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The German Classics of The Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Vol. X. by Kuno Francke

Part 9 out of 10

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Even this one exception, alone would suffice to set the indictment
aside; viz., that no objection is taken to any given passage in which
the specified offense is alleged to occur; so that the prosecution
proceeds wholely on an allegation of bias, and in the baldest manner.
The indictment runs against a bias; that is all. But a bias is not
actionable.

But I am not to be permitted to dispose of my defense in so easy a
manner. The accusation of having endeavored to incite the poor to
hatred of the rich is an accusation of such a kind that, apart from
all question of punishment, it is likely to injure any citizen's name
and fame. This accusation is of such character that, even if it is
formally disproven on legal ground, it may still leave the accused an
object of suspicion. You will, accordingly, Mr. President and
Gentlemen of the Court, take it simply as evidence of the respect I
bear you when I now go on to clear my honor in your sight, with the
same solicitude as that with which I have defended my freedom. To this
end it is necessary for me to present the grounds of fact, as
painstakingly as I have presented the grounds of law, on which this
accusation is to be quashed, and you will, therefore, I am sure, hear
me with the same forbearance if this second part of my defense turns
out to be but little briefer than the first.

I am accused of having violated Section 100 of the penal code. This
section reads as follows: "Any person who endangers or jeopardizes the
public peace by publicly inciting the subjects of the State to hatred
or to contempt of one another, is liable to punishment by a fine of
not less than 20 and not more than 200 thalers, or by imprisonment of
not less than one month and not more than two years."

This section of the law specifies three different conditions, which
must be found to concur if it is to be applicable.

I. There must be incitement to hatred or to contempt;

II. This incitement must be directed to the detriment of given classes
of the subjects of the State, and I am accordingly accused by the
public prosecutor of having incited the class of the unpropertied
against the class of the propertied;

III. This incitement must be of such a nature as to endanger the
public peace.

These three conditions must concur, must combine, if the section of
the law is to apply,--and not one of these conditions occurs.

As to I. There must be incitement to hatred and contempt; there can in
the case before you be no question of this point, and for several
reasons.

1. The offense specified in Section 100 cannot be committed except
there be an intention to incite to hatred and contempt. A contingent
incitement to hatred and contempt, an incitement by inadvertence, is
in this case not conceivable. If such a contingent incitement, an
unintended incitement to hatred and contempt, were conceivable, what
would not the consequences be? We have, all of us, for instance,
recently read certain speeches delivered in the upper house, which
have, we will say, filled me,--and not me alone, Gentlemen, but along
with me a very large part of the nation--with hatred and contempt to
the point of distraction. Does it follow that the public prosecutor
could take action against the speakers in question? He is not
competent to do so, even aside from the political prerogative of the
speakers, for, although such has been the effect of these speeches,
the purpose of these gentlemen was assuredly not to stir up hatred and
contempt. But it is equally true that no one can deny that the purpose
of my address was to impart knowledge. The most that the public
prosecutor can allege is that it was a matter of indifference to me if
the knowledge imparted stirred up hatred and contempt,--an allegation
without significance, since there is no such thing as an incitement to
hatred and contempt by inadvertence.

But, in point of fact, a deliberate incitement of this kind is in the
present case absolutely excluded for another reason, which at the same
time establishes that the address in question could not even have had
the effect of stirring up hatred and contempt. I, therefore, in order
to prevent repetition, beg to present this reason in connection with
the second, viz.: that my address could not have the effect of causing
hatred and contempt.

I have, therefore, to say, as the second count under this head, that
this address cannot possibly have had the effect of stirring up hatred
and contempt, and _a fortiori_ cannot have had that intention.

On what grounds alone can hatred and contempt be deserved?

On the ground of viciousness, which in turn is an attribute of
voluntary human actions alone. But in this address of mine, I show
that the dominance of this principle of the bourgeoisie, against which
I am by the public prosecutor accused of inciting to hatred and
contempt, is but a stage of economic and ethical development, which is
the outcome of historical necessity, and that its nonexistence is an
utter impossibility and that it therefore has all the character of
natural necessity that belongs to the developmental progress of the
earth.

Do we hate Nature because we have to struggle with her? Because we
have to strive to guide her processes and improve her products?

But there is the further question: How has the public prosecutor
understood my pamphlet?

The fundamental idea of my address is that the dominance of the
bourgeoisie has in no wise been produced, consciously and by their own
motion, intentionally and in a responsible manner, by the propertied
class as persons or individuals. On the contrary, the bourgeois are
but the unconscious, choiceless, and therefore irresponsible products,
not the producers of the situation as it stands and as it has
developed under the guidance of quite other laws than the direction of
personal choice. Even their reluctance to surrender this their mastery
I refer back to the laws of human nature, whose character it is to
hold fast to whatever is and to account it necessary. But a doctrine
which goes the length of denying the propertied class all
responsibility for the existing state of things, which makes them a
product instead of the producers of this state of things--this
doctrine the public prosecutor construes to have incited to hatred and
contempt of these persons.

For, be it noted, we have here to do with persons and classes of
persons, under section 100, not with institutions established by the
State, as under section 101.

No workingman has got so faulty an understanding of my address as the
public prosecutor, and I leave it to him to say whether this is due to
his lack of understanding or to his lack of will to understand.

But, more than all this, I go on to show that the dominance of the
idea of the bourgeoisie is a great historic move in the liberation of
humanity; that it was a most potent moral cultural advance; that in
fact it was the historically indispensable prerequisite and
transitional stage through development out of which the idea of the
working class was to emerge.

I therefore must be said to reconcile the working class to the
dominance of the bourgeoisie as an historical fact by showing the
logical necessity of this dominance. I reconcile them to it, for a
comprehension of the rationality of what restricts us is the fullest
possible reconciliation to it.

And if I proceed, further, to show that the idea of the bourgeoisie is
not the highest stage of the historical development, not the perfect
flower of advancing improvement, but that beyond it lies yet a higher
manifestation of the human spirit, and that this ulterior phase rests
on the former as its base--does this mean that I incite to hatred and
contempt of the former?

The working class might as well hate and despise themselves and all
human nature, whether in their own or in their neighbors' persons,
because it is the law of human nature to unfold step by step and to
proceed to each succeeding stage of development from the indispensable
vantage ground of the phase preceding.

If I had any predilection for homiletical discourse, Gentlemen, I
should be quite justified in saying that I have exhorted the working
classes to a filial piety toward the bourgeoisie, in that I have shown
that the dominance of the bourgeoisie was the indispensable
prerequisite and condition by transition out of which alone the idea
of the working class could come forth. For even if the son, by grace
of a freer and fuller education and a larger endowment of personal
force, strives to place himself above the level on which his father
stood, still he never forgets the source of his own blood and the
author of his own being. How deep in the mud is it the intention to
thrust the noblest of all the sciences in bringing this charge of
criminal instigation against the doctrine that history is an unfolding
evolution of reason and human liberty?

It was for long incomprehensible to me how the public prosecutor could
use such words as instigation to hatred and contempt in this
connection. In the end I have been able to explain this fact to myself
only on this one supposition. The public prosecutor must have
endeavored in reading this address, to put himself in the place of a
working man and has then come to feel that he would in such a case be
moved to hatred.

The public prosecutor, then, is sensible that he would hate.

Now, Gentlemen, I might say that this would be attributable to the
peculiarity of his temperament, and that he had no call to generalize
and go beyond that. But I will lend a hand to the public prosecutor in
this perplexity. I will bring the charge against myself in a more
telling form than he has been able to do. I will formulate it as the
facts of the case require that it must be formulated if it is to be
preferred at all. And in so doing, the more pointedly I may be able to
bring to light the essential nature of the charge, the more utterly
shall I annihilate it.

This is what the public prosecutor should have said:

It is true this address held by Lassalle appeals to the intellect of
the auditors, not to their practical impulses or their emotions. It is
accordingly true also that this address does not come within the
sphere of competence of the penal code.

But in a person endowed with the normal complement of human
sensibility, cognition, will and emotion are not so many insulated
pigeonholes which stand in no relation to one another. Whenever the
one compartment is full it flows over into the next. Will and emotion
are servants of the intellect and are controlled by it.

Lassalle, it is true, has not a word to say of hatred and contempt; he
is simply occupied with a theoretical exposition of how certain
arrangements, for instance, the three-class suffrage, is pernicious. I
am unable to confute this teaching. But I have this to say with
respect to the organic unity of human nature, that if the doctrine is
true then it follows that every normally constituted working man must
come to hate and distrust not only these arrangements and institutions
but also those who profit by them.

Such is the logical framework on which this indictment must proceed.
This is the line of argument which avowedly or not, by logical
necessity comes to expression in this indictment.

It is not I, but the public prosecutor speaking from the eminence of
his curule chair, who proclaims to the working classes the awful
doctrine: You must hate and distrust.

It is not for me, it is for the public prosecutor to square himself
with the bourgeoisie.

But what is my answer to the public prosecutor and his indictment
which charges me with his own offense?

My answer is a four-fold one:

In the first place a full recognition of the inadequacy or the
viciousness of a given institution must arouse in any person of normal
sensibility an enduring purpose to change such an institution, if
possible, and the arousing of such an undying purpose in my hearers
has necessarily been the aim of my scientific investigation, as it
necessarily is the end of all scientific work. But such a purpose, so
long as it does not utter itself in an illegal manner, is absolutely
unconstrained by law. The like is true of all effort to arouse such a
purpose, so long as it does not resort to illegal means. But such a
purpose to amend the shortcomings of any established arrangement, is
by no means the same thing as hatred and contempt of the arrangement
in question; since these shortcomings are a matter of historical
growth, of historical necessity; since, indeed, they may even be, in
effect, a factor in the work of liberation, and a factor of the
gravest consequence and of the most beneficial effect for cultural
growth. Further reasons to the like effect have already been recited
and I will not take up your time with their repetition and further
development. Here, then, is the first hiatus in the public
prosecutor's argument.

In the second place, if it actually follows in any given case that
hatred and contempt is, for a normally constituted human being, the
necessary consequence of a scientific knowledge of the facts, such
hatred and contempt could by no means be laid under penalties by the
legislator.

Whatever institution is so vicious that knowledge of it necessarily
excites hatred and contempt, that institution should be hated and
despised.

The legislator lays penalties upon such hatred and contempt as are but
the effects produced by blind emotions and passions. But he has not
imposed penalties upon human reason and the moral constitution of man.
He consequently does not impose penalties upon hatred and contempt
which are the necessary outcome of these two features of human nature.
The public prosecutor construes section 100 to the effect that the
legislator has therein intended to prohibit the use of reason and
proscribe the moral nature of man. But such a purpose has not entered
the thoughts of the law-giver. No court will put such a construction
upon the law as to make the legislator the avowed enemy of
intelligence and science,--and here come into bearing again all the
arguments of my defense directed to Article 20 of the Constitution.
The only meaning of these arguments in this connection is that even if
science and its teaching were not by Article 20 of the Constitution
exempt from the application of the criminal code, still section 100,
except it be construed to intend the utter destruction of human
nature, cannot be leveled against such hatred and contempt as is the
necessary outcome of scientific knowledge.

In the third place, hatred and contempt of a given institutional
arrangement or expedient is by no means the same thing as hatred and
contempt of those persons who profit by the arrangement in question;
whereas section 100 deals only with hatred of persons,--so that we
have here the third break in the public prosecutor's argument, and it
is a veritable _saltomortale_.

In the fourth place I have to present an argument of fact. The
prosecutor's argument presents the most remarkable _quid pro quo_[56]
that has ever come to light in a legal discussion. The point which I
here touch upon constitutes the transition to the second part of my
argument, showing that all proof touching the second condition to be
fulfilled by the indictment is wanting; viz.: that even if there were
ground for speaking of hatred and contempt in this connection, it is
still quite plain that there has been no instigation to hatred or
contempt of those against whom I am charged with having incited to
hatred and contempt.

As to this second part of the indictment: I am accused of instigating
the unpropertied classes to hatred and contempt of the propertied
classes.

"By this presentation," says the indictment, "working men will plainly
be incited to hatred and contempt of the bourgeoisie, that is to say,
the unpropertied classes will be inflamed against the propertied
classes." And after having in this way, quietly and by subreption,
introduced this its definition of the term "_bourgeoisie_," the
indictment goes on to formulate its final charge as follows:

"It is accordingly charged that the above named citizen, F.L., (1),
by his lecture etc., and (2) by publishing the pamphlet containing
this same lecture, has publicly instigated the unpropertied classes
of the State's subjects to hatred and contempt of the propertied
classes."

It is true, in my address I speak of the "_bourgeoisie_." But what is
my definition of this term? It will be sufficient to cite a single
passage which contains the definition of "_bourgeoisie_" as used by me
in this pamphlet. This will show what an incomprehensible, unheard-of,
uncharacterisable _quid pro quo_ the public prosecutor has attempted
to impute to me in charging me with instigating the unpropertied
classes to hatred and contempt of the propertied classes.

On page 20 of this pamphlet is the following passage, quoted
literally:

"I have now reached the point, Gentlemen, where it becomes necessary
that, in order to avoid a possible gross misapprehension of what I
have to say, I explain what I mean by the term 'bourgeoisie' or 'great
bourgeoisie,' as the designation of a political party--that I define
what the word 'bourgeoisie' means in my use of it.

"The word 'bourgeoisie' might be translated into German by the term
_Buergertum_ (citizenship, or the body of citizens). But that is not the
meaning actually attached to the word. We are all citizens--workingmen,
petty burghers, commercial aristocracy and all the rest alike. On the
other hand the word 'bourgeoisie' has, in the course of historical
development, come to designate a particular political bias and
movement which I will now go on to characterize.

"At the time of the French Revolution, and, indeed, even yet, that entire
body of subjects which is not of noble birth, was roughly divided into
two sub-classes: First the class comprising those persons who, wholly or
chiefly, get their income from their own labor and are without capital,
or are, at the most, possessed of but a moderate capital which affords
them the means of carrying on some employment from which they and their
families derive their subsistence. This class comprises the
workingmen, the lower middle classes (_Kleinbuerger_), the citizen
class and also the body of the peasants. The second class is made up
of those persons who have the disposal of a large property, of a large
capital, and who are producers or receivers of income on the basis of
their possession of capital. These latter might be called the great
burghers or commoners, or the capitalist gentry. But such a great
burgher or capitalist gentleman, is not by reason of that fact a
bourgeois. No commoner has any objection to raise because a nobleman
in the bosom of his family finds comfort in his pedigree and in his
lands. But when, on the other hand, this nobleman insists on making
such pedigree or such landed property the basis of a peculiar
importance and prerogative in the State, when he insists on making
them a ground for controlling public policy, then the commoner takes
offense at the nobleman and calls him a feudalist.

"The case is entirely similar as regards the distinctions in respect
of property within the body of commoners.

"That the capitalist gentleman in his chamber takes pleasure in the high
degree of comfort and the great advantage which large wealth confers
upon its possessor,--nothing can be more natural, simpler or more
legitimate than that he should do so."

Incidentally, then, Gentlemen, so far am I in this pamphlet from
instigating the unpropertied classes to hatred and contempt of the
wealthy, that, on the contrary, I expressly declare myself for the
legitimacy of such property. I explicitly declare that the
satisfaction taken in the advantages and amenities which flow from
such wealth are the most natural and legitimate things in the world.

Let me now go on with the definition referred to:

"The workingmen and the lower middle class, that is to say the class
without capital, may be wholly justified in demanding that those by whose
hands all that wealth which is the pride of our civilization is produced,
whose hands have brought forth all these products without which society
could not live for a single day--it may well be demanded that these should
be secured an ample and unfailing income, and thereby be given an
opportunity for some intellectual development, and that they be by this
means put in the way of a truly human manner of life. But, while I
am free to say that the working classes are fairly within their rights in
making these demands of the State, and to stand out stiffly for their
demands as being the essential purpose for which the State exists, yet
the workingman must never allow himself to forget that all property
that has once been acquired and is legally held must be considered lawful
and inviolable."

Such, then, is the manner and degree of my instigation of the
unpropertied class to hatred and distrust that I incontinently preach
to them the inviolability and sacredness of all property acquired by
the wealthy classes, and exhort them to respect it.

But I go on to say:

"In case the man of means is not content with the material amenities
of large wealth, but insists that possession of wealth, of capital, be
made the basis of a control to be exercised over the State, a condition
of participation in the direction of public policy and of the direction
of public affairs, then and only then does the man of means become a
bourgeois; then does he make the fact of property a legal ground of
political power; then does he stand forth as representative of a
privileged class aiming to put the imprint of its prerogative upon all
social features and institutions, just as truly as the nobility of the
Middle Ages did with respect to the basis of their privilege, landed
property."

Accordingly, in my use of the term, as I have explicitly and
painstakingly defined it, the man of means, the man of the
upper-middle class, is a _bourgeois_ in case he proceeds to set up the
essentially harmless and inoffensive fact of his large property as a
legal condition of participation in the direction of public affairs;
in short, when he proceeds to set up the ownership of capital as a
legal and political prerogative, and so abolishes the equality of the
propertied and the unpropertied classes before the law, and thereby
infringes upon the liberty and further growth of the people, in the
interest of accumulated wealth and continued upper-class mastery. Only
under these circumstances, as I particularly point out, does the
_bourgeoisie_ become a privileged class, which it otherwise, in spite
of all inequality of wealth, is not.

In my pamphlet I point out how all this has its effect through the
census rating whereby admission to a share in the direction of public
policy, through eligibility to any legislative body, is so limited by
property qualifications as to make the possession of capital a
prerequisite. I point out further that this effect follows equally
whether the property qualification is open and above-board or
under-hand, and finally that the existing three-class system of
elections, dating back to 1849, amounts to such an under-hand,
disguised property rating.

The point at which the pamphlet strikes, therefore, albeit in a purely
theoretical way, is the three-class system of elections. It makes no
attack upon the propertied classes, whose accumulated wealth, on the
contrary, I am repeatedly at pains to define as wholly incontestable,
inoffensive, inviolable and perfectly lawful.

This three-class system of elections is one of our political
institutions.

Now, this being the case, why has not the public prosecutor indicted
me under section 101 of the criminal code, "for having exposed the
measures of the State to hatred and to contempt?" To be sure, if the
prosecutor had chosen to make this charge, I should have known how to
answer him. To go into this matter today would be superfluous,
for I am not accused of this offense, and my defense would be drawn
out endlessly if I were to defend myself against charges that have
never been brought against me.

But why, among all impossible charges, does the public prosecutor
choose to bring precisely the most impossible? Why does he make this
substitution as to the point of my attack? I point out that the
three-class system of elections is an injustice because it makes an
essentially innocent difference in wealth a legal qualification for
participation in the direction of public affairs; whereupon this
envenomed accusation is brought against me that I have instigated the
unpropertied classes to hatred and contempt of the propertied.

Is there, then, no remedy, Gentlemen, against such a public defamation
of one's name and fame?

Can we say that among us the introduction, of the three-class system
of elections is to be laid at the door of the propertied classes or
the commonalty? Something of that kind might be said of the French
_bourgeoisie_. In France the property qualification and rating was
introduced as long ago as the revolutionary _Assemblee Constituante_.
But the like has not been done by the German.

When the Prussian bourgeoisie came into power through the March
revolution of 1848 it introduced universal and equal suffrage by the
law of the 8th of April, 1848. The German bourgeoisie at St. Paul's
Church, Frankfort, enacted universal equal suffrage.

The three-class system of elections which we now have, was arbitrarily
imposed, imposed by the government.

Now, why does the public prosecutor shelter the government behind the
backs of the Prussian _bourgeoisie? A tout seigneur tout honneur_![57]

It is the Prussian government, not the propertied classes, that must
for all time and in the eyes of all people bear the responsibility of
this arbitrarily imposed three-class system of elections.

But, whatever may have been the reasons which decided the public
prosecutor to make this very singular substitution of grievances in
his indictment--and we may perhaps presently come to find out what his
reasons were--at any rate, this second ground of the indictment also
fails. There has been no incitement against the propertied classes of
the community; there has been no instigation against those against
whom I am accused of instigating to hatred and contempt.

The third ground on which the indictment is brought, the charge of
having endangered the public peace, fails likewise.

As to this third count:

Section 100 says: "Any person who endangers the public peace by
publicly inciting the subjects of the State to hatred or to contempt
of one another is to be punished."

Now, when the State speaks of the public peace it cannot be taken to
mean peace of mind, for the State is not a pietistic overseer
concerned about the subjects' peace of mind and the general sphere of
spiritual edification. What it looks to is the peace of the streets.
This is made quite plain by the phrase, "public peace."

The like is plain from all principles of law. Subjective states of
mind do not concern the State; it is concerned with overt actions
alone. It has, accordingly, no concern with hatred and contempt or
with instigation thereto in so far as they are a matter of subjective
sensibility only; but such instigation is subject to penalties only in
case it is of such a nature as to lead to overt action. This is very
patently indicated by the legislator in making use of the expression,
"Any person who endangers public peace." The legislator says not any
one who "disturbs," but any one who "endangers." If, in the
contemplation of the law, any incitement whatever to hatred and
contempt were punishable; if, in the contemplation of the law, the
public peace were to be "endangered" through the mere incitement to
such subjective sentiments; then the law would necessarily have said:
any person who disturbs the public peace by inciting. If such had been
the phrasing of the law, then it might perhaps be held that such
disturbance always follows when instigation to hatred and contempt is
made.

"Endanger" means to bring about the possibility of a disturbance, and
by his choice of this term, therefore, the legislator has shown us
that in speaking of the public peace he has not in mind a harmony of
sentiments--which in the case contemplated must already have been
disturbed, not simply endangered--but the peace of the streets. He has
shown that he does not consider that a disturbance of the public peace
necessarily has arisen in case of incitement to subjective sentiments
of hatred and contempt. Consequently not every case of such incitement
is held to be punishable, but only those cases in which the peace of
the streets is in danger of being disturbed. In other words the
penalty follows only when the incitement to hatred and contempt
attains such a pitch as to become dangerous, that is to say, liable to
result in overt unlawful acts. Section 100 is accordingly not to be
taken to say that any person who incites to hatred and contempt
endangers the public peace and is therefore subject to punishment.
Such an interpretation would be wholly fallacious, on juridical as
well as on grammatical grounds. Its meaning is that any person who
puts the public peace in jeopardy through inciting to hatred and
contempt--that is to say in case the incitement is of such a nature
that it necessarily carries danger to the public peace--such a person
is subject to the penalties of this law. In making use of the term
"endanger," therefore, the law defines the crime of incitement to this
effect, that it must be incitement of such a kind that it at least may
lead to overt action--to the endangering of the peace of the
streets--otherwise it is not punishable.

To show how far my action falls short of this third criterion, how
little the alleged instigation is of the kind which might, even
conceivably, lead to tangible action in the way of endangering the
political peace, the peace of the public highways--to this end let me
simply point out that in this address I am occupied with a discussion
of periods of historical development of secular duration, and at the
close I make the explicit statement that in the advance of a
historical dawning one or two decades count but as a single hour in
the revolution of a natural day.

So that we have here to do with an indictment which meets the
requirements of the law at not a single point; whereas in order to an
adequate charge, the several counts should concur, should combine and
bear one another out.

It has frequently happened that indictments have been made in which
some one count has not been well taken. But an indictment of which not
even a single count proves to come within the contemplation of the
law,--such an indictment deserves a special, and in every sense of the
word a peculiar, place on honor in the temple of jurisprudence.

However, _audiatur et altera pars_.[58] Let us take one last look at
the motivation which the indictment offers. In so doing it is possible
that we shall find that in what I have been saying I have, by some
highly ingenious artifice of exposition, succeeded in concealing the
legally offensive features of my action; or on the other hand it may
turn out that the totally nugatory character of this indictment will
by this means be brought out in even more startling fashion than has
yet appeared.

There is one sentence in this indictment which serves as underpinning to
the whole structure. This sentence may, therefore, be expected to be of
selected timber. The preamble of the document says: "The leading ideas
of this address are as follows:--" and then, having given an ostensible
_resume_ of these ideas, it goes on to the following effect: "By these
expositions, and by the frequently recurring allusions to an imminent
social revolution, the workingmen will manifestly be provoked to hatred
and contempt of the bourgeoisie; that is to say, the unpropertied
classes will be stirred up against the propertied, whereby the public
peace will be endangered, particularly since the address contains a
direct appeal to make the mastery of the working class over the other
classes of society the end of their endeavors, to be pursued with the
most ardent and consuming passion."

This is the only passage in the document that is of the nature of a
legal motivation. Let us look more closely into this sentence. This is
a sentence which might give the asthma to a person with weak lungs,
and it is so constructed as to hide its total lack of substance from
any superficial view under a shimmering verbiage and a confusion of
ideas. If you will look more closely into this passage, Gentlemen, you
will be astonished at the quantity of juristic monstrosities,
absurdities, misstatements and misconstructions of fact which it
contains.

Now, whereby, according to this passage, have I accomplished my
alleged incitement to hatred and contempt? "By these expositions,"
says the document. That is to say by a purely theoretical, purely
objective exposition of historical events; by what the indictment
itself designates as the exposition of my leading ideas; by nothing
else, therefore, than the scientific doctrine simply. It is by this
means that I am alleged to have incited to hatred and contempt. The
indictment may shift and turn as it likes; it cannot escape the avowal
that its accusation runs against nothing else than purely scientific
arguments,--against science and its teaching.

But the passage goes on to add an "and." By these expositions _and_ by
the frequently recurring allusions to an imminent social revolution is
the instigation alleged to have been effected.

What are these allusions to an imminent social revolution? Where are
they to be found? Why does not the public prosecutor cite them? I call
upon him to do so. But he cannot cite them. There is no passage in
this pamphlet which will bear out his insinuations on this point.

It is true, throughout this pamphlet I make frequent use of the words
"revolutionary" and "revolution;" although I do not speak of an
"imminent social revolution," as the public prosecutor alleges. What
I speak of is a social revolution which supervened in February, 1848.
But with this word, "revolution," the public prosecutor hopes to crush
me. For he, taking the word in its narrower legal sense alone, cannot
read this word, "revolution," without conjuring up before his fancy
the brandishing of pitchforks. But such is not the meaning of the word
in its scientific use, and the consistent use of the term in my
pamphlet might have apprised the public prosecutor of the fact that
the term is there employed in its alternative, scientific
signification. So, for instance, I speak of the development of the
territorial principality as a "revolutionary" phenomenon.

And so again, on the other hand, I expressly declare that the peasant
wars, which, assuredly, were sufficiently garnished with violence and
bloodshed,--I declare these wars to have been a movement which was
revolutionary only in the imagination of those who participated in
them, whereas they were in reality not a revolutionary, but a
reactionary movement.

The progress of industry which took place in the sixteenth century, on
the contrary, I repeatedly and constantly characterize as a "really
and veritably revolutionary fact" (page 7), although no sword was
drawn on its account. Likewise I characterize (page 7) the invention
of the spinning jenny in 1775 as a radical and effectual revolution.

Is this an abuse of language, or am I hereby introducing a novel use
of words in making use of the term "revolution" in this sense,--in
that I apply it to peaceful developments and deny it to sanguinary
disturbances!

The elder Schelling says (_Untersuchungen ueber das Wesen der
menschlichen Freiheit_, Vol. VII, p. 351): "The happy thought of
making freedom the all in all of Philosophy has not only made the
human intellect free as regards its own motives and effected a greater
change in this science in all directions than any earlier revolution,"
etc. The elder Schelling, at least, does not, like the public
prosecutor's fancy, see pitchforks flashing before his eyes at the
sound of the word "revolution." Applying the word, as he does, to the
effects wrought by a philosophical principle, he takes it, as I do, in
a sense which has no relation whatever to physical violence.

What, then, is the scientific meaning of this word "revolution," and
how does revolution differ from reform? Revolution means
transmutation, and a revolution is, accordingly, accomplished
whenever, by whatever means, with or without shock or violence, an
entirely new principle is substituted for what is already in effect. A
reform, on the other hand, is effected in case the existing situation
is maintained in point of principle, but with a more humane, more
consequent or juster working out of this principle. Here, again, it is
not a question of the means. A reform may be effected by means of
insurrection and bloodshed, and a revolution may be carried out in
piping times of peace. The peasant wars were an attempt at compelling
a reform by force of arms. The development of industry was a
full-blown revolution, accomplished in the most peaceable manner; for
in this latter case an entirely new and novel principle was put in the
place of the previously existing state of affairs. Both these ideas
are developed at length and with great pains in the pamphlet under
consideration.

How comes it that the public prosecutor alone has failed to understand
me? Why is all this unintelligible to him alone, when every workingman
understands it?

Now, even suppose that I had spoken of an "imminent social
revolution," as in point of fact I did not; would I, therefore,
necessarily have been talking of pitchforks and bayonets?

Professor Huber is a thoroughly conservative man, a strenuous
royalist, a man who, on the adoption of the constitution of 1850,
voluntarily resigned the professor's chair which he held in the
University of Berlin, because, if I am rightly informed, he had
scruples about subscribing to it; but at the same time he is a man who
is with the deepest affection devoted to the welfare of the working
classes, who has given the most painstaking study to their development
and has written most excellent works upon that subject, particularly
upon the history of industrial corporations or labor organizations.
After having shown that the labor organizations of England, France,
and Germany already have in hand a capital of fifty million thalers,
Professor Huber says in this latest work (_Concordia_, p. 24):

"Under these circumstances and under the influences herein at work,
and in view of the historical facts above indicated in outline, it is
to be hoped that I need enter no disclaimer against Utopian daydreams
of a universal millenium when I say that not only is a very substantial
reform of the existing political conditions of the factory population
practicable in such a measure as to bring about an elevation of their
entire social and economic situation, but such a reform is to be looked
for as in the natural course of things the assured outcome of the
growth of labor organizations."

Here we have a prediction of a thoroughgoing social transmutation
spoken of as the assured outcome of the labor-organization movement
working out its effects simply within the lines of the peaceable and
conventional course of things. But how if I, with all the stronger
reason, had spoken of a prospective social change that might be
expected to result from the combined force of the two factors,
organized labor and universal suffrage?

But how can I be held accountable for the public prosecutor's literary
limitations? for his lack of acquaintance with what is going on all
around us in modern times and what science has already accepted and
made a matter of record? Am I the scientific whipping-boy of the
public prosecutor? If that were the case, the punishment which it
would be for you, Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Court, to mete
out to me would be something stupendous. But all that apart, how can
an allusion to an imminent social revolution, even to a pitchfork
revolution, constitute an instigation to hatred and contempt of the
bourgeoisie? And this is, after all, what the public prosecutor must
be held to allege in the passage cited, and this in fact is what he
does allege. Hatred and contempt can be aroused against any man only
by his own acts and their publicity. But how can anything done by
Peter excite the hatred and contempt of Paul? If any one were to tell
us: "The workingmen are going to get up a social revolution," how
could that remark arouse hatred and contempt of the bourgeoisie? The
passage in question, then, shows itself to have been one that makes no
sense, either in point of grammar or in point of logic. It is not only
untrue with a threefold untruth, but it is contradictory and
meaningless. At least it is quite unintelligible to me.

I have as great difficulty in understanding the public prosecutor's
language as he has in understanding mine. The Greeks were in the habit
of calling any one _barbaros_ (a barbarian) who did not understand the
current speech. So the public prosecutor and I are both barbarians,
the one to the other.

But this passage in the indictment which I have been analyzing brings
up a third point at which I am alleged to have been guilty of inciting
to hatred and contempt of the bourgeoisie. This is introduced with the
word "particularly." The exposition and the allusions above spoken of
are alleged to have incited to hatred and contempt, "particularly
because the address contains a direct appeal to make the mastery of
the working classes over the other classes of society the end of their
endeavors, to be pursued with the most ardent and consuming passion."
Suppose that such were the case; an exhortation addressed to a given
class of society to pursue the vain ambition of a mastery over the
other classes would be worthy of all reprobation, but it would still
be legally permissible unless it urged to criminal acts. Every class
in society is at liberty to strive for the control of the State, so
long as it does not seek to realize its end by unlawful means. No
political purpose is punishable, the means employed alone are. Now,
the character of this prosecution, as a prosecution directed against a
political bias, appears plainly and should be manifest to every one in
every line of the indictment, in that it constantly charges incitement
to the seeking of certain ends; it never attempts to show that
criminal means have been employed, or that I have, in my address,
urged the employment of such means. But even if I had been guilty of
urging the working classes to resort to criminal means for gaining
control over the other classes of society, then I could only have been
indicted under Article 61,[59] or some other article of the criminal
code, but never under Article 100, or as having offended against that
article by an instigation of the workingmen to hatred and contempt;
for such an exhortation addressed to the working classes to make
themselves masters of the other classes of society must have incited
the workingmen to political ambition, but by no means to hatred and
contempt of any third party. This ambition on the part of the
workingmen could, of course, not have been fathered upon the
bourgeoisie; and since responsibility for it could not have been put
upon them, hatred and contempt of them could not have been aroused by
the fact of such an ambition. It therefore appears again that this
passage is quite devoid of grammatical and logical content. But upon
what ground has the public prosecutor read into my address an
exhortation urging to the pursuit of "mastery on the part of the
workingmen over the other classes of society?"

All that I have to say in my pamphlet bearing on this head is that it
is the destiny of the historical epoch beginning with February, 1848,
to install the ethical principle of the working classes as the
dominant principle of society, to make it the guiding principle of the
State; the nature of this principle is expounded in my pamphlet, and I
have already restated it in outline in the introductory part of my
speech.

I repeatedly and explicitly express myself to the same effect. So I
say (page 31) that, as in 1789 the revolution was a revolution of the
third estate, so in this later case it was a revolution of the fourth
estate, "which now seeks to erect its principle into the dominant
principle of society and to permeate all institutions with it." Or
again

(page 32): "Whoever, therefore, appeals to the principle of the
working class as the dominant principle of society;" and, further, on
the same page: "We have now to examine, in three several hearings,
this principle of the working class as the dominant principle of
society." And (page 33): "Perhaps the idea of making the principle of
the lowest class of society the dominant principle of the State and of
society may seem to be a dangerous idea." I, then, proceed to develop,
from page 39 onward, the difference between the ethical and political
principle of the bourgeoisie and the ethical and political principle
of the working class, and conclude on page 42 with the words: "This,
then, is it, Gentlemen, that is to be characterized as the political
principle of the working class," etc.

And because I present an exalted ethical principle, the noblest
ethical principle which my intelligence is capable of grasping, the
noblest ethical principle yet achieved by political philosophy,
because I proclaim this as destined to become the guiding principle of
the present period of history; because of this and because I bring
evidence to show that this principle, as being the expression of the
natural instinct due to the economic situation of the working classes,
is properly to be designated as the principle of the working
classes,--this is what the public prosecutor has construed into an
atrocious crime, and has accused me of urging the working classes to
aim at making their own class the masters of the other classes of
society.

The public prosecutor appears to believe that I aspire to see the
propertied classes reduced to servitude under the working classes,
that I would invert history and make the landed gentry and the
manufacturers the servants of the workingmen.

But however widely we may differ in the use of language, however much
we may mutually be barbarians to one another, could such a
misapprehension, or anything approaching it, be at all possible?

I develop (page 32) my view, explicitly and in detail, to the effect
that this is precisely the characteristic mark of the fourth estate,
that its principle contains no ground of discrimination, whether in
point of fact or in point of law, such as could be erected into a
domineering prerogative and applied to reconstruct the institutions of
society to that end. The words I use are as follows (page 32):
"Laborers we all are, in so far as we are willing to make ourselves
useful to human society in any way whatever. This fourth estate, in
the recesses of whose heart there lies no germ of a new and further
development of privilege, is therefore a term coincident with the
human race. Its concerns are, therefore, in truth the concerns of
mankind as a whole; its freedom is the freedom of mankind itself; its
sovereignty is the sovereignty of all men." And I thereupon go on to
say: "Therefore, whoever appeals to the principle of the working class
as the dominant principle of society, in the sense in which I have
presented this idea,--his cry is not a cry designed to divide the
classes of society," etc. And while I, with all my heart and soul, am
making an appeal for the termination of all class rule and all class
antagonism, the public prosecutor charges me with inciting the
laborers to establish class rule over the propertied classes. I ask
again: How is such an astonishing misunderstanding to be explained?
Permit me once again, to quote the father against the son:

"The medium," says Schelling (Vol. I, p. 243, _Abhandlungen zur
Erlaeuterung des Idealismus der Wissenschaftslehre_)--"The medium
whereby intellects understand one another is not the circumambient
atmosphere, but the joint and common freedom whose movements penetrate
to the innermost recesses of the soul. A human spirit not consciously
replete with freedom is excluded from all spiritual communion, not only
with others but even with himself. No wonder, therefore, that he
remains incomprehensible to himself as well as to others, and wearies
himself in his pitiable solitude with empty words which stir no friendly
response whether in his own or in another's breast. To be unintelligible
to such an unfortunate is a credit and an honor before God and man."

So says Schelling, the father.

Gentlemen, I have now reached the close of my argument. It were
bootless to ask whether this charge could possibly have any weight
with you, Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Court. But there was
probably another design at the root of the prosecution. The political
struggle between the bourgeoisie and the government has lately shown
some slight signs of life. It has, not improbably, been thought that
under these circumstances a prosecution for incitement of the
unpropertied classes to hatred and contempt of the propertied classes
would create an effective diversion; it was probably hoped that even
if such an accusation were dismissed by you, still--you remember the
ancient adage: _calumniare audacter, semper aliquit haeret_[60]--it
would serve as a wet towel to bind about the slightly-inflamed
countenance of our bourgeoisie,--and so, with this in view, Gentlemen,
I was selected as the scapegoat to be driven out into the wilderness.
But even this design, Gentlemen, will fail.

It will fail shamefully through the mere reading of my pamphlet, which
I most particularly commend to the bourgeoisie. It will fail before
the force of my own voice; and precisely with this in view I felt
called on to go so extensively into the facts of the case in my
defense. We are all, bourgeoisie and laborers, members of one people,
and we stand firmly together against our oppressors.

Let me now close. Upon a man who, as I have presented the matter to
you, has devoted his life under the motto, "Science and the
Workingmen," even a sentence which may meet him on the way will make
no other impression beyond that made upon a chemist by the breaking of
a retort used by him in his scientific experiments. With a momentary
knitting of the brow and a reflection on the physical properties of
matter, as soon as the accident is remedied he goes on with his
experiments and his investigation as before.

But I appeal to you that for the sake of the nation and its honor, for
the sake of science and its dignity, for the sake of the country and
its liberty under the law, for the sake of your own memory as history
shall preserve it, Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Court, acquit
me.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 49: The criteria which are here appealed to as working the
differences of spiritual constitution between the so-called Germanic
peoples and the peoples of antiquity are today questioned at more than
one point. And quite legitimately so. Considered as peoples simply,
the Greeks or Romans were scarcely less capable of development than
the Germanic peoples. That their States, their political
organizations, collapsed because of the decay of certain institutional
arrangements peculiar to the social life of the times, that is a
fortune in which the states of antiquity quite impartially have shared
with the various States of the Germanic world. Political structures in
general are capable of but a moderate degree of development. If the
development proceeds beyond this critical point the result, sooner or
later, is a historical cataclysm, whereby the old State is supplanted
by a new form of social organization resting on a new foundation. As
elements in this new foundation there may be comprised new religious
or new ethical notions, but, in a general way, it is to be said that,
except in the theocratic States, the role played by religion is only
of secondary importance even in antiquity.

Socrates was not the first nor the only one in Greece who had taught
"new gods." That he in particular was called on to drink the hemlock
was due to reasons of State policy, which had but a very slight and
unessential relation to the acts of sacrilege of which he was accused.
It may be added that this Greek promulgator of new gods is among the
German peoples fairly matched by John Huss and thousands of other
victims of religious persecution.

Lassalle's mistake lies in this, that he seeks the motor force of
development in the "spirit" of the nations, instead of looking for an
explanation of their spiritual life in the peculiar circumstances
which condition their development. But, in spite of this, it must be
said that his conclusions as bearing upon the modern situation are for
the most part substantially sound.--TRANSLATOR.]

[Footnote 50: According to this doctrine, the motions of the
"Monads"--animistically conceived units of which the entire universe,
organic or inorganic, was held to be constituted--were (by the fiat of
God at the creation of the world) bound in a preordained sequence, in
such a manner that all these motions constitute a comprehensive,
harmonious series. Wherefore, all events whatever that may take place,
take place as the necessary outcome of the constitution of these
monads moving independently of one another.--TRANSLATOR.]

[Footnote 51: Permission to teach.]

[Footnote 52: I have fought not without glory.]

[Footnote 53: Don't disturb my circles.]

[Footnote 54: A new and unheard-of-crime.]

[Footnote 55: In case it becomes necessary.]

[Footnote 56: Confusion of one thing with another.]

[Footnote 57: Honor to whom honor belongs!]

[Footnote 58: Hear also the other side.]

[Footnote 59: That is, for high treason.]

[Footnote 60: Calumniate boldly, some of it will always stick.]

* * * * *

OPEN LETTER TO THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE (1863)

FOR THE SUMMONING OF A GENERAL GERMAN WORKINGMEN'S CONGRESS AT LEIPZIG

BY FERDINAND LASSALLE

TRANSLATED BY E.H. BABBITT, A.B.

Assistant Professor of German, Tufts College

Gentlemen:--You have asked me in your letter to express my opinion,
in any way that seems suitable to me, on the workingmen's movement
and the means which it should use to attain an improvement of the
condition of the working class in political, material, and intellectual
matters--especially on the value of associations for the class of
people who have no property.

I have no hesitation in following your wishes, and I choose the form
which is simplest and most suitable to the nature of the matter--the
form of a public letter of reply to your communication.

Last October in Berlin, at a time when I was absent from here, during
your first preliminary discussion concerning the German Workingmen's
Congress--a discussion which I followed in the newspapers with
interest--two opposing views were brought forward in the meeting.

One was to the effect that you have no concern whatever with political
agitation and that it has no interest for you.

The other, in distinction from this, was that you were to consider
yourselves an appendix to the Prussian Progressive party, and to
furnish a sort of characterless chorus or sounding-board for it.

If I had attended that meeting, I should have expressed myself against
both views. It is utterly narrow-minded to believe that political
agitation and political progress do not concern the workingman. On the
contrary, the workingman can expect the realization of his legitimate
ambitions only from political liberty.

Even the question to what extent you are allowed to meet, discuss your
interests, form general and local unions for their consideration,
etc., is a question which depends upon the political situation and
upon political legislation, and therefore it is not worth the trouble
even to refute such a narrow view by further consideration.

No less false and misleading was the other view which was placed
before you, namely, to consider yourselves politically a mere annex of
the Progressive party.

It would certainly be unjust not to recognize that the Progressive
party, in its struggle with the Prussian Government, performed at that
time a certain service, though a moderate one, in behalf of political
liberty, by its insistence upon the right of granting appropriations
and its opposition to the reorganization of the army in Prussia.

Nevertheless the realization of that suggestion is completely out of
the question, for the following reasons:

In the first place, such a position was in no way fitting for a
powerful independent party with much more important political
purposes, such as the German Workingmen's party should be, with
reference to a party which, like the Prussian Progressive party, has
set up as its standard, in the matter of principle, only the
maintenance of the Prussian constitution, and, as the basis of its
activity, only the prevention of the one-sided organization of the
army--which is not even attempted in other German countries; or the
insistence upon the right of granting appropriations--which is not
even disputed in other German countries.

In the second place, it was in no way certain that the Prussian
Progressive party would carry on its conflict with the Prussian
Government with that dignity and energy which alone are appropriate
for the working class, and which alone can count upon its warm
sympathy.

In the third place, it was also not certain that the Prussian
Progressive party, even if it had won a victory over the Prussian
administration, would use this victory in the interest of the whole
people, or merely for the maintenance of the privileged position of
the _bourgeoisie_; in other words, that it would apply this victory
toward the establishment of the universal equal and direct franchise,
which is demanded by democratic principles and by the legitimate
interests of the working class. In the latter case it evidently could
not make the slightest claim to any interest on the part of the German
working class.

That is what I should have said to you at that time with reference to
that suggestion.

Today I can add furthermore that in the meantime it has been shown by
facts--a thing which at that time would not have been very difficult
to foresee--that the Progressive party is completely lacking in the
energy which would have been required to carry to a conclusion, in a
dignified and victorious manner, even such a limited conflict between
itself and the Prussian administration.

And since it continues, in spite of the denial by the Government of
the right of granting appropriations, to meet and to carry on
parliamentary affairs with the ministry, which has been declared by
the party itself criminally liable, it humiliates, by this
contradiction, itself and the people through a lack of force and
dignity without parallel.

Since it continues to meet, to debate, and to arrange parliamentary
affairs with the administration itself--in spite of the violation of
the constitution which it has declared to exist--it is a support to
the administration and aids it in maintaining the appearance of a
constitutional situation.

Instead of declaring the sessions of the Chamber closed until the
administration has declared that it will no longer continue the
expenditures refused by the Chamber, instead of thus placing upon the
administration the unavoidable alternative either of respecting the
constitutional right of the Chamber or of renouncing every appearance
of a constitutional procedure, of ruling openly and without
prevarication as an absolute government, of taking upon itself the
tremendous responsibility of absolutism, and thus of precipitating the
crisis which must necessarily come, in time, as the result of open
absolutism, this party by its own action enables the administration to
unite all the advantages of absolute power with all the advantages of
an apparently constitutional procedure.

And since, instead of forcing the administration into open and
unconcealed absolutism and by that action enlightening the people as
to the non-existence of constitutional procedure, it consents to
continue to play its part in this comedy of mock constitutionalism, it
helps maintain an appearance which, like every system of government
based on appearances, must have a confusing and debasing effect upon
the intelligence of the people.

Such a party has in this way shown that it is, and always will be,
utterly impotent against a determined administration.

Such a party has shown that it is for this very reason entirely
incapable of accomplishing even the slightest genuine development of
the interests of liberty.

Such a party has shown that it has no claim to the sympathies of the
democratic classes of the population, and that it has no realization
and no understanding of the feeling of political honor which must
permeate the working class.

Such a party has, in a word, shown by its action that it is nothing
else than the resurrection of the unsavory Gotha idea, decked out with
a different name.

I can add today also the following facts: Today, as at that time, I
should have been obliged to say to you that a party which compels
itself through its dogma of Prussian leadership to see in the Prussian
administration the chosen Messiah for the German renaissance--while
there is not a single German administration (even including Hesse),
which is more backward than the Prussian in political development,
and while there is hardly a single German government (and
this includes Austria) which is not far ahead of Prussia--for this
reason alone loses all claim to representing the German working class;
for such a party shows by this alone a depth of illusion,
self-conceit, and incompetence drunken with the sound of its own
words, which must dash all hope of expecting from it a real
development of the liberty of the German people.

From what has been said we can now understand definitely what position
the working class must take in political matters and what attitude
toward the Progressive party it must maintain.

The working class must establish, itself as an independent political
party, and must make the universal, equal, and direct franchise the
banner and watchword of this party. Representation of the working
class in the legislative bodies of Germany--nothing else can satisfy
its legitimate interests from a political point of view. To begin a
peaceful and law-abiding agitation for this by all lawful means is and
must be, from a political point of view, the programme of the
workingmen's party.

It is self-evident what attitude this workingmen's party is to take
toward the German Progressive party.

It must feel and organize itself everywhere as an independent party
completely separate from the latter, although the Progressive party is
to be supported on points and questions in which the interest of the
two parties is a common one; it must turn its back decidedly upon the
Progressive party and oppose it whenever it departs from that
interest, and thus force the Progressive party either to develop
progressively and to rise above its own level or to sink deeper and
deeper into the mire of insignificance and weakness in which it
already stands knee deep; these must be the straightforward tactics of
the German workingmen's party with reference to the Progressive party.

So much as to what you must do from a political point of view.

Now for the social question which you raise, a question which rightly
interests you to a still greater extent.

I have read in the papers, not without a sad smile, that part of the
program for your Congress consists in debates concerning freedom of
choosing places of residence and of employment for the workingman.

What, Gentlemen, are you going to debate about the right of choosing
places of residence, the right of settling down anywhere without being
specially taxed!

I can answer you on this point with nothing better than Schiller's
epigram:

Jahre lang schon bedien' ich mich meiner Nase zum Riechen: Aber
hab' ich an sie auch ein erweisliches Recht?

(Year after year I have used the nose God gave me to smell with:
But can I legally prove any such right to its use?)

And is not the situation the same as to freedom of employment?

All these debates have at least one mistake--they come more than fifty
years too late. Freedom of moving about and freedom of employment are
things which nowadays are decreed in a legislative body in silence,
but no longer debated.

Should the German working class repeat again the spectacle of
assemblies whose enjoyment consists in giving themselves over to long
purposeless speeches and applauding them? The seriousness and the
energy of the German working class will know how to protect it from
such a pitiable spectacle.

But you propose to establish institutions for savings, funds for
retiring pensions, insurance against accidents and sickness? I am
willing to recognize the relative usefulness of these institutions,
although it is a subordinate one and hardly worth notice.

But let us make a complete distinction between two questions which
have absolutely nothing to do with each other.

Is it your object to make the misery of individual workingmen more
endurable; to counteract the effects of thoughtlessness, sickness, old
age, accidents of all kinds, through which by chance or necessity
individual workingmen are forced even below the normal condition of
the working class? For such objects all these institutions are
entirely appropriate means. Only it would not be worth while in that
case to begin a movement for such a purpose throughout all Germany, to
stir up a general agitation in the whole working class of the nation.
You must not bring mountains into labor in order that a ridiculous
mouse appear. This so extremely limited and subordinate purpose can
better be left to local unions and local organizations, which can
always handle it far better.

Or is this your object: To improve the normal condition of the whole
working class and elevate it above its present level? In truth this is
and must be your purpose, but this sharp line of distinction is
necessary, which I have drawn between these two objects, which must
not be confused with each other, in order to show you, better than I
could through a long exposition, how utterly powerless these
institutions are to attain this second object, and therefore how
utterly outside the scope of the present workingmen's movement.

Permit me to adduce the testimony of a single authority--the admission
of a strict conservative, a strict royalist, Professor Huber--a man
who has likewise devoted his studies to the social question and the
development of the workingmen's movement.

I like to call on the testimony of this man (in the course of this
letter I shall do it now and then again) because he is politically
entirely opposed to me, and in regard to economic questions differs
radically from me, and must accordingly be the best person to remove,
through his testimony, the suspicion that the slight advantage which I
attach to those institutions is only the consequence of previously
formed political tendencies; furthermore because Professor Huber,
who stands as far from liberalism as from my political views, has for
this very reason the necessary impartiality to make in the field of
political economy admissions which are in accordance with the truth;
whereas all adherents of the liberal school of political economy are
forced to deceive the workingmen, or, in order to deceive them better,
first to deceive themselves, in order to bring the facts into harmony
with their tendencies.

"Without underestimating," says Professor Huber, "the relative
usefulness of savings banks, accident and sickness insurance, etc., as
far as it really goes, these good things may nevertheless carry great
negative disadvantages with them, in that they stand in the way of
improvement."

And surely never would these negative disadvantages persist and stand
in the way of improvement more than if they took up the attention of
the great German workingmen's movement, or divided its forces.

It was stated in various newspapers, and your letter itself states,
that you have been recommended from almost all sides to take into
consideration the Schulze-Delitzsch organizations--credit associations,
raw material associations, and consumers' associations--for the
improvement of the situation of the working class. Allow me to ask you
for still closer attention.

Schulze-Delitzsch may be considered from three points of view: First,
from the political point of view, he belongs to the Progressive party,
which has already been discussed. Second, he claims to be a political
economist. In this respect--as a theoretical economist--he stands
entirely on the ground of the Liberal school: he shares all its
mistakes, fallacies, and self-deceptions. The addresses which he has
made so far to the Berlin workingmen are a striking proof of
this--misrepresentations of fact and conclusions which in no way
follow from his premises. However, it will not help your purpose, and
it is not my intention, to go into a criticism here of the economic
views and the speeches of Schulze-Delitzsch and to point out these
self-deceptions and fallacies which, in matters of theoretical
economics, he has in common with the whole Liberal school to which he
belongs. I shall be compelled later, in any case, to come back to the
essential content of these doctrines.

But Schulze-Delitzsch has, in the third place, a practical nature,
which is of more importance than his theoretical economic viewpoint.
He is the only member of his party, the Progressive party--and all the
more credit is due him just for this reason--who has done anything for
the people. Through his tireless activity, even though he stands alone
at a most unfavorable time, he has become the father and founder of
the German associations, and so has given an impulse, of the most
far-reaching importance, to the cause of associations in general, a
service for which, however I may be opposed to him in theory, I shake
his hand warmly in spirit as I write this. Truth and justice even
toward an adversary (and for the working class above all it is
befitting to take this deeply to heart)--this is the first duty of
man.

That the question whether associations are to be understood according
to his or my interpretation is under discussion today is in large part
due to him, and that is a real service which cannot be too highly
esteemed.

But the warmth with which I recognize this service must not prevent us
from stating the question with critical clearness: "Are the
Schulze-Delitzsch associations for credit and for raw materials, and
are the consumers' leagues able to accomplish the improvement of the
situation of the working class?"

The answer to this question must be a most decided "no." It will be
easy to show this briefly. As to the credit and raw material
associations, these both agree in that they exist only for those who
are carrying on business on their own account--that is, only for
artisan production. For the working class in the narrower sense--the
hands employed in factory production, who have no business of their
own for which they can use credit and raw materials--neither kind
of association exists. Their help can therefore reach only the artisan
producers.

But, even in this respect, please notice and impress upon your minds
two essential circumstances:

In the first place the inevitable tendency of our industrialism is to
put factory production more and more from day to day in place of
artisan production, and, in consequence, to drive the workmen of a
constantly increasing number of trades into the laboring class proper,
which finds work in the factories. England and France, which are ahead
of us in economic development, show this in a still greater degree
than Germany, which is, however, taking tremendous strides in the same
direction. Your own experience will confirm this sufficiently.

It follows from this that the Schulze-Delitzsch credit and raw
material associations, even if they could help the artisans, could be
of advantage only to a very small number of people, a number which is
constantly decreasing and tends to disappear, through the inevitable
development of our manufacturing system--people who through the
progress of our culture are, in constantly increasing numbers, forced
into the class of workingmen who are not affected by this aid. That
is, nevertheless, only the first conclusion. A second, of still
greater importance, is the following: In competition with factory
production, which is in constantly increasing scope taking the place
of small artisan production, even the artisans who remain in the
latter are in no way certain of being protected by the credit and raw
material associations. I will again cite Professor Huber as a witness
on this point. "Unfortunately," says he, after speaking in praise, as
I have done, of the Schulze-Delitzsch credit and raw material
associations, "unfortunately, however, the assumption that the
competition of production on a small scale with factory production
would be made possible seems by no means sufficiently established."
But, better than any testimony, the easily explained internal reasons
of what I say will convince you.

How far can the credit associations accomplish the procuring of cheap
and good raw materials? It can place the artisan without capital in a
position to compete with the artisan who has sufficient small capital
for his small artisan production. It can, therefore, at most put the
artisan without capital on an equality and in the same situation with
the master workman who has sufficient capital of his own for his
production. But now the fact is just here--even the master workman
with sufficient capital of his own cannot stand the competition of
large capitalists and of factory production, both on account of the
smaller cost of production of all kinds made possible by the factory
system, and on account of the smaller rate of the profit which in
wholesale production is to be reckoned on each single piece, and,
finally, on account of other advantages connected with it. Since, now,
the credit and raw material associations can at most bring the small
producer without capital into the same general position as the one who
has sufficient capital for his small production, and since the latter
cannot stand the competition of the wholesale production of the
factories, this result is still more certain for the small producer
who carries on his business with the help of these associations.

These associations can, therefore, with reference to the artisan, only
prolong the death struggle in which artisan production is destined to
succumb and give place to factory production; can only increase
thereby the agony of this death struggle and hold back in vain the
development of our culture--that is the whole result which they have
with reference to the artisan class, while they do not touch at all
the real laboring class occupied, in constantly increasing numbers, in
factory production.

There remain for consideration the consumers' associations. The effect
of these would reach the whole working class. They are, however,
utterly incapable of accomplishing the improvement of the situation of
the working class. This can be shown by three reasons which
essentially, however, form a single one.

(1) The disadvantage under which the working class labors affects it,
as the economic law which I shall adduce under the second head shows,
as producer, not as consumer. It is therefore an entirely false kind
of aid to try to help the workingman as a consumer instead of helping
him in the place where the shoe really pinches him--as producer.

As consumers, we are, in general, all on the same footing; as before
the law, so before the salesman, all men are equal--provided only they
pay.

Just for this reason it is true that for the working class, in
consequence of its limited ability to pay, a special additional evil
has developed which has nothing to do with the general cancer which is
eating into it--the disadvantage of having to supply needs on the
smallest scale, and so of being exposed to the extortion of the
retailer. Against this the consumers' associations give protection;
but, aside from the facts that you will see under No. 3 as to how long
this help can last and when it must cease, this limited help, which
can for the time being make the sad condition of the workingman a
little more endurable, must by no means be mistaken for a means for
that improvement in the situation of the working class at which the
workingmen are aiming.

(2) The relentless economic law which, under present conditions, fixes
the wages by the law of demand and supply of labor is this: The
average wage always remains at the lowest point which will maintain
existence and propagate the race at the standard of living accepted by
the people. This is the point about which the actual wage always
oscillates like a pendulum, without ever rising above or falling below
it for any length of time. It cannot permanently rise above this
average, for then, through the easier situation of the workingman, an
increase of the working population and therefore of the supply of
hands would ensue, which would bring the wage again to a point below
its former scale.

Neither can the wage fall permanently far below what is necessary to
support life, for then arise emigration, celibacy, and avoidance of
child-bearing, and, finally, a reduction of the number of laborers,
which then diminishes still more the supply of hands, and therefore
brings the wage back to its former position again.

The real average wage, therefore, is fixed by a constant movement
about this point of equilibrium, to which it must constantly return,
sometimes rising a little above it (period of prosperity in some or
all industries), sometimes falling a little below it (period of more
or less general distress and industrial crises).

The limitation of the average wage to the amount necessary to exist
and propagate the race under the accepted standard of living in a
community--that, I repeat, is the inexorable and cruel law which
determines the wage under present conditions.

This law can be denied by no one. I could cite as many authorities for
it as there are great and famous names in economic science, and even
from the Liberal school itself, for it is just the Liberal school of
political economy which has discovered this law and proved it. This
inexorable and cruel law, Gentlemen, you must above all things fix
deeply in your minds and base upon it all your thinking.

In this connection I can give you and the whole working class an
infallible means of escaping once for all the many attempts to deceive
and mislead you. To everyone who talks to you about the improvement of
the situation of the working class, you must first put the question:
Does he acknowledge the existence of this law, or not? If he does not,
you must say to yourself at the start that this man is either trying
to deceive you, or has the most pitiable ignorance in the science of
political economy; for, as I said, there is not a single economist of
the Liberal school worthy of mention who denies it--Adam Smith as well
as Say, Ricardo as well as Malthus, Bastiat as well as John Stuart
Mill, are unanimous in recognizing it. There is an agreement on this
point among all men of science. And if he who talks to you about the
condition of workingmen has recognized this law, then ask further: How
does he expect to abolish this law? And, if he can give no answer to
this, then coolly turn your back upon him. He is an idle prattler, who
is trying to deceive you or himself, or dazzle you with empty talk.

Let us consider for a moment the effect and the nature of this law. It
is stated in other words as follows: From the product of industry
there is first withdrawn and divided among the workingmen the amount
which is required to maintain their existence (wage). The whole
remainder of the product (profit) goes to the employer. It is
therefore a consequence of this inexorable and cruel law that you (and
for this reason in my pamphlet on the working class to which you refer
in your letter I have called you the class of the disinherited) are
forever necessarily excluded from the productiveness which increases
in amount through the progress of civilization, i.e., from the
increased product of industry, from the increased earning power of
your own work! For you there remain forever the bare necessities of
life, for the employer everything produced by labor beyond this
amount.

When, because of this great advance of productive power (yield of
labor), many manufactured products become extremely cheap, it may
happen that through this cheapness you have a certain indirect
advantage from the increased productiveness of labor--but as
consumers, not as producers. This advantage in no way affects,
however, your activity as producers. It does not affect nor change the
portion of the yield which falls to your share; it affects only your
situation as consumer and also improves the situation as consumer of
the employer, and of all men, whether they take part in the work or
not, and in a much more considerable degree than yours. And this
advantage, which affects you merely as human beings and not as
workingmen, again disappears in consequence of this inexorable and
cruel law, which always forces wages in the long run down to the point
of consumption necessary to maintain life.

Now, however, it may happen that if such an increased yield from labor
(and the extreme cheapness of many products caused thereby), comes
about very suddenly; if, moreover, it coincides with a prolonged
period of increased demand for labor, then these products, which have
become disproportionately cheaper, are taken into the body of products
that are regularly considered in a community as necessities of life.

The fact, then, that workingmen and wages are always dancing on the
extreme verge of what suffices, according to the social standard of
each age, for the maintenance of life, sometimes standing a little
above and sometimes a little below this limit--this never changes. But
this extreme limit itself may at different ages have changed through
the coincidence of the above circumstances, and it may therefore
happen that, if you compare different periods with one another, the
situation of the working class in the later century or generation
(seeing that now the minimum of necessities of life demanded by custom
is somewhat increased) has improved somewhat in comparison with the
situation of the working class in the previous century or generation.

I was obliged to make this slight digression, Gentlemen, even if it is
somewhat remote from my essential purpose, because this slight
improvement in the course of centuries and generations is always the
point to which those go back, who, after Bastiat's example, wish to
throw dust in your eyes by declamation that is as easy as it is
meaningless.

Consider exactly my words, Gentlemen. I say it may, for the above
reasons, occur that the minimum of the necessities of life has risen,
and accordingly the situation of the working class when compared with
that of former generations is somewhat improved. Whether this is
really so, whether the whole situation of the working class has
constantly improved in different centuries is a very difficult and
involved problem--a problem for scholars that cannot be treated at all
by those who incessantly fill your ears with statements of how
expensive cotton was in the last century and how much cotton clothing
is used now, and similar commonplaces which anybody may copy from any
reference book.

It is not my purpose to enter upon a consideration of this problem
here. For at this time I must confine myself to giving you not only
what is absolutely accepted, but what is also easy to prove. Let us
assume, then, that such an improvement of the minimum of the
necessities of life, and therefore of the situation of the working
class, goes on constantly in different generations and different
centuries.

But I must show you, Gentlemen, that with these commonplaces the real
question is taken out of your hands and perverted into a totally
different question.

If you speak of the situation of the workingman and its improvement,
you mean your situation compared with that of your fellow
citizens--that is, compared with contemporary standards of living.

And they amuse you with alleged comparisons of your condition with the
condition of workingmen in previous centuries! But what value has the
question for you, and what satisfaction can it give you, if, in case
the minimum of the accepted standard has risen, you are better off
today than the workingmen of eighty, two hundred, three hundred years
ago? No more than the fully proved fact that you are better off today
than Hottentots and cannibals.

Every satisfaction of human needs depends merely on the relation of
the means of satisfaction to the necessities of life demanded by the
standard of living of the time, or, what amounts to the same thing,
upon the surplus of the means over the minimum amount of such
necessities. An increased minimum of the absolute necessities of life
brings also sufferings and deprivations which former times never
knew. What deprivation is it to the Hottentot that he cannot buy soap?
What deprivation is it to the cannibal if he cannot wear a decent
coat? What deprivation was it to the workingman, if before the
discovery of America, he had no tobacco to smoke, or if, before the
invention of printing, he could not get a useful book? All human
suffering and deprivation depend only on the proportion of the means
of satisfaction to the needs and customs of living at a given time.
All human suffering and deprivation, and all human satisfactions,
accordingly every human condition, is, therefore, to be measured only
by comparison with the situation of other men of the same period and
their customary necessities of life. The condition of any class is,
therefore, to be measured only by its relation to the condition of
other classes at the same period.

If it were ever so well established, then, that the standard of the
necessaries of life has risen through different periods, that
satisfactions previously unknown have become daily necessities, and
for this reason deprivations and sufferings not before known have
appeared, your social situation has remained at these different
periods always the same, always this--that you are standing on the
verge of the usual minimum necessities of life, sometimes a little
above it, sometimes a little below. Your social position, therefore,
has remained the same, for this social position is reckoned not by its
relation to the position of the beast in primeval forests, or negroes
in Africa, or of the serf in the Middle Ages, or the workingmen of
eighty years ago, but only by the relation of this position to the
position of your fellowmen--to the position of other classes in the
same time.

And instead of taking account of this, instead of considering how this
position can be improved, and how this cruel law, which constantly
keeps you at the lowest verge of the necessities of life, can be
changed, these people amuse themselves by changing the question under
your nose without your perceiving it, and by entertaining you with
very dubious historical retrospects as to the situation of the working
class in previous periods--retrospects which are all the more
questionable because manufactured products, becoming constantly
cheaper, are far less consumed by the working class than the food
products which are their chief articles of consumption, and are in no
way subject to any similar tendency of constantly increasing
cheapness! These are retrospects, finally, which could have value only
if they undertook investigations from every point of view into the
general position of workingmen at different ages--investigations of
the most difficult nature and to be carried on only with the utmost
circumspection, investigations for which those who talk to you about
them have not even the material at hand, and which they, therefore,
should all the more leave to special scholars.

(3) Let us now come back from this necessary digression to the
question: What influence can the consumers' leagues have upon the
situation of the working class according to the law of wages discussed
under No. 2? The answer will be a very easy one.

As long as only particular groups of workingmen unite in consumers'
leagues, general wages will not be affected thereby, and the
consumers' leagues will accordingly furnish, through lower prices, to
the workingmen who belong to them--as long as this condition
lasts--that minor relief for the oppressed condition discussed and
admitted under No. 1; but as soon as the consumers' leagues begin to
take in more and more the whole working class, then, in consequence of
the above-considered law, the inevitable result will follow that the
wage, because sustenance has become cheaper through the consumers'
leagues, will drop to just that extent.

The consumers' leagues can never, even in the slightest degree, help
the whole working class, and they can furnish to the single groups of
workingmen who compose them the above-considered aid only as long as
the example of these workingmen has not been generally followed.
Every day that the consumers' leagues extend and take in larger
numbers of the working class, even this slight relief is lost more and
more even for the workingmen who belong to them, until it drops to
zero at the time when the consumers' leagues have been joined by the
majority of the whole working class. Can anybody talk seriously of the
working class turning its attention to a means which gives it no aid
whatever as a class, and furnishes its individual members this
inconsequential relief only until the time when the class as such has
completely, or to a large extent, made use of it? If the German
working class is willing to enter upon such a treadmill round, the
time before the real improvement of its position will be long indeed.

I have now analyzed all the Schulze-Delitzsch organizations and shown
that they do not and can not help you.

What then? Can not the principle of free individual associations of
workingmen effect the improvement of the position of the workingmen?

Certainly it can, but only by its application and extension to the
field of factory production. To make the working class their own
employers--that is the means, the only means, by which, as you can see
for yourself, this inexorable and cruel law which determines wages can
be abolished. When the working class is its own employer, the
distinction between wages and profits will disappear, and the total
yield of the industry will take the place, as the reward of labor, of
the bare living wage.

The abolition by this only possible means of that law which under
present conditions assigns to the workingman his wages--that part of
the product which is necessary for bare existence--and the whole
remainder to the employer--this is the only real, non-visionary, just
improvement in the position of the working class.

But how? Look at the railroads, machine shops, ship yards, cotton and
woolen mills, etc., etc., and the millions required for these
establishments; then look into your own empty pockets and ask
yourself where you will ever get the enormous capital necessary for
these establishments, and how therefore you can ever make possible the
carrying on of wholesale production on your own account!

And surely there is no fact more true, more thoroughly established,
than that you would never accomplish this if you were reduced
exclusively and essentially to your own isolated efforts as
individuals alone.

Just for this reason it is the business and the duty of the State to
make it possible for you to take in hand the great cause of the free,
individual association of the working class in such a way as to help
its development, and make it its solemn duty to offer you the means
and the opportunity for this association.

Now, do not allow yourselves to be deceived and misled by the cry of
those who will tell you that any such intervention by the State
destroys social incentive. It is not true that I hinder anybody from
climbing a tower by his own strength if I hand him a ladder or a rope.
It is not true that the State prevents children from educating
themselves by their own powers if it provides them with teachers,
schools and libraries. It is not true that I hinder anybody from
plowing a field by his own strength if I give him a plow. It is not
true that I hinder anyone from defeating a hostile enemy by his own
strength if I put a weapon into his hand for the purpose.

Although it is true that now and then someone may have climbed a tower
without a rope or a ladder; that individuals have acquired an
education without teachers, schools, or public libraries; that the
peasants in the Vendee in the wars of the Revolution now and then
defeated an enemy even without weapons; yet all these exceptions do
not vitiate the rule--they only prove it; and therefore, although it
is true that under certain special conditions single groups of
workingmen in England have been able to improve their condition, to a
certain limited extent, in certain minor branches of wholesale
production, by an association based chiefly upon their own
exertions, nevertheless the law stands that the real improvement of
the situation of the workingman, which he has a just right to demand,
and to demand for the whole working class as such, can be accomplished
only by this aid of the State. No more should you allow yourselves to
be misled and deceived by the cry of those who talk about Socialism or
Communism and try to oppose this demand of yours by such cheap
phrases; but be firmly convinced regarding such people that they are
only trying to deceive you, or else they themselves do not know what
they are talking about. Nothing is further from so-called Socialism
and Communism than this demand according to which, if realized, the
working classes, just as they do today, would maintain their
individual liberty, individual manner of living, and individual
compensation for work, and would stand in no different relation to the
State, except that the necessary capital, or credit, for their
association would be provided for them by it. But that is exactly the
office and the destiny of the State--to make easy and provide means
for the great cultural progress of humanity. This is its ultimate
purpose. For this it exists. It has always served this purpose and
always must.

I will give you a single example among hundreds--the canals, highways,
postoffices, steamboat lines, telegraph lines, banking institutions,
agricultural improvements, the introduction of new branches of
industry, etc., in all of which the intervention of the State was
necessary--a single example, but one which is worth a hundred others,
and one which is especially near at hand. When railroads were to be
built, in all German as well as in all foreign states except in some
few isolated lines, the State had to intervene in one way or
another--chiefly by undertaking to guarantee at least the dividends on
the stock, in many countries going much further than this.

The guarantee of dividends constitutes a one-sided contract of the
rich stockholder with the State--namely, if the new enterprises are
unprofitable, then the loss falls upon the State, and consequently
upon all taxpayers, and, consequently again, especially upon you,
Gentlemen, upon the great class of the propertyless. If, on the other
hand, the new enterprises are profitable, then the profit, the large
dividends, come to us, the rich stockholders, and this is not obviated
by the fact that in many countries--for instance in Prussia--certain
very uncertain advantages for the State in a very distant future are
stipulated, advantages which would result much sooner and much more
abundantly from an association of the working class.

Without this intervention of the State, of which, as I have said, the
guarantee of dividends was the weakest form, we should perhaps have no
railroads on the whole continent today.

The fact is also unquestionable that the State was obliged to take
this step; that the guarantee of dividends was a most pronounced
intervention of the State, that, furthermore, this intervention took
place in favor of the rich and well-to-do class, which also controls
all capital and all credit, and which therefore could dispense with
the intervention of the State far more easily than you; and that this
intervention was called for by the whole capitalist class.

Why then did not a cry arise at that time against the guarantee of
dividends as an inadmissible intervention of the State? Why was it not
then discovered that by this guarantee the social incentive of the
rich managers of those stock companies was threatened? Why was this
guarantee of the State not decried as Socialism and Communism?

But forsooth, this intervention of the State was in the interests of
the rich and well-to-do classes of society, and in that case it is
entirely admissible and always has been! It is only when there is any
question of intervention in favor of the poverty-stricken classes, in
favor of the infinite majority, then it is "pure Socialism and
Communism."

Give this answer, therefore, to those who wish to raise a howl about
the inadmissibility of State intervention and the social
independence endangered by it, and the Socialism and Communism
concealed in a demand which does not give the slightest occasion for
such a howl; and add that since we have, after all, been living in a
state of Socialism and Communism, as those guarantees of dividends on
railroads and all the other above-mentioned examples show, we will
continue right on in that state.

A further consideration is that, however great was the advance in
civilization accomplished by the railroads, it drops to the vanishing
point in contrast with that mighty advance which would be accomplished
by the association of the working class. Of what avail are all the
hoarded wealth and all the fruits of civilization if they exist for
only a few, and if the majority of the human race always remains the
Tantalus who reaches in vain for these fruits! Worse than
Tantalus--for he at least had not produced the fruits for which his
parched lips were condemned to pant in vain! This, the mightiest
advance of culture which history could know, would justify the helpful
intervention of the State if anything would. The State furthermore can
furnish this possibility in the easiest manner through the banking
institutions (a matter into which I cannot go at length here) without
assuming any greater responsibility than it did by the guarantee of
dividends to the railroads.

Finally, Gentlemen, what, after all, is the State? (Quotes statistics
which may be summed up as follows: In 1851 the percentage of the
population of Prussia having more than 1,000 thalers ($750) annual
income for each family of five persons was less than 1/2 of 1 per cent.;
of those having less than 100 thalers ($75) for such a family was 72-1/4
per cent; those having 100 to 200 thalers, 16-1/4 per cent.; and 200 to
400, 7-1/4 per cent.) The two lowest classes form, therefore, 89 per
cent, of the population; and if you take also the 7% per cent, of the
third class, who must still be considered in oppressive poverty, you
have 96-1/4 per cent, of the population in a most needy, unfortunate
situation. The State, therefore, belongs to you, Gentlemen, to the
suffering classes--not to us, the upper classes; for it is you who
compose it. "What is the State?" I ask; and you see now from a few
figures, more vividly than from heavy volumes, the answer. The great
association of the poorer classes--yourselves--that is the State.

And why should not your great association have a helpful and fruitful
effect upon your smaller associated groups? This question you may also
put to those who talk to you about the inadmissibility of State
intervention and about Socialism and Communism in the demand for it.

If, finally, you desire a special instance of the impossibility of
producing an improvement in the condition of the working class in any
other way than by free association through this helpful intervention
of the State, you may look to England, that country which is most
frequently called in evidence to prove the possibility for an
association of individual workingmen established purely and
exclusively through their unassisted powers, to improve the condition
of the whole class--England, which in fact must appear best suited,
for various reasons based on its particular national conditions, to
carry out this experiment, without, nevertheless, demonstrating
thereby a similar possibility for other countries.

And this special instance comes directly from those English
workingmen's associations which up to this time have usually been
referred to as triumphant proof of such an assertion. I speak of the
Pioneers of Rochdale. This cooeperative society, organized in 1844,
established in 1858 a spinning and weaving establishment with a
capital of L5,500 sterling. According to the statutes of this
association, the workmen employed in the factory, whether they were
stockholders in the association or not, drew a profit, in addition to
the usual wages, equal to that distributed as dividends to the
stockholders--the arrangement having been made that the annual
dividends should be reckoned and distributed both on wages and on
capital stock. Now the number of stockholders of this factory is one
thousand six hundred, while only five hundred workmen are employed
there. Accordingly, there exists a large number of stockholders who
are not also workmen in the factory; on the other hand, all the
workmen are not at the same time stockholders. In consequence of this
an agitation broke out in 1861 among the workingmen stockholders who
did not work in the factory, and also among those who were both
employees and stockholders, against the workmen who were not
stockholders receiving a share of the profits. On the part of the
workingmen stockholders the principle was laid down simply and frankly
that, according to the usual custom in the whole industrial world, the
claims of labor were satisfied with the wages and that wages were
determined by supply and demand (we have seen above by what law).
"This fact," relates Professor Huber in his report of this affair,
"was considered valid without further question, as the natural
condition, needing no further justification, in opposition to a quite
exceptional, arbitrary innovation, even though it were according to
the statutes." Bravely, but only with very dimly understood emotional
reasons, this proposition for the changing of the statutes was opposed
by the original founders and managers of the association. In fact, a
majority of five-eighths of the workingmen stockholders voted for the
change of the statutes, taking exactly the same position as the
capitalist employers, and the change was defeated for the time being
only because, according to the statutes, a majority of three-fourths
of the votes was required. "But nobody," states Professor Huber, "is
unaware that the matter is not thereby settled; it is more likely that
still further serious internal dissensions are to be looked for by
this association, the outcome of which, perhaps even next year, may
well be a successful repetition of this attempt--all the more so since
the opposition is determined to make its influence felt in the
election of the officials of the association, an election at which the
majority elects, and through which the controlling offices of the
management may soon be in their hands."

Huber reports further in this matter that most of the associations
producing on a factory scale have fallen in at the outset with the
general custom, evidently without any further consideration or any
consciousness of a principle. Only a few have adopted the cooeperative
principle in favor of labor, and Huber must further admit, although
very unwillingly and with a heavy heart, for he is a partisan of
cooeperation depending upon individual workingmen alone: "There is no
doubt that this question will very soon come to discussion and
decision in all the producing associations where the opposition of
capital and labor exists, and that the competition of the industrial
macrocosm (i.e., the world's industry as a whole) is reproduced in the
cooeperative microcosm (the individual world represented by the
workingmen's associations)."

You see, Gentlemen, if you reflect about these facts that great
questions can be solved only in a large way, never in a small way. As
long as the universal wage is determined by the above-considered law,
the small associations will not be able to escape the prevailing
influence of it; and what does the working class as a whole gain, or
the workingman as such, whether he works for workingmen employers or
for capitalist employers? Nothing! You have only scattered the
employers to whose profit the result of your labor falls. But labor
and the working class are not set free. What does it gain by this! It
gains only depravation, only corruption, which now takes hold of it
and sets workingman as an exploiting employer against workingman. The
employers have changed in person; but labor, the only source of
production, remains, as before, dependent upon the so-called
wage--that is, the maintenance of existence. Under the influence of
this law the perversion of conceptions is so great that, in our
instance, even those workingmen stockholders not employed in the
factory, instead of recognizing that they owe their dividends to the
labor of the workmen who are employed, and accordingly that it is
they who draw the profit from the labor of the latter, will, in
defiance of this, not allow the latter even a share in the product of
their own work, not even a share of what labor has a just claim to.
Workingmen with workingmen's means and employers' hearts--that is the
repulsive caricature into which those workingmen have been changed.

And now finally one more clear and decisive proof based on these
facts. You have seen that in that factory of the Pioneers five hundred
workmen were employed and sixteen hundred workingmen held the stock.
This much must also be clear to you--that, unless we are willing to
imagine the workmen as rich people (in which case all questions are
solved--in imagination), the capital necessary for the establishment
of a factory can never be raised from the pockets of the workmen
employed in it. They will be obliged to take in a much greater number
of other workingmen stockholders, who are not employed in their
factory. In this respect the proportion in the case of that factory of
the Pioneers--sixteen hundred stockholders to five hundred workingmen
in the factory (say a proportion of only about three to one)--may be
called astonishingly favorable and unusual--as small as is in any way
possible, and to be accounted for partly by the especially fortunate
situation of the Pioneers, who represent a great exception in the
working class, partly by the fact that this branch of manufacturing is
far from being one of those which require the heaviest capitalization,
and partly because this factory is not large enough to count among the
really large enterprises, for in these the proportion, even in this
branch of industry, would be a very different one. And, finally, it
may be added that through the development of industrialism itself, and
through the progress of civilization, this proportion must increase
daily. For the progress of civilization consists in the very fact that
from day to day more natural mechanical power--more machinery--takes
the place of human labor, and that accordingly the proportion of the
amount of invested capital to the amount of human labor becomes
larger; so then, if in that factory of the Pioneers sixteen hundred
stockholders were necessary to raise the capital to employ five
hundred workmen, a proportion of one to three, the proportion among
other workmen in other branches and in larger establishments--and also
in consideration of the daily advance of civilization--will be one to
four, one to five, six, eight, ten, twenty, etc. However, let us keep
this proportion of one to three. To establish a factory in which five
hundred workmen find employment, I need sixteen hundred workingmen
stockholders in order to have the necessary capital. Very well: as
long as I try to establish one, two, three, etc., factories, there is
no difficulty in theory (always in theory, Gentlemen--in imagination),
I call to aid (always in theory) the three, four, etc., times the
number of workingmen stockholders. But if I extend this association to
the whole working class--and their cause, not that of individuals who
wish to improve their position, is in question here--if in course of
time I wish to establish factories enough to occupy the whole working
class, where shall I get the three, five, ten, twenty-fold number of
the whole working class who, as workingmen stockholders, must stand
behind the workmen occupied in the factories in order to establish
these factories?

You see then that it is a mathematical impossibility to free the
working class in this way--by the exertions of its members as merely
single individuals; that only very confused, uncritical imaginations
can lend themselves to these illusions, and that the only way to this
end, the only way for the abolition of that cruel law of wages to
which the working class is bound as to a martyr's stake, is the
encouragement and development of free, individual, cooeperative
associations of workingmen through the helping hand of the State. The
movement for workingmen's associations founded upon the purely
atomistic, isolated power of individual workingmen had only the
value--and this, to be sure, is an enormous one--of showing
definitely the practical way in which this liberation can take place,
of giving brilliant, practical proofs for overcoming all real or
assumed doubt of its practical feasibility, and, in just that way, of
making it the urgent duty of the State to lend its supporting hand to
those highest cultural interests of humanity. At the same time I have
already proved that the State is essentially nothing else than the
great association of the working class, and that therefore the help
and fostering care through which the State made possible those smaller
associations would be nothing else than the legitimate social
initiative, absolutely natural and lawful, which the working classes
put forth for themselves as a great association, for their members as
single individuals. Once more then: free individual association of the
workingmen, but such association made possible by the supporting and
fostering hand of the State--that is the workingmen's only way out of
the wilderness.

But how shall the State be enabled to make this intervention? The
answer must be immediately evident to you all: it will be possible
only through universal and direct suffrage. When the legislative
bodies of Germany are based on universal and direct suffrage, then,
and only then, will you be able to prevail upon the State to undertake
this duty.

Then this demand will be brought forward in the legislative bodies;
then the limits and the forms and the means of this intervention will

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