“After that vote in Hamburg, Schweitzer and Fritzsche, declared that they would call a workingmen’s congress for the foundation of trade unions in their capacity as Reichstag members, But when opposition made itself heard against this, Schweitzer threatened to resign immediately, if instructions were given preventing his doing this, and that he would leave the association. This threat had the desired effect. The congress took place on September 27th [1868], and on the following days, in Berlin. Not less than 206 delegates were present, who had mostly been elected in workingmen’s meetings, and who represented 140,000 workers. The following remarks of Schweitzer, in a speech opening the congress, were significant: «England is by far the richest country of the world in the matter of capital, and if the industry of other countries has nevertheless, mastered the English, it is due to the fact that the English laborers are making so much trouble for their capitalists. That may also be done in Germany, and even more easily. The German working-men can ruin the German industry altogether, if they want to do so, and they have no interest in maintaining it, so long as they derive but the scantiest wages from it…. The German workingmen, if they are strongly organized, can drive the German industry out of competition, and if the capitalists don’t like that, they may pay higher wages». This was not a very able argument, but perhaps it was no intended to be. The congress established so-called workers’ groups, under the control of a central board, composed of Schweitzer, Fritzsche and Karl Klein of Elberfeld, as president and vice-presidents. This organization was not very happily chosen, and was due to Schweitzer, who, under no circumstances, would permit any part of a movement under his influence to have any independence. Schweitzer, who was very anxious to obtain a favorable answer from Marx for his enterprise; had written a letter to him on September 13th, and inclosed a draft of his constitution. Marx, who had misunderstood the first letter, replied only to a second letter of Schweitzer. The following passages refer to Schweitzer’s organization: “So far as the Berlin congress was concerned, the time did not press, since the law on coalition had not been passed as yet. You should have conferred with the leaders outside the Lassallean circle and drawn up a common program and called a joint congress. Instead of that, you left no other alternative but to follow you or to take up a position against you. This congress itself seemed but an enlarged edition of the Hamburg congress (the general congress of the General Association of German Workingmen). As for the draft of the constitution, I consider it a failure in the matter of principle, and I think I have as much experience in trades unionism as any contemporary. Without going into details at this point, I will merely say that this form of organization, while suitable for secret societies and sects, contradicts the nature of trades unionism. If it were possible – I declare it to be utterly impossible – it would not be desirable, least of all, in Germany. There, where the laborer is under the thumb of bureaucracy from childhood and believes in the authority of the instituted government, the first duty is to make him self-dependent. Your plan is impractical also in other respects. In your organization you have three independent powers of different origin: 1. The committee, elected by the unions; 2. the president, a wholly superfluous personality, elected by general vote (*); 3. the congress, elected by the locals. This makes everywhere for friction, and this hinders rapid action. Lassalle made a serious mistake when he borrowed the ‘person elect’ of universal suffrage from the French constitution of 1852. In a trades union movement that person is utterly out of place. It turns mostly on money questions, and you will soon discover that there all dictatorship comes to an end.  However, whatever the faults of the organization, they may perhaps be eliminated more or less by a rational practice. I am willing, as the secretary of the International, to act as mediator between you and the Nuremberg majority, which has joined the International directly – of course, upon a rational basis. I have written to Leipsic to this effect. I do not ignore the difficulties of your position, and I never forget that everyone of us depends more upon circumstances than upon his will. I promise you, under all circumstances, that impartiality which my duty demands. On the other hand, I cannot promise that I shall not some day, in may capacity as a private writer, as soon as I may consider it absolutely necessary in the interest of the labor movement, publish a frank critique of the Lassallean superstition, as I did at one time with that of Proudhon. Assuring you personally of my sincere good will, I remain, Yours loyally, ‘Karl Marx'”. The newly created organization did not suit Schweitzer very long” [(*) Here Marx made the following marginal remark: “In the constitution of the International Workingmen’s Association a president is also mentioned. But is reality he never had any other function but that of presiding at the sessions of the General Council. At my suggestion the office was abolished in 1867, after I had already decline it in 1866, and his place was taken by a chairman, who was elected at each weekly session of the General Council. The London Trades Council also had only a chairman. Its permanent official is only the secretary, because he performs a continuous business function”. Thus wrote the “dictator” of the International. I must state for myself that Marx and Engels, even in their correspondence with me, never showed themselves as anything but advisers, and in severl important instances, their advice was not taken, because I considered that I was more familiar with the situation. Nevertheless I never had any serios differences with them. A.B.] [August Bebel, ‘Bebel’s Reminiscences. Part I’, New York, 1911]