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The Socialists: Ferdinand Lassalle: Excerpt from "Open Letter" (1863)

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It is almost wholly narrow-minded to believe that political movements and developments should be of no concern to the workers!

On the contrary, the worker can expect fulfillment of his interests only from political action.

Already the question of how to assemble and discuss your interests, how to form associations and branch associations to safeguard those interests, is a question dependent upon the political situation and political legislation, and therefore it is not even worthwhile to refute such a narrow-minded view by way of further exposition.

But no less erroneous and misleading was the opposing view that you should view yourself simply as an appendage of the Progressive Party!

It would indeed be unfair not to acknowledge that, at that time, the Prussian Progressive Party rendered a certain, if modest, service on behalf of political freedom during its conflict with the Prussian government by sticking to the right of budgetary approval and by its resistance to military re-organization in Prussia.

Nevertheless, even back then the fulfillment of this demand was completely ruled out for the following reasons:

First of all, an attitude like this was, from the outset, not befitting so powerful and independent a party – a party pursuing more principled political goals – as the German Workers' Party has to be, [when] compared to a party, which, like the Prussian Progressive Party, has in principal only planted its flag on the Prussian constitution, and takes as the focus of its struggles such things as the rejection of a one-sided change in the military organization – which has not been attempted in other German lands – or the maintenance of the right of budgetary approval – which has not even been disputed in other German lands.

Secondly, in any event, it was never certain whether the Prussian Progressive Party will carry out its conflict with the Prussian government with the dignity and energy which alone is suitable to the working class and [which] can count on its warm sympathy.

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