draft Gotha Programme read as follows: 

The German Workers' Party demands as the free basis of the state: 

1 . Universal, equal, direct and secret suffrage for all males twenty-one years of age and above, 
in all elections ~ national and local. 2. Direct legislation by the people with the right of initiating 
and vetoing proposals. 3. Universal military training; people's militia to replace the standing army. 
Questions of war and peace to be decided by the representative assembly of the people. 4. 
Abolition of all exceptional laws, especially the laws on the press, association and assembly. 5. 
People's courts. Free administration of justice. 

The German Workers' Party demands as the intellectual and moral basis of the state: 1. 
Universal and equal elementary education by the state. Universal compulsory school attendance. 
Free instruction. 2. Freedom of science. Freedom of conscience, [p.39] 



^^^^ I.e., the International League of Peace and Freedom. See Note 14 [p.39] 

^''^ See Note 17 [p.40] 

['"^ See Karl Marx, Capital, Vol. I, Part VII. [p.4i] 

[35] wiihelm Bracke's Der Lassalle'sche Vorschleg (The Lassallean Proposal ), Brunswick, 1873. 
[p.lU 

[36] Ajnand Gogg (1820-97), one of the leaders of the bourgeois League of Peace and Freedom. 

[p.41] 

^^^^ Marx's The Poverty of Philosophy (Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Works, German ed.. Vol. 
4, pp. 63-182). [p.42] 

^^^^ Demokratisches Wochenblatt (Democratic Weekly ), a German workers' journal published 
from January 1868 to September 1869 in Leipzig under the editorship of Wilhelm Liebknecht. In 
December 1868 it became the organ of the Union of German Workers' Associations led by August 
Bebel. In the beginning the journal was to some extent influenced by the petty-bourgeois ideology 
of the People's Party. But thanks to Marx's and Engels' efforts, it began to conduct the struggle 
against the Lassalleans and to spread the ideas of the International and publish its important 
documents, so that it played a significant role in the founding of the 

page 87 

German Social-Democratic Workers' Party. At the Eisenach Party Congress in 1869 it was 
renamed the party's central organ and its title was changed to Der Volksstaat (see Note 29) . [p.44] 

^^'^^ On account of the revolutionary-internationalist position they adopted during the Franco- 
Prussian War of 1870-71, Liebknecht and Bebel were charged with treason at the famous Leipzig 
trial in Match 1872 and sentenced to two years' imprisonment in a fortress. Bebel's term expired 
on May 14, 1874, but six weeks later he was again jailed in Zwickau, Saxony, for another nine 
months, for 'H&egravese majeste.'' He was finally released on April 1, 1875, coincidentally 
Bismarck's birthday, [p.44] 

^^°^ Hermann Ramm, one of the editors of Der Volksstaat, the central organ of the Eisenach party. 

[p.45] 

^^" At the Gotha Congress, the Party's leading organ was composed of representatives of the two 
organizations. The committee consisted of Wilhelm Hasenclever, Georg Wilhelm Hartmann and 
Karl de Rossi of the Lassalleans, and August Geib and Ignaz Auer of the Eisenachers. [p.47] 

^^^^ In 321 B. C, during the Second Samnite War, the Samnites defeated the Roman army at the 
Caudine Forks, a defile near the ancient Italian town Caudium and forced the vanquished army to 
pass under a yoke, a monstrous insult to a defeated army. Hence the term denotes suffering deep 
humiliation, [p.48] 

^^^^ The committee's proposal to remove from the list of Party literature the following works 
concerning Lassalle: Bernhard Becker, Revelations About the Tragic Death of Ferdinand Lassalle, 
Schleiz, 1868; The History ofLassalle's Working Class Agitation, Brunswick, 1874, and Wilhelm 
Bracke, The Lassallean Proposal, Brunswick, 1873. [p.49] 



^^^^ The next Reichstag elections were to take place on January 10, 1877. [p.50] 

^^^^ Wilhelm Stieber, the head of the Prussian political police. Tessendorf, the public prosecutor in 
Prussia. [p.50] 

^^^^ By the Leipzigers, Engels meant Liebknecht, Bebel and other members of the editorial board 
of the Party's central organ, Volksstaat. [p.50] 

^^^^ Kautsky was then editor of the weekly journal Die Neue Zeit. [p.54] 

^^^^ Victor Adler (1852-1918), the founder and leader of the Austrian Social-Democratic Party. 

[p.54] 

^^'^^ Engels' work published not long afterwards under the title, Brentano Against Marx Because of 
So-Called Falsified Quotation, Hamburg, 1891. [p.55] 

page 88 

[50] Wilhelm Dietz (1843-1922), a German Social-Democratic member of the Reichstag, was 
manager of the Party publishing house in Stuttgart, which also put out Die Neue Zeit. [p.56] 

^^" Wilhelm Liebknecht's report on the Party programme on October 15, 1890, at the Halle 
Congress (see Note 3) . [p.56] 

^^^^ Eduard Bernstein, [p.58] 

^^^^ "Marginal Notes to the Programme of the German Workers' Party" was published in Die Neue 
Zeit, No. 18, January 31, 1891, and in Vorw&oumldrts, February 1 and 3, 1891. 

Vorw&oumldrts, the central organ of the German Social-Democratic Party, published in 
Leipzig, 1876-78, and in Berlin, 1891-1933. Liebknecht and Hasenclever were in charge from 
1876 to 1878, and Liebknecht alone from 1891-1900. [p.58] 

^^^^ The German Social-Democratic Party leaders attempted to obstruct the distribution of Die 
Neue Zeit, No. 18. 

The Anti-Socialist Law which outlawed the German Social-Democratic Party was passed by the 
Bismarck government with majority support in the Reichstag on October 21, 1878, to suppress the 
socialist and workers' movement. The law was prolonged every 2 to 3 years. As a result of the 
pressure of the mass workers' movement, the Exceptional Law Against the Socialists was 
abrogated on October 1, 1890. [p.58] 

f^^^ August Bebel. [p.58] 

^^^^ I.e., the Eisenachers. [p.59] 

^^^^ Hamburger Echo, the Social-Democratic daily founded in 1887. [p.6i] 

^^^^ The editorial "On the Critique of the Social-Democratic Pro gramme, appearing in the 
Hamburger Echo, No. 33, February 8, 1891, indicated the great significance which Engels' 
publication of IMarx's letter on the Gotha Programme had in formulating a new Social-Democratic 
programme. 



Engels here refers to the "system of acquired rights" as expounded by Lassalle in his book of 
the same title, Leipzig, 1861. Starting from philosophy and jurisprudence, Lassalle interpreted the 
legal relationships between men from his idealist standpoint. [p.6i] 

^^'^^ Berlin dispatch in the Yienna Arte iter- Zeitung, No. 6, February 6, 1891, reported that Engels 
had published in Germany a document of great theoretical and practical significance ~ Marx's 
Critique. The author of the dispatch, in commenting on Engels' achievements, wrote further that it 
was now "time to formulate the theoretical principles of our party 

page 89 

with full sharpness and without any compromise as to the programme, and at the present moment 
this publication is indeed timely." [p.6i] 

^^°^ Paul Lafargue's article for Die Neue Zeit, instead of appearing there as prearranged, was 
published in Revue Socialiste, No. 93, Vol. 16, 1892, under the title "La th&eacuteorie de la 
Valeur et de la plus- value de Marx et les &eacuteconomistes bourgeois" ("Marx's Theory of Value 
and Surplus- Value and the Bourgeois Economists"), [p.62] 

f^" Wilhelm Liebknecht. [p.62] 

^^^^ Jules Guesde in his "Briefe aus Frankreich" ("Letters from France") which appeared in 
Vorw&aumlrts, Nos. 23 and 25, January 28 and 30, 1891, exposed the policy of suppressing the 
workers' movement at home, which, injurious to the good name of the Republic, was implemented 
by the moderate bourgeois Republicans ~ the so-called opportunists ~ headed by Jean Antoine 
Ernest Constans, Pierre Maurice Rouvier and others, [p.62] 

^^^^ On February 13, 1891, in Vorw&aumlrts was printed an editorial, "Der Marx'sche Progranmi- 
Brief" ("Marx's Letter on the Programme"), which expressed the official position of the Party 
executive on the Critique of the Gotha Programme. The article strongly opposed Marx's estimate 
of Lassalle and his authoritative advice with a "categorical no," and supported the Party's adoption 
of the draft programme in disregard of Marx's criticism, [p.62] 

^^^^ August Bebel, Wilhelm Liebknecht and Paul Singer were guests in Engels' home from 
November 27 to early December 1890 after they went to London on behalf of the German Social- 
Democratic Party to congratulate Engels on his 70th birthday (November 28, 1890). At Engels' 
proposal, these representatives of the German Social-Democratic Party met Eleanor Marx- 
Aveling, John Burns, William Thorne and Cunninghame Graham, activists in the English 
working-class movement, to exchange views on problems of the international working-class 
movement, and in particular, on methods of strengthening the international ties among socialist 
and workers' parties and organizations, [p.63] 

^^^^ Arheiter-Zeitung, the central organ of the Austrian Social-Democratic Party, founded by 
Victor Adler in 1 889 in Vienna, [p.65] 

^^^^ This letter was first published in Internationale Presse Korrespondenz, Berlin, Vol. XII, 
No.ll, February 9, 1932. [p.67] 

^^^^ The reference is to Critique of the Gotha Programme, [p.67] 



^^^^ S&aumlchsische Arbeiter-Zeitung, the Social-Democratic Party paper published in Dresden 
from 1890. 

page 90 

Z&uumlricher Post, a Swiss Social-Democratic paper, published from December 1890 to April 

1891. [p.68] 

^^'^^ Die Neue Zeit carried the Vorw&aumlrts editorial, No. 37, February 13, 1891 (see Note 63) , 
in Vol. I, No. 21, 1890-91. Besides its introduction to the Vorw&aumlrts editorial, the Neue Zeit 
editorial board stated: "The fact is, we don't feel duty bound to submit this letter by Marx to the 
leadership and/or fraction of the Social-Democratic Party for their consideration. We alone bear 
the responsibility for publishing it." [p.68] 

^^°^ As a lawyer, Lassalle handled the divorce case of Countess Sophie Hatzfeldt from 1845 to 
1854. [p.69] 

^^^^ Johann Baptist von Schweitzer (1833-75), the leader of the Lassalleans after Lassalle's death. 

[p.TO] 

^^^^ Engels was preparing the fourth edition of The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the 
State, 1891. [p.Vi] 

^^^^ Richard Fischer (1855-1926), a member of the German Social-Democratic Party executive 
and the manager of the Berlin Party publishing house. 

In his letter of February 20, 1891, Richard Fischer notified Engels of the Party executive's 
decision to re-publish Marx's The Civil War in France and Wage-Labour and Capital and Engels' 
Socialism: Utopian and Scientific, and asked him to write prefaces for the new editions, rp. 711 

^^^^ New-Yorker Volkszeitung, founded by and under the direction of Frederick Sorge in 1878. 

[p.72] 

^^^^ In a letter of March 30, 1891, August Bebel gave his reasons for remaining silent for so long. 
He was unwilling to give a direct answer after the publication of Marx's letter on the programme 
because he disagreed with the way it was done; besides, he was involved in Reichstag activities. 
Bebel considered it improper to publish Marx's covering letter to Bracke, May 5, 1875, for, he 
claimed, it concerned not the Party programme but the Party leadership. He gave as his main 
reason for opposing its publication that it placed weapons in the hands of the enemy to fight the 
socialists, while the sharp criticism of Lassalle would irritate the ex-Lassalleans in the Party. 

In his letter of April 25, 1891, Bebel gave Engels an account of the German workers' movement 
and mentioned in particular the strike of the Rhine- Westphalian coal miners. He considered the 
strike untimely, as it would be favourable to the mine-owners who had been seeking excuses to 
smother the miners' discontent. In the face of the probability 

page 91 

of police provocation particularly on the eve of May Day, the Party executive warned the miners 
not to take premature acrion. [p.74] 

^^^^ Audorf s prologue was written for the commemomtion on September 4, 1876, of the 
anniversary of Ferdinand Lassalle's death, [p.78] 



' Der Vorbote (Herald ), a German anarchist paper published in Chicago from 1881. [p.78]