Marx in Neue Rheinische Zeitung November 1848

Tax Refusal and the Countryside

Source: MECW Volume 8, p. 39;
Written: by Marx on November 18, 1848;
First published: in the Neue Rheinische Zeitung No. 147 (second edition), November 19, 1848

Cologne, November 18. Lack of space prevents publication today of the numerous fresh messages of support for the National Assembly in Berlin. They will be published in one of our next issues.[54]

There are reports that barricades have been erected in Wittlich (Trier administrative district) to prevent the entry of the 27th Regiment. We have an eyewitness report that townsmen in Berncastel are sharpening up old lances and manufacturing scythes with which they mean to hasten to Wittlich.

It is reported that in Bonn force was used at the gates to bring in flour and cattle tax-free and that this led to a conflict.

Today the new acting Chief Burgomaster of this city, Herr Gräff, Counsellor of the Court of Appeal, protected by a body of armed men who occupied the entrance to the Town Hall, first attended a sitting of the Municipal Council. In order to prevent possible conflicts in case of refusal to pay the slaughter tax on the oxen to be brought in in the next few days by the cattle-dealers, the Municipal Council is said to have decided to send a deputation to meet the dealers at the gate and come to an agreement with them.

The following report has reached us from Westphalia:

“The Neue Rheinische Zeitung has already succeeded in having the tax-collector who was sent the day before yesterday from Arnsherg to Neheim forced to leave almost empty-handed, since the peasants refused to pay any taxes at all.”

We have received similar reports from various country places in the Rhine Province.

Berlin can only be safeguarded through the revolutionary energy of the provinces. The larger provincial towns, in particular the provincial capitals, can only be safeguarded through the revolutionary energy of the countryside. The refusal to pay taxes (whether direct or indirect taxes) gives the countryside the best opportunity to serve the revolution.