"Marx And Engels On the United States"; Moscow; 1979;  Serving As An Appendix to the August 2000 issue of Alliance:  "On Immigration".

London, November 4, 1862
    General Bragg, who commands the Southern army in Kentucky-the other fighting forces of the South stationed there are restricted to guerrilla bands-on invading this border state issued a proclamation which throws considerable light on the latest combined moves of the Confederacy. Bragg's proclamation, addressed to the states of the North-west, implies that his success in Kentucky is a matter of course, and obviously calculates on the eventuality of a victorious advance into Ohio, the central state of the North. In the first place, he declares the readiness of the Confederacy to guarantee free navigation on the Mississippi and the Ohio. This guarantee only acquires import the moment the slaveholders find themselves in possession of the border states. At Richmond, therefore, it was implied that the simultaneous invasions of Lee in Maryland and Bragg in Kentucky would secure possession of the border states at one blow. Bragg then goes on to prove the right of the South, which is only fighting for its independence, but, for the rest, wants peace. The real, characteristic point of the proclamation, however, is the offer of a separate peace with the North-western states, the invitation to them to secede from the Union and join the Confederacy, since the economic interests of the North-west and the South coincide just as much as those of the North-west and the North-East are inimically opposed. We see: The South barely fancied itself safely in possession of the border states, when it officially blabbed out its ulterior object of a reconstruction of the Union to the exclusion of the states of New England.

Like the invasion of Maryland, however, that of Kentucky has also come to grief: as the former in the battle of Antietam Creek, so the latter in the battle of Perryville, near Louisville. As there, so here, the Confederates found themselves on the offensive, having attacked the advance guard of Buell's army. The Federals owe their victory to General McCook, the commander of the advance guard, who held his ground against the foe's far superior forces long enough to give Buell time to bring his main body into the field. There is not the slightest doubt that the defeat at Perryville will entail the evacuation of Kentucky. The most considerable guerrilla band, formed out of the most fanatical partisans to the slave system in Kentucky and led by General Morgan, has been annihilated at Frankfort (between Louisville and Lexington) at almost the same time. Finally, the decisive victory of Rosecrans at Corinth supervenes, which makes imperative the hastiest retreat of the beaten invasion army commanded by General Bragg.

Thus the Confederate campaign for the reconquest of the lost border slave states, which was undertaken on a large scale, with military skill and with the most favourable chances, has come utterly to grief. Apart from the immediate military results, these struggles contribute in another way to the removal of the main difficulty. The hold of the slave states proper on the border states naturally rests on the slave element of the latter, the same element that enforces diplomatic and constitutional considerations on the Union government in its struggle against slavery. In the border states, however, the principal theatre of the Civil War, this element is in practice being reduced to nothing by the Civil War itself. A large section of the slaveholders, with their "black chattels", are constantly migrating to the South, in order to bring their property to a place of safety. With each defeat of the Confederates this migration is renewed on a larger scale.

One of my friends,(Joseph Wedemyer-Original footnote) a German officer, who fought under the star-spangled banner in Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky and Tennessee in turn, writes to me that this migration is wholly reminiscent of the exodus from Ireland in 1847 and 1848. Furthermore, the energetic sections of the slaveholders, the youth, on the one hand, and the political and military leaders, on the other, separate themselves from the bulk of their class, since they either form guerrilla bands in their own states and, as guerrilla bands, are annihilated, or they leave home and are enlisted in the army or the administration of the Confederacy. Hence the result: on the one hand, an immense reduction of the slave element in the border states, where it had always to contend with the "encroachments" of competing free labour. On the other hand, removal of the energetic section of the slaveholders and its white following. There is left behindd only a sediment of "moderate" slaveholders, who will soon grasp greedily at the pile of money offered them by Washington for the redemption of their "black chattels", whose value will in any case be lost as soon as the Southern market is closed to their sale. Thus the war itself brings about a solution by actually revolutionising the form of society in the border states.

For the South the most favourable season for waging war is over; for the North it is beginning, since the inland rivers are now navigable once more and the combination of land and sea warfare already attempted with so much success is again possible. The North has eagerly availed itself of the interval. "Ironclads", ten in number, for the rivers of the West, are rapidly nearing completion; to which must be added twice as many semi-armoured vessels for shallow waters. In the East many new armoured vessels have already left the yards, whilst others are still under the hammer. All will be ready by the farst of January, 1863. Ericsson, the inventor and builder of the Monitor, is directing the building of nine new ships after the same model. Four of them are already "afloat'.

On the Potomac, in Tennessee and Virginia, as well as at different points in the South-Norfolk, New Bern, Port Royal, Pensacola and New Orleans the army daily receives fresh reinforcements. The first levy of 300,000 men, which Lincoln announced in July, has been fully provided and is in part already at the theatre of war. The second levy of 300,000 men for nine months is gradually being raised. In some states conscription has been done away with by voluntary enlistment; in none does it encounter serious difficulties. Ignorance and hatred have decried conscription as an unheard of occurrence in the history of the United States. Nothing can be more mistaken. Great bodies of troops were conscripted during the War of Independence and the second war with England (1812-15), indeed, even in sundry small wars with the Indians, without this ever encountering opposition worth mentioning.

It is a noteworthy fact that during the present year Europe supplied the United States with an emigrant contingent of approximately 100,000 souls and that half of these emigrants consist of Irishmen and Britons. At the recent congress of the English Association for the Advancement of Science at Cambridge, the economist Merivale was obliged to remind his countrymen of a fact which The Times, The Saturday Review, The Morning Post and The Morning Herald, not to speak of the dii minorum gentium, (Gods of minor peoples) have so completely forgotten, or want to make England forget, namely, that the majority of the English surplus population finds a new home in the United States.
K.Marx; Published in Die Presse No. 309, November 10, 1862
Transcribed by Members of Alliance Marxist-Leninist (North America) for the WWW; :
August 2000;
From: "Marx & Engels on the United States"; Moscow; 1979; p. 157-159.

By Frederick Engels May 3, 1882.

    Statistical data recently published in various English journals show the immense speed with which the concentration of capital is proceeding in the United States of America. According to these data, Mr. Vanderbilt of New York is the richest of the rich. This railway, landed property, industrial, etc., magnate is estimated to own (the Americans call it "to be worth") roughly $300 million (1 dollar=4 marks 25 pfennigs). His property comprises $65 million in United States Bonds, $50 million New-York-Central and Hudson-River-Railway shares and $50 million other railway shares as well as enormous land holdings both in New York and in the interior of the country. The journals add with admiration that Mr. Vanderbilt could buy up several Rothschilds and still remain the richest man in the world.

And the Vanderbilt family has amassed this gigantic fortune in about 30 years! This is a case without parallel in history, writes the Whitehall Review. We think so too.

Vanderbilt is followed in the list of plutocrats by:

Jay Goud, who is likewise a notorious railway swindler- $100 million; Mackay, owner of silver mines, who initiated the agitation for statutory bimetallism- $50 million;

Crocker 50 million;

John Rockefeller, a petroleum tycoon, but not a petroleur-40 million;

C. P. Huntington-20 million;

D. 0. Mills-20 million;

Senator Fair-30 million;

ex-Governor Stanford- 40 million;

Russell Sage- 15 million;

J.R. Keene-15 million;

S. J. Tilden-15 million;

E. D. Morgan-10 million;

Samuel Sloan- 10 million;

Garrison-10 million;

Cyrus W. Field- 10 million;

Hugh J. Jewett- 5 million;

Sidney Dillon-5 million;

David Dows- 5million;

J. D. Navarro-5 million;

John W Garrett-5 million;

W. B. Astor-5 million.

    Thus far the list, which is however by no means complete. The number of American financial magnates is far larger. And this fabulous accumulation of wealth is constantly accelerating as a result of the enormous immigration into America. For this benefits primarily the capital magnates, either directly or indirectly. Directly because it causes land prices to rise rapidly, and indirectly because the majority of immigrants tends to lower the living standard of the American workers. The numerous strike reports which appear in fraternal newspapers of ours published in the USA contain even now a growing proportion of strikes fought to prevent wage reductions, and most of the strikes aimed at wage increases are basically waged for the same reason, for they are either brought about by the enormous price rises, or by the absence of wage increases which usually take place in the spring.
    Thus the stream of emigrants which Europe at present sends every year to America merely helps to develop the capitalist economy and all its consequences to the utmost, so that sooner or later a huge crash is inevitable over there. The stream of emigrants will then come to a halt or perhaps even turn back, i.e. the European worker, and especially the German worker, will then be faced with the alternative-either death from starvation or revolution! But once the alternative is put thus, it means goodbye for those lucky fellows of the holy Prussian-German Empire.
    And that moment is closer than most people imagine. Even now it is difficult for the immigrants to find work over there and the symptoms of an approaching economic crisis are becoming more obvious, even a quite trivial cause at the critical moment is sufficient to trigger off the crash.
    Consequently we cannot share the pessimistic view of the New-Yorker Volkszeitung, although we deplore the emigration from Germany no less than does the Volkszeitung and are equally convinced that it will at first lead to a considerable worsening of the position of the American workers, and although in common with the Volkszeitung we should like to see the German workers concentrating their efforts exclusively on the improvement of their position in Germany. We must after all take the existing circumstances into account and - since these, owing to the short-sightedness and greed of our opponents, increasingly preclude development in a truly reformative sense - therefore consider it our duty, in spite of all panic-mongers, to prepare the minds for a revolutionary course of events.
    Social revolution - that is the only solution to this conflict, which has been brought about by the enormous concentration of capital on the one hand and the increasing poverty of the masses on the other.
Written on May 3, 1882; published in Det Sozialdemokrat No.21 May 18, 1882.
Transcribed by Members of Alliance Marxist-Leninist (North America) for the WWW;
August 2000.
From: "Marx & Engels on the United States"; Moscow; 1979; pp.257-258;

By Frederick Engels
    "But while England has thus outgrown the juvenile state of capitalist exploitation described by me, other countries have only just attained it. France, Germany, and especially America, are the formidable competitors who at this moment - as foreseen by me in 1844 - are more and more breaking up England's industrial monopoly. Their manufactures are young as compared with those of England, but increasing at a far more rapid rate than the latter; but curious enough, they have at this moment arrived at about the same phase of development as English manufacture in 1844. With regard to America, the parallel is indeed most striking. True, the external surroundings in which the working class is placed in America are very different, but the same economical laws are a work, and the results, if not identical in every respect, must still be of the same order. Hence we find in America the same struggles for a shorter working-day, for a legal limitation of the working time, especially of women and children in factories; we find the truck-system in full blossom, and the cottage-system, in rural districts, made use of by the "bosses" as a means of domination over the workers. At this very moment I am receiving the American papers with accounts of the great strike of 12,000 Pennsylvanian coal-miners in the Connellesville district, and I seem but to read my own description of the North of England Colliers' strike of 1844. (ORIGINAL NOTE IN MOSCOW EDITION: This reference is to a miners' and iron and steel workers' strike in Pennsylvania from Jnauary 22 to February 26, 1886 in which more thatn 10 thousand participated. During this strike the workers' demands for higher wages and better working condtions were partially satisfied.) The same cheating of the work-people by false measure; the same truck-system; the same attempt to break the miners' resistance by the Capitalists' last, but crushing resource, the eviction of the men out of their dwellings, the cottages owned by the companies.
    There were two circumstances which for a long time prevented the unavoidable consequences to the capitalist system from showing themselves in the full glare of day in America. These were the easy access to the ownership of cheap land, and the influx of immigration. They allowed, for many years, the great mass of the native American population to "retire" in early manhood from wage-labor and to become farmers, dealers, or employers of labor, while the hard work for wages, the position of a proletarian for life, mostly fell to the lot of immigrants. But America has outgrown this early stage. The boundless backwoods have disappeared, and the still more boundless prairies are fast and faster passing from the hands of the Nation and the states into those of private owners. The great safety-valve against the formation of a permanent proletarian class has practically ceased to act. A class of life-long and even hereditary proletarians exists at this hour in America. A nation of sixty million striving hard to become - and with every chance of success, too - the leading manufacturing nation of the world-such a nation cannot permanently import its own wage-working class; not even if immigrants pour in at the rate of half a million a year. The tendency of the capitalist system towards the ultimate splitting-up of society into two classes, a few millionaires on the one hand, and a great mass of mere wage-workers on the other, this tendency, though constantly crossed and counteracted by other social agencies, works nowhere with greater force than in America; and the result has been the production of a class of native American wage-workers, who form, indeed the aristocracy of the wage-working class as compared with the immigrants, but who become conscious more and more every day of their solidarity with the latter and who feel all the more acutely their present condemnation to life-long wage-toil, because they still remember the bygone days, when it was comparatively easy to rise to a higher social level. Accordingly the working-class movement, in America, has started with truly American vigor, and as on that side of the Atlantic things march with at least double the European speed, we may yet live to see America take the lead in this respect too.
Written on February 25, 1886; Published in the book: F. Engels, The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844, New York, 1887;
Transcribed by Members of Alliance Marxist-Leninist (North America) for the WWW;
August 2000;
From: "Marx & Engels on the United States"; Moscow; 1979; pp. 281-282,

Frederick Engels
    Ten months have elapsed since, at the translator's wish (Florence Kelley-Wischnewetzky), I wrote the Appendix (see above article in this web-page-Editor Alliance) to this book; and during these ten months, a revolution has been accomplished in American society such as, in any other country, would have taken at least ten years. In February 1885, American public opinion was almost unanimous on this one point; that there was no working class, in the European sense of the word, in America (NOTE: An English edition of my book, which was written in 1844, was justified precisely because the industrial conditions in present-day America correspond almost exactly to those which obtained in England in the 1840s, i.e. those which I described. How much this is the case is evident from the articles on "The Labour Movement in America" by Edward and Eleanor Marx-Aveling published in the March, April, May and June issues of Time, the London monthly. I am referring to these excellent articles with all the greater pleasure because it offers me an opportunity at the same time to reject the miserable slanderous accusations against Aveling which the Executive of the American Socialist Labour Party was unscrupulous enough to circulate. - Engelís note to the separate printing of 1887. Translated from the German.)
(ORIGINAL MOSCOW EDITION FOOTNOTE:The reference here is to the slanderous charges made against the British socialist Edward Aveling by the Executive of the Socialist Labour Party of North America, which indcluded several Lassaleans. Aveling was accused of having submitted forged accounts to the Executive when he was touring America in September-December 1886 for propaganda purposes , with his wife Eleanor (Karl Marx's Daughter) and the German socialist Wilhelm Libenicht. Engles corresponded on this issue for several months and helped Aveling prove the absurdity and slanderous charactar of these charges. The Socialist Labor Party of North America was formed at the Unity Congress in Philadelphia in 1876, by the merger of the American sections of the First International and other socialast organisations in the USA.  Most of its members were immigrants (chiefly Germans) who had little contact with the Maerican-born workers. There was a struggle inside the party between teh reformist leaders, who were mostly Lassalleans, and the Marxist wing headed by Marx's and Engels' comrade-in-arms Friedrich Adolph Sorge. The party procalimed as its programme the fight for socialism; but did not become a truely revolutionary Marxist mass party owing to the sectarian policy of its leaders who ignored the need for work in the mass organisations of the American proletariat) that consequently no class struggle between workmen and capitalists, such as tore European society to pieces, was possible in the American Republic; and that, therefore, Socialism was a thing of foreign importation which could never take root on American soil. And yet, at that moment, the coming class struggle was casting its gigantic shadow before it in the strikes of the Pennsylvania coal mines, and of many other trades, and especially in the preparations, all over the country, for the great Eight Hours' movement which was to come off, and did come off, in the May foilowing. (The reference is to the general strike in the USA which began on May 1, 1886 and continued several days under the slogan of struggle for an eight-hour working day. The strike involved the chief industrial centres - New York, Philadelphia, Chicago,, Louisville, Saint Louis, Milwaukee and Baltimore, and ended with nearly 200,000 workers winning shorter working hours. The employers however launched a counter-attack. On May 4 a bomb was thrown at a police squad in Chicago, and the police seized this opportunity to use arms against the workers and arrest several hundred people. Court proceedings were instituted and harsh sentences meted out to the leaders of the Chicago working-class movement. Four of them were hanged on Novemebr 1887. In the following years the gains of the May 1886 strike were reduced to nought by the capitalists. In commerating this strike the International Socialist Workers' Congress held in Paris in 1889 adopted a decision on the annual celebration of May Day by the workers of the world).
    That I then duly appreciated these symptoms, that I anticipated a working class movement on a national scale, my "Appendix" shows; but no one could then foresee that in such a short time the movement would burst out with such irresistible force, would spread with the rapidity of a prairie-fire, would shake American society to its very foundations.
    The fact is there, stubborn and indisputable. To what an extent it had struck with terror the American ruling classes, was revealed to me, in an amusing way, by American journalists who did me the honor of calling on me last summer; the "new departure" had put them into a state of helpless fright and perplexity. But at that time the movement was only just on the start; there was but a series of confused and apparently disconnected upheavals of that class the suppression of negro slavery and the rapid development of manufactures, had become the lowest stratum of American Society. Before the year closed, these bewildering social convulsions began to take a definite direction. The spontaneous, instinctive movements of these vast masses of working people, over a vast extent of country, the simultaneous outburst of their common discontent with a miserable social condition, the same everywhere and due to the same causes, made them conscious of the fact, that they formed a new and distinct class of American society; a class of -practically speaking - more or less hereditary wage-workers, proletarians. And with true American instinct this conscious-ness led them at once to take the next step towards their deliverance:
        The formation of a political workingmen's party, with a platform of its own, and with the conquest of the Capitol and the white House for its goal. In May the struggle for the Eight Hours' working-day, the troubles in Chicago, Milwaukee, etc., the attempts of the ruling class to crush the nascent uprising of Labor by brute force and brutal class-justice; in November the new Labor Party organized in all great centers, and the New York, Chicago and Milwaukee elections. (Original Footnote: During the preperations for the municipal elections in New York in the autumn of 1886, a United Labor Party was founded to rally the workers for joint political action. The initiative belonged to the New York Central Workers' Union - an assocation of New York trade unions formed in 1882. Similar parties were organised in many other cities. Led by the new workers' parties, the working class achieved substantital success in the elections in New York, Chicago and Milwaukee: Henry George, the United Labor Party candidate for Mayor of New York City, recieved 31 per cent of the votes; in Chicago, the adherents of the Labor Party recieved 31 per cent of the votes; in Chicago the adherents of the Labor Party succeeded in getting ten Party members elected to the Legislative Assembly of the state: one senator and nine members of the Lower Chamber. The Labor Party candidates to the USA Congress was short of only 64 votes. In Milwaukee the Labor Party had its candidate elected Mayor of the city, one to the Senate and one to the US Congress.) May and November have hitherto reminded the American bourgeoisie only of the payment of coupons of US bonds; henceforth May and November will remind them, too, of the dates on which the American working class presented their coupons for payment.
    In European countries, it took the working class years and years before they fully realized the fact that they formed a distinct and, under the existing social conditions, a permanent class of modern society; and it took years again until this class-consciousness led them to form themselves into a distinct political party, independent of, and opposed to, all the old political parties formed by the various sections of the ruling classes. On the more favored soil of America, where no mediaeval ruins bar the way, where history begins with the elements of modern bourgeois society as evolved in the seventeenth century, the working class passed through these two stages of its development within ten months.
    Still, all this is but a beginning. That the laboring masses should feel their community of grievances and of interests, their solidarity as a class in opposition to all other classes; that in order to give expression and effect to this feeling, they should set in motion the political machinery provided for that purpose in every free country - that is the first step only. The next step is to find the common remedy for these common grievances, and to embody it in the platform of the new Labor Party. And this - the most important and the most difficult step in the movement - has yet to be taken in America.
    A new party must have a distinct positive platform; a platform which may vary in details as circumstances vary and as the party itself develops, but still one upon which the party, for the time being, is agreed. So long as such a platform has not been worked out, or exists but in a rudimentary form, so long the new party, too, will have but a rudimentary existence; it may exist locally but not yet nationally; it will be a party potentially but not actually.
    That platform, whatever may be its first initial shape, must develop in a direction which may be determined beforehand. The causes that brought into existence the abyss between the working class and the capitalist class are the same in America as in Europe; the means of filling up that abyss are equally the same everywhere. Consequently, the platform of the American proletariat will in the long run coincide, as to the ultimate end to be attained, with the one which, after sixty years of dissensions and discussions, has become the adopted platform of the great mass of the European militant proletariat. It will proclaim, as the ultimate end, the conquest of political supremacy by the working class, in order to effect the direct appropriation of all means of production - land, railways, mines, machinery, etc. - by society at large, to be worked in common by all for the account and benefit of all.
    But if the new American party, like all political parties everywhere, by the very fact of its formation aspires to the conquest of political power, it is as yet far from agreed upon what to do with that power when once attained. In New York and the other great cities of the East, the organisation of the working class has proceeded upon the lines of Trades' Societies, forming in each city a powerful Central Labor Union. In New York the Central Labor Union, last November, chose for its standard-bearer Henry George and consequently its temporary electoral platform has been largely imbued with his principles. In the great cities of the North-west the electoral battle was fought upon a rather indefinite labor platform, and the influence of Henry George's theories was scarcely, if at all, visible. And while in these great centers of population and of industry the new class movement came to a political head, we find all over the country two widespread labor organizations: the "Knights of Labor" (Original Footnote: The Knights of Labor (The Noble Order of the Knights of Labor) - an American workers' organisations founded in Philadelphia in 1869. It was a secret society up to 1878. Its members were mostly unskilled workers, including Negroes. Its aim was the establishment of cooperatives and the organisation of mutual aid, and it took part in a number of working-class actions. But its leaders were in fact opposed to the workers' participation in the political struggle and adopted the class collaboration stand. They opposed the 1886 general strike forbidding its members to take part in it; however the rank and file joined in the strike. After this, it began to lose its influence among workers and by the end of the 1890's it disintegrated.)  and the "Socialist Labor Party", of which only the latter has a platform in harmony with the modern European standpoint as summarised above.
    Of the three more or less definite forms under which the American labor movement thus presents itself, the first, the Henry George movement in New York, is for the moment of a chiefly local significance. No doubt New York is by far the most important city of the States; but New York is not Paris and the United States are not France. And it seems to me that the Henry George platform, in its present shape, is too narrow to form the basis for anything but a local movement, or at best for a short-lived phase of the general movement. To Henry George the expropriation of the mass of the people from the land is the great and universal cause of the splitting up of the people into Rich and Poor. Now this is not quite correct historically. In Asiatic and classical antiquity, the predominant form of class oppression was slavery, that is to say, not so much the expropriation of the masses from the land as the appropriations of their persons. When, in the decline of the Poman Republic, the free Italian peasants were expropriated from their farms, they formed a class of "poor whites" similar to that of the Southern Slave States before 1861; and between slaves and poor whites, two classes equally unfit for self-emancipation, the old world went to pieces. In the Middle Ages, it was not the expropriation of the people from, but on the contrary, their appropriation to the land which became the source of feudal oppression. The peasant retained his land, but was attached to it as a serf or villein, and made liable to tribute to the lord in labor and in produce. It was only at the dawn of modern times, towards the end of the fifteenth century, that the expropriation of the peasantry on a large scale laid the foundation for the modern class of wage-workers who possess nothing but their labor-power and can live only by the selling of that labor-power to others. But if the expropriation from the land brought this class into existence, it was the development of capitalist production, of modern industry and agriculture on a large scale which perpetuated it, increased it, and shaped it into a distinct class with distinct interests and a distinct historical mission. All this has been fully expounded by Marx (Capital, Part VIII: "The So-Called Primitive Accumulation"). According to Marx, the cause of the present antagonism of the classes and of the social degradation of the working class is their expropriation from all means of production, in which the land is of course included.
    If Henry George declares land-monopolization to be the sole cause of poverty and misery, he naturally finds the remedy in the resumption of the land by society at large. Now, the Socialists of the school of Marx, too, demand the resumption, by society, of the land, and not only of the land but of all other means of production likewise. But even if we leave these out of the question, there is another difference. What is to be done with the land? Modern Socialists, as represented by Marx, demand that it should be held and worked in common and for common account, and the same with all other means of social production, mines, railways, factories, etc.; Henry George would confine himself to letting it out to individuals as at present, merely regulating its distribution and applying the rents for public, instead of, as at present, for private purposes. What the Socialists demand, implies a total revolution of the whole system of social production; what Henry George demands, leaves the present mode of social production untouched, and has, in fact, been anticipated by the extreme section of Ricardian bourgeois economists who, too, demanded the confiscation of the rent of land by the State.
    It would of course be unfair to suppose that Henry George has said his last word once for all. But I am bound to take his theory as I find it.
    The second great section of the American movement is formed by the Knights of Labour. And that seems to be the section most typical of the present state of the movement, as it is undoubtedly by far the strongest. An immense association spread over an immense extent of country in innumerable "assemblies", representing all shades of individual and local opinion within the working class; the whole of them sheltered under a platform of corresponding indistinctness and held together much less by their impracticable constitution than by the instinctive feeling that the very fact of their clubbing together for their common aspiration makes them a great power in the country; a truly American paradox clothing the most modern tendencies in the most mediaeval mummeries, and hiding the most democratic and even rebellious spirit behind an apparent, but really powerless despotism - such is the picture the Knights of Labor offer to a European observer. But if we are not arrested by mere outside whimsicalities, we cannot help seeing in this vast agglomeration an immense amount of potential energy evolving slowly but surely into actual force. The Knights of Labor are the first national organisation created by the American working class as a whole; whatever their origin and history, whatever their shortcomings and little absurdities, whatever their platform and their constitution, here they are, the work of practically the whole class of American wage-workers, the only national bond that holds them together, that makes their strength felt to themselves not less than to their enemies, and that fills them with the proud hope of future victories. For it would not be exact to say that the Knights of Labor are liable to development. They are constantly in full process of development and revolution; a heaving, fermenting mass of plastic material seeking the shape and form appropriate to its inherent nature. That form will be attained as surely as historical evolution has, like natural evolution, its own immanent laws. Whether the Knights of Labor will then retain their present name or not, makes no difference, but to an outsider it appears evident that here is the raw material out of which the future of the American working-class movement, and along with it, the future of American society at large, has to be shaped.
    The third section consists of the Socialist Labor Party. This section is a party but in name, for nowhere in America has it, up to now, been able actually to take its stand as a political party. It is, moreover, to a certain extent foreign to America, having until lately been made up almost exclusively by German immigrants, using their own language and for the most part, little conversant with the common language of the country. But if it came from a foreign stock, it came, at the same time, armed with the experience earned during long years of class struggle in Europe, and with an insight into the general conditions of working-class emancipation, far superior to that hitherto gained by American workingmen. This is a fortunate circumstance for the American proletarians who thus are enabled to appropriate, and to take advantage of, the intellectual and moral fruits of the forty years' struggle of their European class-mates, and thus to hasten on the time of their own victory. For, as I said before, there cannot be any doubt that the ultimate platform of the American working class must and will be essentially the same as that now adopted by the whole militant working class of Europe, the same as that of the German-American Socialist Labor Party. In so far this party is called upon to play a very important part in the movement. But in order to do so they will have to doff every remnant of their foreign garb. They will have to become out and out American. They cannot expect the Americans to come to them; they, the minority and the immigrants, must go to the Americans, who are the vast majority and the natives. And to do that, they must above all things learn English.
    The process of fusing together these various elements of the vast moving mass - elements not really discordant, but indeed mutually isolated by their various starting-points - will take some time and will not come off without a deal of friction, such as is visible at different points even now. The Knights of Labor, for instance, are here and there, in the Eastern cities, locally at war with the organized Trades Unions. But then this same friction exists within the Knights of Labor themselves, where there is anything but peace and harmony. These are not symptoms of decay, for capitalists to crow over. They are merely signs that the innumerable hosts of workers, for the first time set in motion in a common direction, have as yet found out neither the adequate expression for their common interests, nor the form of organisation best adapted to the struggle, nor the discipline required to insure victory. They are as yet the first levies en masse of the great revolutionary war, raised and equipped locally and independently, all converging to form one common army, but as yet without regular organization and common plan of campaign. The converging columns cross each other here and there: confusion, angry disputes, even threats of conflict arise. But the community of ultimate purpose in the end overcomes all minor troubles; ere long the straggling and squabbling battalions will be formed in a long line of battle array, presenting to the enemy a well-ordered front, ominously silent under their glittering arms, supported by bold skirmishers in front and by unshakable I reserves in the rear.
    To bring about this result, the unification of the various independent bodies into one national Labor Army, with no matter how inadequate a provisional platform, provided it be a truly working-class platform - that is the next great step to be accomplished in America. To effect this, and to make that platform worthy of the cause, the Socialist Labor Party can contribute a great deal, if they will only act in the same way as the European Socialists have acted at the time when they were but a small minority of the working class. That line of action was first laid down in the Communist Manifesto of 1847 in the following words: "The Communists" - that was the name we took at the time and which even now we are far from repudiating - "the communists do not form a separate party opposed to other working-class parties.
"They have no interests separate and apart from the interests of the whole working class.
"They do not set up any sectarian principles of their own, by which to shape and model the proletarian movement.
"The Communists are distinguished from the other working-class parties by this only:
I. In the national struggles of the proletarians of the different countries they point out, and bring to the front, the common interests of the whole proletariat, interests independent of all nationality;
2. In the various stages of development which the struggle of the working class against the capitalist class has to pass through, they always and everywhere represent the interests of the movement as a whole.
"The Communists, therefore, are on the one hand, practically the most advanced and resolute section of the working-class parties of all countries, that section which ever pushes forward all others; on the other hand, theoretically, they have, over the great mass of the proletarians, the advantage of clearly understanding the line of march, the conditions, and the ultimate general results of the proletarian movement."
(Manifesto Of The Communist Party; Collected Works; Volume 6; Moscow; 1976; p.497;

"Thus they fight for the attainment of the immediate ends, for the enforcement of the momentary interests of the working-class; but in the movement of the present, they represent and take care of the future of the movement ".
 (Manifesto Of The Communist Party; Collected Works; Volume 6; Moscow; 1976; p.518)

    That is the line of action which the great founder of Modem Socialism, Karl Marx, and with him, I and the Socialists of all nations who worked along with us, have followed for more than forty years, with the result that it has led to victory everywhere, and that at this moment the:
    mass of European Socialists, in Germany and in France, in Belgium, Holland and Switzerland, in Denmark and Sweden as well as in Spain and Portugal, are fighting as one common army under one and the same flag.

London, January 26, 1887 Frederick Engels
Published in the book: F. Engels, The Condition of the Working-Class in England in 1844. New York, 1887;
Transcribed by Members of Alliance Marxist-Leninist (North America) for the WWW;
August 2000.
From: "Marx & Engels on the United States"; Moscow; 1979; pp. 283-290.