International Communism and World Revolution: History & Methods

By Günther Nollau | Go to book overview

Chapter II
THE ORIGINS

"Seventy-two years have gone by since the Communist Party announced its programme to the world in the form of a manifesto written by the greatest preceptors of the proletarian revolution, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels." -- Manifesto of the Communist International to the Proletariat of the Entire World, 6 March 1919.


THE LEAGUE OF COMMUNISTS

T HE roots of proletarian internationalism go back to the Socialist movement which developed at about the middle of the nineteenth century.

The Manifesto of the Communist Party of February 1848, in which Marx and Engels raised their cry, "Workers of the World, Unite!", was composed for the League of Communists. This League, which can be called the first international working- class movement, had developed out of the Bund der Gerechten ( Federation of the Just), a confederation of German workers who had emigrated to Paris at the time of the Restoration. This Bund der Gerechten was already in contact with French revolutionary societies such as the Société des Saisons, led by Blanqui.1

Several of the active members of the Bund der Gerechten, for example Karl Schapper and Heinrich Bauer, had to flee to London as a result of their having taken part in an insurrection organized by the Société des Saisons, and it was to London that the centre of their activity was transferred. In 1847 the London group of the Bund der Gerechten addressed an appeal to Marx and Engels, who were at that time running a "Communist Correspondence Bureau" in Brussels, to join the Bund, and offered to put their programme into a manifesto, to be issued as a manifesto of the Bund.2 Marx and Engels agreed, and in the summer

____________________
1
F. Engels, Zur Geschichte des "Bundes der Kommunisten", Appendix I to Manifesto der Kommunistischen Partei, Dietz-Verlag, Berlin, 1949, p. 35.
2
Franz Mehring, Einleitung zum 4. Abdruck der Enthüllungen über den Kommunistenprozess zu Köln, Berlin, 1914.

-9-

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