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The Erfurt Program (1891)

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For the protection of the working classes, the German Social Democratic Party demands, first of all:

1. Effective national and international worker protection laws on the following principles:

(a) Fixing of a normal working day not to exceed eight hours.

(b) Prohibition of gainful employment for children under the age of fourteen.

(c) Prohibition of night work, except in those industries that require night work for inherent technical reasons or for reasons of public welfare.

(d) An uninterrupted rest period of at least thirty-six hours every week for every worker.

(e) Prohibition of the truck system.

2. Supervision of all industrial establishments, investigation and regulation of working conditions in the cities and the countryside by a Reich labor department, district labor bureaus, and chambers of labor. Rigorous industrial hygiene.

3. Legal equality of agricultural laborers and domestic servants with industrial workers; abolition of the laws governing domestics.

4. Safeguarding of the freedom of association.

5. Takeover by the Reich government of the entire system of workers’ insurance, with decisive participation by the workers in its administration.

Source: Protokoll des Parteitages der Sozialdemokratischen Partei Deutschlands: Abgehalten zu Erfurt vom 14. bis 20. Oktober 1891 [Minutes of the Party Congress of the Social Democratic Party of Germany: Held in Erfurt from October 14-October 20, 1891]. Berlin, 1891, pp. 3-6.

Translation: Thomas Dunlap

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