Marx in Neue Rheinische Zeitung May 1849

The Uprising in the Berg Country

Source: MECW Volume 9, p. 434;
Written: by Marx on May 12, 1849;
First published: in the Neue Rheinische Zeitung No. 297, May 13, 1849.

Cologne, May 12. At the present time the attention of the entire Rhine Province is concentrated on Elberfeld, a place which is now raising the “banner of revolt” higher than any other Rhenish town. The dissolution of the Chamber[354] was the signal for the movement in the otherwise so peaceful Wuppertal. The most addle-pated “wailers"[355] and the most miserable “hypocrites” had to admit that the guilt of the reaction exceeded all bounds, and carried away by the enthusiasm of those courageous workers whose energy we have never doubted, they have taken up arms and joined the ranks of those heroes on the barricades who are resolved to wage a struggle to the death against the monarchy.

In view of the confused reports which reach us from the battle arena itself, it is impossible to separate the truth from the lies. This much at least seems certain: that the whole population has taken up arms, that streets and houses are barricaded, that from neighbouring places — Solingen, Remscheid, Gräfrath, from localities of the Ennepe highway, in short, from the entire Berg Country — armed reinforcements are hurriedly arriving. It seems certain, too, that the insurgents are already not restricting themselves to the occupation of Elberfeld and Barmen but are extending their measures of defence to the most important points of the environs.

It is confidently asserted that the insurgents also plan to hasten to the aid of Düsseldorf in order to clear that city of Prussian troops. The army reserve, which now for the first time has definitely sided with the people, is playing the main role in these operations. The fighters do not lack munitions and money since several of the richest merchants have readily opened their coffers. Thus, it is said that one trading house alone has given the Elberfeld Committee of Public Safety 500 friedrichsdors.

Under these circumstances, of course, it is not surprising that the royal mercenaries are getting ready to attack in order wherever possible to crush the people in the Berg Country as well and perpetrate the same atrocities as in Breslau, Dresden, Erfurt etc. It is to be hoped that this time things will turn out differently.

The artillery parked at Wesel will move from there to Elberfeld. It is said that the attack has been fixed for next Monday.

We cannot vouch for these reports. But whatever the plans of the counter-revolution may be, Elberfeld will have to face a struggle in which it can truly perform a great service to our country.