Marginal Notes: Letter from Marx to Bracke

May 5, 1875

Dear Bracke:

When you read the following critical marginal notes on the Coalition Program ["Randglossen zum Programm der deutschen Arbeiterpartei"], please be so good as to send them on to Geib, Auer, Bebel, and Liebknecht for examination. The manuscript must be returned to you, so that it will be at my disposal in case of necessity. I am extremely busy and have to far exceed the amount of work the doctors allow me. Hence it was in no way a "pleasure" to write such a lengthy screed. It was, however, necessary, so that the steps I will take later will not be misinterpreted by the friends in the party for whom this communication is intended.

After the Coalition Congress has been held Engels and I will publish a short explanation to the effect that we will stay away from the said program of principles altogether, and that we have nothing to do with it.

This is indispensable because of the opinion -- the entirely erroneous opinion -- held abroad that we secretly guide the movement of the so-called Eisenach party from here. In a recently published Russian book [Gossudarstvennost i Anarchiya], for example, [Mikhail] Bakunin not only holds me responsible for all the programs, etc., of that party but also for every step Liebknecht has taken from the day of his cooperation with the People's party.

Apart from this, it is my duty not to give recognition, even by diplomatic silence, to what in my opinion is a thoroughly objectionable program that demoralizes the party.

Every step of real movement is more important than a dozen programs. If therefore it was not possible -- and the conditions of the time did not permit it -- to go _beyond_ the Eisenach program, one should simply have concluded an agreement for action against the common enemy. But if one constructs programs of principles (instead of postponing them until a prolonged period of common activity has prepared the ground), one sets up before the whole world landmarks which measure the level of party movement.

The Lassallean leaders are coming [to the Congress] because circumstances force them to do it. If it had been explained to them beforehand that there would be no haggling about principles, they would have had to be content with a program of action of a plan of organization for common action. Instead of this, they are permitted to come armed with mandates, given recognition of them as binding, nd thus one surrenders unconditionally to those who are in need of help. To crown the whole thing, they are holding a congress _before_ the Congress of Compromise, while our own party is holding its congress _post festum_. Obviously they wanted to stifle all criticism and give our party no opportunity for reflection. We know that the mere fact of unification satisfies the workers, but it is a mistake to think this momentary success is not bought too dearly.

For the rest, the program is no good, even apart from its sanctification of the Lassallean articles of faith.

I shall be sending you in the near future the last parts of the French edition of Capital. The printing was held up for a considerable time by a French government ban. The thing will be ready this week or at the beginning of next week. Had you received the previous sex sections? Please let me have the address of Bernhard Becker, to whom I must also send the final parts.

The bookshop of the Volkstaat has its peculiar ways. Up to this moment, for example, I have not received a single copy of my _Revelations About the Cologne Communist Trial_.

With best regards,


Karl Marx

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