Marx, Engels on the Fenians and the British working class: some letters

Based on their direct experience of political work in Britain, in particular within the working class movement, Marx and Engels came to the conclusion that the British working class could never develop independent class politics in their own interests unles sand until they learned to support the freedom struggle in Ireland.

While the two great revolutionaries disagreed strongly with some of the tactics of the Fenians (or the tactics of some of the Fenians), they did all they could to support Fenian prisoners in England and to rally workers, especially in England, around the cause of the Fenians.

Below are some letters by both Marx and Engels from early November 1867:

Marx to Engels, November 2, 1867
The proceedings against the Fenians in Manchester were every inch what could be expected. You will have seen what a row ‘our people’ kicked up in the Reform League. I have sought in every way to provoke this manifestation of the English workers in support of Fenianism.

Marx to Engels, November 7, 1867
There was a detailed description of the Abercorn evictions about a fortnight ago in The Irishman (Dublin). I may manage to get again the issue that was lent to me for only 24 hours.
At the meeting, at which Colonel Dickson presided and Bradlaugh made a speech about Ireland, our old Weston, seconded by Fox and Cremer, tabled a resolution for the Fenians which was passed unanimously. Last Tuesday, too, there was a stormy demonstration for Fenians during Acland’s lecture on the Reform Bill in Cleveland Hall (above our heads, we had our meeting down in the coffee room, which is in the basement). This business stirs the feelings of the intelligent part of the working class here.

Engels to Ludwig Kugelmann, November 8, 1867
The Irish, too, are a very substantial ferment in this business and the London proletarians declare every day more openly for the Fenians and, hence – an unheard of and splendid thing here – for, first, a violent and, secondly, an anti-English movement.

Posted on August 16, 2018, in Engels, Fenians, General revolutionary history, Historiography and historical texts, Internationalism, Ireland and British revolution, Ireland in 1800s, Marx, Political education and theory, Republicanism pre-1900, Revolutionary figures, Social conditions. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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