Marx as a Migrant – A digital narrative

Karl Marx lived a long life as a migrant. Fleeing from the Prussian state, censorship and possible arrest, important stops on his journey were Paris, Brussels and London. These cities shaped his political activities, his engagement with political fellow-travellers, as well as his intellectual development and thus his entire work.

At the click of a mouse, you can follow Marx as a migrant from city to city. You can not only immerse yourself in his time, but also discover that even today, traces of his life and work continue to be seen in Paris, Brussels and London.

Each station takes about 45 minutes.


Marx as a Migrant

  • London
  • The First International

The Foundation of the International Workingmen's Association

London, September 1864, St. Martin’s Hall, Long Acre, an eight-minute walk from Greek Street. Marx takes part in a meeting convened by representatives of English trade unions and French reform socialists.

At this time, political life has reawakened in many European states: in Poland, there are uprisings against the tsarist rule; in England, workers openly support the industrialised North against the slave states in the American Civil War. They sympathise with the Italian national revolutionary Garibaldi and are increasingly organizing themselves into trade unions.

On the evening of 28 September 1864, more than 2,000 people have gathered in St. Martin’s Hall. At the end of the meeting they found the International Workingmen's Association, the First International. Karl Marx and the tailors Johann Georg Eccarius and Friedrich Lessner soon become the only Germans on the association’s 34-person general council. At the end of October, Marx authors the inaugural address and statutes.

He pays tribute to the introduction of the 10-hour workday in England and to the cooperative movement, but notes that the ruling classes would stand in the way of real freedom for the working classes.