Marx Engels Correspondence 1880

Karl Marx to Henry Mayer Hyndman
In London

Source: Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Selected Correspondence (Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1975). Scanned and prepared for the Marxist Internet Archive by Paul Flewers.

8 December 1880

... If you say that you do not share the views of my party for England I can only reply that that party considers an English revolution not necessary, but – according to historic precedents – possible. If the unavoidable evolution turn into a revolution, it would not only be the fault of the ruling classes, but also of the working class. Every pacific concession of the former has been wrung from them by ‘pressure from without’. Their action kept pace with that pressure and if the latter has more and more weakened, it is only because the English working class know not how to wield their power and use their liberties, both of which they possess legally.

In Germany the working class were fully aware from the beginning of their movement that you cannot get rid of a military despotism but by a Revolution. At the same time they understood that such a Revolution, even if at first successful, would finally turn against them without previous organisation, acquirement of knowledge, propaganda, and ... [word illegible]. Hence they moved within strictly legal bounds. The illegality was all on the side of the government, which declared them en dehors la loi. [1] Their crimes were not deeds, but opinions unpleasant to their rulers. Fortunately, the same government – the working class having been pushed to the background with the help of the bourgeoisie – becomes now more and more unbearable to the latter, whom it hits on their most tender point – the pocket. This state of things cannot last long...


1. Outside the law – MIA.