The Gotha Program, (1875)

J. H. Robinson, ed.
Readings in European History,
(Boston: Ginn, 1906), 2: 617-619

Hanover Historical Texts Project
Scanned by Brooke Harris, October 1996.
Proofread by Angela Rubenstein, February 1997.
Proofread and pages added by Jonathan Perry, March 2001.

Robinson's Note: With the revolution of 1848 in France a new party, Working for economic as well as political changes, made its appearance, as we have seen. This movement was the outgrowth of the great industrial changes of the preceding half century. The efforts of its adherents were commonly directed towards some socialistic reorganization of society which should secure to the workingman a more generous share of the products of his labor than he could receive under the capitalistic system which had grown up. Of the many programmes of reform which have been drawn up by the labor leaders, the following, formulated at a great labor congress at Gotha in 1875, will serve as a statement of their chief economic doctrines.

[Page 617] 1. Labor is the source of all wealth, and of all civilization; and since it is only through society that generally productive labor is possible, the whole product of labor, where there is a general obligation to work, belongs to society, - that is, to all its members, by equal right, to each according to his reasonable needs.

In the society of to-day the means of production are a monopoly of the capitalistic class; the dependence of the working classes which results from this is the cause of misery and of servitude in all its forms.

[Page 618] The emancipation of labor requires the conversion of the means of production into the common property of society and the social regulation of all labor and its application for the general good, together with the just distribution of the product of labor.

The emancipation of labor must be the work of the laboring class itself, opposed to which all other classes are reactionary groups.

2. Proceeding from these principles, the socialist labor party of Germany endeavors by every lawful means to bring about a free state and a socialistic society, to effect the destruction of the iron law of wages by doing away with the system of wage labor, to abolish exploitation of every kind, and to extinguish all social and political inequality.

The socialist labor party of Germany, although for the time being confining its activity within national bounds, is fully conscious of the international character of the labor movement, and is resolved to meet all the obligations which this lays upon the laborer, in order to bring the brotherhood of all mankind to a full realization.

The Socialist labor party of Germany, in order to prepare the way for the solution of the social question, demands the establishment of socialistic productive associations with the support of the state and under the democratic control of the working people. These productive associations, for both industry and agriculture, are to be created to such an extent that the socialistic organization of all labor may result therefrom.

[In addition to the demand for universal suffrage for all above twenty years of age, secret ballot, freedom of the press, free and compulsory education, etc.,] the socialist labor party of Germany demands the following reforms in the present social organization: (1) the greatest possible extension of political rights and freedom in the sense of the above-mentioned demands; (2) a single progressive income tax, both state and local, instead of all the existing taxes, especially the indirect ones, which weigh heavily upon the people; (3) unlimited right of association; (4) a [Page 619] normal working day corresponding with the needs of society, and the prohibition of work on Sunday; (5) prohibition of child labor and all forms of labor by women which are dangerous to health or morality; (6) laws for the protection of the life and health of workmen, sanitary control of workmen's houses, inspection of mines, factories, workshops, and domestic industries by officials chosen by the workmen themselves, and an effective system of enforcement of the same; (7) regulation of prison labor.

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