“One of the real tasks of the Revolution of 1848 – and the ‘real’, and not illusory tasks of a revolution are always solved as a consequence of this revolution – was the constitution of the suppressed  and scattered nationalities of Central Europe, provided they were at all viable and provided especially that they were ripe for independence. This task was accomplished by the executors of the revolution, Bonaparte, Cavour, and Bismarck for Italy, Hungary, and Germany in accordance with the then prevailing conditions. There remained Ireland and Poland. We may leave Ireland out of consideration here, since it affects the situation on the European continent only very indirectly. But Poland is situated  in the center of the continent, and the maintenance of its partition is the very tie which binds the Holy Alliance together again and again. We have, therefore, great interest in Poland. It is historically impossible for a great people even to discuss internal problems of any kind seriously, as long as it lacks national independence. Before 1859 there was no question of socialism in Italy; even the number of Republicans was small, although they formed the most active element. Only after 1861 the Republicans increased in influence and later transferred their best elements to the Socialists. The same was true in Germany. Lassalle was at the point of giving up his work as a failure, when he had the fortune of being shot. Only when in the year 1866 the greater Prussian unity of petty Germany [‘die grosspreussische Einheit Kleindeutschlands’] had been actually decided, the Lassallean, as well as the so-called Eisenach parties assumed some importance. And only after 1870 when the Bonapartist appetite of intervention had been removed definitively the thing got really going. If we still had the old ‘Bundestag’, where would be our Party? The same happened in Hungary. Only after 1860 it was drawn into the modern movement: fraud on top, socialism below. An international movement of the proletariat is possible only among independent nations. The little bit of republican internationalism between 1830 and 1848, was grouped around France which was destined to free Europe. ‘Hence it increased French chauvinism’ in such a way as to cause the world-liberating mission of France and with it France’s native right to be in the lead to get in our way every day even now. (The Blanquists present a caricature of this view, but it is still very strong also among Malon and company). Also in the International the Frenchmen considered this point of view as fairly obvious. Only historical events could teach them – and several others also – and still must teach them daily that international cooperation is possible only among ‘equals’, and even a ‘primus inter pares’ can exist at best for immediate action. So long as Poland is partitioned and subjugated, therefore, neither a strong socialist party can develop in the country itself, nor can there arise real international intercourse between the proletarian parties in Germany, etc., with ‘other than emigré Poles’. Every Polish peasant or worker who wakes up from the general gloom and participates in the common interest, encounters fist the fact of national subjugation. This fact is in his way everywhere as the first barrier. To remove it is the basic condition of every healthy and free development. Polish socialists who do not place the liberation of their country at the head of their program, appear to me as would German socialists who do not demand first and foremost repeal of the socialist law; freedom of the press, association, and assembly. In order to be able to fight one needs first a soil to stand on, air, light, and space. Otherwise all is idle chatter. It is unimportant whether a reconstitution of Poland is possible ‘before’ the next revolution. ‘We’ have in no case the task to deter the Poles from their effort to fight for the vital conditions of their future development, or to persuade them that national independence is a very secondary matter from the international point of view. On the contrary, independence is the basis of any common international action” [Nationalism, Internationalism and the Polish Question (1882)] [Karl Marx Engels Friedrich. A Collection of Articles, Speeches, Letters and News Despatches Selected and Edited by Paul W. Blackstock  and Bert F. Hoselitz, G. Allen & Unwin, London, 1953]