One hundred and fifty years ago, on 28th September 1864, the International Working Men’s Association, more commonly known as the First International, was born. This first international proletarian organisation paved the way for the growth of working class organisation and spread of Marxism worldwide. In its day, the ruling class trembled before this revolutionary menace.
On the anniversary of the founding of the First International we publish here the inaugural address made by Karl Marx.
At the Hague congress of the First International Bakunin was finally expelled, provoking the wrath of the anarchists and like-minded people, some of which walked out of the organisation, like the Blanquists. At the same time, the opportunists such as the English trade union leaders lined up with the ultra-left in demanding greater autonomy for the local sections, all of course complaining about the authoritarianism of Marx and the General Council.
On September 28 1864, delegates from different countries gathered in St. Martin’s Hall in London. This was the most serious attempt yet to unite the advanced layers of the working class on an international scale. The meeting was convened a consequence of the international solidarity in response to the Polish uprising of 1863.
A series of short reports by Engels on the activities of the International in Europe. An interesting point is the fact that the sections that supported the General Council, in several places were targeted for arrest and police repression.