Social-Democracy History Archive

The Program of Swedish Social Democracy. 1882

The following are two abridged versions of the Program of Swedish Social-Democracy. All historians agree that this program was based on the German Gotha program and the Danish Gimle program. Neither translations lists the demands that came at the end of the program. Nevertheless, these are the best that are available in English. The “Gotha” program was dropped in 1897.

Source: Herbert Tingsten “Den Svenska Socialdemokratins Forlag.” Stockholm, Tidens Forlag 1941. Translated into English in 1973.
Written: by August Palm in 1882 and re-edited and reprinted by Axel Danielsson again in 1885-1886. The version printed in February 1886 is used here, written in the autumn of 1885. This is the part that Tingsten calls “the introductory statement of principle,” which he had in the form of a pamphlet.

Work is the source of all wealth and culture, and the entire returns thereof should accrue to those who work.

In the present society the tools of labor are the monopoly of a certain class, of the capitalists. That the working class is kept dependent on these is the ultimate cause of misery and all forms of oppression. The goal of the Social Democratic Workers’ party is therefore to abolish the existing mode of production (the wage system) and to allow the means of labor the present private capital, to be converted into the common property of society, [which is] the only way of guaranteeing the worker full compensation for his work. as a first step in this direction the party calls for the formation of state subsidized production unions, [to be] under the active control of the workers and on a sufficiently large scale so that they may successfully compete with the production of big capital.

Socialism’s ultimate goal can by no means be realized in one stroke. Yet socialism should not only be a theory, a speculation as to the probable organization of the society of the future, but it should be a living reality, it should concern itself with the real endeavors of the working class, with its present needs, its daily struggles with those who have monopolized the capital of society and also the social and political power in society.

The fight for the liberation of the working class from its present position, which is beneath a free people, is not a fight for new class privileges and prerogatives but for equal rights and equal obligations for all and for the abolition of class rule.

Angman Translation

Angman says he is quoting the “introduction and selected points” but seems to be taking a different source, one that was printed in 1885, not 1886.

“Labor is the original source of all wealth and culture, and the whole gain thereof should belong to those who labor. In the present society the instruments of labor are a monopoly of the capitalists. The dependent position of the workers under those who for thousands of years have seized for themselves the proceeds of labor is the cause of all the need, and misery which still weigh on the workers, society’s most valuable members. In order to free the working class from this dependency, it is necessary that the surplus of labor’s production become common property, at the disposition of all members of society, so that the clear surplus belongs to all workers and is divided in a just manner. It must become the task of the working class to free workers from dependency upon all the reactionary elements which in the present social system govern the workers. Proceeding from these basic principles, the Swedish Social Democratic Party by all lawful means offered shall strive for:

An ending of the wage system and every sort of oppression in whatever form such may reveal itself.

The Swedish Social Democratic Party requires the setting up of producers’ cooperative societies, with state aid, under the sole control of the working masses, in order to further the solution of this question.

The Social Democratic Party requires under the present capitalist system:

1. Introduction of taxes rising with income; abolition of all such indirect taxes as oppress the masses of the people ...

All who acknowledge the Social Democratic basic principles as expressed in this Program are to be admitted as members into the Swedish Social Democratic Workers’ Party.”