Letter to Ludwig Kugelmann
re: the Paris Commune (Excerpt)
– Karl Marx –
London, April 12, 1871
[…] If you look at the last chapter of my Eighteenth Brumaire, you will find that I declare: the next French Revolution will no longer attempt to transfer the bureaucratic-military apparatus from one hand to another, but to smash it, and this is the precondition for every real peoples’ revolution on the Continent. And this is what our heroic Party comrades in Paris are attempting. What flexibility, what historical initiative, what a capacity for sacrifice in these Parisians! After six months of hunger and ruin, caused by internal treachery even more than by the external enemy, they rise, in the face of the Prussian bayonets, as if there had never been a war between France and Germany and the enemy were not standing at the gates of Paris! History has no comparable example of similar greatness! If they are defeated only their “good nature” will be to blame. They ought to have marched at once on Versailles after the withdrawal first of Vinoy and then of the reactionary section of the Paris National Guard. They missed their opportunity because of moral scruples. They did not want to start a civil war, as if that mischievous dwarf Thiers had not already started the civil war with his attempt to disarm Paris! Second mistake: The Central Committee surrendered its power too soon, to make way for the Commune. Again from a too “honourable” scrupulosity! However that may be, the present rising in Paris even if it be crushed by the wolves, swine, and vile curs of the old society — is the most glorious deed of our Party since the June insurrection in Paris. Compare these Parisians, storming heaven, with the slaves to heaven of the German-Prussian Holy Roman Empire, with its posthumous masquerades reeking of the barracks, the Church, the clod-hopping junkers and above all, of the philistine.
À propos. In the official publication of the list of those receiving direct subsidies from L. Bonaparte’s treasury there is a note that Vogt received 40,000 francs in August 1859! […]
(Marx, Engels Selected Correspondence, Progress Publishers, Moscow, pg 245-246)