International Working Men’s Association
London, October 1864
That the emancipation of the working classes must be conquered by the working classes themselves, that the struggle for the emancipation of the working classes means not a struggle for class privileges and monopolies, but for equal rights and duties, and the abolition of all class rule;
That the economic subjection of the man of labour to the monopolizer of the means of labour – that is, the source of life – lies at the bottom of servitude in all its forms, of all social misery, mental degradation, and political dependence;
That the economic emancipation of the working classes is therefore the great end to which every political movement ought to be subordinate as a means;
That all efforts aiming at the great end hitherto failed from the want of solidarity between the manifold divisions of labour in each country, and from the absence of a fraternal bond of union between the working classes of different countries;
That the emancipation of labour is neither a local nor a national, but a social problem, embracing all countries in which modern society exists, and depending for its solution on the concurrence, practical and theoretical, of the most advanced countries;
That the present revival of the working classes in the most industrious countries of Europe, while it raises a new hope, gives solemn warning against a relapse into the old errors, and calls for the immediate combination of the still disconnected movements;
The undersigned members of the committee, holding its powers by resolutions of the public meeting held on 28 September 1864, at St Martin’s Hall, London, have taken the steps necessary for founding the Working Men’s International Association;
They declare that this International Association and all societies and individuals adhering to it will acknowledge truth, justice, and morality, as the basis of their conduct toward each other, and toward all men, without regard to colour, creed, or nationality;
They hold it a duty of a man to claim the rights of a man and a citizen, not only for himself, but for every man who does his duty. No rights without duties, no duties without rights;
And in this spirit, they have drawn up the following provisional rules of the International Association:
1. This Association is established to afford a central medium of communication and co-operation between workingmen’s societies existing in different countries and aiming at the same end; viz., the protection, advancement, and complete emancipation of the working classes.
2. The name of the society shall be "The Working Men’s International Association".
3. In 1865 there shall meet in Belgium a general working men’s Congress, consisting of representatives of such working men’s societies as may have joined the International Association. The Congress will have to proclaim the common aspirations of the working class, decide on the definitive rules of the International Association, consider the means required for its successful working, and appoint the Central Council of the Association. The General Congress is to meet once a year.
4. The Central Council shall sit in London, and consist of workingmen from the different countries represented in the International Association. It shall, from its own members, elect the officers necessary for the transaction of business, such as a treasurer, a general secretary, corresponding secretaries for the different countries, etc.
5. On its annual meetings, the General Congress shall receive a public account of the annual transactions of the Central Council. The Central Council, yearly appointed by the Congress, shall have the power to add to the number of its members. In case of urgency, it may convoke the General Congress before the regular yearly term.
6. The General Council shall form an international agency between the different cooperating associations, so that the workingmen in one country be constantly informed of the movements of their class in every other country; that an inquiry into the social state of the different countries of Europe be made simultaneously, and under a common direction; that the questions of general interest mooted in one society be ventilated by all; and that when immediate practical steps should be needed – as, for instance, in case of international quarrels – the action of the associated societies be simultaneous and uniform. Whenever it seems opportune, the General Council shall take the initiative of proposals to be laid before the different national or local societies.
7. Since the success of the workingmen’s movement in each country cannot be secured but by the power of union and combination, while, on the other hand, the usefulness of the International Central Council must greatly depend on the circumstance whether it has to deal with a few national centres of workingmen’s associations, or with a great number of small and disconnected local societies – the members of the International Association shall use their utmost efforts to combine the disconnected workingmen’s societies of their respective countries into national bodies, represented by central national organs. It is self-understood, however, that the appliance of this rule will depend upon the peculiar laws of each country, and that, apart from legal obstacles, no independent local society shall be precluded from corresponding directly with the London Central Council.
8. Until the meeting of the first Congress, the committee chosen on 28 September 1864 will act as Provisional Central Council, try to connect the different national working men’s associations, enlist members in the United Kingdom, take the steps preparatory to the convocation of the General Congress, and discuss with the national and local societies the main questions to be laid before that Congress.
9. Each member of the International Association, on removing his domicile from one country to another, will receive the fraternal support of the associated working men.
10. While united in a perpetual bond
of fraternal co-operation, the workingmen’s societies, joining the International
Association, will preserve their existent organizations intact.
Considering the following passage of the preamble to the Rules:
«The economic emancipation of the working classes is the great end to which every political movement ought to be subordinate as a means»;
That the Inaugural Address of the International Working Men’s Association (1864) states:
«The lords of land and the lords of capital will always use their political privileges for the defence and perpetuation of their economic monopolies. So far from promoting, they will continue to lay every possible impediment in the way of the emancipation of labour... To conquer political power has therefore become the great duty of the working classes»;
That the Congress of Lausanne (1867) has passed this resolution:
«The social emancipation of the workmen is inseparable from their political emancipation»;
That the declaration of the General Council relative to the pretended plot of the French Internationalists on the eve of the plebiscite (1870) says:
«Certainly by the tenor of our Statutes, all our branches in England, on the Continent, and in America have the special mission not only to serve as centres for the militant organization of the working class, but also to support, in their respective countries, every political movement tending towards the accomplishment of our ultimate end – the economic emancipation of the working class»;
That false translations of the original Statutes have given rise to various interpretations which were mischievous to the development and action of the International Working Men’s Association;
In presence of an unbridled reaction which violently crushes every effort at emancipation on the part of the working men, and pretends to maintain by brute force the distinction of classes and the political domination of the propertied classes resulting from it;
Considering, that against this collective power of the propertied classes the working class cannot act, as a class, except by constituting itself into a political party, distinct from, and opposed to, all old parties formed by the propertied classes;
That this constitution of the working class into a political party is indispensable in order to ensure the triumph of the social revolution and its ultimate end – the abolition of classes;
That the combination of forces which the working class has already effected by its economic struggles ought at the same time to serve as a lever for its struggles against the political power of landlords and capitalists
The Conference recalls to the members of the International:
That in the militant state of the working class, its economic movement and its political action are indissolubly
That the following article summing up the content of Resolution IX of the London Conference (September 1871) be included in the rules after Article 7.
7a. - In its struggle against the collective power of the possessing
classes the proletariat can act as a class only by constituting itself
as distinct political party, opposed to all the old parties formed by the
This constitution of the proletariat into a political party is indispensable to ensure the triumph of the social revolution and its ultimate goal: the abolition of classes.
The coalition of the forces of the working class, already achieved by the economic struggle, must also serve, in the hands of this class, as a lever in its struggle against the political power of its exploiters.
As the lords of the land and of capital always make use of their political privileges to defend and perpetuate their economic monopolies and to enslave labour, the conquest of political power becomes the duty of the proletariat.