Saturday, October 13, 2012

From Boston Socialist Alternative- The Socialist Struggle For Women's Liberation

In Boston- From The Women's Liberation Front

In Boston -The Sturggle Against AIPAC- Defend The Palestinian People!

From Occupy Boston

At Harvard University- Support This Case




In the summer of 2006 I originally wrote the following commentary (used in subsequent election cycles and updated a little for today’s purpose) urging the recruitment of independent labor militants as write-in candidates for the mid-term 2006 congressional elections based on a workers party program. With the hoopla already in full gear for the 2012 election cycle I repost that commentary below with that same intention of getting thoughtful leftists to use the 2012 campaign to further our propagandistic fight for a workers’ party that fights for a workers government.

A Modest Proposal-Recruit, Run Independent Labor Militants In The 2012 Elections

All “anti-parliamentarian”, “anti-state”, “non-political” anarchist or anarcho-syndicalist brothers and sisters need read no further. This writer does not want to sully the purity of your politics with the taint of parliamentary electoral politics. Although I might remind you, as we remember the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Barcelona Uprising, that your political ancestors in Spain were more than willing to support the state and enter the government when they got the chance- the bourgeois government of a bourgeois state. But, we can fight that issue out later. We will, hopefully, see you on the barricades with us when the time comes.

As for other militants- here is my modest proposal. Either recruit fellow labor militants or present yourselves as candidates to run for public office, especially for Congress, during the 2012 election cycle. Why? Even a quick glance at the news of the day is calculated to send the most hardened politico screaming into the night. The quagmire in Afghanistan (and unfinished business in Iraq and threats to Iran), immigration walls, flag-burning amendments, anti -same-sex marriage amendments, the threat to separation of church state raised by those who would impose a fundamentalist Christian theocracy on the rest of us, and the attacks on the hard fought gains of the Enlightenment posed by bogus theories such as ‘intelligent design.’ And that is just an average day. Therefore, this election cycle provides militants, at a time when the dwindling electorate is focused on politics, a forum to raise our program and our ideas. We use this as a tool, like leaflets, petitions, meetings, demonstrations, etc. to get our message across. Why should the Donkeys, Elephants, and the other smaller bourgeois parties have a monopoly on the public square?

I mentioned in the last paragraph the idea of program. Let us face it if we do not have a program to run on then it makes no sense for militants to run for public office. Given the political climate our task at this time is to fight an exemplary propaganda campaign. Our program is our banner in that fight. The Democrats and Republicans DO NOT RUN on a program. The sum of their campaigns is to promise not to steal from the public treasury (or at least not too much), beat their husbands or wives, or grossly compromise themselves in any manner. On second thought, given today’s political climate, they may not promise not to beat their husbands or wives or not compromise themselves in any untoward manner. You, in any case, get the point. Damn, even the weakest neophyte labor militant can make a better presentation before working people that this crowd. This writer presents a five point program (you knew that was coming, right?) that labor militants can run on. As point five makes clear this is not a ‘minimum’ program but a program based on our need to fight for power.


The quagmire in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Middle East (Iraq, Syria, Libya, Palestine, Iran) is the fault line of American politics today. Every bourgeois politician has to have his or her feet put to the fire on this one. Not on some flimsy ‘sense of the Congress’ softball motion for withdrawal next, year, in two years, or (my favorite) when the situation is stable. Moreover, on the parliamentary level the only real vote that matters is the vote on the war budget. All the rest is fluff. Militants should make a point of trying to enter Congressional contests where there are so-called anti-war Democrats or Republicans (an oxymoron, I believe) running to make that programmatic contrast vivid.

But, one might argue, that would split the ‘progressive’ forces. Grow up, please! That argument has grown stale since it was first put forth in the “popular front” days of the 1930’s. If you want to end the wars in Afghanistan and elsewhere fight for this position on the war budget. Otherwise the same people (yes, those 'progressive Democrats') who almost unanimously voted for the last war budget get a free ride on the cheap. War President Barack Obama desperately needs to be opposed by labor militants. By rights this is our issue. Let us take it back.


It is a ‘no-brainer’ that no individual, much less a family can live on the minimum wage (now $7/hr. or so). What planet do these politicians live on? We need an immediate fight for a living wage, full employment and decent working conditions. We need universal free health care for all. End of story. The organized labor movement must get off its knees and fight to organize Wal-Mart and the South. A boycott of Wal-Mart is not enough. A successful organizing drive will, like in the 1930’s; go a long way to turning the conditions of labor around.


Down with the Death Penalty! Full Citizenship Rights for All Immigrants who make it here! Stop the Deportations! For the Separation of Church and State! Defend abortion rights! Down with anti-same sex marriage legislation! Full public funding of education! Stop the ‘war on drugs’, basically a war on blacks and minority youth-decriminalize drugs! Defend political prisoners! This list of demands hardly exhausts the “culture war” issues we defend. It is hard to believe that in the year 2012 over 200 years after the American Revolution and the French Revolution we are fighting desperately to preserve many of the same principles that militants fought for in those revolutions. But so be it.


The Donkeys, Elephants and other smaller bourgeois parties have had their chance. Now is the time to fight for our own party and for the interests of our own class, the working class. Any campaigns by independent labor militants must highlight this point. And any campaigns can also become the nucleus of a workers’ party network until we get strong enough to form at least a small party. None of these other parties, and I mean none, are working in the interests of working people and their allies. The following great lesson of politic today must be hammered home. Break with the Democrats, Republicans!


We need our own form of government. In the old days the bourgeois republic was a progressive form of government. Not so any more. That form of government ran out of steam about one hundred years ago. We need a Workers Republic. We need a government based on workers councils with a ministry (I do not dare say commissariat in case any stray anarchists are still reading this) responsible to it. Let us face it if we really want to get any of the good and necessary things listed above accomplished we are not going to get it with the current form of government.

Why the XYZ part? What does that mean? No, it is not part of an algebra lesson. What it reflects is that while society is made up mainly of workers (of one sort or another) there are other classes (and parts of classes) in society that we seek as allies and could benefit from a workers government. Examples- small independent contractors, intellectuals, the dwindling number of small farmers, and some professionals like dentists. Yes, with my tongue in my cheek after all my dental bills, I like the idea of a workers and dentists government. The point is however you formulate it you have got to fight for it.

Obviously any campaign based on this program will be an exemplary propaganda campaign for the foreseeable future. But we have to start now. Continuing to support or not challenging the bourgeois parties does us no good. That is for sure. While bourgeois electoral laws do not favor independent candidacies write-in campaigns are possible. ROLL UP YOUR SHEEVES! GET THOSE PETITIONS SIGNED! PRINT OUT THE LEAFLETS! PAINT THOSE BANNERS! GET READY TO SHAKE HANDS AND KISS BABIES.

From The Pen Of Vladimir Lenin- Lessons Of The Moscow Uprising (1906)

Click on the headline to link to the  “Lenin Internet Archives.”

Markin comment from the American Left History blog:



Every militant who wants to fight for socialism, or put the fight for socialism back on the front burner, needs to  come to terms with the legacy of Vladimir Lenin and his impact on 20th century revolutionary thought. Every radical who believes that society can be changed by just a few adjustments needs to address this question as well in order to understand the limits of such a position. Thus, it is necessary for any politically literate person of this new generation to go through the arguments both politically and organizationally associated with Lenin’s name. Before delving into his works a review of his life and times would help to orient those unfamiliar with the period. Obviously the best way to do this is read one of the many biographies about him. There is not dearth of such biographies although they overwhelmingly tend to be hostile. But so be it. For those who prefer a quick snapshot view of his life this documentary, although much, much too simply is an adequate sketch of the highlights of his life. It is worth an hour of your time, in any case.

The film goes through Lenin's early childhood, the key role that the execution of older brother Alexander for an assassination attempt on the Czar played in driving him to revolution, his early involvement in the revolutionary socialist movement, his imprisonment and various internal and external exiles, his role in the 1905 Revolution, his role in the 1917 Revolution, his consolidation of power through the Bolshevik Party and his untimely death in 1924. An added feature, as usual in these kinds of films, is the use of ‘talking heads’ who periodically explain what it all meant. I would caution those who are unfamiliar with the history of the anti-Bolshevik movement that three of the commentators, Adam Ulam, Richard Daniels and Robert Conquest were ‘stars’ of that movement at the height of the anti-Soviet Cold War. I would also add that nothing presented in this biography, despite the alleged additional materials available with the ‘opening’ of the Soviet files, that has not been familiar for a long time.
V. I. Lenin

Lessons of the Moscow Uprising

Published:Proletary, No. 2, August 29, 1906. Published according to the Proletary text.
Source:Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1965, Moscow, Volume 11, pages 171-178.
Transcription\Markup:R. Cymbala
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive (2000). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.
Other Formats: TextREADME

publication of the book Moscow in December 1905 (Moscow, 1906) could not have been more timely. It is an urgent task of the workers’ party to assimilate the lessons of the December uprising. Unfortunately, this book is like a barrel of honey spoilt by a spoonful of tar: most interesting material—despite its incompleteness—and incredibly slovenly, incredibly trite conclusions. We shall deal with these conclusions on another occasion[1]; at present we shall turn our attention to the burning political question of the day, to the lessons of the Moscow uprising.
The principal forms of the December movement in Moscow were the peaceful strike and demonstrations, and these were the only forms of struggle in which the vast majority of the workers took an active part. Yet, the December action in Moscow vividly demonstrated that the general strike, as an independent and predominant form of struggle, is out of date, that the movement is breaking out of these narrow bounds with elemental and irresistible force and giving rise to the highest form of struggle—an uprising.
In calling the strike, all the revolutionary parties, all the Moscow unions recognised and even intuitively felt that it must inevitably grow into an uprising. On December 6 the Soviet of Workers’ Deputies resolved to“strive to transform the strike into an armed uprising”. As a matter of fact, however, none of the organisations were prepared for this. Even the Joint Council of Volunteer Fighting Squads[2]spoke (on December 9!) of an uprising as of something remote, and it is quite evident that it had no hand in or control of the street fighting that took place. The organisations failed to keep pace with the growth and range of the movement.
The strike was growing into an uprising, primarily as a result of the pressure of the objective conditions created after October. A general strike could no longer take the government unawares: it had already organised the forces of counter-revolution, and they were ready for military action. The whole course of the Russian revolution after October, and the sequence of events in Moscow in the December days, strikingly confirmed one of Marx’s profound propositions: revolution progresses by giving rise to a strong and united counter-revolution, i.e., it compels the enemy to resort to more and more extreme measures of defence and in this way devises ever more powerful means of attack.[3]
December 7 and 8: a peaceful strike, peaceful mass demonstrations. Evening of the 8th: the siege of the Aquarium.[4]The morning of the 9th: the crowd in Strastnaya Square is attacked by the dragoons. Evening: the Fiedler building[5]is raided. Temper rises. The unorganised street crowds, quite spontaneously and hesitatingly, set up the first barricades.
The 10th: artillery fire is opened on the barricades and the crowds in the streets. Barricades are set up more deliberately, and no longer in isolated cases, but on a really mass scale. The whole population is in the streets; all the main centres of the city are covered by a network of barricades. For several days the volunteer fighting units wage a stubborn guerrilla battle against the troops, which exhausts the troops and compels Dubasov[6]to beg for reinforcements. Only on December 15 did the superiority of the government forces become complete, and on December 17 the Semyonovsky Regiment[7]crushed Presnya District, the last stronghold of the uprising.
From a strike and demonstrations to isolated barricades. From isolated barricades to the mass erection of barricades and street fighting against the troops. Over the heads of the organisations, the mass proletarian struggle developed from a strike to an uprising. This is the greatest historic gain the Russian revolution achieved in December 1905; and like all preceding gains it was purchased at the price of enormous sacrifices. The movement was raised from a general political strike to a higher stage. It compelled the reaction to goto the limit in its resistance, and so brought vastly nearer the moment when the revolution will also go to the limit in applying the means of attack. The reaction cannot go further than the shelling of barricades, buildings and crowds. But the revolution can go very much further than the Moscow volunteer fighting units, it can go very, very much further in breadth and depth. And the revolution has advanced far since December. The base of the revolutionary crisis has become immeasurably broader—the blade must now be sharpened to a keener edge.
The proletariat sensed sooner than its leaders the change in the objective conditions of the struggle and the need for a transition from the strike to an uprising. As is always the case, practice marched ahead of theory. A peaceful strike and demonstrations immediately ceased to satisfy the workers; they asked: What is to be done next? And they demanded more resolute action. The instructions to set up barricades reached the districts exceedingly late, when barricades were already being erected in the centre of the city. The workers set to work in large numbers, but even this did not satisfy them; they wanted to know: what is to be done next?— they demanded active measures. In December, we, the leaders of the Social-Democratic proletariat, were like a commander-in-chief who has deployed his troops in such an absurd way that most of them took no active part in the battle. The masses of the workers demanded, but failed to receive, instructions for resolute mass action.
Thus, nothing could be more short-sighted than Plekhanov’s view, seized upon by all the opportunists, that the strike was untimely and should not have been started, and that “they should not have taken to arms”. On the contrary, we should have taken to arms more resolutely, energetically and aggressively; we should have explained to the masses that it was impossible to confine things to a peaceful strike and that a fearless and relentless armed fight was necessary. And now we must at last openly and publicly admit that political strikes are inadequate; we must carry on the widest agitation among the masses in favour of an armed uprising and make no attempt to obscure this question by talk about “preliminary stages”, or to befog it in any way. We would be deceiving both ourselves and the people if we concealed from the masses the necessity of a desperate, bloody war of extermination, as the immediate task of the coming revolutionary action.
Such is the first lesson of the December events. Another lesson concerns the character of the uprising, the methods by which it is conducted, and the conditions which lead to the troops coming over to the side of the people. An extremely biased view on this latter point prevails in the Right wing of our Party. It is alleged that there is no possibility of fighting modern troops; the troops must become revolutionary. Of course, unless the revolution assumes a mass character and affects the troops, there can be no question of serious struggle. That we must work among the troops goes without saying. But we must not imagine that they will come over to our side at one stroke, as a result of persuasion or their own convictions. The Moscow uprising clearly demonstrated how stereotyped and lifeless this view is. As a matter of fact, the wavering of the troops, which is inevitable in every truly popular movement, leads to a real fight for the troops whenever the revolutionary struggle be comes acute. The Moscow uprising was precisely an example of the desperate, frantic struggle for the troops that takes place between the reaction and the revolution. Dubasov himself declared that of the fifteen thousand men of the Moscow garrison, only five thousand were reliable. The government restrained the waverers by the most diverse and desperate measures: they appealed to them, flattered them, bribed them, presented them with watches, money, etc.; they doped them with vodka, they lied to them, threatened them, confined them to barracks and disarmed them, and those who were suspected of being least reliable were removed by treachery and violence. And we must have the courage to confess, openly and unreservedly, that in this respect we lagged be hind the government. We failed to utilise the forces at our disposal for such an active, bold, resourceful and aggressive fight for the wavering troops as that which the government waged and won. We have carried on work in the army and we will redouble our efforts in the future ideologically to “win over” the troops. But we shall prove to be miserable pedants if we forget that at a time of uprising there must also be a physical struggle for the troops.
In the December days, the Moscow proletariat taught us magnificent lessons in ideologically “winning over” the troops, as, for example, on December 8 in Strastnaya Square, when the crowd surrounded the Cossacks, mingled and fraternised with them, and persuaded them to turn back. Or on December 10, in Presnya District, when two working girls, carrying a red flag in a crowd of 10,000 people, rushed out to meet the Cossacks crying: “Kill us! We will not surrender the flag alive!” And the Cossacks were disconcerted and galloped away, amidst the shouts from the crowd: “Hurrah for the Cossacks!” These examples of courage and heroism should be impressed forever on the mind of the proletariat.
But here are examples of how we lagged behind Dubasov. On December 9, soldiers were marching down Bolshaya Serpukhovskaya Street singing theMarseillaise, on their way to join the insurgents. The workers sent delegates to meet them. Malakhov himself galloped at breakneck speed towards them. The workers were too late, Malakhov reached them first. He delivered a passionate speech, caused the soldiers to waver, surrounded them with dragoons, marched them off to barracks and locked them in. Malakhov reached the soldiers in time and we did not, although within two days 150,000 people had risen at our call, and these could and should have organised the patrolling of the streets. Malakhov surrounded the soldiers with dragoons, whereas we failed to surround the Malakhovs with bomb-throwers. We could and should have done this; and long ago the Social-Democratic press (the oldIskra[8]) pointed out that ruthless extermination of civil and military chiefs was our duty during an uprising. What took place in Bolshaya Serpukhovskaya Street was apparently repeated in its main features in front of the Nesvizhskiye Barracks and the Krutitskiye Barracks, and also when the workers attempted to“withdraw” the Ekaterinoslav Regiment, and when delegates were sent to the sappers in Alexandrov, and when the Rostov artillery on its way to Moscow was turned back, and when the sappers were disarmed in Kolomna, and so on. During the uprising we proved unequal to our task in the fight for the wavering troops.

The December events confirmed another of Marx’s profound propositions, which the opportunists have forgotten, namely, that insurrection is an art and that the principal rule of this art is the waging of a desperately bold and irrevocably determined offensive.[9] We have not sufficiently assimilated this truth. We ourselves have not sufficiently learned, nor have we taught the masses, this art, this rule to attack at all costs. We must make up for this omission with all our energy. It is not enough to take sides on the question of political slogans; it is also necessary to take sides on the question of an armed uprising. Those who are opposed to it, those who do not prepare for it, must be ruthlessly dismissed from the ranks of the supporters of the revolution, sent packing to its enemies, to the traitors or cowards; for the day is approaching when the force of events and the conditions of the struggle will compel us to distinguish between enemies and friends according to this principle. It is not passivity that we should preach, not mere “waiting” until the troops “come over”. No! We must proclaim from the house tops the need for a bold offensive and armed attack, the necessity at such times of exterminating the persons in command of the enemy, and of a most energetic fight for the wavering troops.
The third great lesson taught by Moscow concerns the tactics and organisation of the forces for an uprising. Military tactics depend on the level of military technique. This plain truth Engels demonstrated and brought home to all Marxists.[10]Military technique today is not what it was in the middle of the nineteenth century. It would be folly to contend against artillery in crowds and defend barricades with revolvers. Kautsky was right when he wrote that it is high time now, after Moscow, to review Engels’s conclusions, and that Moscow had inaugurated “new barricade tactics”.[11]These tactics are the tactics of guerrilla warfare. The organisation required for such tactics is that of mobile and exceedingly small units, units of ten, three or even two persons. We often meet Social-Democrats now who scoff whenever units of five or three are mentioned. But scoffing is only a cheap way of ignoring thenew question of tactics and organisation raised by street fighting under the conditions imposed by modern military technique. Study carefully the story of the Moscow uprising, gentlemen, and you will understand what connection exists between “units of five” and the question of “new barricade tactics”.
Moscow advanced these tactics, but failed to develop them far enough, to apply them to any considerable extent, to a really mass extent. There were too few volunteer fighting squads, the slogan of bold attack was not issued to the masses of the workers and they did not apply it; the guerrilla detachments were too uniform in character, their arms and methods were inadequate, their ability to lead the crowd was almost undeveloped. We must make up for all this and we shall do so by learning from the experience of Moscow, by spreading this experience among the masses and by stimulating their creative efforts to develop it still further. And the guerrilla warfare and mass terror that have been taking place throughout Russia practically without a break since December, will undoubtedly help the masses to learn the correct tactics of an uprising. Social-Democracy must recognise this mass terror and incorporate it into its tactics, organising and controlling it of course, subordinating it to the interests and conditions of the working-class movement and the general revolutionary struggle, while eliminating and ruthlessly lopping off the“hooligan” perversion of this guerrilla warfare which was so splendidly and ruthlessly dealt with by our Moscow comrades during the uprising and by the Letts during the days of the famous Lettish republics.[12]
There have been new advances in military technique in the very recent period. The Japanese War produced the hand grenade. The small-arms factories have placed automatic rifles on the market. Both these weapons are already being successfully used in the Russian revolution, but to a degree that is far from adequate. We can and must take advantage of improvements in technique, teach the workers’ detachments to make bombs in large quantities, help them and our fighting squads to obtain supplies of explosives, fuses and automatic rifles. If the mass of the workers takes part in uprisings in the towns, if mass attacks are launched on the enemy, if a determined and skilful fight is waged for the troops, who after the Duma, after Sveaborg and Kronstadt are wavering more than ever—and if we ensure participation of the rural areas in the general struggle—victory will be ours in the next all-Russian armed uprising.
Let us, then, develop our work more extensively and set our tasks more boldly, while mastering the lessons of the great days of the Russian revolution. The basis of our work is a correct estimate of class interests and of the requirements of the nation’s development at the present juncture. We are rallying, and shall continue to rally, an increasing section of the proletariat, the peasantry and the army under the slogan of overthrowing the tsarist regime and convening a constituent assembly by a revolutionary government. As hitherto, the basis and chief content of our work is to develop the political understanding of the masses. But let us not forget that, in addition to this general, constant and fundamental task, times like the present in Russia impose other, particular and special tasks. Let us not become pedants and philistines, let us not evade these special tasks of the moment, these special tasks of the given forms of struggle, by meaningless references to our permanent duties, which remain unchanged at all times and in all circumstances.
Let us remember that a great mass struggle is approaching. It will be an armed uprising. It must, as far as possible, be simultaneous. The masses must know that they are entering upon an armed, bloody and desperate struggle. Contempt for death must become widespread among them and will ensure victory. The onslaught on the enemy must be pressed with the greatest vigour; attack, not defence, must be the slogan of the masses; the ruthless extermination of the enemy will be their task; the organisation of the struggle will become mobile and flexible; the wavering elements among the troops will be drawn into active participation. And in this momentous struggle, the party of the class-conscious proletariat must discharge its duty to the full.


[1]See pp. 189-93 of this volume.—Ed.

[2]The Joint Council of Volunteer Fighting Squads was formed in Moscow at the end of October 1905. It was created at the outset for the practical struggle against the Black Hundreds but it was kept in existence during the December uprising. It included representatives of the volunteer squads of the Moscow Committee of the R.S.D.L.P., the Moscow group of Social-Democrats, the Moscow committee of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party, and also of the volunteer squads bearing the names “Free District”,“University”, “Typographical” and“Caucasian”. The S.-R.-Menshevik majority of the Joint Council was responsible for disorganising its activity; during the days of the December armed uprising it lagged behind the revolutionary events and was incapable of acting as the operational general staff of the uprising.
[3]Lenin cites the proposition put forward by Marx in hisClass Struggles in France, 1848 to 1860 (see Marx and Engels,Selected Works, Vol. 1, Moscow, 1958, p. 139).
[4]During the evening of December 8 (21), 1905, soldiers and police cordoned off the “Aquarium” garden (at the Sadovo-Triumfalnaya Square) where a crowded meeting was being held in the theatre. Thanks to the selfless efforts of the workers’ volunteer squads guarding the meeting, bloodshed was avoided; those who possessed arms were enabled to escape through a broken fence, but the other participants in the meeting who went out through the gate were searched, beaten up and in many cases arrested.
[5]The Fiedler school building (at Chistiye Prudy) was regularly used for party meetings. During the evening of December 9 (22), 1905, when a meeting was being held there, it was surrounded by troops. The participants in the meeting, mostly members of volunteer squads, refused to surrender and barricaded themselves in the building. The troops opened fire using artillery and machine-guns. During the destruction of the building more than 30 persons were killed or wounded; 120 were arrested.
[6]Dubasov, F. V. (1845-1912)—Governor-General of Moscow in 1905-06, who directed the suppression of the armed uprising of the Moscow workers in December 1905.
[7]Semenovtsy—soldiers of the Semenovsky Guards Regiment who were sent from St. Petersburg to Moscow in December 1905 to suppress the uprising of the Moscow workers.
[8]Iskra (The Spark)—the first all-Russian illegal Marxist revolutionary newspaper. It was founded by Lenin in 1900, and it played a decisive part in building the Marxist revolutionary party of the Russian working class. After the Party, at the Second Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. in 1903, had split into a revolutionary (Bolshevik) wing and an opportunist (Menshevik) wing, Iskra passed into the hands of the Mensheviks and became known as the “newIskra in contrast to Lenin’s old Iskra.
[9]This refers to Engels’s Revolution and Counter-Revolution in Germany, 1848 (New York Daily Tribune, 18.IX. 1852) which was published in 1851-52 as a series of articles in the newspaper New York Daily Tribune over the signature of Marx, who originally intended to write them but, being preoccupied with his economic researches, handed over the task to Engels. In writing the articles Engels constantly consulted Marx, who also read them through, before they were sent to the press. Not until 1913, as a result of the publication of the correspondence between Marx and Engels, did it become known that the work had been written by Engels.
[10]Engels expounded this proposition on a number of occasions in his works, notably in Anti-Dühring.
[11]Lenin deals with this in more detail in his work “The Russian Revolution and the Tasks of the Proletariat” (see present edition, Vol. 10, pp. 141-42).
[12]In December 1905 various Lettish towns were seized by armed detachments of insurgent workers, agricultural labourers and peasants. Guerrilla war against the tsarist troops began. In January 1906 the uprising in Latvia was suppressed by punitive expeditions under tsarist generals.

From The Pen Of Joshua Lawrence Breslin-Mimi’s Glance, Circa 1963

Click on the headline to link to a YouTube film clip of Doris Troy performing her 1963 classic Just One Look.
CD Review

The Rock and Roll Era: 1963, various artists, Time-Life Music, 1989

“Mimi Murphy knew two things, she needed to keep moving, and she was tired, tired as hell of moving, of the need, of the self-imposed need, to keep moving ever since that incident five years ago with her seems like an eternity ago sweet long gone motorcycle boy, Pretty James Preston. Poor Pretty James and his needs, no, his obsessions with that silly motorcycle, that English devil’s machine, that Vincent Black Lightning that caused him more anguish than she did. And she gave him plenty to think about as well before the end. How she tried to get him to settle down a little, just a little, but what was a sixteen old girl, pretty new to the love game, totally new, but not complaining to the sex game, and his little tricks to get her in the mood for that, and forget the settle down thing. Until the next time.

Maybe, if you were from around North Adamsville way, or maybe just Boston, you had heard about Pretty James, Pretty James Preston and his daring exploits back in about 1967 and 1968. Those got a lot of play in the newspapers for months before the end. Before that bank job, the one where as Pretty James used to say all the time, he cashed his check. Yes, the big Granite City National Bank branch in Braintree heist that he tried to pull all by himself, with Mimi as stooge look-out. She had set him up for that heist, or so she thought. No, she didn’t ask him to do it but she got him thinking, thinking about settling down just a little and he needed a big score, not the penny ante gas station and mom and pop variety store robberies that kept them in, as he also said, coffee and cakes but a big payday and then off to Mexico, maybe Sonora, and a buy into the respectable and growing drug trade.

And he almost, almost, got away clean that fatal day, that day when she stood across the street, a forty-five in her purse just in case he needed it for a final getaway. But he never made it out the door. Some rum brave security guard tried to uphold the honor of his profession and started shooting nicking Pretty James in the shoulder. Pretty James responded with a few quick blasts and felled the copper. That action though slowed down the escape enough for the real coppers to respond and blow Pretty James away. Dead, DOA, done. Her sweet boy Pretty James.

According to the newspapers a tall, slender red-headed girl about sixteen had been seen across the street from the bank just waiting, waiting according to the witness, nervously. The witness had turned her head when she heard the shots from the bank and when she looked back the red-headed girl was gone. And Mimi was gone, and long gone before the day was out. She grabbed the first bus out of Braintree headed to Boston where eventually she wound up holed up in a high-end whorehouse doing tricks to make some moving dough. And she had been moving ever since, moving and eternally hate moving. Now, for the past few months, she had been working nights as a cashier in the refreshment stand at the Olde Saco Drive-In Theater to get another stake to keep moving. She had been tempted, a couple of times, to do a little moon-lighting in a Portland whorehouse that a woman she had worked with at her last job, Fenner’s Department Store where she modeled clothes for the rich ladies, had told her about to get a quick stake but she was almost as eternally tired at that prospect as in moving once again.

Then one night Josh came in. Came in for popcorn and a Sprite she remembered, although she did not remember on that busy summer night what the charge was. He kind of looked her over quickly, very quickly but she was aware that he looked her over and, moreover, he was aware that she knew that he had looked her over. The look though was not the usual baby, baby come on look, but a thoughtful look like he could see that she had seen some woes and, well, what of it. Like maybe he specialized in fixing busted-up red-heads, or wanted to. She knew she wasn’t beautiful but she had a certain way about her that certain guys, guys from motorcycle wild boy Pretty James Boy to kind of bookish college guys like this one, wanted to get next to. If she let them. And she hadn’t, hadn’t not since Pretty James. But she confessed to herself, not without a girlish blush, that she had in the universe of looks and peeks that make up human experience looked him over too. And then passed to the next customer and his family of four burgeoning tray-full order of hot dogs, candy, popcorn and about six zillion drinks.

A couple of nights later, a slow night for it was misting out keeping away the summer vacation families that kept the drive-in hopping before each show and at intermission, a Thursday night usually slow anyway before the Friday change of the double-feature, Josh came in again at intermission. This time out of nowhere, without a second’s hesitation, she gave him a big smile when he came to the register with his now familiar popcorn and Sprite. He didn’t respond, or rather he did not respond right away because right behind him there were a couple of high school couples who could hardly wait to get their provisions and get back to their fogged-up car and keep it fogged up. They passed by him and hurried out the door.

Just then over the refreshment stand loudspeaker that played records as background music to keep the unruly crowds a little quiet while they waited for their hamburgers and hot dogs came the voice of Doris Troy singing her greatest hit, Just One Look. Then he broke into a smile, a big smile like he was thinking just that thought that very minute, looked up at the clock, looked again, and looked a third time without saying a word, She gave him a slight flirty smile and said eleven o’clock and at exactly eleven o’clock he was there to meet her. Maybe she thought as they went out the refreshment stand door she would not have to keep moving, eternally moving after all.
A couple of fretful months later one nigh Mimi slipped out the back door of her rooming house over on Atlantic Avenue and Josh never heard from her again. Josh figured that after telling him about Pretty James one lonesome whiskey-drinking night she had to move, keep moving tired or not.”   


Friday, October 12, 2012

Out Of The Be-Bop Film Noir Night- The Crime Noir “The Kiss of Death”-

Click on the headline to link to a Wikipedia entry for the film noir classic, Kiss of Death.

DVD Review

Kiss of Death, Victor Mature, Coleen Gray, Richard Widmark, directed by Henry Hathaway, 20th Century Fox, 1947

Sure I am an aficionado of film noir, especially those 1940s detective epics like the film adaptations of Dashiell Hammett’s Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon and Raymond Chandler’s Phillip Marlowe in The Big Sleep. Nothing like that gritty black and white film, ominous musical background and shadowy moments to stir the imagination. Others in the genre like Gilda,The Lady From Shang-hai, and Out Of The Past rate a nod because, in addition to those attributes mentioned above, they have classic femme fatales to add a little off-hand spice to the plot line, and, oh yah, they look nice too. Beyond those classics this period (say, roughly from the mid-1940s to mid-1950s) produced many black and white film noir set pieces, some good, some not so good. For plot line, and plot interest, the film under review, Kiss of Death, is under that latter category.

But hold on though. Although the plot line is thin, mainly about a middle level career con gone wrong once again who, to save his kids from a fatherless and motherless future (mother having committed suicide), decides to play ball with the law. Thus, chump Nick Bianco (played pretty well by Victor Mature, given what he had to work with) turned stoolie, rat, fink, turncoat and the other ten thousand names for such a wrong gee and the rest of the plot hangs on that idea. Say idea being that it is not good business (and for all I know, maybe, unethical, unethical in the criminal code of conduct, although my own very small youthful experience is that it is "every man for himself") to turn stoolie, especially if the price of “freedom” is to tangle, tango, or whatever with one Tommy Udo. No way, no how, not for anything.

And that is what saves this thing as a crime noir classic, the performance of Richard Widmark as psycho-killer for hire Tommy Udo. Everything about him from minute one says wrong gee, don’t mess. I knew such hard boys, maybe not as hard as Tommy but as a pale reflection corner boy who watched as “Red”Riley chain-whipped a guy near to death just for passing by his corner where he was not welcome in my growing up working class neighborhood I knew, second hand at least, their “style.” Although, needless to say, Nick will mess (Tommy has threatened his kids and his new honey after all) just like eventually the serious outlaw motorcycle boy Pretty James Preston (Vincent Black Lightning no less from Britain no less not some Harley hog or Indian chopper) put even Red Riley out of commission when he just looked, looked longingly, maybe just a second too long at his sweet long-legged red-haired baby, Mimi Murphy.

Yes, although I was only a babe then I will give a retroactive vote to Richard Widmark for that 1947 Oscar he won for best supporting actor. There have been a lot of scary psycho-killers that have come down the pike since then but I would not, and would not advise others, to tangle with this guy. Or Pretty James Preston, who eventually got waylaid by the coppers trying to pull a bank heist single-handedly, if you see his ghost around. And you would too. Kudos.

From The Bradley Manning Support Network

The Latest From The Partisan Defense Committee

From The Pages Of The Communist International- In Honor Of The 93rd Anniversary Of The Founding Of The Communist International (1919) Appeal To The International Proletariat (1921)

Click on the headline to link to the "Communist International  Internet Archives."

Markin comment from the American Left History blog (2007) :</strong>



 An underlying premise of the Lenin-led Bolshevik Revolution in Russia in 1917 was that success there would be the first episode in a world-wide socialist revolution. While a specific timetable was not placed on the order of the day the early Bolshevik leaders, principally Lenin and Trotsky, both assumed that those events would occur in the immediate post-World War I period, or shortly thereafter. Alas, such was not the case, although not from lack of trying on the part of an internationalist-minded section of the Bolshevik leadership.

Another underlying premise, developed by the Leninists as part of their opposition to the imperialist First World War, was the need for a new revolutionary labor international to replace the compromised and moribund Socialist International (also known as the Second International) which had turned out to be useless as an instrument for revolution or even of opposition to the European war. The Bolsheviks took that step after seizing power and established the Communist International (also known as the Comintern or Third International) in 1919. As part of the process of arming that international with a revolutionary strategy (and practice) Lenin produced this polemic to address certain confusions, some willful, that had arisen in the European left and also attempted to instill some of the hard-learned lessons of the Russian revolutionary experience in them.

The Russian Revolution and after it the Comintern in the early heroic days, for the most part, drew the best and most militant layers of the working class and radical intellectuals to their defense. However, that is not the same as drawing experienced Bolsheviks to that defense. Many militants were anti-parliamentarian or anti-electoral in principle after the sorry experiences with the European social democracy. Others wanted to emulate the old heroic days of the Bolshevik underground party or create a minority, exclusive conspiratorial party. Still others wanted to abandon the reformist bureaucratically-led trade unions to their then current leaderships, and so on.   Lenin’s polemic, and it nothing but a flat-out polemic against all kinds of misconceptions of the Bolshevik experience, cut across these erroneous ideas like a knife. His literary style may not appeal to today’s audience but the political message still has considerable application today. At the time that it was written no less a figure than James P. Cannon, a central leader of the American Communist Party, credited the pamphlet  with straightening out that badly confused movement (Indeed, it seems every possible political problem Lenin argued against in that pamphlet had some following in the American Party-in triplicate!). That alone makes it worth a look at.

I would like to highlight one point made by Lenin that has currency for leftists today, particularly American leftists. At the time it was written many (most) of the communist organizations adhering to the Comintern were little more than propaganda groups (including the American Party). Lenin suggested one of the ways to break out of that isolation was a tactic of critical support to the still large and influential social democratic organizations at election time. In his apt expression- to support those organizations "like a rope supports a hanging man". 

However, as part of my political experiences in America  around election time I have run into any number of ‘socialists’ and ‘communists’ who have turned  Lenin’s concept on its head. How? By arguing that militants needed to ‘critically support’ the Democratic Party (who else, right?) as an application of the Leninist criterion for critical support. No, a thousand times no. Lenin’s specific example was the reformist British Labor Party, a party at that time (and to a lesser extent today) solidly based on the trade unions- organizations of the working class and no other. The Democratic Party in America was then, is now, and will always be a capitalist party. Yes, the labor bureaucrats and ordinary workers support it, finance it, drool over it but in no way is it a labor party. That is the class difference which even sincere militants have broken their teeth on for at least the last seventy years. And that, dear reader, is another reason why it worthwhile to take a peek at this book.

V. I. Lenin

Appeal To The International Proletariat[1]

Written: 2 August, 1921
First Published: Pravda No. 172, August 6, 1921; Published according to the Pravda text collated with the manuscript
Source: Lenin’s Collected Works, 1st English Edition, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1965, Volume 32, page 502
Translated: Yuri Sdobnikov
Transcription\HTML Markup:David Walters & R. Cymbala
Copyleft: V. I. Lenin Internet Archive ( 2002. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

Several gubernias in Russia have been hit by a famine whose proportions are apparently only slightly less than those of the 1891 calamity.
It is the painful aftermath of Russia’s backwardness and of seven years of war, first, the imperialist, and then, the Civil War, which was forced upon the workers and peasants by the landowners and capitalists of all countries.
We need help. The Soviet Republic of workers and peasants expects this help from the working people, the industrial workers and the small farmers.
The mass of both the former and the latter are themselves oppressed by capitalism and imperialism everywhere, but we are convinced that they will respond to our appeal, despite their own hard condition caused by unemployment and the rising cost of living.
Those who have suffered from capitalist oppression all their lives will understand the position of the workers and peasants of Russia, they will grasp or, guided by the instinct of working and exploited people, will sense the need of helping the Soviet Republic, whose lot it was to be the first to undertake the hard but gratifying task of overthrowing capitalism. That is why the capitalists of all countries are revenging themselves upon the Soviet Republic; that is why they are planning a fresh campaign, intervention, and counter-revolutionary conspiracies against it.
All the greater, we trust, will be the vigour and the self-sacrifice with which the workers and the small labouring farmers of all countries will help us.
N. Lenin
August 2, 1921


[1] Lenin’s Appeal to the International Proletariat in connection with the famine which hit almost 33 million people in the Volga area and South Ukraine met with a broad response among the working people of all countries. An “Ad hoc Foreign Committee for Assistance to Russia” was set up on the initiative of the Comintern in August 1921. French revolutionary trade unions called on the workers to contribute a day’s earnings for the famine stricken population of Russia. Henri Barbusse and Anatole France played an active part in organising assistance, and the latter contributed to the fund the Nobel Prize he was awarded in 1921. About one million francs were collected in France. Czechoslovakia contributed 7,5 million korunas in cash and 2 million korunas’ worth of food; the German Communist Part collected 1.3 million marks in cash and I million marks’ worth of food; Dutch Communists collected 100,000 guilders; the Italians, about 1 million liras; the Norwegians, 100,000 krones; the Austrians, 3 million krones; the Spaniards, 50,000 marks; the Poles, 9 million marks; the Danes, 500,000 marks, etc. By December 20, 1921, Communist organisations had bought 312,000 poods of food and collected 1 million gold rubles. The organisations of the Amsterdam International bought 85,625 poods of food and collected 485,000 gold rubles.

From #Un-Occupied Boston (#Un-Tomemonos Boston)-What Happens When We Do Not Learn The Lessons Of History- The Pre-1848 Socialist Movement-From The Pens Of Karl Marx And Friedrich Engels-The Struggle For The Communist League-Circular of First Congress to Members, June 9, 1847

Click on the headline to link to the Occupy Boston General Assembly Minutes website. Occupy Boston started at 6:00 PM, September 30, 2011.

Markin comment:

I will post any updates from that Occupy Boston site if there are any serious discussions of the way forward for the Occupy movement or, more importantly, any analysis of the now atrophied and dysfunctional General Assembly concept. In the meantime I will continue with the “Lessons From History ’’series started in the fall of 2011 with Karl Marx’s The Civil War In France-1871 (The defense of the Paris Commune). Right now this series is focused on the European socialist movement before the Revolutions of 1848.

An Injury To One Is An Injury To All!-Defend The Occupy Movement And All Occupiers! Drop All Charges Against All Occupy Protesters Everywhere!

Fight-Don’t Starve-We Created The Wealth, Let's Take It Back! Labor And The Oppressed Must Rule!
A Five-Point Program As Talking Points

*Jobs For All Now!-“30 For 40”- A historic demand of the labor movement. Thirty hours work for forty hours pay to spread the available work around. Organize the unorganized- Organize the South- Organize Wal-Mart- Defend the right for public and private workers to unionize.

* Defend the working classes! No union dues for Democratic (or the stray Republican) candidates. Spent the dough instead on organizing the unorganized and on other labor-specific causes (good example, the November, 2011 anti-union recall referendum in Ohio, bad example the Wisconsin gubernatorial recall race in June 2012).

*End the endless wars!- Immediate, Unconditional Withdrawal Of All U.S./Allied Troops (And Mercenaries) From Afghanistan! Hands Off Pakistan! Hands Off Iran! U.S. Hands Off The World!

*Fight for a social agenda for working people!. Quality Healthcare For All! Nationalize the colleges and universities under student-teacher-campus worker control! Forgive student debt! Stop housing foreclosures!

*We created the wealth, let’s take it back. Take the struggle for our daily bread off the historic agenda. Build a workers party that fights for a workers government to unite all the oppressed.

Emblazon on our red banner-Labor and the oppressed must rule!

Markin comment:

This foundation article by Marx or Engels goes along with the propaganda points in the fight for our communist future mentioned in other posts in this space.

Marx/Engels Internet Archive-The Communist League

A congress of the League of the Just opened in London on June 2, 1847. Engels was in attendance as delegate for the League's Paris communities. (Marx couldn't attend for financial reasons.)

Engels had a significant impact throughout the congress -- which, as it turned out, was really the "inaugural Congress" of what became known as the Communist League. This organization stands as the first international proletarian organization. With the influence of Marx and Engels anti-utopian socialism, the League's motto changed from "All Men are Brothers" to "Working Men of All Countries, Unite!"

Engels: "In the summer of 1847, the first league congress took place in London, at which W. Wolff represented the Brussels and I the Paris communities. At this congress the reorganization of the League was carried through first of all. ...the League now consisted of communities, circles, leading circles, a central committee and a congress, and henceforth called itself the 'Communist League'."

The Rules were drawn up with the participation of Marx and Engels, examined at the First Congress of the Communist League, and approved at the League's Second Congress in December 1847.

Article 1 of the Rules of the Communist League: "The aim of the league is the overthrow of the bourgeoisie, the rule of the proletariat, the abolition of the old bourgeois society which rests on the antagonism of classes, and the foundation of a new society without classes and without private property."

The first draft of the Communist League Programme was styled as a catechism -- in the form of questions and answers. Essentially, the draft was authored by Engels. The original manuscript is in Engels's hand.

The League's official paper was to be the Kommunistische Zeitschrift, but the only issue produced was in September 1847 by a resolution of the League's First Congress. It was First Congress prepared by the Central Authority of the Communist League based in London. Karl Schapper was its editor.

The Second Congress of the Communist League was held at the end of November 1847 at London's Red Lion Hotel. Marx attended as delegate of the Brussels Circle. He went to London in the company of Victor Tedesco, member of the Communist League and also a delegate to the Second Congress. Engels again represented the Paris communities. Schapper was elected chairman of the congress, and Engels its secretary.

Friedrich Lessner: "I was working in London then and was a member of the communist Workers' Educational Society at 191 Drury Lane. There, at the end of November and the beginning of December 1847, members of the Central Committee of the Communist League held a congress. Karl Marx and Frederick Engels came there from Brussels to present their views on modern communism and to speak about the Communists' attitude to the political and workers' movement. The meetings, which, naturally, were held in the evenings, were attended by delegates only... Soon we learned that after long debates, the congress had unanimously backed the principles of Marx and Engels..."

The Rules were officially adopted December 8, 1847.

Engels: "All contradiction and doubt were finally set at rest, the new basic principles were unanimously adopted, and Marx and I were commissioned to draw up the Manifesto." This would, of course, become the Communist Manifesto.
The Communist League

Circular of First Congress to Members, June 9, 1847 [333]


Written: June 1847;
Source: MECW Volume 6, p. 589;
First published: Gründungs dokumente des Bundes der Kommunisten (Juni bis September 1847), Hamburg, 1969;


The Congress to the League
Dear Brothers!

The First Congress of the League, which was called last February by the Central Authority (Halle) [334] and opened on June 2 here in London, has concluded its deliberations. In view of the whole position of our League, its sessions could not be public.[335]

But it is incumbent on us, members of the Congress, to make them public for you in retrospect, by at least giving you a survey of our proceedings.

This is all the more our duty as the Central Authority in office up to now had to render account to us, and we, therefore, have to tell you how far the Congress was satisfied with this rendering of account. We must also do so, because we have added an article to the new Rules which makes all legislative decisions of the Congress subject to the vote of the individual communities ; hence, for this part of our decisions at least, there are two reasons why we owe you a statement of the grounds for them.

After checking credentials the previous Halle had first to give the Congress an account of its conduct of office and to report on the state of the League. The delegates declared themselves completely satisfied with the way in which the Halle had looked after the interests of the League and had made a start with its reorganisation. That point was thereby disposed of. We take the following brief summary from the report of the Central Authority and from the original letters submitted to the Congress.

In London our League is strongest. Freedom of speech and of association immensely facilitates propaganda and gives opportunities to the many able members to use their character and talent for the greatest good of the League and the cause. For this purpose the League uses the German Workers’ Educational Society, and also its branch in Whitechapel. Members of the League also take part in the Fraternal Democrats,[336] the French communist discussion clubs,[337] etc.

The previous Paris Halle itself realised in how much better a position the London League would be to take over the central leadership of the affairs of the League. The security of all documents and of members of the Central Authority itself is nowhere else as great as here. During its proceedings the Congress had opportunity enough to see that the London communities have a sufficient number of competent people who can he entrusted with the supreme executive authority of the League. It therefore decided that the Central Authority should remain in London.

In Paris the League has much declined in recent years.[338] The regional and Halle members have for a long time occupied themselves only with quarrels about formalities and alleged breaches of the Rules instead of looking after the affairs of the whole League or of its regions. In the communities similar time-wasting, superfluous and divisive trifles were dealt with. At most they discussed the old questions which have been talked over again and again, ever since Weitling’s Garantien, to the point of boredom. In the Paris League itself there was no sign of the slightest progress, not the slightest concern with the development of the principle, or with the movement of the proletariat as it was proceeding in other localities of the League, and outside the League. The consequence was that all those who were not satisfied with what they were offered inside the League looked outside the League for further enlightenment. This need for enlightenment was made use of by a literary knight of industry and exploiter of workers, the German writer Karl Grün. This individual had sided with communism when he noticed that there was money to be made by communist writings. After some time he found that it was dangerous to continue to declare himself a Communist and found occasion to resign in the new book b,,, Proudhon on the economic contradictions, which he himself had translated into German. This Grün used the economic statements in this otherwise quite insignificant book as the basis of lectures which he gave in Paris for League members. These lectures were attended by two kinds of people: 1. those who had already enough of communism in general; 2. those who hoped perhaps to get from this Grün enlightenment on a number of questions and doubts never resolved for them in the community meetings. The latter were fairly numerous and consisted of those members of the Paris communities who were the most useful and the most capable of development. For a. time this Grün succeeded in dazzling even a number of these with his phrases and his alleged immense learning. The League was thus split. On one side was the party which had exclusively dominated the Halle and the region, the party of the Weitlingians; on the other side were those who still believed one. could learn something even from Grün. These soon saw, however, that Grün expressed definite hostility to the Communists and that all his teaching was quite unable to replace communism. Heated discussions took place during which it became clear that almost all League members remained loyal to communism and that only two or three defended this Grün and his Proudhonist system. At the same time it was revealed that this same Grün had defrauded the workers, as was his wont, by using 30 francs, the sum collected for the Polish insurgents [339] for his private purposes, and had also wheedled several hundred francs out of them for the printing of a miserable pamphlet about the dissolution of the Prussian Provincial Diet. But enough; the majority of Grün’s former listeners stayed away and formed a new party which was mainly concerned to develop further the communist principle in all its implications and in its connection with social relations. By this split, however, the organisation of the League fell to pieces. In the course of the winter the Central Authority sent an emissary who restored the organisation as far as possible. But soon the quarrels arose again; the three different parties and principles were irreconcilable. The party of progress succeeded with the aid of the Weitlingians in removing from the League the three or four stubborn Grünians who had declared themselves openly against communism. But then, when it came to the election of a delegate to the Congress, the two parties clashed in the regional meeting. The split became incurable, and in order at least to achieve an election, the three communities in which the party of progress was most strongly represented resolved to separate from the two communities on which the main strength of the Weitlingians rested and to elect a congress delegate for themselves at a general meeting. This was done. The Weitlingians were thereby provisionally removed from the League and the number of League members was reduced by one third. After examining the reasons advanced by both parties, the Congress declared its agreement with the action of the three communities, because the Weitlingian party had everywhere held up the League in its development; this had also been experienced both in London and in Switzerland. The Congress resolved unanimously to remove the Paris Weitlingians from the League and to admit the delegate of the Paris majority [Engels] to the Congress.

Hence, the number of League members in Paris has been greatly reduced; but, at the same time, obstructive elements have also been removed, and, through the struggle, minds have been quickened to renewed activity. A new spirit is making itself felt, and a completely new energy. The police persecutions seem more or less to have ended; they were in any case not directed against the party which is now victorious and from which only one member was expelled, but struck Grün’s party almost alone, proof that information of the Prussian Government was at the bottom of the whole persecution, as will be shown presently. And if the government has dispersed the public meetings at the Barrière, this too mainly hits the Grünians who made loud speeches there and inveighed against the Communists, because here, of course, the Communists could not freely reply to them. Hence, the League is in far better shape in Paris now than at the time when the Halle resigned. We are less numerous but we are united and have capable people there.

In Lyons the League has regular members who seem to be very active for the cause.

In Marseilles we are also established. We have received the following letter about the membership there: “The position of the Marseilles League is not too good. Encouragement by letters would not help much; we shall try to arrange for some of us to go there this autumn and to organise the League anew.”

The League has succeeded in gaining a firm footing in Belgium. Brussels has a competent community whose members are Germans and Belgians and who have already founded a second community in large among the Walloon factory workers. In that country the prospects for the League are quite encouraging, and we hope that at the next congress Belgium will already be represented by several delegates.

In Germany we had several communities in Berlin which this spring were suddenly dispersed by the police. League members will have seen from the newspapers that a meeting of workers directed by League members was cancelled by the police, an enquiry was held, and as a result several leading members were arrested. Among the arrested was a certain Friedrich Mentel, a tailor born in Potsdam, about 27 years old, of medium, stocky build, etc. This man, who had formerly been in London and Paris, and in the latter place had belonged to Grün’s party and turned out to be a maudlin sentimentalist, and had, by the way, in the course of his travels got to know the situation in the League pretty accurately, was unable to stand up to this little ordeal. This time too it was seen that the weak-mindedness and vagueness of such sentimentalists can find final satisfaction only in religion. Within a few days this Mentel let himself be completely converted by a priest and twice during his arrest took part in the farce of Holy Communion. A Berlin member writes to us as follows: “...he told in court about the communities in Paris, London, Hamburg and Kiel (all of which he had visited himself) and gave the addresses to which Herm. Kriege sent his Volks-Tribun to Berlin. To somebody else, he said to his face: ‘Did 1 not sell you these books? Did we not go to meetings at such and such an address? Are you not a member of the League of the just?’ And when the answer to everything was ‘No’, Mentel said: ‘How can you answer for this before God the Almighty and All-knowing?’ and other such stupidities.” Fortunately, Mentel’s baseness did not succeed in confusing the other accused, so the government had no alternative but to let the arrested be acquitted for the time being. Clearly, this Mentel’s denunciations are closely connected with the persecutions of the German Communists in Paris. We can only congratulate ourselves that the Grünian Mentel regarded the Grünians themselves as the real leaders of the League and denounced them. Thereby the real Communists were in general protected from the persecutions. Naturally, the entire Berlin circle was disorganised by these events. However, knowing the competence of the members there, we are hopeful that the reorganisation of the League will soon be effected.

Hamburg is also organised. But the members there have let themselves be somewhat intimidated by these persecutions in Berlin. The contacts were not broken for a single moment, however.

The League is also established in Altona, Bremen, Mainz, Munich, Leipzig, Königsberg, Thorn, Kiel, Magdeburg, Stuttgart, Mannheim and Baden-Baden. In Scandinavia it is also already established in Stockholm.

The position of the League in Switzerland is not as satisfactory as we might wish. Here the party of the Weitlingians was dominant from the beginning. The lack of development in the communities in Switzerland was particularly evident, on the one hand in their inability to bring the long-standing struggle with the Young Germans[340] to a conclusion, and on the other hand in their religious attitude to the Young Germans and in the fact that they let themselves be exploited in the vilest manner by most despicable knights of industry, such as, for instance, the solemn Georg Kuhlmann of Holstein. As a result of police measures the League was so disorganised in Switzerland that the Congress decided to take extraordinary measures for its reconstitution. The success and the nature of these measures can, of course, only later be made known to the communities.

Concerning America, we must wait for more detailed news from the emissary whom the Central Authority has sent there, before a precise report can be given of the final shape of the League’s conditions there.

From this report and from the League letters produced two things emerge: firstly, that when the London Halle took over the leadership, the League was indeed in a difficult position, that the previous Central Authority’ had not at all attended to the duties incumbent on it; that it had utterly neglected to hold the whole together, and that in addition to this disorganisation of the League, elements of opposition had gradually germinated even in the individual communities themselves. In these circumstances, which threatened the existence of the League, the London Central Authority at once took the necessary measures: sent out emissaries, removed individual members who were jeopardising the existence of the whole, re-established contacts, called the general congress, and prepared the questions to be discussed there. At the same time it took steps to draw into the League other elements of the communist movement who until then had stood aside from it,[341] steps which were highly successful.

After settling these questions the Congress had to make a review of the Rules. The result of these deliberations lies before the communities in the new Rules, all the articles of which were accepted unanimously, and which the Congress moves should be finally adopted. In justification of the changes made, we make the following observations:

The change of name from League of the just to Communist League was adopted because, firstly, the old name had become known to the governments through the infamous treachery of that Mentel, and that in itself made a change advisable. Secondly, and chiefly, because the old name had been adopted on a special occasion in view of special events [342] which no longer have the slightest bearing on the present purpose of the League. This name is therefore no longer suited to the time and does not in the least express what we want. How many there are who want justice, that is, what they call justice, without necessarily being Communists! We are not distinguished by wanting justice in general — anyone can claim that for himself — but by our attack on the existing social order and on private property, by wanting community of property, by being Communists. Hence there is only one suitable name for our League, the name which says what we really are, and this name we have chosen. In the same spirit we have altered the traditional names Gau and Halle, which we took over from the political societies and the German character of which produced a disturbing impression given the nature of our anti-nationalist League which is open to all peoples; these names have been replaced by words which really mean what they should mean. The introduction of such simple, clear names serves also to remove from our propagandist League the conspiratorial character which our enemies are so keen to attach to us.

The necessity to re-call the Congress, now called for the first time, to re-call it regularly and to transfer to it the entire legislative power of the League subject to confirmation by the communities, was unanimously recognised without discussion. We hope that in the provisions laid down in this respect we have hit on the points which mattered and through which the effective work of the Congress is ensured in the interest of the whole.

As to the omission of the headings, which insofar as they contained legal provisions are replaced by certain articles of the Rules, and insofar as they contained general communist principles are replaced by the Communist Credo, this gives the Rules a simpler and more uniform shape and has at the same time led to a more precise definition of the position of each particular authority.[343]

After the Rules had been dealt with, various proposals were discussed which had been prepared either by the Central Authority or put forward by individual delegates.

First of all, there was discussion of one delegate’s proposal to call a new congress in six months time. The Congress itself felt that, as the First Congress, which has been called and had met at a time when the organisation of the League was flagging, it had to regard itself above all as an organising and constituent assembly. It felt that a new congress was needed to deal thoroughly with the most important questions before it; since at the same time the new Rules had fixed the next congress for the month of August, so that there would be barely two months interval, and since it was also impossible to defer the Second Congress until August 1848, it was decided to call this Second Congress for Monday, November 29 of this year, here in London. We did not let ourselves be deterred by the bad time of the year any more than by the new costs. The League has survived a crisis and must not fight shy of an extraordinary effort for once. — The new League Rules contain the necessary provisions for the election of delegates and so we hope that a large number of circles will send delegates to the Second Congress.

The proposal of the same delegate to set up a special fund for emissaries also found general approval. — The point was made that our League has at its disposal two kinds of emissaries. Firstly, those who are sent out at the expense of the League with special missions to certain localities, either to establish the League in areas where it does not yet exist, or to organise it again where it is in decline. These emissaries must necessarily be under the direct control of the Central Authority. — Secondly, workers who are returning to their own homes or have to make other journeys. Such workers, often very capable men, could be used to the greatest advantage of the League for visits to many communities not far from their travel route, if they are reimbursed on behalf of the League for the additional expenses caused thereby. Such occasional emissaries can, of course, only be under the direct control of the circle authority and only in special cases be placed under the control of the Central Authority. Hence, the Congress decided to instruct the Central Authority to demand from every circle authority a certain financial contribution every three months and from these contributions to set up a fund for sending out emissaries of the first kind. Further, to instruct the circle authorities more than previously to use capable members leaving on journeys as occasional emissaries in the manner described and to pay the additional travelling expenses in advance from their own funds. In very special cases the circle authorities can apply to the Central Authority for a contribution for this purpose; whether this financial application is granted, is, of course, decided by the Central Authority. Every emissary is responsible to the authority which has supplied him with funds and must report to it.

All of you will see how necessary it is to organise propaganda through emissaries and to subject it to central leadership. We hope that our decisions, taken after mature consideration, will meet with your approval and that they may be attended by good success for the cause.

The next question was that of the organ of the League; it was recognised without discussion how necessary such a publication is. It was also readily understood that the paper could appear only in London, and that it should not appear more often than weekly and not less often than monthly. — Title, motto and format were agreed and you will be acquainted with them through the specimen number to be published in July. A commission is in existence to act for the editorial board pending the journal’s publication; then an editor, who also has already been appointed, will take over the direction in co-operation with the Commission. This considered, the Congress came to the question of costs. Firstly, various things are needed to complete the printing equipment, in particular an iron press, for which the Central Authority was instructed to call for a contribution from the circles. But then the costs were calculated. It was found that at 2 pence,=4 sous,=2 Silbergroschen,=6 Kreuzers for every weekly issue of one sheet the number of subscribers required to cover the costs would be greater than we can rely on with certainty at present. A monthly paper without an editor would be able to exist with fewer subscribers, but would not fulfil the League’s requirements. But whether we would be able to get the number of subscribers needed for a weekly paper was, as we have said, too uncertain for us to enter into the necessary engagements. We therefore resolved as follows: To start with, a specimen number will appear in July free of charge. Then the individual communities will have to send word through their circles how many members they have, for the Congress has decided that at least as long as the journal is a monthly, every member pays for one copy, but every community receives only one, and the remainder are distributed free. League members must, moreover, make enquiries regarding the number of copies which can with certainty be sold in their area, gather subscribers and report on this, too. Then in November, taking account of the notices received by the Central Authority, the Congress will take further decisions and if possible launch the journal before the New Year. In the meantime the London printing press will be used to print pamphlets. [344]

Finally, the question of the Communist Credo. The Congress realised that the public proclamation of the principles of the League was a step of the greatest importance; that a credo which in a few years, perhaps months, might no longer suit the times and no longer correspond to the spirit of the majority, would be as harmful as a suitable credo would be useful; that this step had to be considered with particular care and must not be taken too hastily. Here, just as on the question of the League organ, the Congress became aware that it could not act definitively but only in a constituent role, that it had to give new food to the re-awakening life in the League by discussion on the plan of a credo. Hence, the Congress resolved to draft this plan and to submit it to the communities for discussion, so that proposals could be formulated for amendments and additions to be submitted to the Central Authority. The plan is appended. We recommend it for serious and mature consideration by the communities. We have tried on the one hand to refrain from all system-making and all barrack-room communism, and on the other to avoid the fatuous and vapid sentimentality of the tearful, emotional Communists[345]; we have, on the contrary, tried always to keep firm ground under our feet by the constant consideration of the social relations which alone have given rise to communism. We hope that the Central Authority will receive from you very many proposals for additions and amendments, and we will call on you again to discuss the subject with particular zest.

This, dear Brothers, is the survey, the outcome, of our deliberations. We would very much have liked to have definitively settled the items before us, to have founded the League organ, to have proclaimed the communist principles in a credo. But in the interest of the League, in the interest of the comm[unist] movement, we had to set limits to ourselves here, we had to appeal anew to the majority, and to leave it to the second Congress to carry through what we have prepared.

It is now for you, dear Brothers, to prove that you have the cause of the League, the cause of communism, at heart. The League has emerged victorious from a period of decline. Apathy and laxity have been overcome, the hostile elements which had arisen in the League itself have been eliminated. New elements have joined it. The future of the League is secure. But, dear Brothers, our position is not yet such that we can for one moment relax our efforts; all wounds are not yet healed, all gaps have not yet been filled, many painful effects of the struggle we have gone through can still be felt. Therefore the interest of the League, the communist cause, still demands of you a short period of the most strenuous activity; therefore for a few months you must not even for a moment weary in your work. Extraordinary circumstances demand extraordinary effort. A crisis such as our League has gone through, a crisis in which we had first to fight the fatigue caused by the heavy pressure of German and other police harassments and, even more, caused by the hope of an early improvement in social conditions apparently receding ever further from fulfilment; a crisis, furthermore, in which we not only had to fight the persecutions of our enemies, of governments either dominated by or allied to the bourgeoisie against us, but in which we found enemies in our midst who had to be fought and rendered harmless, with regard only for the threatened position of the League, for the menacing disorganisation of the entire German-speaking Communist Party, without any consideration of persons; Brothers, one does not recover from such a crisis overnight. And even if the existence of the League, the strength of the organisation, is re-established, there will have to be months of unceasing work before we can say: We have done our duty as Communists, our duty as League members.

Brothers! In the firm conviction that you will feel the importance of the situation as much as we do; in the firm conviction that you will nevertheless be fully equal to these difficult circumstances, we confidently appeal to you, to your enthusiasm for the cause of the community! We know that the bourgeoisie’s infamous lust for gain leaves you hardly a moment to work for the cause; we know that it presses down to the lowest limit even the miserable wage it gives you for your hard work; we know that just now famine and the slump in business weigh on you especially heavily; we know that it persecutes you, imprisons you, ruins your health and endangers your lives if you find time and money despite all to work for the interest of the community; we know all that, and in spite of everything we have not hesitated for one moment to appeal to you for new financial sacrifices, to call on you to redouble your activity. For we ourselves would have to withdraw from the whole movement, blushing and ashamed, if we did not know that the men who elected us to decide on the good of the whole, will vigorously and unhesitatingly put our resolutions into practice; if we did not know that there is no one in our League for whom the interest of the Communist Party, the overthrow of the bourgeoisie, the victory of the community is not his very own, his dearest interest; if we did not know that people with sufficient determination to organise a league which exposes them to great dangers are also determined and steadfast enough to defy these dangers and to make this League great and mighty over the whole of Europe; if we did not know, finally, that such people are the more courageous, the more active, the more enthusiastic, the greater the obstacles they face.

Brothers! We represent a great, a wonderful cause. We proclaim the greatest revolution ever proclaimed in the world, a revolution which for its thoroughness and wealth of consequences has no equal in world history. We do not know how far it will be granted to us to share in the fruits of this revolution. But this we know, that this revolution is drawing near in all its might; this we see, that everywhere, in France as in Germany, in England as in America, the angry masses of the proletariat are in motion and are demanding their liberation from the fetters of money rule, from the fetters of the bourgeoisie, with a voice that is often still confused but is becoming ever louder and clearer. This we see, that the bourgeois class is getting ever richer, that the middle classes are being more and more ruined and that thus historical development itself strives towards a great revolution which will one day burst out, through the distress of the people and the wantonness of the rich. Brothers, we all hope to live to see that day, and even if last spring we did not get the chance to take up arms, as the letter of the Halle predicted we might, do not let that disconcert you! The day is coming, and on the day when the masses of the people with their solid ranks scatter the mercenaries of the capitalists: on that day it will be revealed what our League was and how it worked! And even if we should not live to see all the fruits of the great struggle, even if hundreds of us fall under the grapeshot of the bourgeoisie, all of us, even the fallen, have lived to be in the struggle, and this struggle, this victory alone is worth a life of the most strenuous work.

And so, farewell!

In the name of the Congress,

Heide [Wilhelm Wolff]
The President,
Karl Schill [Karl Schapper]

London, June 9, 1847