Marx-Engels Correspondence 1870

Marx to P. and L. Lafargue


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

April 19, 1870

But Bakunnine's programme was ‘the theory’. It consisted, in fact, of 3 points.


3) The working class must not occupy itself with politics. They must only organise themselves by trades-unions. One fine day, by means of the Internationale they will supplant the place of all existing states. You see what a caricature he [Bakunin] has made of my doctrines! As the transformation of the existing States into Associations is our last end, we must allow the governments, those great Trade-Unions of the ruling classes, to do as they like, because to occupy ourselves with them is to acknowledge them. Why! In the same way the old socialists said: You must not occupy yourselves with the wages question, because you want to abolish wages labour, and to struggle with the capitalist about the rate of wages is to acknowledge the wages system! The ass has not even seen that every class movement as a class movement, is necessarily and was always a political movement.