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The Erfurt Program was adopted by the
Social Democratic Party of Germany The Social Democratic Party of Germany (german: Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, ; SPD, ) is a social democratic Social democracy is a political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-makin ...
during the SPD Congress at
Erfurt Erfurt ( , ; ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller ...

Erfurt
in 1891. Formulated under the political guidance of
Eduard Bernstein Eduard Bernstein (; 6 January 1850 – 18 December 1932) was a German social democratic Social democracy is a political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social ...

Eduard Bernstein
,
August Bebel Ferdinand August Bebel (22 February 1840 – 13 August 1913) was a German socialist politician, writer, and orator. He is best remembered as one of the founders of the Social Democratic Workers' Party of Germany (SDAP) in 1869, which in 1875 mer ...
, and
Karl Kautsky Karl Johann Kautsky (; ; 16 October 1854 – 17 October 1938) was a Czech-Austrian philosopher, journalist, and Marxism, Marxist theoretician (Marxism), theoretician. Kautsky was one of the most authoritative promulgators of orthodox Marxism aft ...
, it superseded the earlier
Gotha Program The Gotha Program was the party platform A political party platform, party program, or party manifesto is a formal set of principle goals which are supported by a political party A political party is an organization that coordinates ...
.


The program

The program declared the imminent death of
capitalism Capitalism is an economic system An economic system, or economic order, is a system A system is a group of interacting Interaction is a kind of action that occurs as two or more objects have an effect upon one another. The idea o ...

capitalism
and the necessity of
socialist Socialism is a political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions In psychology, decision-making (also spelled decision making and decisionmaking) is regarded as the Cognition, cognitive pr ...

socialist
ownership of the
means of production The means of production is a concept that encompasses the social use and ownership Ownership is the state or fact of exclusive right In Anglo-Saxon law Anglo-Saxon law (Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest record ...
. The Party intended to pursue these goals through legal political participation rather than by revolutionary activity. Kautsky argued that because capitalism, by its very nature, must collapse, the immediate task for
socialist Socialism is a political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions In psychology, decision-making (also spelled decision making and decisionmaking) is regarded as the Cognition, cognitive pr ...

socialist
s was to work for the improvement of workers' lives rather than for the
revolution In political science Political science is the scientific study of politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations between individuals, suc ...

revolution
, which was inevitable.


Reception and response

The draft program was criticised by
Friedrich Engels Friedrich Engels ( ,"Engels"
''
for its opportunist, non-Marxist views on the state in a criticism he sent to Kautsky on 29 June 1891.


Official commentary

Kautsky wrote the official SPD commentary on the program in 1892, which was called ''The Class Struggle''. The Marxism exemplified by ''The Class Struggle'' was often referred to by later critics as "
vulgar Marxism" or "the Marxism of the
Second International The Second International (1889–1916) was an organisation of workers' movement, socialist and labour parties, formed on 14 July 1889 at two simultaneous Paris meetings in which delegations from twenty countries participated. The Second Internat ...
." The popular renderings of Marxism found in the works of Kautsky and Bebel were read and distributed more widely in Europe between the late 19th century and 1914 than Marx's own works. ''The Class Struggle'' was translated into 16 languages before 1914 and became the accepted popular summation of Marxist theory. This document came to be defined against 'orthodox' socialist theory before the
October Revolution The October Revolution,. officially known as the Great October Socialist Revolution. under the Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence ...

October Revolution
of 1917 caused a major split in the international socialist movement.


See also

* Maximum program * Minimum program * Transitional program * Frankfurt declaration


References

* Kautsky, Karl ''Das Erfurter Programm'' Dietz Nachf. Verlag, Stuttgart, 1920 * Sassoon, Donald ''One Hundred Years of Socialism''. The New Press, New York, 1996.


External links


The Erfurt Program
{{Authority control 1891 in politics Marxism Party platforms Social Democratic Party of Germany History of Erfurt, Program 1891 documents