R. C. K. (Robert Charles Kirkwood) Ensor.

Modern socialism, as set forth by socialists in their speeches, writings, and programmes; online

. (page 30 of 35)
Online LibraryR. C. K. (Robert Charles Kirkwood) EnsorModern socialism, as set forth by socialists in their speeches, writings, and programmes; → online text (page 30 of 35)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

of political rights except in case of tutelage.

2. Direct legislation by the people by means of the initia-
tive and referendum. Self-determination and self-government
of the people in empire, state, province, and commune.
Authorities to be elected by the people ; to be responsible and
bound. Taxes to be voted annually.

3. Education of all to be capable of bearing arms. Armed
nation instead of standing army. Decision of war and peace
by the representatives of the people. Settlement of all inter-
national disputes by the method of arbitration.

4. Abolition of all laws which curtail or suppress the free
expression of opinion and the right of association and assembly.

5. Abolition of all laws which are prejudicial to women in
their relations to men in public or private law.

6. Declaration that religion is a private matter. Abolition
of all contributions from public funds to ecclesiastical and
religious objects. Ecclesiastical and religious communities are
to be treated as private associations, which manage their affairs
quite independently.

7. Secularization of education. Compulsory attendance of
public primary schools. No charges to be made for instruc-
tion, school requisites, and maintenance, in the public primary
schools ; nor in the higher educational institutions for those
students, male and female, who in virtue of their capacities are
considered fit for further training.

8. No charges to be made for the administration of the
law, or for legal assistance. Judgment by popularly elected
judges. Appeal in criminal cases. Indemnification of inno-
cent persons prosecuted, arrested, or condemned. Abolition
of the death-penalty.

9. No charges to be made for medical attendance, includ-
ing midwifery and medicine. No charges to be made for
death certificates.

10. Graduated taxes on income and property, to meet all
public expenses as far as these are to be covered by taxation.


Obligatory self-assessment. A tax on inheritance, graduated
according to the size of the inheritance and the degree of
kinship. Abolition of all indirect taxes, customs, and other
politico-economic measures which sacrifice the interests of the
whole community to the interests of a favoured minority.

For the protection of the working-class the Social Demo-
cratic party of Germany demands immediately —

1. An effective national and international legislation for the
protection of workmen on the following basis :

(a) Fixing of a normal working-day with a maximum of
eight hours.

(d) Prohibition of industrial work for children under
fourteen years.

(c) Prohibition of night-work, except for such branches of
industry as, in accordance with their nature, require night-work,
for technical reasons, or reasons of public welfare.

(d) An uninterrupted rest of at least thirty-six hours in
every week for every worker.

(e) Prohibition of the truck system.

2. Inspection of all industrial businesses, investigation and
regulation of labour relations in town and country by an
Imperial Department of Labour, district labour departments,
and chambers of labour. Thorough industrial hygiene.

3. Legal equalization of agricultural labourers and domestic
servants with industrial workers ; removal of the special regula-
tions affecting servants.

4. Assurance of the right of combination.

5. Workmen's insurance to be taken over bodily by the
Empire ; and the workers to have an influential share in its

6. Separation of the Churches and the State.
(a) Suppression of the grant for public worship.

(d) Philosophic or religious associations to be civil persons
at law.

7. Revision of sections in the Civil Code concerning
marriage and the paternal authority.


(a) Civil eciuality of the sexes, and of children, whether
natural or legitimate.

(d) Revision of the divorce laws, maintaining the husband's
liability to support the wife or the children.

(c) Inquiry into paternity to be legalized.

(d) Protective measures in favour of children materially or
morally abandoned.



Voted at Brussels, 1893, this programme is two years later than
that of the German Social Democrats. The Declaration of Principles
is, perhaps, the most perfect in form and moderate in statement to
be found among those of the last century. The three programmes
following it are notable for their superior arrangement, their inclusion
of what amounts to an agrarian programme, and many minor points
of originality, e.g. Political Programme 2b and 3c.

Cesar de Paepe, the first great apostle and theorist of Socialism
in Belgium, died in 1890. The Belgian Labour party was founded
under his auspices in 1885. A revision of the franchise in 1893,
following a general strike, enabled it to send 30 deputies to the
Chamber. After the partial election of May, 1902, its deputies
numbered 34 out of 166.

Declaration of Principles.

I. The constituents of wealth in general, and in particular
the means of production, are either natural agencies or the fruit
of the labour — manual and mental — of previous generations
besides the present ; consequently they must be considered the
common heritage of mankind.

2. The right of individuals or groups to enjoy this heritage
can be based only on social utility, and aimed only at securing
for every human being the greatest possible sum of freedom
and well-being.

3. The realization of this ideal is incompatible with the
maintenance of the capitalistic regime, which divides society



into two necessarily antagonistic classes — the one able to enjoy
property without working, the other obliged to relinquish a
part of its product to the possessing class.

4. The workers can only expect their complete emancipa-
tion from the suppression of classes and a radical transforma-
tion of existing society.

This transformation will be in favour, not only of the pro-
letariate, but of mankind as a whole ; nevertheless, as it is
contrary to the immediate interests of the possessing class, the
emancipation of the workers will be essentially the work of the
workers themselves.

5. In economic matters their aim must be to secure the free
use, without charge, of all the means of production. This
result can only be attained, in a society where collective
labour is more and more replacing individual labour, by the
collective appropriation of natural agencies and the instru-
ments of labour.

6. The transformation of the capitalistic regime into
a coliectivist regime must necessarily be accompanied by
correlative transformations —

{a) In morals, by the development of altruistic feelings and
the practice of solidarity.

{b) In politics, by the transformation of the State into a
business management {administration des chases).

7. Socialism must, therefore, pursue simultaneously the
economic, moral, and political emancipation of the proletariate.
Nevertheless, the economic point of view must be paramount,
for the concentration of capital in the hands of a single class
forms the basis of all the other forms of its domination.

To realize its principles the Labour party declares —

(i) That it considers itself as the representative, not only of

the working-class, but of all the oppressed, without distinction

of nationality, worship, race, or sex.

(2) That the Socialists of all countries must make common

cause {etre solidaircs), the emancipation of the workers being

not a national, but an international work.


(3) That in their struggle against the capitahst class the
workers must fight by every means in their power, and par-
ticularly by political action, by the development of free
associations, and by the ceaseless propagation of Socialistic

I. — Political Programme.

1. Electoral reform.

(a) Universal suffrage without distinction of sex for all ranks
(age-limit, twenty-one ; residence, six months).

(b) Proportional representation.^

(e) Election expenses to be charged on the public

(d) Payment of elected persons.

(e) Elected persons to be bound by pledges, according to

(/) Electorates to liave the right of unseating elected

2. Decentralization of political power.
(a) Suppression of the Senate.

(d) Creation of Legislative Councils, representing the
different functions of society (industry, commerce, agriculture,
education, etc.) ; such Councils to be autonomous, within the
limits of their competence and excepting the veto of Parlia-
ment ; such Councils to be federated, for the study and defence
of their common interests.

3. Communal autonomy.

(a) Mayors to be appointed by the electorate.
(d) Small communes to be fused or federated.

(c) Creation of elected committees corresponding to the
different branches of communal administration.

4. Direct legislation.

Right of popular initiative and referendum in legislative,
provincial, and communal matters.

' Secured in 1899 by popular pressure on the Government.


5. Refonn of education.

(a) Primary, all-round, free, secular, compulsory instruction
at the expense of the State. Maintenance of children attending
the schools by the public authorities. Intermediate and higher
instruction to be free, secular, and at the expense of the State.

(d) Administration of the schools by the public authorities,
under the control of School Committees elected by universal
suffrage of both sexes, with representatives of the teaching staff
and the State.

(c) Assimilation of communal teachers to the State's
educational officials.

(d) Creation of a Superior Council of Education, elected by
the School Committees, who are to organize the inspection and
control of free schools and of official schools.

(e) Organization of trade education, and obligation of all
children to learn manual work.

(/) Autonomy of the State Universities, and legal recogni-
tion of the Free Universities. University Extension to be
organized at the expense of the public authorities.

6. Separation of the Churches and the State.

(a) Suppression of the grant for public worship.
(d) Philosophic or religious associations to be civil persons
at law.

7. Revision of Sections in the Civil Code concerning marriage
and the paternal authority.

(a) Civil equality of the sexes, and of children, whether
natural or legitimate.

(l>) Revision of the divorce laws, maintaining the husband's
liability to support the wife or the children.

(c) Inquiry into paternity to be legalized.

(d) Protective measures in favour of children materially or
morally abandoned.

8. Extension of liberties}

Suppression of measures restricting any of the liberties.

* The liberties referred to are freedom of the person, of speech, of the
press, of public meeting, etc.


9. Judicial reform.

{a) Application of the elective principle to all jurisdictions.
Reduction of the number of magistrates.

(b) Justice without fees ; State-payment of advocates and
officials of the Courts.

(c) Magisterial examination in penal cases to be public.
Persons prosecuted to be medically examined. Victims of
judicial errors to be indemnified.

10. StJppressio7i of armies.

Provisionally ; organization of a national militia.

11. Suppression of hereditary offices^ and establishment of a

II. — Economic Programme.
A. — General Measures.

1. Organization of statistics.

{a) Creation of a Ministry of Labour.

{b) Pecuniary aid from the public authorities for the
organization of labour secretariates by workmen and

2. Legal recog)iition of associations, especially —
{a) Legal recognition of trade-unions.^

(J)) Reform of the law on friendly societies and co-opera-
tive societies and subsidy from the public authorities.

{c) Repression of infringements of the right of combina-

3. Legal regulation of the contract of employment.
Extension of laws protecting labour to all industries, and

specially to agriculture, shipping, and fishing. Fixing of a
minimum wage and maximum of hours of labour for workers,
industrial or agricultural, employed by the State, the Com-
munes, the Provinces, or the contractors for public works.
Intervention of workers, and especially of workers' unions,

' Syndicals projessioitjuist including unions of employers as well as of
employed .


in the framing of rules. Suppression of fines. Suppression
of savings-banks and benefit clubs in workshops. Fixing
of a maximum of 6000 francs for public servants and

4. Transformation of public charity into a general insurance
of all citizens —

{a) against unemployment ;

(b) against disablement (sickness, accident, old age) ;

if) against death (widows and orphans).

5. Reorganization of pvhlic fi7iances.

(a) Abolition of indirect taxes, especially taxes on food
and customs tariffs.

(b) Monopoly of alcohol and tobacco.

{c) Progressive income-tax. Taxes on legacies and gifts
between the living (excepting gifts to works of public

(d) Suppression of intestate succession, except in the
direct line and within limits to be determined by law.

6. Progressive extension of public property.

The State to take over the National Bank. Social organi-
zation of loans, at interest to cover costs only, to individuals
and to associations of workers,
i. Industrial property.

Abolition, on grounds of public utility, of private
ownership in mines, quarries, the subsoil generally,
and of the great means of production and trans-
ii. Agricultural property.

(a) Nationalization of forests.

(b) Reconstitution or development of common lands.

(c) Progressive taking over of the land by the State

or the communes.

7. Aut07ioviy of public services.

(a) Administration of the public services by special
autonomous commissions, under the control of the State.

(b) Creation of committees elected by the workmen and


employes of the public services to debate with the central
administration the conditions of the remuneration and organi-
zation of labour.

B. — Particular Measures for Industrial Workers.

1. Abolition of all laws restricting the right of combina-

2. Regulation of industrial labour.

{a) Prohibition of employment of children under fourteen.

{b) Half-time system between the ages of fourteen and

{c) Prohibition of employment of women in all industries
where it is incompatible with morals or health.

(d) Reduction of working-day to a maximum of eight
hours for adults of both sexes, and minimum wage.

(e) Prohibition of night-work for all categories of workers
and in all industries, where this mode of working is not abso-
lutely necessary.

(/) One day's rest per week, so far as possible on

{g) Responsibility of employers in case of accidents, and
appointment of doctors to attend persons wounded.

{h) Workmen's memorandum-books and certificates to be
abolished, and their use prohibited.

3. Inspection oftvork.

(a) Employment of paid medical authorities, in the interests
of labour hygiene.

{b) Appointment of inspectors by the Councils of Industry
and Labour.

4. Reorganization of the Industrial Tribunals (Conseils de
Prud'hommes) and the Cotmcils of Industry and Labour.

(a) Working women to have votes and be eligible.
{b) Submission to the Courts to be compulsory.

5. Regulation of work in prisons and convents.

C. — Particular Measures for Agricultural Workers.

1. Reorga7iization of the Agricultural Courts.

(a) Nomination of delegates in equal numbers by the land-
owners, farmers, and labourers.

(l^) Intervention of the Chambers in individual or collective
disputes between landowners, farmers, and agricultural

(^) Fixing of a minimum wage by the public authorities on
the proposition of the Agricultural Courts.

2. Regidation of contracts to pay farm-rents.

(a) Fixing of the rate of farm-rents by Committees of
Arbitration or by the reformed Agricultural Courts.

((^) Compensation to the outgoing farmer for enhanced
value of property.

(r) Participation of landowners, to a wider extent than
that fixed by the Civil Code, in losses incurred by farmers.

(d) Suppression of the landowner's privilege.

3. Insurance by the provinces ^ and reinstirance by the State,
against epizootic diseases, diseases of plants, hail, floods, and
other agricultural risks.

4. Organization by the public authorities of a free agricultural

Creation or development of experimental fields, model
farms, agricultural laboratories.

5. Purchase by the communes of agricultural implements to be
at the disposal of their inhabitants.

Assignment of common lands to groups of labourers
engaging not to employ wage-labour.

6. Organization of a free medical service in the country.

7. Reform of the Game Laws.
(a) Suppression of gun licences.
{b) Suppression of game preserves.

(c) Right of cultivators to destroy all the year round
animals which injure crops.


8. Intervejitlon of p^Mc authorities in the creation of agri-
cultural co-operative societies —

{a) For buying seed and manure.
ip) For making butter.

{c) For the purchase and use in common of agricultural

{d) For the sale of produce ;

{e) For the working of land by groups.

9. Organizatio?i of agricultural credit.

III. — Communal Programme.^

1. Edticational reforms.

(a) Free scientific instruction for children up to fourteen.
Special courses for older children and adults.

(d) Organization of education in trades and industries, in
co-operation with workmen's organizations.


Online LibraryR. C. K. (Robert Charles Kirkwood) EnsorModern socialism, as set forth by socialists in their speeches, writings, and programmes; → online text (page 30 of 35)