The International Workingmen's Association 1864
Rules, October 1864
between October 21 and 27, 1864;
First published: in The Bee-Hive Newspaper,
November 12, 1864, and in the pamphlet Address and Provisional Rules of the
Working Men's International Association ..., London, November 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
That the economical subjection of the man of labor to the
monopolizer of the means of labor — 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 economical 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 labor in each
country, and from the absence of a fraternal bond of union between the working
classes of different countries;
That the emancipation of labor 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;
For these reasons —
The International Working Men's Association has been
That 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 color, creed, or nationality;
acknowledges no rights without duties, no duties without rights;
And, in this spirit, the following Rules have
been drawn up.
- 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.
- The name of the society shall be "The International
Working Men's Association."
- There shall annually meet a General Working Men's
Congress, consisting of delegates of the branches of the Association. The
Congress will have to proclaim the common aspirations of the working class,
take the measures required for the successful working of the International
Association, and appoint the General Council of the society.
- Each Congress appoints the time and place of meeting
for the next Congress. The delegates assemble at the appointed time and place,
without any special invitation. The General Council may, in case of need,
change the place, but has no power to postpone the time of the General Council
annually. The Congress appoints the seat and elects the members of the General
Council annually. The General Council thus elected shall have power to add to
the number of its members.
On its annual meetings, the General Congress shall receive a public account of
the annual transactions of the General Council. The latter may, in case of
emergency, convoke the General Congress before the regular yearly term.
- The General Council shall 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.
- The General Council shall form an international agency
between the different and local groups of the Association, so that the
workingmen in one country be consistently 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. To facilitate the communications,
the General Council shall publish periodical reports.
- 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 General 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 General Council.
- Every section has the right to appoint its own
secretary corresponding directly with the General Council.
- Everybody who acknowledges and defends the principles
of the International Working Men's Association is eligible to become a member.
Every branch is responsible for the integrity of the members it admits.
- 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.
- While united in a perpetual bond of fraternal
co-operation, the workingmen's societies joining the International Association
will preserve their existent organizations intact.
- The present Rules may be revised by each Congress,
provided that two-thirds of the delegates present are in favor of such
- Everything not provided for in the present Rules will
be supplied by special Regulations, subject to the revision of every Congress.