Introduction to the First International

INTERNATIONAL WORKING MEN'S ASSOCIATION aka The First International

When the International was formed in September 1864, Marx was "a relatively obscure refugee journalist," Saul Padover notes in the introduction to a volume of select works written by Marx for the International:

"Exiled from his native Germany, thrown out of Belgium, and expelled from France, [Marx] found refuge in the British capital in 1849. In the 15 years before the founding of the International, Marx eked out a living from journalism -- saved from actual starvation by Frederick Engels, who was in the textile business in Manchester -- and spent most of his time writing, reading, and researching (in the British Museum). After the traumatic defeat of the revolutions of 1848-49 in Europe, he became for a time politically inactive.

"In London, Marx's main contacts were with other Europeans, particularly German and French radicals and refugees, with many of whom he had intermittent squabbles and disagreements. While showing deep interest in British politics, institutions, and movements -- notably the history of Chartism, which was not without influence on his own political thinking -- he kept himself, or was kept, aloof from English activists, including trade unionists. With few exceptions, one of them being the Chartist leader and editor Ernest Charles Jones, Marx had no close connection with English radicals or laborites, and vice versa. His was the politically isolated life of an unassimilated continental refugee. The International was to change all this.

"It is still not entirely clear why Marx was invited to what turned out to be a historic meeting at St. Martin's Hall. Until abut a week before the meeting, on September 28, he apparently knew nothing about any preparations for it. Then he was told about it by Victor Le Lubez, a 30-year-old French radical republican living in London, who invited him to come as a representtive of German workers. Marx accepted and proposed that he be joined by Johann Georg Eccarius, a tailor living in London, as another German representative. As it turned out, Marx and Eccarius were to become the two mainstays of the International from its inception to its end.

"The meeting was jammed with a large number of assorted radical. There were English Owenties and Chartists, French Proudhonists and Blanquists, Irish nationalists, Polish patriots, Italian Mazzinists, and German socialists. It was an assortment united not by a commonly shared ideology or even by genuine internationalism, but by an accumulated burden of variegated grievances crying to for an outlet. The English were against special privilege, the French against Bonaprtism, the Irish against the British, the Poles against Russia, the Italians against Austria, and the Germans against capitalism. There was no necessary or integral interconnection among them -- except what Marx later tried to provide in the organizaton that followed the meeting. Under the chairmanship of Edward Spencer Beesly, an English Positivist historian and professor at London University, radical oratory was given free rein. Marx himself did not speak. He was, as he wrote later, a 'silent figure on the platform.'

"The meeting voted unanimously to appoint a provisional committee to work out a program and membership rules for the proposed international organizaton. Marx was appointed a member of the committee, which met a week later and, being large and unweildy, agreed on a small subcommittee to do the actual work. marx became a member of this crucial subcommittee. Theonly other German on it was "my old friend, the tailor Eccarius", as Marx wrote to a communist friend in Solingen. The subcommittee met in Marx's house, and so powerful was his intellectual ascendency and certainty of purpose -- the InAugural Address -- and the rules -- Provisional Statutes -- of the new organization. Henceforth Marx was to remain its predominant spirit and the indomitable personality that held the disparate International Association together for eight difficult and often stormy years, until it was shattered by bitter internal dissensions.

"In the International, Marx saw a great historic opportunity, and seized it. Indeed, it is questionable whether the organization would have survived, or would have had any meaning, without him. His steely will and impassioned commitment to the idea of the revolutionary role of the world proletariat prevented the Internatinoal from passing into the same oblivion as had other dreams of squabbly radicals, confused in their philosophy and at cross-purposes in their aims."

Marx drafted most of the important documents and statements from the International. His career, to that point, as an author and journalist made him a natural in this service. The only other "intellectual" worker on General Council (known early on as the Central Council) was Peter Fox (another journalist). The other members were:

Tailor -- Eccarius, Lessner, Maurice, Milner, Stainsby
Carpenter -- Applegarth, Cremer, Lochner, Weston
Weaver -- Bradnick, J. Hales, Mottershead
Shoemaker -- Morgan, Odger, Serraillier
Furniture Maker -- Dell, Lucraft
Watchmaker -- Jung
Mason -- Howell
Musical-instrument maker -- Dupont
Hairdresser -- Lassassie

Marx was also one of few who would keep his seat in the General Council from the formation of the International Working Men's Association over many years. He would relinquish it in 1872 -- when the International moved to New York? The General Council fluctuated greatly in size -- the Address to President Lincoln, for example, had 58 signatures. The Council met weekly. Marx was almost always in attendance, unless limited by illness.

MINUTE BOOKS

MINUTES FROM CENTRAL COUNCIL: October 1865 to December 1866 MINUTES FROM GENERAL COUNCIL: From January 1867

WRITINGS

1864

1864 10-27: Address: The Inaugural Address of the International 1864 10-27: Document: General Rules and Administrative Regulations 1864 11-04: Letter: Marx joins the International (M) 1864 11-08: Resolutions: On the Composition of the Provisional Central Council (M)
1864 11-22: Resolutions: On the Terms of the Admission of Workers' Organisations to the International (M)
1864 11-28: Letter: To the Stuttgart Beobachter (M)
1864 11-29: Letter: To Abraham Lincoln, on his re-election (M) 1864 11-29: Resolutions: On the Composition of the Provisional Central Council (M)
1864 12-??: Notes: For a speech on France's "historical friendship" with Poland (M)

1865

1865 01-24: Letter: "On Proudhon" [to J. B. Schweitzer (M)
1865 02-06: Letter: To the Editor of the Social-Democrat (ME)
1865 02-12: Article: The Prussian Military Question and the German Workers' Party (E)
1865 02-23: Letter: To the Editor of the Social-Democrat (ME)
1865 02-27: Notice: Concerning The Prussian Military Question and the German Workers' Party (E)
1865 03-07: Resolutions: The Central Council on the Conflict in the Paris Section (M)
1865 03-17: Review: The Prussian Military Question and the German Workers' Party (M)
1865 03-19: Letter: Statement Regarding the Causes of the Breach with the Social-Democrat (M)
1865 03-28: Letter: To the Berliner Reform (M)
1865 04-08: Article: The "President of Mankind" (M)
1865 04-13: Letter: A Correction (M)
1865 05-09: Address: To US President Johnson (M)
1865 06-27: Address: Value, Price and Profit (M)
1865 09-19: Resolution: On the Convocation of a General Congress of the International in 1866 (M)
1865 09-26: Minutes: London Conference of the IWMA

1866

1866 01-23: Resolution: On the Procedure of Discussing the Programme of the Congress (M)
1866 03-24: Article: What Have the Working Classes to Do with Poland? (E)
1866 05-04: Letter: A Warning (M)
1866 07-31: Proposals: The Standing Committee on the Programme of the Geneva Congress (M)
1866 08-30: Instructions: For the Delegates of the Provisional General Council. (M)
1866 09-18: Resolution: Gratitude to the Delegates of the Central (General) Council to the Geneva Congress (M)

1867

1867 01-22: Speech: To the Polish Meeting in London. (M)
1867 02-18: Letter: A Correction for Zeitung fur Norddeutschland (M)
1867 07-23: Resolutions: Concerning the Agenda of the Lausanne Congress (M)
1867 08-13: Resolution: On the Attitude of the IWMA to the Congress of the League of Peace and Freedom (M)
1867 11-20: Resolution: The Fenian Prisoners at Manchester and the IWMA (M)

1868

1868 05-12: The Position of the International on Prussian
Protectionist Tariffs (M)
1868 06-02: Resolution on Changing the Place of the International's
Congress in 1868 (M)
1868 07-07: Resolution of the General Council on Félix Pyat's
Provocative Behaviour (M)
1868 07-14: Declaration of the General Council Concerning the British
Government's Attitude Towards Tsarist Russia (M)
1868 08-11: Draft Resolution on the Consequences of Using Machinery
under Capitalism Proposed by the General Council to the Brussels
Congress (M)
1868 08-18: To the President and Executive Committee of the General
Association of German Workers (M)
1868 08-25: Draft Resolution on the Reduction of the Working Day
Proposed by the General Council to the Brussels Congress (M)
1868 09-01: The Fourth Annual Report of the General Council (M)
1868 09-16: To the Directorate of the Schiller Institute (E)
1868 10-03: On the Dissolution of the Lassallean Workers' Association
(E)
1868 10-04: Connections Between the IWMA and English Working Men's
Organisations (M)
1868 11-09: How Mr. Gladstone's Bank Letter of 1866 Procured a Loan of
Six Millions for Russia (M)
1868 11-03: Preamble to the Resolutions of the Geneva (1866) and
Brussels (1868) Congresses of the International (M)
1868 11-23: Statement to the German Workers' Educational Society in
London (M)
1868 12-22: The IWMA and the International Alliance of Socialist
Democracy (M)

1869

1869 01-06: Resume of the Meetings of the General Council. IWMA to the
Editor of "The Bee-Hive" (M)
1869 02-21: Report on the Miners' Guilds in the Coalfields of Saxony
1869 03-09: The General Council of the IWMA to the Central Bureau of
the International Alliance of Socialist Democracy (M)
1869 04-04: Article: The Belgian Massacres. To the Workmen of Europe
and the United States (M)
1869 05-12: Address: To the National Labour Union (US) (M)
1869 07-20: Resolution: The "Right of Inheritance"
1869 08-03: GC Report: On the Right of Inheritance (M)
1869 08-03: GC Report: To the Fourth Annual Congress of the IWMA (M)
1869 11-16: Draft Resolution of the General Council on the Policy of
the British Government Towards the Irish Prisoners (M)

1870

1870 01-01: The General Council to the Federal Council of Romance
Switzerland (M)
1870 01-04: Obituary: Citizen Robert Shaw (M)
1870 02-21: The English Government and the Fenian Prisoners (M)
1870 03-08: Concerning the Conflict in the Lyons Section (M)
1870 03-24: The General Council of the IWMA to Committee Members of
the Russian (M)
1870 03-28: Confidential Communication (M)
1870 04-18: To the International Metalworkers' Society (M)
1870 05-03: GC Declaration: Concerning the Persecution of the Members
of the French Sections. (M)
1870 05-10: Draft GC Resolution: On the "French Federal Section in
London" (M)
1870 05-17: GC Resolution: On The Bee-Hive (M)
1870 05-17: GC Resolution: On the Convocation of the Congress in Mainz
(M)
1870 06-14: To the Committee of the German Social-Democratic Workers'
Party (ME)
1870 06-29: GC Resolution: On the Federal Committee of Romance
Switzerland. The GC to the Romance Federal Committee (M)
1870 07-05: The Lock-out of the Building Trades at Geneva. (M)
1870 07-14: Programme for the 5th Congress (M)
1870 07-14: Confidential Communication to All Sections (M)
1870 07-14: Programme for the Mainz Congress of the International
1870 07-23: First Address on the Franco-Prussian War
1870 07-29: Notes on the War (E)
1870 08-02: To the Committee of the Social-Democratic Workers' (M)
1870 08-30: Letter: To the Committee of the Social-Democratic Workers'
Party (ME)
1870 09-09: Second Address on the Franco-Prussian War (M)
1870 09-14: Concerning the Arrest of the Members of the Central
Committee of the Social-Democratic Workers' Party (M)
1870 12-23: To the Sixth Congress of the Belgian Sections of the IWMA
(E)

1871

1871 01-16: On the Freedom of the Press and Meetings in Germany (M)
1871 02-13: To the Spanish Federal Council of the IWMA (E)
1871 03-15: The Aspect of Affairs in Russia (E)
1871 03-21: To the Editor of The Times (ME)
1871 03-22: Statement by the General Council to the Editor of The
Times and Other Papers (M)
1871 03-23: To the Editorial Boards of the Volksstaat and the Zukunft
(M)
1871 03-31: To the Editor of De Werker (M)
1871 04-03: To the Editor of The Times (M)
1871 04-05: On the Cigar-Workers' Strike in Antwerp (M)
1871 04-18: Outline of an Appeal of the General Council to the
Weavers' and Spinners' Trade Unions of Manchester for Assistance to
the Spanish Textile Workers' Strike (E)
1871 04-25: Resolution of the General Council Expelling Henri Louis
Tolain from the IWMA (ME)
1871 05-10: Once Again "Herr Vogt" (E)
1871 05-30: Third Address on the Franco-Prussian War (Commune)
1871 06-08: To the Editor of The Pall Mall Gazette (M)
1871 06-12: Statement by the General Council on Jules Favre's Circular
(ME)
1871 06-20: Statement by the General Council to the Editor of The
Times (ME)
1871 06-20: Statement by the General Council to the Editor of The
Standard. (ME)
1871 06-21: Statement by the General Council on George Jacob
Holyoake's Letter (E)
1871 06-21: Letter from the General Council to the Editor of The
Spectator (resp. Examiner) (E)
1871 06-27: To the Editor of The Daily News (M)
1871 06-27: Statement by the General Council on the Letters of G. J.
Holyoake and B. Lucraft (E)
1871 06-30: Letter to Max Friedländer, the Editor of the Neue Freie
Presse (M)
1871 06-30: The Address The Civil War in France and the English Press
(E)
1871 06-30: Letter to Frederick Greenwood, the Editor of The Pall Mall
Gazette (M)
1871 07-11: Mr. Washburne, the American Ambassador, in Paris (M)
1871 07-11: To the Editor of The Morning Advertiser (M)
1871 07-13: To the Editor of The Standard (M)
1871 07-28: Mazzini's Statement against the IWMA (E)
1871 08-07: Covering Letter to the Editor of The Times (M)
1871 08-07: To the Editor of The Times (E)
1871 08-17: To the Editor of L'International (M)
1871 08-19: To the Editor of Public Opinion (M)
1871 08-19: To the Editor of Public Opinion (M)
1871 08-24: To the Editor of the Gaulois (M)
1871 08-25: Letter to the Editor of The Sun, Charles Dana (M)
1871 08-29: The Commune and Archbishop Darboy (M)
1871 08-29: To the Editor of La Vérité (M)
1871 08-30: To the Editor of The Evening Standard (M)
1871 09-04: Propositions to the General Council Concerning
Preparations for the London Conference (ME)
1871 09-05: Propositions to Be Submitted to the Conference by the
General Council (ME)
1871 09-17: The London Conference of the IWMA
o On the Activity of the Alliance of Socialist Democracy. Record of
the Speech at the Sitting of the Conference Commission of 18
September 1871 (M)
o Motions of the General Council Adopted by the Conference (ME)
o 1871 09-20: Speech: Political Action and the Working Class
o On the Political Action of the Working Class (E)
o On the Political Action of the Working Class (E)
o Resolution of the London Conference relating to the Split in
Romance Switzerland (M)
o Resolutions of the Conference of Delegates of the IWMA Assembled
at London from 17th to 23rd September 1871 (ME)
1871 10-24: General Rules and Administrative Regulations of the IWMA
(ME) New edition.
1871 10-07: Resolution of the General Council Expelling Gustave Durand
from the IWMA (E)
1871 10-13: To Enrico Bignami, Editor of La Plebe (E)
1871 10-14: Declaration of the General Council on Nechayev's Misuse of
the Name of the IWMA (M)
1871 10-17: Resolution of the General Council on the Rules of the
French Section of 1871 (M)
1871 10-21: On the Progress of the IWMA in Italy and Spain. Engels'
Record of His Report at the General Council Meeting of October 17,
1871 (E)
1871 10-20: To the Editors of the Gazzettino Rosa: Covering Letter to
the "Declaration of the General Council on Nechayev's Misuse of the
Name of the IWMA" (E)
1871 10-31: Statement by the General Council Concerning Alexander
Baillie Cochrane's Letter (E)
1871 11-04: On the Company Swindle in England (E)
1871 11-07: Resolution of the General Council on the French Section of
1871 (M)
1871 11-07: Giuseppe Garibaldi's Statement and Its Effects on the
Working Classes in Italy. Engels' Record of His Report at the General
Council Meeting of November 7, 1871 (E)
1871 11-14: Working Men's Congress at Rome. -- Bebel's Speeches in the
Reichstag. (E)
1871 11-17: Declaration (M)
1871 11-24: Statement Sent by the General Council to the Editors of
the Frankfurter Zeitung und Handelsbilatt (M)
1871 11-25: To the Federal Council of the Spanish Region in Madrid (E)
1871 11-29: To the Editors of II Proletario Italiano (E)
1871 11-30: Credentials for Giuseppe Boriani (E)
1871 12-05: The Position of the Danish Members of the International on
the Agrarian Question. Engels' Record of His Report at the General
Council Meeting of December 5,1871 (E)
1871 12-10: On the Position of the International's Sections in
European Countries (E)
1871 12-06: Declaration Sent by the General Council to the Editors of
Italian Newspapers Concerning Mazzini's Articles about the
International (E)
1871 12-20: To the Editor of The Eastern Post (M)

1872

1872 03-05: Pamphlet: Fictitious Splits in the International (ME)
1872 03-05: Resolution: US Federation Split
1872 05-??: Article: Notes on the "American Split"
1872 06-15: Article: The Nationalization of the Land
1872 09-??: Resolution: Working Class Parties
1872 09-08: Speech: The Political Battleground
1872 01-03: The Congress of Sonvillier and the International (M)
1872 01-16: Letter: To The Eastern Post (M)
1872 01-28: Letter: To The Eastern Post (M)
1872 02-07: Letter: To Gazzettino Rosa (E)
1872 02-16: To the Section of Commercial Employees in Barcelona (E)
1872 02-20: Declaration of the General Council of the IWMA (ME)
1872 03-05: Fictitious Splits in the International. Private Circular
from the General Council of the IWMA (ME)
1872 03-12: Resolutions on the Split in the United States' Federation
Passed by the General Council of the IWMA in Its Sittings of 5th and
12th March, 1872 (M)
1872 03-12: Letter: To La Liberte (M)
1872 03-18: Resolutions of the Meeting Held to Celebrate the
Anniversary of the Paris Commune (M)
1872 03-27: To the Spanish Federal Council (E)
1872 06-15: The Nationalisation of the Land (M)
1872 04-03: To Citizen Delegates of the Regional Spanish Congress
Assembled at Saragossa (E)
1872 04-06: To the Saragossa Congress (E)
1872 04-16: Declaration of the General Council of the IWMA Concerning
Cochrane's Speech in the House of Commons (M)
1872 04-16: To the Society of Ferrarese Workers (E)
1872 04-20: Letters from London. -- I. The English Agricultural
Labourers' Strike (E)
1872 04-23: On the Police Persecution of the Member of the
International Theodore Cuno (E)
1872 05-10: To the Society of Ferrarese Workers (E)
1872 05-14: Relations Between the Irish Sections and the British
Federal Council (E)
1872 05-20: Declaration of the General Council Concerning the
Universal Federalist Council (M)
1872 05-23: Stefanoni and the International Again (M)
1872 05-23: Reply to Brentano's Article (M)
1872 06-14: To the Emancipation of the Proletarian Society in Turin
(E)
1872 06-29: Announcement of the General Council on the Convocation and
the Agenda of the Congress at The Hague (E)
1872 07-05: Resolutions of the Sub-Committee on Mikhail Bakunin and
the Alliance
1872 07-09: The International in America (E)
1872 07-18: To Citizen Vincenzo Spotti, Secretary of the Committee for
the Emancipation of the Working Classes in Parma (E)
1872 07-21: To the Striking Miners of the Ruhr Valley (M)
1872 07-28: The General Council's Reply to the Protest of the Jura
Federation Against the Convening of a Congress at The Hague (M)
1872 07-28: Reply to Brentano's Second Article (M)
1872 08-??: Amendments to the General Rules and Administrative
Regulations of the IWMA Adopted by the General Council in the Summer
of 1872 (M)
1872 08-06: The General Council to All the Members of the IWMA (E)
1872 08-08: To the Spanish Sections of the IWMA (ME)
1872 08-15: To the Editor of The Times (M)
1872 08-15: The General Council to the New Madrid Federation (E)
1872 08-24: On the Rimini Conference (E)
1872 08-23: Address of the General Council to the Italian Sections of
the IWMA Concerning the Rimini Conference (E)
1872 08-28: Resolution on the Behaviour of Members of the General
Council at the Congress (M)
1872 08-??: Report of the General Council to the Fifth Annual Congress
of the IWMA Held at The Hague, from the 2nd to the 7th September 1872
(M)
1872 08-??: Report on the Alliance of Socialist Democracy Presented in
the Name of the General Council to the Congress at The Hague (E)
1872 09-06: Motion for the Procedure of Debate on the General Rules
and Administrative Regulations (E)
1872 09-06: Proposal on the Transfer of the Seat and on the
Composition of the General Council for 1872 (E)
1872 10-21: Resolutions of the General Congress Held at The Hague from
the 2nd to the 7th September, 1872 (E)
1872 09-15: On the Hague Congress. A Correspondent's Report of a
Speech Made at a Meeting in Amsterdam on September 8, 1872 (M)
1872 09-12: To the Editor of Le Corsaire (M)
1872 09-17: To the Editor of The Daily News (M)
1872 09-17: On the Hague Congress of the International (E)
1872 10-01: The Congress at The Hague (Letter to Enrico Bignami) (E)
1872 10-04: Imperative Mandates at the Hague Congress. (E)
1872 10-05: Letters from London. -- II. More about the Hague (E)
1872 10-16: To the British Federal Council, IWMA Concerning Portuguese
Strikes (E)
1872 10-20: To the Editors of Der Volksstaat (M)
1872 10-31: Report to the General Council of the I.W.M.A. upon the
Situation in Spain, Portugal and Italy (E)
1872 11-13: To the Workers' and Peasants' Association of Lower
Lombardy (Section of the International) in Lodi (E)
1872 11-14: Letters from London. -- III. Meeting in Hyde Park (E)
1872 12-09: Mandate to E. Larroque (E)
1872 12-11: Letters from London. -- IV. Meeting in Hyde Park. --
Situation in Spain (E)
1872 12-20: To the Editor of The International (ME)
1872 12-20: The Manchester Foreign Section to All Sections and Members
of the British Federation
1872 12-23: Address of the British Federal Council to the Sections,
Branches, Affiliated Societies and Members of the IWMA (M)
??????: The Housing Question

1873

1873 01-??: Political Indifferentism (M)
1873 01-02: To the Editor of The Times (M)
1873 01-15: The "Crisis" in Prussia (E)
1873 01-25: Reply to the Second Circular of the Self-styled Majority
of the British Federal Council (M)
1873 01-11: News on the Activities of the International on the
Continent
1873 02-08: Notes for the General Council
1873 03-07: The Republic in Spain
1873 03-??: On Authority
1873 03-22: News on the International Labour Movement
1873 04-15: To the Ceneral Council of the IWMA
1873 05-07: On the Articles in the Neuer Social-Democrat (From a
Letter to A. Hepner)
1873 05-02: The International and the Neuer
1873 05-22: Communication from the Continent
1873 06-14: To the General Council of the IWMA
1873 06-20: From the International
1873 07-18: Note on a Review of E. Renan's L'Antechrist
1873 07-13: Comment upon Giuseppe Garibaldi's Letter to Prospero
Crescio
1873 08-??: The Alliance of Socialist Democracy and the IWMA. Report
and Documents Published by Decision of the Hague Congress of the
International (ME)
1873 10-31: The Bakuninists at Work. An Account of the Spanish Revolt
in the Summer of 1873
1873 ??/??: Varia on Germany

1874

1874 02-22: The English Elections
1874 03-08: The Imperial Military Law
1868-72: The Conflict with Bakunin