Articles by Marx & Engels in Neue Rheinische Zeitung


Source: MECW Volume 9, p. 33;
Written: Written on March 9, 1849;
First published: in the Neue Rheinische Zeitung No. 242, March 10, 1849

Cologne, March 9. The Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung contains the following statement of its old contributor Arnold Ruge, the Pomeranian personality and Saxon thinker.

"Berlin March 5. The present members of the Central Committee of German Democrats, [26] d'Ester, Reichenbach and Hexamer, announce a new democratic newspaper entitled Allgemeine demokratische Zeitung, which will be 'in reality' an organ of the party in Berlin. This announcement could arouse the suspicion that the newspapers Reform and Zeitungs-Halle are not really organs of the party, and in the introduction to the announcement it is even fairly clearly indicated that both of them have been suppressed. The passage where the Central Committee proclaims and accepts the suppression by Wrangel as being definitive suppression, reads word for word as follows: 'The severe trials which the Democratic Party in recent months has had to endure in all parts of Germany have convinced it both of the necessity for a strong organisation, and of the need for it to be represented in the press by definite organs belonging to the party. Through their sabre regime the rulers have succeeded in many places' (the 'sabre regime' however exists only in Berlin!) 'in suppressing democratic organs of the press, because the individuals concerned were unable to make such great sacrifices as would render these violent measures ineffective.' Because of the sabre regime, everyone thinks only of Berlin when he reads of the 'many places'. Even democracy as a whole could have made these measures 'ineffective' only by abolishing the sabre, for Wrangel made both Berlin and the Berlin postal service inaccessible to the democratic organs of the press. Let the Central Committee name the means, or the 'sacrifices', by which in our situation it would have been able to make this violence ineffective. Even in Wrangel's opinion, however, the Reform and the Zeitungs-Halle have not been 'suppressed'. However, according to my experience, democrats who have received the circular of the Central Committee, understand it to mean that the Reform and the Zeitungs-Halle would cease to appear and would be replaced by the Allgemeine demokratische Zeitung. I feel compelled to clear up this misunderstanding. The 'Reform' has not been definitively closed down and, as soon as the state of siege in Berlin has been lifted, it will continue to be published in Berlin, and indeed as a real organ of the Democratic Party, one which by virtue of the definite decisions of the Lefts of the dissolved National Assembly [27] and of the former Central Committee of German Democrats no less 'belongs' to the party than the new newspaper imposed from above by two members of the present Central Committee (d'Ester and Hexamer).

The Editorial Board of the Reform

Arnold Ruge"

Author's postscript: " I request all the highly respected editorial boards of German newspapers to publish this our statement in their columns."

To our great satisfaction, we learn from this memorable statement that the ci-devant Frankfurt "editor of the rationale of events" [28] and at present book publisher—undoubtedly "as such"—declares that he is by no means satisfied with the imposition of a new democratic newspaper "in Berlin", a newspaper which is supposed to be "in reality"'an organ of the "party in Berlin".

Herr Arnold Ruge, Frankfurt "editor of the rationale of events" and Berlin editor of the Reform, maintains "as such" that it was also the organ of the "party in Berlin"; by a decision of the "former" Central Committee of Democrats, the Reform had been (elle avait ete as the French say) "an organ belonging to the party". True, the "former" Central Committee no longer exists "in reality". Nevertheless the newly arising Reform can still be a "real" organ of the defunct Central Committee and of the superseded Left of the "dissolved" National Assembly.

Herr Arnold Ruge may certainly attack the newly imposed Berlin Allgemeine demokratische Zeitung, a rival in the publishing sphere; outside Berlin there will undoubtedly be fewer competitors for the honorary title of an organ of the "party in Berlin". We were at least never under any misapprehension regarding the Reform as the "real" organ of the "party in Berlin"; we are capable also of fully appreciating patriot Ruge's conquest over himself in connection with the above-mentioned "sacrifices". But in any case, it remains a most curious contradiction. The worthy printshop proprietor Ruge takes his stand on the basis of legality in order to maintain that his own newspaper, the Reform, is the "real" (patently sans garantie du gouvernement) organ of the party. On the other hand, the philosopher Ruge takes his stand on the basis of revolt against the "real" democratic Central Committee in order "really" to be able to make further "sacrifices" in his sense of the word (that of a publisher).

A fact that might help to solve this contradiction is given below:

The democratic Central Committee told Ruge that it was prepared to appoint the Reform as its Moniteur on condition that Ruge would refrain from all argumentation and writing.