1880 The Programme of the Workers Party

The Programme of the Workers Party


That the emancipation of the productive class is that of all human beings without distinction of sex or race; That the producers can be free only when they are in possession of the means of production (land, factories, ships, banks, credit);

That there are only two forms under which the means of production can belong to them

1) The individual form which has never existed in a general state and which is increasingly eliminated by industrial progress;

2) The collective form the material and intellectual elements of which are constituted by the very development of capitalist society;


That this collective appropriation can arise only from the revolutionary action of the productive class – or proletariat- organised in a distinct political party;

That a such an organisation must be pursued by all the means the proletariat has at its disposal including universal suffrage which will thus be transformed from the instrument of deception that it has been until now into an instrument of emancipation;

The French socialist workers, in adopting as the aim of their efforts the political and economic expropriation of the capitalist class and the return to community of all the means of production, have decided, as a means of organisation and struggle, to enter the elections with the following immediate demands:

A. Political Section

1) Abolition of all laws over the press, meetings and associations and above all the law against the International Working Men’s Association. Removal of the livret, that administrative control over the working class, and of all the articles of the Code establishing the inferiority of the worker in relation to the boss, and of woman in relation to man

2) Removal of the budget of the religious orders and the return to the nation of the ‘goods said to be mortmain, moveable and immoveable’ (decree by the Comune of 2 April 1871), including all the industrial and commercial annexes of these corporations;

3) Suppression of the public debt;

4) Abolition of standing armies and the general arming of the people;

5) The Commune to be master of its administration and its police.

B. Economic Section

1) One rest day each week or legal ban on employers imposing work more than six days out of seven. – Legal reduction of the working day to eight hours for adults. – A ban on children under fourteen years working in private workshops; and, between fourteen and sixteen years, reduction of the working day from eight to six hours;

2) Protective supervision of apprentices by the workers’ organisations;
3) Legal minimum wage, determined each year according to the local price of food, by a workers’ statistical commission
4) Legal prohibition of bosses employing foreign workers at a wage less than that of French workers;
5) Equal pay for equal work, for workers of both sexes;
6) Scientific and professional instruction of all children, with their maintenance the responsibility of society, represented by the state and the Commune;
7) Responsibility of society for the old and the disabled;
8 ) Prohibition of all interference by employers in the administration of workers’ friendly societies, provident societies, etc., which are returned to the exclusive control of the workers;
9) Responsibility of the bosses in the matter of accidents, guaranteed by a security paid by the employer into the workers’ funds, and in proportion to the number of workers employed and the danger that the industry presents;
10) Intervention by the workers in the special regulations of the various workshops; an end to the right usurped by the bosses to impose any penalty on their workers in the form of fines or withholding of wages (decree by the Commune of 27 April 1871);
11) Annulment of all the contracts that have alienated public property (banks, railways, mines, etc.), and the exploitation of all state-owned workshops to be entrusted to the workers who work there;

12) Abolition of all indirect taxes and transformation of all direct taxes into a progressive tax on incomes over 3,000 francs. Suppression of all inheritance on a collateral line and of all direct inheritance over 20,000 francs.



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