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Does anybody have primary sources of Friedrich Engels explicitly supporting the Chartist movement? (Chartism was a mid-19th century political movement)
While Friedrich Engels found much to admire in the Chartist movement and was "closely connected" to it, he was critical of its restraint from "violent revolution".
Engels wrote extensively on the Chartist movement, most notably in The Condition of the Working Class (1845). Between 1843 and 1849 he wrote for the Chartist newspaper Northern Star (his articles can be seen here). There is also this article, The Chartist Movement in the November 22, 1847 edition of La Réforme.
For Marx and Engels,
Chartism was the political embodiment of working-class insurgency in the the first industrial nation, presaging social revolution.
Ralph Fox, writing in the Communist Review (1931) calls Marx and Engels 'Chartists':
Their own political tactics they based largely on the experience of the Chartists.
saw the movement in its beginning as a revolutionary democratic movement,…
However, in The Condition of the Working Class in England (1845), when comparing Chartists and Socialists, he wrote:
The Chartists are theoretically the more backward, the less developed, but they are genuine proletarians all over, the representatives of their class. The Socialists are more farseeing, propose practical remedies against distress, but, proceeding originally from the bourgeoisie, are for this reason unable to amalgamate completely with the working-class.
The Chartist movement eventually split into several factions but, even its early days, there were (unsurprisingly) differences within the movement. On George Julian Harney's The London Democratic Association, Engels called it
"the most Radical faction of the English party of the movement in 1838-39." "This most Radical faction," wrote Engels, "consisted of Chartists and of proletarians… who clearly saw before them the aim of the Chartist movement and who strove to speed up its realisation."
Engels was critical of the
"the majority of Chartists [who] were still thinking only of the transfer of state power into the hands of the working class, and only a few had yet managed to think about the use of this power,… "
On the failure of Chartism to bring about a violent revolution, Engels (along with Marx) saw that the
culprit was "legal revolution" that "paralyzed everything"; "a contradiction in itself, a practical impossibility."
"The peculiarly English respect for law still restrains them from this violent revolution."