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Socialist Workers’ Party of Germany, Gotha Program (May 1875)

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The Socialist Labor party of Germany demands as the foundation of the state:

1. Universal, equal and direct suffrage, with secret, obligatory voting by all citizens at all elections in state or community.

2. Direct legislation by the people. Decision as to peace or war by the people.

3. Common right to bear arms. Militia instead of the standing army.

4. Abolition of all laws of exception, especially all laws restricting the freedom of the press, of association and assemblage; above all, all laws restricting the freedom of public opinion, thought and investigation.

5. Legal judgment through the people. Gratuitous administration of law.

6. Universal and equal popular education by the state. Universal compulsory education. Free instruction in all forms of art. Declaration that religion is a private matter.

The Socialist Labor party of Germany demands within the present society:

1. The widest possible expansion of political rights and freedom according to the foregoing demands.

2. A progressive income tax for state and municipality instead of all those existing, especially in place of the indirect tax which burdens the people.

3. Unrestrained right of combination.

4. Shortening of the working day according to the needs of society. Abolition of Sunday labor.

5. Abolition of child labor and all female labor injurious to health and morality.

6. Protective laws for the life and health of the worker. Sanitary control of the homes of the workers. Supervision of the mines, factories, workshops and hand industries by an officer elected by the people. An effectual law of enforcement.

7. Regulation of prison labor.

8. Full autonomy in the management of all laborers’ fraternal and mutual benefit funds.

Source of English translation: Wilhelm Liebknecht, Socialism: What It Is and What it Seeks to Accomplish. Chicago: Charles H. Kerr & Company, 1901, pp. 5-7; reprinted in Theodore S. Hamerow, ed., The Age of Bismarck: Documents and Interpretations. New York: Harper & Row, 1973, pp. 230-32.

Source of Original German text: Protokoll des Vereinigungs-Kongresses der Sozialdemokraten Deutschlands, abgehalten zu Gotha vom 22. bis 27. Mai 1875 [Protocol of the Unity-Congress of German Social Democrats, held at Gotha from May 22-27, 1875]. Leipzig, 1875, pp. 78-79; reprinted in Hans Fenske, ed., Im Bismarckschen Reich 1871-1890 [In the Bismarckian Reich 1871-1890]. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1978, pp. 141-42.

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