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Programme of the Socialistic Working Men's Party of GermanyEdit

Gotha, May 1875

I. Labour is the source of all wealth and all culture, and as useful work in general is possible only through society, so to society, that is to all its members, the entire product belongs; while as the obligation to labour is universal, all have an equal right to such product, each one according to his reasonable needs.

In the existing society the instruments of labour are a monopoly of the capitalist class; the subjection of the working class thus arising is the cause of misery and servitude in every form.

The emancipation of the working class demands the transformation of the instruments of labour into the common property of society and the co-operative control of the total labour, with application of the product of labour to the common good, and just distribution of the same.

The emancipation of labour must be the work of the labouring class, in contrast to which all other classes are only a reactionary mass.


II. Proceeding from these principles, the socialistic working men's party of Germany aims by all legal means at the establishment of the free state, and the socialistic society, to destroy the iron law of wages by abolishing the system of wage-labour, to put an end to exploitation in every form, to remove all social and political inequality.

The socialistic working men's party of Germany, though acting first of all within the national limits, is conscious of the international character of the labour movement, and resolved to fulfil all the duties which this imposes on the workmen, in order to realise the universal brotherhood of men.

In order to prepare the way for the solution of the social question, the socialistic working men's party of Germany demands the establishment of socialistic productive associations with State help under the democratic control of the labouring people. The productive associations are to be founded on such a scale both for industry and agriculture that out of them may develop the socialistic organisation of the total labour.

The socialistic working men's party of Germany demands as the basis of the State :—

  1. Universal, equal, and direct right of electing and voting, with secret and obligatory voting, of all citizens from twenty years of age, for all elections and deliberations in the State and local bodies. The day of election or voting must be a Sunday or holiday.
  2. Direct legislation by the people. Questions of war and peace to be decided by the people.
  3. Universal military duty. A people's army in place of the standing armies.
  4. Abolition of all exceptional laws, especially as regards the press, unions, and meetings, and generally of all laws which restrict freedom of thought and inquiry.
  5. Administration of justice by the people. Free justice.
  6. Universal and equal education by the State. Compulsory education. Free education in all public places of instruction. Religion declared to be a private concern.

The socialistic working men's party demands within the existing society:

  1. Greatest possible extension of political rights and liberties in the sense of the above demands.
  2. A single progressive income-tax for State and commune, instead of the existing taxes, and especially of the indirect taxes that oppress the people.
  3. Unrestricted right of combination.
  4. A normal working-day corresponding to the needs of society. Prohibition of Sunday labour.
  5. Prohibition of labour of children, and of all women's labour that is injurious to health and morality.
  6. Laws for the protection of the life and health of workmen. Sanitary control of workmen's dwellings. Inspection of mines, of factories, workshops, and home industries by officials chosen by the workmen. An effective Employers' Liability Act.
  7. Regulation of prison labour.
  8. Workmen's funds to be under the entire control of the workmen.