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Political Principles of the Social Democratic Party (May 1946)

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II. The immediate measures

Nationalization must begin with natural resources and basic industries. All enterprises involved in mining and the production and processing of iron and steel – including the manufacture of semi-finished products – must be nationalized, along with the better part of the chemical and synthetic industries, all large enterprises in general, all types of public utilities, and all segments of the manufacturing industry that are pushing to become large-scale enterprises.

A cooperative philosophy must be encouraged; enterprises in the crafts sector, commerce, and agriculture must work together on common operational tasks, and consumer cooperatives must be given the broadest support.

Socialist planning encompasses all means of transportation, the insurance system, and the supply of money and loans, which must be organized anew.

Agrarian and Land Reform

Fundamental agrarian and land reform, including the expropriation of large landholders, must be introduced immediately. Ownership and management of large land holdings must be transferred to individuals, as part of farms, small plots or settlements, or they must be transferred to cooperative farms under joint ownership. They must not be broken up in a manner that jeopardizes their efficiency. This is the precondition for social justice in the countryside, for finally providing more people with housing, for finding an initial solution to ending the hardship of our refugees, for promoting production, and for increasing food supplies for the German people.

Small and medium-sized enterprises in agriculture, commerce, industry, and the crafts sector will have to perform important tasks in the economic order sought by the Social Democrats, and they should evolve within this framework.

The German housing sector must be placed under the strictest public control. It must be financed by all of society and not only by the communities that suffered destruction. Housing procurement is among the most urgent of tasks. In a period of housing shortages, providing sufficient accommodations for all is the top priority, not the comfort of a few.

Equalization of Burdens – Financial Reform

The equalization of burdens requires fundamental, all-encompassing financial and monetary reform. A minimum level of subsistence must be guaranteed, and mass consumption must be sustained. Burdens must be shared between the haves and the have-nots in order to create a society without privileged or disadvantaged groups.

With its economic policy, German Social Democracy strives for the economic liberation of the individual. For this reason, it views socialism as the program of workers, of employees and civil servants, of those in intellectual professions and of the middle class, of farmers, and of all people who live by the fruit of their own labor and not by the means of capitalist exploitation.

Only when all forms of exploitation have been overcome will people enjoy their full rights and be able to develop personal values.

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