Works of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels 1850
Source: MECW Volume 10, p. 387;
Published: in the Neue Deutsche Zeitung, July 4, 1850.
In your newspaper’s article of June 22 this year you reproached me for advocating the rule and the dictatorship of the working class, while you propose, in opposition to myself, the abolition of class distinctions in general. I do not understand this correction.
You know very well that on p. 16 of the Manifesto of the Communist Party (published before the February Revolution of 1848) it is stated that:
“If the proletariat during its contest with the bourgeoisie is compelled, by the force of circumstances, to organise itself as a class, if’ by means of a revolution, it makes itself the ruling class, and, as such, sweeps away by force the old conditions of production, then it will, along with these conditions, have swept away the conditions for the existence of class antagonisms and of classes generally, and will thereby have abolished its own supremacy as a class.”
You know that I defended the same point of view in my Misère de la philosophie against Proudhon, before February 1848.
Finally, in the very article you criticise, p. 32, No. 3, the Neue Rheinische Zeitung [Politisch-ökonomische Revue], it is stated:
“This Socialism” (i. e. communism) “is the declaration of the permanence of the revolution, the class dictatorship of the proletariat as the necessary transit point to the abolition of class distinctions generally, to the abolition of all the relations of production on which they rest, to the abolition of all the social relations that correspond to these relations of production, to the revolutionising of all the ideas that result from these social relations.”
In your newspaper’s article of June 22 you very kindly acknowledge that a “noticeable gap” arose in the German daily press as a result of the suppression of the Neue Rheinische Zeitung, but you protest against “ Herr Engels’ claim” that the Neue Rheinische Zeitung was the only organ of the press to represent the proletariat not merely in words or out of benevolence.
It is true that in my article on the campaign for the German Imperial Constitution, the Neue Rheinische Zeitung No. 1, I declared that the Neue Rheinische Zeitung was the only paper in which the German proletariat was supported not merely out of benevolence or in words. Should you be of the opinion that this statement is in any way detrimental to the Neue Deutsche Zeitung, the former official organ of the extreme Left in Frankfurt, then you will doubtless earn the gratitude of the workers by showing when, where and how the Neue Deutsche Zeitung has represented the German proletariat or its class interests.
London, June 25, 1850