The German Classics of The Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Vol. X.
Part 10 out of 10
be discussed by reason and science; and then--be assured of
this!--those men who understand your situation and are devoted to your
cause, armed with the glittering steel of science, will stand at your
side and protect your interests; then you, the propertyless class of
society, will have only yourselves and your own unwise choices to
blame if the representatives of your class remain in a minority.
The universal and direct franchise is, as now appears, not merely your
political principle--it is your social principle, the fundamental
principle of all social advancement. It is the only means for
improving the material condition of the working class. But how can
they accomplish the introduction of the universal and direct
franchise? For an answer, look to England! The great agitation of the
English people against the corn laws lasted for more than five years,
but then they had to go--abolished by the Tory ministry itself.
Organize yourselves as a general workingmen's union for the purpose
of a lawful and peaceable, but untiring, unceasing agitation for the
introduction of universal and direct suffrage in all German states.
From the moment when this union includes even one hundred thousand
German workingmen, it will be a force with which everybody must
reckon. Send abroad this call into every workshop, every village,
every cottage. Let the city workingmen pass on their higher standard
of judgment and education to the country workers. Debate, discuss,
everywhere, daily, untiringly, incessantly, as was done in that great
English agitation against the corn laws, in peaceable public assemblies
as well as in private meetings, the necessity of the universal and
direct franchise. The more the echo of your voice resounds in the ears
of millions, the more irresistible its force will be.
Establish financial committees, to which every member of the German
workingmen's union must contribute, and to which your plans for
organization can be submitted.
With these contributions establish funds which, in spite of the
smallness of the individual amounts, would form a tremendous financial
power for the purpose of agitation. A weekly contribution of only one
silver groschen each from one hundred thousand members of the union
would produce over one hundred and sixty thousand thalers yearly.
Establish newspapers which would daily bring forward this demand and
prove that it is founded upon social conditions; send out by the same
means pamphlets for the same purpose; employ with the resources of
this union agents to carry this same view into every corner of the
land, to arouse with the same call the heart of every workingman, of
every cotter and plowman; indemnify from the resources of this union
all those workingmen who suffer injury and persecution on account of
their activity in this cause.
Repeat daily, unceasingly, this same call. The more it is repeated,
the more it will spread and the mightier will become its power. The
whole art of practical success consists in concentrating all efforts
at all times upon one point, and that the most important one, looking
neither to the right nor to the left. Look you neither to the right
nor to the left; be deaf to everything which does not mean universal
and direct suffrage, to everything which is not connected with it, or
able to lead to it.
If you have really spread this call, as you can do within a few years,
through the 89 to 96 per cent. of the total population which, as I
have shown you, constitutes the poor and propertyless classes of
society, then your will can no longer be resisted--depend upon that!
Quarrels and feuds may exist about political rights between the
government and the capitalist. You may even be denied political powers
and therefore universal suffrage, because of the luke-warmness with
which political rights are regarded; but universal suffrage, which 89
to 96 per cent. of the population regard as a life question, and
therefore spread with the warmth of life through the whole national
body--depend upon it, Gentlemen, there is no power which can resist
This is the banner which you must raise. This is the standard under
which you will conquer. There is no other for you.
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