“After a long and violent struggle, the English industrial capitalists, already in reality the leading class of the nation, that class whose interests were the the chief national interests, were victorious. The landed aristocracy had to give in. The duties on corn and other raw materials were repealed. Free Trade became the watchword of the day. To convert all other countries to the gospel of Free Trade, and thus to create a world in which England was the great manufacturing centre, with all other countries for its dependent agricultural districts, that was the next task before the English manufacturers and their mouthpieces, the political economists. That was the time of the Brussels Congress, the time when Marx prepared the speech in question (87). While recognizing that protection may still, under certain circumstances, for instance in the Germany of 1847, be of advantage to the manufacturing capitalists; while proving that Free Trade was not the panacea for all the evils under which the working class suffered, and might even aggravate them; he pronounces, ultimately and on principle, in favour of Free Trade. To him, Free Trade is the normal condition of modern capitalistic production. Only under Free Trade can the immense productive powers of steam, of electricity, of machinery, be fully developed; and the quicker the pace of this development, the sooner and the more fully will be realized its inevitable results: society splits up into two classes, capitalists here, wage-labourers there; hereditary wealth on one side, hereditary poverty on the other; supply outstripping demand, the markets being unable to absorb the ever growing mass of the productions of industry; an ever recurring cycle of prosperity, glut, crisis, panic, chronic depression and gradual revival of trade, the harbinger not of permanent improvement but of renewed overproduction and crisis; in short, productive forces expanding to such a degree that they rebel, as against unbearable fetters, against the social institutions under which they are put in motion; the only possible solution: a social revolution; freeing the social productive forces from the fetters of an antiquated social order, and the actual producers, the great mass of the people, from wage-slavery” [Frederick Engels, ‘Protection and Free Trade’ (Excerpt), New Zeit, July 1888] [(in) K. Marx F. Engels, ‘On Colonialism’, Moscow, 1965] [(87) The Brussels Congress devoted to questions of Free Trade took place at the end of 1847. Engels characterized the Congress as follows: “It was a strategic move in the Free Trade campaign then carried on by the English manufacturers. Victorious at home, by the repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846, they now invaded the Continent in order to demand, in return for the free admission of continental corn into England, the free admission of English manufactured good to the continental markets”. Marx was supposed to speak at the Congress, but did not. He delivered his speech on Free Trade at a meeting of the Brussels Democratic Association on January 9 1848]