Workers Unite!

The International 150 Years Later
London–New York: Bloomsbury
xviii + 312 pages

Major political and economic shifts have succeeded one another over the past twenty-five years. The rise to prominence of ecological issues, social changes generated by neoliberal globalization, and - most recently - one of the worst world economic crises ever, compels us to reflect urgently on the need for alternatives to the capitalist system.

In its brief life, the International Working Men's Association (IWMA) became the symbol of class struggle and influenced the ideas of millions of workers all over the planet. The 150th anniversary of its birth (1864-2014) offers an important opportunity to reread their resolutions, to learn from the experiences of its protagonists, and to better theorize solutions to our contemporary issues.

This sourcebook includes the most valuable documents (30 appearing for the first time in English) of all the currents of the IWMA, and, in his introduction, acclaimed scholar Marcello Musto provides critical evaluations to the texts and to their historical context.

Carefully selected and translated, this volume is an invaluable resource for all those interested in the foundations of labor movement history's as well as in the critique of capitalism.


"An incredible collection."
Noam Chomsky, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
"Workers Unite! may be the most important piece of wisdom we will ever hear. In this book, the founding of the International Working Men's Association, receives a 150 birthday salute worthy of one of humanity's greatest, albeit least known, accomplishments. An extraordinary collection, often surprising, never dull, and full of insights and arguments, most of which-sadly enough-are still relevant. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED to everyone young enough in mind to learn something truly new from what appears to be old and over."
Bertell Ollman, New York University
"This wonderful book by Musto responds to the question: What does it mean to construct a revolution? In the decade before and after the Paris Commune communists discovered what that meant, and they proposed a non-utopian project: they didn't just imagine the impossible but demonstrated how to realize it. With the foundation of the International, the working class asserted its political realism."
Antonio Negri, University of Padua

Table of contents

Preface xiii
Marcello Musto

Introduction 1
Marcello Musto

The International Working Men’s Association: Addresses, Resolutions, Interventions, Documents 69

Part 1: The Inaugural Address 71

Part 2: The Political Program 81

Part 3: Labour 97

Part 4: Trade Union and Strike 117

Part 5: Cooperative Movement and Credit 145

Part 6: On Inheritance 157

Part 7: Collective Ownership and the State 167

Part 8: Education 201

Part 9: The Commune of Paris 209

Part 10: Internationalism and Opposition to War 225

Part 11: The Irish Question 245

Part 12: Concerning the United States 253

Part 13: Political Organization 263

Appendix: Eugène Pottier, The Internationale 300
Bibliography 303
Index 308