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New Left Review I/31, May-June 1965


Gareth Stedman Jones

London and the Revolutionaries

In a valedictory tribute to the first International in 1874, Engels considered that it had belonged to the period of the Second Empire, ‘when the oppression throughout Europe prescribed unity and abstention from all internal controversy for the labour movement, then just awakening. It was the moment when the common, cosmopolitan interests of the proletariat could come to the fore . . . German communism did not yet exist as a worker’s party, Proudhonism was too weak to be able to insist on its particular fads, Bakunin’s new trash did not yet exist in his own head, and even the leaders of the English trade unions thought they could enter the movement on the basis of the programme laid down in the preamble to the Statutes’. In this detailed and extremely illuminating book [1] Karl Marx and the British Labour Movement. H. Collins and C. Abramsky; Macmillan, 1965. 42s. p. 356. Collins and Abramsky reveal the relationship between Marx’s strategy and the situation of the British working class in the 1860’s and 70’s.

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