A socialist program

- Yg. 1921, No. 49 -

Draft of a commitment to the public sector, written before the Görlitz congress of the SPD 1921 by a non-Marxist for a Marxist

We are separated by two generations from the communist manifesto and one from the Erfurt program. The economic development of bourgeois society has largely taken the course predicted for it, and we have seen the day on which the Socialists seized power to inherit the capitalists.

At this turning point in socialist history, there is a heavy disappointment. There was no use in believing in his better law and in the possession of his stronger power. The attempt to achieve the victory ended in defeat.

It was not lacking in the maturity of things, but in the maturity of the people. There is no need to despair, but from understanding and relearning new power can be gained. In vain our opponents claim that our cause is failing in the natural essence of humanity. It is for us to prove that our weaknesses are not innate but artificial, not immutable, but surmountable.

We suffered from the illusion of having the virtue of public mind. Had not we perhaps had no opportunity yet to exercise the vices of vile desires and actions? We need conscious self-discipline in order to prove ourselves in the future as true socialists, who in their ranks do not tolerate any act at the expense of the community.

We underestimated the skills of entrepreneurship, which is more experienced and conscientious than we knew. We have to keep in mind that, at the moment of true socialization, we have a task and not a solution to it, so that it is necessary to bring the valuable qualities of capitalism into socialism.

It was not enough to see the hoped-for goal in outline. We imagined the transition from capitalism to smooth and simple, too automatic and too schematic. We will gradually realize that the world of our orders also requires more than the little multiplication table.

We come from the age of acquisition and success. We complain of the trespasses of ambition and greed. But as long as a remnant of envy and resentment clouds our gaze and will, we are in danger of blind rage. Even the much-despised private property of the means of production has both sides of light, which every socialist community will appreciate, as well as shadows whose secret worship even a socialist community can not afford. It is more necessary to eliminate today's ownership of the property than the current owner.

We have not yet outgrown the childhood of the technological upheaval. Otherwise we would calmly consider and understand the at least ambiguous character of rationally intended production, namely, the blessing of its planned fulfillment of needs and the curse of its hopeless excitement, that not only the entrepreneurs, but also we continually help to destroy the first by the second looking for a nap. The work of constructive and organizational art is accomplished if it provides the community with a moderate life-span on all its members. By the way, being a socialist means restricting his claims to the community.

To be a socialist means not only to set up the gear of the economy beyond capitalism, but also to set the goal in the name of the community. The economy is not there for its own sake. Therefore, the uncritical tampering with productivity is bad for a socialist. After the sweet bites of the rewarded diligence, we have tasted the sour aftertaste that accompanies every social work. The more one perfects it, the clearer it is to the person who performs it (as long as the machine does not entirely displace it), a service whose freedom, in the most favorable case, permits voluntary obedience, whether private or community-appointed the arrangements are made. It is not socialist, but liberal and democratic thought, if one wants to allow the unavoidable tightest discipline of the social enterprise by inconvenience freely or through rights of co-determination.

Within the socialist circle, it is imperative that every able-bodied perform an equivalent amount of executive work, and that every living person receives an equivalent quantity of the goods thus produced. On the other hand, outside the socialist circle, it is forbidden to produce goods through socialized labor. This is what the socialist conception of freedom and justice, whose third sister in the league, brotherhood, of the nineteenth century had been forgotten, looks like.

Ever since it became apparent that agriculture and many other industries did not follow industry's rules of concentration, we wavered whether we should go to the factory or away from the factory. The socialist community beware of a doctrinaire either-or and recognize the practical part. The less goods the community needs to produce through socialized labor, the better it will be able to relieve the pain between the individual and the community. By imposing all phenomena on the face of the class struggle between the industrial bourgeoisie and the proletariat, socialism alienates those numerous neutrals that would attach to it as soon as it changed the front.

The arbitrary tradesman, recently renamed as Schieber, represents the real enemy of socialism. It is he who whispers in the dark even among us. Alright with him! Not his business, but our agreement determines the form and content of our welfare. His kingdom, this middle ground between market and plan, was divided into the two kingdoms: the all-binding plan and the no-binding market.

The socialist has to rise above the shyness of his predecessors. It does not fit in with its nature to treat the state like a raincoat, which is kept in the closet in the usual weather and, in bad weather, accused of allowing moisture to pass through it. The socialist state is identical to society. It issues its laws on a democratic basis and transfers to the socialist economy, under public responsibility, the powers which are today received and enjoyed by private persons, such as gifts of divine grace. The socialist feels in the state as a soldier and eliminates the unworthy state in which the state is a ridiculously fiscal-bureaucratic competitor of the class that harnesses its interests.

Every people is capable of giving birth to such socialism; but each also to join a socialism of peoples. There will also be room among peoples for international relations to be established only where distress dictates, but beyond that limit left to the nations to remain what they are: grown organisms that are mutually exclusive for reasons of blood and home deviate in their manners and customs. Let us also sacrifice the merchant ideal which hid the imperialist instincts behind a commercial monotony, and we convert ourselves to the republic of humanity, which as rarely as possible begins the quarrel between singular and plural and never lets it end at the expense of the whole.


1. Socialism, in the chain between man and humanity, takes sides in favor of the party as long as it allows the welfare of the whole, and in favor of the whole party, as soon as it requires the welfare of the part.

2. Socialism sanctifies institutions such as property insofar as they serve the whole or do not affect the welfare of the whole, and desecrate institutions such as property, in so far as they relate the whole in part without promoting the whole. Within the production required by the whole socialism knows only a conditional private property, which can be removed as punishment for violations of the social order and on which the society has the fore given voluntary renouncement of the individual. Outside of social production, private property enjoys the unconditional protection of society.

3. Socialism distinguishes between:
(a) executive company service (eg, the metal worker, the clerk, the railway conductor),
b) paid-for free labor (eg housewife, craftsman, farmer, doctor, teacher),
c) free activity required by the company (eg the industrial director, the administrative officer, the Member),
d) other freelance work (eg the artist, the writer, the part-time employee).
Anyone who performs b) may be exempted from a). Among all those who do not perform b), a) is distributed evenly, even if they do c) and d). In other words, a) and b) do not count as services, c) and d); a) is rationed according to plan, b) taken into account on a scheduled basis, c) and d) treated according to the market principle.

4. Socialism admits to the whole, to determine, how much social service (3 a) is to be done annually. To this end, he notes the size of the total annual demand for production and consumption and how much of it is produced by paid-for-nothing labor (3 b); Included in this bill is the social import and export. Socialism, except in the context of social service, prohibits sharing work as ordered and executed; In particular, socialism allows any part-time free activity (3 d) only on the condition that it takes place without division of labor. In other words, socialism makes labor-based work dependent on public concession and control.

5. Socialism reserves the right to claim the service fees (3 a) continuously (as daily hours of service) or intermittently (as years of service), as appropriate. However, the amount of service allocated to the life of a worker (except 3 b) is calculated exactly the same. Likewise, exactly the same parity (age differences!) The socially uniform as possible work product distributed among the consumers. Socialism does not shy away from the uniformity of this social substructure, because it believes that it spares time enough to allow each and every one of them to care for the personal nuances outside the social service.

6. Socialism grants self-government to the social economy within the state. The central organs of this self-government are to be filled in equal proportions with the organizing and executive functionaries of society. In the individual company, the full responsibility lies with the organizing functionary. The state (rule of law) confines itself to the economic framework legislation before which it hears the economy.

7. Socialism is aware of the geographic and ethnographic differences on earth. He wishes to apply to the relationship between peoples and humanity the same theses as to every relation between individuals and a whole. But he can imagine, for example, that a people chooses the lot of austerity instead of emigration, without being allowed to demand from mankind a relief of this lot.

1921, 49 ***

The birth pangs of a new age announced so loudly have turned out to be ordinary indigestion.

1922, 43 momos