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The Social Democratic Workers’ Party, Eisenach Program (August 8, 1869)

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III. Subsequent demands to be raised by the agitation of the Social Democratic Workers’ Party are:

1. Granting of universal, equal, direct, and secret suffrage to all men aged 20 and over for elections to the [North German] parliament, the parliaments [Landtage] of the German states, the provincial and municipal assemblies, and any other representational bodies. The elected parliamentary deputies are to be granted adequate per diem pay.

2. Introduction of direct legislation (i.e., the right to make and reject proposals) through the people.

3. Abolition of all privileges attached to class, property, birth, and religious faith.

4. Establishment of a people’s militia in place of standing armies.

5. Separation of the church from the state and of schools from the church.

6. Obligatory classes in elementary schools and free instruction at all public educational institutes.

7. Independence of the courts; introduction of trial by jury and specific trades courts; introduction of public and oral court proceedings, as well as the administration of justice at no cost.

8. Abolition of all laws aimed against the press, associations, and labor unions; introduction of the normal workday; restriction of female labor and a ban on child labor.

9. Abolition of all indirect taxes* and introduction of one progressive income tax and inheritance tax.

10. State support of the cooperative system and state loans for free producers’ cooperatives subject to democratic guarantees.

[Numbers IV. to XVIII. deal with organizational questions.]

XIX. The party members commit themselves on the basis of the party program to engage everywhere in founding Social Democratic workers’ associations.

* Meaning excise or consumer taxes.

Source: “Eisenacher Programm der Sozialdemokratie, 8. August 1869” [“Eisenach Program for Social Democracy, August 8, 1869”], in Wilhelm Liebknecht, ed., Demokratisches Wochenblatt [Democratic Weekly], vol. 2, no. 33, August 14, 1869, pp. 374-5. (reprint Leipzig, 1969).

Original German text reprinted in Hans Fenske, ed., Der Weg zur Reichsgründung 1850-1870 [The Path to the Founding of the Reich 1850-1870]. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchsgesellschaft, 1977, pp. 405-07.

Translation: Erwin Fink

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