from Karl Marx to W. 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 examination. I am exceedingly
busy and have to overstep by far the limit of work allowed me by
the doctors. Hence it was anything but a "pleasure" to
write such a lengthy creed. 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 statement to the effect that our position is altogether
remote from the said programme of principle and that we have nothing
to do with it.
This is indispensable because the opinion the entirely erroneous
opinion is held abroad and assiduously nurtured by enemies
of the Party that we secretly guide from here the movement of the
so-called Eisenach Party [German Social-Democratic Workers Party].
In a Russian book [Statism and Anarchy] 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 cooperation with the People's
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 demoralises 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 item 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.
If they had been told in advance that there would be haggling about
principles, they would have had to be content with a programme of
action or a plan of organisation for common action. Instead of this,
one permits them to arrive armed with mandates, recognises these
mandates on one's part as binding, and thus surrenders unconditionally
to those who are themselves in need of help. To crown the whole
business, they are holding a congress before the Congress of Compromise,
while one's own party is holding its congress post festum. One had
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 unification is satisfying to the workers, but it is a mistake
to believe that this momentary success is not bought too dearly.
For the rest, the programme is no good, 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 printing was held up for
a considerable time by a 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.
The bookshop of the Volksstaat has peculiar ways of doing things.
Up to this moment, for example, I have not been sent a single copy
of the Cologne Communist Trial.
With best regards,
London, 5 May 1875
See also: Critique
of the Gotha Programme
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