A new agreement has opened the door to the digitization of the oldest information sources on Marxism and anarchism.
On 7 February 2008, Cor van den Bos (left), director of the insurance company Reaal Verzekeringen, and Hans van de Kar, Chairman of the IISG Foundation, signed a new contract regarding the archives that De Centrale Arbeiders Levensverzekerings Maatschappij (Central Workers Life Insurance Company) acquired on behalf of the IISG before the Second World War.
This includes several of the IISG's most famous collections, such as the historical archive of the German social-democratic movement, documents from and about the Commune of Paris, and anarchist material collected by Max Nettlau - or in other words, papers written by individuals such as Karl Marx, Karl Kautsky, Jules Guesde, Benoît Malon, Michail Bakunin and many others. The most exceptional aspect of this new agreement is that it allows for the duplication and/or digitization of all the documents concerned, which creates new possibilities for making them available.
The old contract had become outdated. The Centrale, which was established in 1904 by a number of committed social democrats, aimed to devote a share of the profits to the pursuit of cultural ends relating to the labour movement. From 1935 to the German invasion of the Netherlands (May 1940), the IISG, which had been established partly as a result of De Centrale's activities, was the primary beneficiary. In 1990, the insurance company was taken over by the Reaal Group, which has also chosen to house its own archive at the IISG.