Letters: Marx-Engels Correspondence 1875

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Marx-Engels Correspondence 1875

Engels to Bebel


Source: Marx and Engels on the Trade Unions, Edited by Kenneth Lapides;
Transcribed: by Andy Blunden.

October 15, 1875

Marx seriously complained about the incomprehensible note in No. 104 to the passage in his Anti-Proudhon (“the Socialists as well as the economists condemned combinations”), saying that those were “Socialists of the Proudhon breed.” In the first place there was not a single Socialist of the Proudhon breed in existence at that time except Proudhon himself. In the second place Marx’s assertion is true of all Socialists who made their appearance up to that time (with the exception of us two, who were unknown in France) in so far as they had occasion to deal with combinations — with Robert Owen leading the procession. The same applies to the Owenists and among the French to Cabet. As there was no right of combination in France this question was little touched upon there. But since before Marx there existed only Feudal, bourgeois, petty-bourgeois and utopian socialism, and socialism blended from various of these elements, it was clear that all these Socialists, each of whom claimed to possess a definite panacea and stood outside the real working-class movement, portrayed every form of the real movement, hence also combinations and strikes, as a false path which diverted the masses from the only way that leads to salvation, the way of the true faith. You see that the note was not only wrong but wholly absurd.