Marx-Engels Correspondence 1868

Marx To Engels
In Manchester

Source: MECW Volume 42, p. 514;
First published abridged: in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, Stuttgart, 1913.

[London,] 8 January 1868

Dear Fred,

Ad vocem [with regard to] [E.] Dühring. It is a great deal from this man that he gives almost positive acceptance to the section on 'primitive accumulation'. He is still young. As a follower of Carey he is in direct opposition to the Freetraders. Furthermore, he is a university lecturer, and therefore not displeased that Professor Roscher, who blocks the way for them all, is receiving some kicks. [See thus volume, p. 511.] One thing in his description struck me very strongly. That is, as long as the determination of value by labour time is left 'undetermined', as it is with Ricardo, it does not make people shaky. But as soon as it is brought exactly into connection with the working day and its variations, a very unpleasant new light dawns upon them. I believe that one reason Dühring reviewed the book at all is malice against Roscher. Indeed it is easy to scent his anxiety that he might also be 'Roscher'ed. Curiously, the fellow has not detected the fundamentally new elements of the book:

1. that in contrast to all previous political economy which from the outset treated the particular fragments of surplus value with their fixed forms of rent, profit and interest as already given, I begin by dealing with the general form of surplus value, in which all these elements are still undifferentiated, in solution as it were;

2. that the economists, without exception have missed the simple fact that, if the commodity has the double character of use value and exchange value, then the labour represented in the commodity must also have a double character; thus the bare analysis of labour sans phrase [without more ado], as in Smith, Ricardo, etc., is bound to come up against the inexplicable everywhere. That is, in fact, the whole secret of the critical conception;

3. that for the first time wages are shown as the irrational outward form of a hidden relationship, and this is demonstrated exactly in both forms of wages: time wages and piece wages. (It was a help to me that similar formulae are often found in higher mathematics.)

As for Dühring's modest objection to the determination of value, he will be astonished when he sees in Volume II how little the determination of value counts for 'directly' in bourgeois society. Actually, no form of society can prevent the labour time at the disposal of society from regulating production in one way or another. But so long as this regulation is not effected through the direct and conscious control of society over its labour time - which is only possible under common ownership - but through the movement of commodity prices, then things will remain as you so aptly described them in the Deutsch-Französiche Jahrbücher [F. Engels, 'Outlines of a Critique of Political Economy'].

Ad vocem Vienna. I am sending you various Vienna papers (of which you must return to me the Neues Wiener Tagblatt which belongs to Borkheim, and keep the rest), from which you will see two things: firstly how important Vienna is at this moment as a market place, since there is new life there; and secondly the way the market should be handled there. I cannot find the address of Prof. Richter. Perhaps you have Liebknecht's letter which gives it. If not, ask him to send it to you, and then dispatch the article direct to Richter, but not via Liebknecht.

It seems to me that Wilhelmchen is by no means altogether bona fide. He (for whom I have had to find so much time to make good his asininity in the Allgemeine Augsburger, etc.,) has so far found no time even to mention publicly the title of my book [the first volume of Capital in the Allgemeine Zeitung] or my name. He overlooks the affair in the Zukunft [K. Marx, 'Plagiarism' (see this volume, p. 495).] so as not to be put in the embarrassing position of sacrificing his own independent greatness. And there was no time available to say a solitary word in the workers' paper (Deutsche Arbeiterhalle, Mannheim), which appears under the direct control of his friend Bebel. In short, it is certainly no fault of Wilhelmchen that my book has not been totally ignored. First, he has not read it (although to little Jenny he made fun of Richter, who thinks that he needs to understand a book before he can publicise it), and secondly, after he had read it or claimed to have read it, he has had no time, although he has time, since I got him Borkheim's subvention, to write letters twice weekly to Borkheim; although, instead of sending the shares [of the Demokratisches Wochenblatt] to Strohn for the money, which was transmitted to him through me and obtained by my good offices, he asks for Strohn's address, in order to play his tricks with him directly, behind my back, and swamp him with epistles as he does with Borkheim. In short, Wilhelmchen wants to make himself important, and in particular the public should not be distracted from its interest in Wilhelmchen. We must now act half as if we did not notice this, but still treat him with caution. As for his call to Austria, you cannot believe him until it has happened [See this volume, p. 512.]. And secondly if it should come to this, we shall not dissuade him, but if necessary simple explain to him what I explained to him when he joined Brass's Norddeutshce [Norddeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung], that, if he should compromise himself again, he will be, if necessary, publicly disavowed. I told him this, in the presence of witnesses, when he moved off to Berlin at that time.

I think you can send articles direct to the enclosed Neue Freie Presse (Vienna). The present joint owner, Dr Max Friedlander (Lasalle's cousin and deadly enemy), was the person for whom I acted as a correspondent for a longish period for the old Vienna Presse and for the Oder-Zeitung [Neue Oder-Zeitung].

Finally, with regard to the Internationale Revue, Fox (who was sent to Vienna by an English paper to pay a visit and establish connections) asked me, from Vienna a few days ago, for a letter of introduction to Arnold Hilberg. I sent it to him, and at the same time told the said Hilberg in this letter that circumstances had prevented us writing, that we would do something this year, etc.

Fortnightly Review. Professor Beesly, one of the triumviri who secretly direct this paper, has told his special friend Lafargue (whom he constantly invites to dine at his house) that he is morally certain (it completely depends upon him!) that a review would be accepted. Lafargue would hand it in to him himself.

Ad vocem Pyat. In today's Times you will see the address of the French Democrats about Fenianism (which appeared 4 weeks ago) and was sent in by Pyat [F. Pyat, 'Adresse des Démocrates Français à leur Frères d'Irlande et d'Angleterre. Paris, 2 décembre 1867', The Times, No. 26015, 8 January 1868 (The French Democrats and the Fenians)]. What has happened is this. The French government has launched an investigation (particularly visites domiciliaires [searches] at the homes of our correspondents in Paris) against the International Association as a société illicte [illegal society]. Ditto probably sent to the British government letters about Fenianism written by our Dupont. Mr. Pyat, who always ran down our 'Association' as non-revolutionary, Bonapartist, etc., is afraid of this turn of things, and is swiftly seeking to give the appearance that he has something to do with the matter and is 'moving'.

Ad vocem Benedek[Osterreichs Kampfe im Jahre 1866..., Bd. 1 (see this volume, pp. 510-511)]: can I have the journal for a few days? You have now proven yourself twice a prophet, firstly a tactical prophet (in the Sevastopol affair), and secondly a stratgic prophet (in the Prussian-Austrian affair). But the sense of sensible men cannot predict the stupidities of which man is capable.

Ad vocem carbuncles. Consulted doctors. Nothing new. Everything which the gentlemen have to say indicates that one has to have private means to live in accordance with their prescriptions, instead of being a poor devil like me, poverty-stricken as a church-mouse. When you see Gumpert, you can tell him that I feel (up to this moment that I write) a stinging prickle in my body, that is my blood. It seems to me for this year I shall not be quite over the affair.

My compliments to Mrs. Burns.