Erfurt Program

Erfurt Program - "Protection of the Working Class and All...

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“Protection of the Working Class and All Others Through the Erfurt Program” John Hargreaves History 101 Fall 2007
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Unlike Karl Marx’s beliefs that through class struggle would come a revolution, the Erfurt Program called for more legal, political action. Formed by social democrats August Bebel and Karl Kautsky, the Program calls for five important measures to improve the daily lives of workers, as well as ten demands to improve the quality of life for all citizens (Biesinger). Adopted by the Social Democratic Party of Germany in 1891, the Erfurt Program makes clear of its intended protection of the working class and equality for all people. Calling for an immediate end to capitalism, Kautsky declared socialists must strive to improve the lives of the working class rather than focus on an idealistic political and social revolution (Pigou). What must be done first was to completely eliminate capitalism and replace it with a socialist ownership of means of labor. Therefore, the profit associated with means of labor and production was the cause of unjust labor practices in the workplace. By eliminating capitalism and the profit from factors of production, safer and fairer treatment of workers would be seen in factories and plants. Firstly, the Erfurt Program called for legislation for the protection of labor on a national as well as international level. The creation of a normal workday was declared, not to exceed eight hours of labor per day. Workers were also required an unbroken rest period of no less than thirty-six hours per week. Night-work was prohibited, with the exception of industries where overnight work was required. Also, children under the age of fourteen were prohibited from any type of employment. Finally, the truck-system was to be abolished, requiring workers to be paid money instead of goods or services. These first demands focused mainly on the conditions of the
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Erfurt Program - "Protection of the Working Class and All...

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