Long Live the Party! The Hainfeld Programme of Austrian Social Democracy (1888/89)
Long Live the Party! The Hainfeld Programme of Austrian Social Democracy (1888/89)

Long Live the Party! The Hainfeld Programme of Austrian Social Democracy (1888/89)


Declaration of principles of the Austrian Social Democratic Workers’ Party

The Austrian Social Democratic Workers Party fights for the emancipation of the people as a whole – without distinction of nation, race and sex – from the chains of economic dependence, for their political rights and for their elevation from intellectual enslavement. The cause of this unworthy situation is not to be found in individual political institutions, but in the fact that the means of production are monopolised in the hands of individual owners, which determines and commands the nature of society. The owner of labour power, the working class, thereby becomes the slave of the owner of the means of production, the capitalist class, whose economic and political domination finds expression in the contemporary state. The individual ownership of the means of production, which politically means the class state, means increasing mass poverty and the growing impoverishment of ever broader layers of society.

Through technological development and the colossal growth of the productive forces, this form of property proves not only to be superfluous, but this form will also be abolished for the overwhelming majority of society, whilst simultaneously the necessary intellectual and material preconditions for the form of common ownership will be created.

Transferring the means of production into the collective property of the whole of the working people thus not only means the liberation of the working class, but also the fulfilment of a historically necessary development. The bearer of this development can only be the proletariat: class-conscious and organised into a political party. To organise the proletariat politically, to imbue it with consciousness of its condition and its tasks, to make it fit for action both intellectually and physically and to sustain this is therefore the real programme of the Austrian Social-Democratic Workers Party. In bringing this about, it will make use of all appropriate methods corresponding to the people’s sense of justice. The party will, and also must, adapt its tactics to the respective conditions, in particular to the behaviour of its enemies.

However, the following general principles will be deployed:

  1. The Austrian Social-Democratic Worker’s Party is an international party. It condemns the privileges of nations just as it condemns those of birth, possession and ancestry. Because exploitation itself is international, our party declares the battle against exploitation to be international.
  2. To spread socialist ideas, it will fully exploit all means of the public press, associations and meetings. It will fight for the abolition of all chains on freedom of expression (the emergency law, the press law, the laws on assembly and association).
  3. Without deceiving itself in any way about the value of parliamentarism, which is a form of modern class rule, it will strive for, as one of its most important methods of agitation and organisation, for universal, equal and direct suffrage for both sexes to all representative bodies in the Diet, as one of the most important means of agitation and organisation.
  4. If, within the framework of the modern form of economic order, the reduction of working-class living standards and its growing impoverishment are to be offset to some extent, then consistent and honest labour-protection legislation (most extensive restrictions on working hours, the abolition of child labour etc.) must be fought for and their implementation must be overseen by the workers themselves. Thus we must also fight for the unrestricted freedom of assembly for workers in specialist unions.
  5. Free, obligatory and non-denominational primary and secondary education, as well as free access to higher education, is absolutely necessary to the future interests of the working class; the necessary precondition of this is the separation of church and state, the declaration of religion to be a private affair.
  6. The cause of the constant danger of war is the standing army, the growing burden of which alienates the people from its cultural tasks. It is therefore necessary to fight for the replacement of the standing army by arming the people.
  7. The Social-Democratic Workers Party will give its view on all important political and economical questions, represent the class interests of the proletariat at all times, always and energetically oppose the obfuscation of class differences and using the workers for the benefit of the ruling parties.
  8. We demand the removal of all indirect taxes and the introduction of a single direct, progressive income tax. The poorer they are, the more that indirect taxes adversely affect the population, as they are placed on life’s necessities. They are a means of exploiting and deceiving the working people.

Unity resolution

Considering that the dispute between the factions has heavily damaged the interests of the party and therefore the interests of the working class, the development of the party has removed those few issues which, having been greatly exaggerated by the intrigue and pressure of the enemies of the working class, as well as through the objectionable nurture of the cult of personality, caused the party to split. Considering that the unification of the party corresponds to the will energetically expressed by comrades throughout the whole country, this party congress, in the presence of members of both former factions, concludes:

By adopting this programme, the party conference declares the party dispute to be finished and expects honest and fraternal commitment to the party from every party comrade, as well as energetic and intrepid work on the common ground of our programme in the best interests of the working class’s struggle for emancipation.

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