|Leader|| August Bebel |
|Succeeded by||Social Democratic Party of Germany|
|Ideology|| Marxism |
|International affiliation||International Workingmen's Association|
The Social Democratic Workers' Party of Germany a (German : Sozialdemokratische Arbeiterpartei Deutschlands, SDAP) was a Marxist socialist political party in the North German Confederation during the period of unification.
Founded in Eisenach in 1869, the SDAP endured through the early years of the German Empire. Often termed the Eisenachers, the SDAP was one of the first political organizations established among the nascent German labor unions of the 19th century. It officially existed under the name SDAP for only six years (1869–1875), but through name changes and political partnerships its lineage can be traced to the present-day Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD).
The SDAP was one of the earliest organizations to arise from German workers' unionizing activity, but it was not the first. At the group's founding in 1869, the fast-growing working class of the Industrial Revolution had already established several notable associations for workers' advocacy. Chief among these were Leopold Sonnemann's Assembly of German Worker Associations (Verband Deutscher Arbeitervereine, VDAV) and Ferdinand Lassalle's General German Workers' Association (Allgemeiner Deutscher Arbeiterverein, ADAV).
The largest group by far was the VDAV. Through the 1860s, it remained mostly apolitical, dedicated to pocketbook matters and fully integrated with the paradigms of liberal economic interests. The VDAV did its best to ignore the political agitation of Lassalle's much smaller yet more active ADAV. The Lassalleans were seen as insufficiently committed to basic economic matters and much of their political appeal was based on what socialists considered to be an alarming militancy in support of German nationalism and the question of Greater Germany and they displayed a discomfiting closeness to the militaristic Kingdom of Prussia.Eventually, the sundry turmoil created by the wars of German unification helped politicize large elements of the previously unmoved VDAV. Some followed Sonnemann to the new moderately socialist German People's Party (founded in 1868) while others were ready to abandon the VDAV structure altogether and establish a more radical political party.
Meeting in the city of Eisenach in Saxony, the VDAV activists founded the Social Democratic Workers' Party (SDAP) on 7–9 August 1869. The Eisenachers, as they came to be called, were under the leadership of Wilhelm Liebknecht and August Bebel.
The political theorist Karl Marx had significant personal influence upon the newly formed party, being a friend and mentor to both Bebel and Liebknecht. Marx and Friedrich Engels steered the party toward more Marxian socialism and welcomed them (as far as German law would allow) into their International Workingmen's Association (IWA).
The SDAP was typically deemed Marxist by most observers, although this term was somewhat amorphous during Marx's own lifetime. The party was described as such largely because of its IWA membership and Liebknecht's close personal relationship with Marx himself.
The true nature of Eisenacher Marxism was closer to democratic socialism than the communist parties of later decades. The party platform called for a free people's state (freier Volkstaat) which could align private cooperatives with state organizations. The party primarily supported trade unionism as the utility by which workers could prosper in the context of capitalism.
The party press was a key element of the SDAP's political strategy and the party's newspaper—first called Demokratisches Wochenblatt (Democratic Weekly Paper) and later Der Volksstaat (The People's State)—was edited by Liebknecht himself.The paper was published in Leipzig from 2 October 1869 to 23 September 1876. The party did not yet have its own printers, but Liebknecht was ambitious in his efforts to promote its publications on a wide scale as educational tools for workers. Although most issues of Der Volksstaat were largely composed of incendiary writing about the German political situation, Liebknecht attempted as much as possible to include essays on political theory, transcripts of academic lectures, and even some popular fiction.
Despite their differences, the SDAP and Lassalle's ADAV shared a largely identical interpretation of socialism.The similarity was great enough to mean that they were both routinely monitored and considered equally suspicious by the authorities. The two parties were both vying for the same audience among the working class and they were doing so simultaneously with several more moderate liberal organizations. The key distinction among all the groups' positions was their level of commitment to the right to strike.
The competition between moderate and radical factions reached a boiling point when SDAP and Lassalle's ADAV finally merged to form a united front. In a convention at Gotha in 1875, the new fusion party was renamed the Socialist Workers' Party of Germany b (German: Sozialistische Arbeiterpartei Deutschlands, SAPD).The resultant Gotha Program was a mixture of socialist and liberal capitalist ideas. Though it largely satisfied the conventioneers, the new policies were denounced by Marx himself in the scathing essay Critique of the Gotha Program (1875).
Despite its relatively moderate stance, the SAPD organization was deemed subversive and officially banned by the German Empire under the Anti-Socialist Laws of 1878. Under proscription, the party's members continued to successfully organize. After the ban was lifted in 1890, they rechristened themselves as the Social Democratic Party of Germany (Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, SPD) and surged at the polls.By the elections of 1912, the SPD (direct descendant of the small SDAP) had become the largest party in Germany.
Though the SDAP dissolved after a brief lifespan of just six years, it was an essential catalyst in the creation of the first major labor party in Germany.After the end of World War II, members of the SPD in East Germany were compelled to join forces with the Communist Party to form the Socialist Unity Party and throughout its 41-year rule the party paid regular tribute to its Marxist progenitor. In West Germany, the SPD became one of the two major parties and continues to wield vast influence in the post-reunification era. It still traces its lineage back to the SDAP at Gotha and Eisenach.
The Social Democratic Party of Germany is a social-democratic political party in Germany.
Ferdinand Lassalle was a Prussian-German jurist, philosopher, socialist and political activist best remembered as the initiator of national-style social democracy in Germany as well as for coining the terms night-watchman state and iron law of wages.
Eduard Bernstein was a German social-democratic Marxist theorist and politician. A member of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), Bernstein had held close association to Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, but he saw flaws in Marxist thinking and began to criticize views held by Marxism when he investigated and challenged the Marxist materialist theory of history. He rejected significant parts of Marxist theory that were based upon Hegelian metaphysics and rejected the Hegelian dialectical perspective.
Ferdinand August Bebel 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 merged with the General German Workers' Association into the Socialist Workers' Party of Germany (SAPD). During the repression under the terms of the Anti-Socialist Laws, Bebel became the leading figure of the social democratic movement in Germany and from 1892 until his death served as chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Germany.
Theodor Karl Ernst Adolf Liebknecht was a German socialist politician.
Wilhelm Martin Philipp Christian Ludwig Liebknecht was a German socialist and one of the principal founders of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). His political career was a pioneering project combining Marxist revolutionary theory with practical legal political activity. Under his leadership, the SPD grew from a tiny sect to become Germany's largest political party. He was the father of Karl Liebknecht and Theodor Liebknecht.
Clara Zetkin was a German Marxist theorist, activist, and advocate for women's rights.
The General German Workers' Association was a German political party founded on 23 May 1863 in Leipzig, Kingdom of Saxony by Ferdinand Lassalle.
The Erfurt Programme was adopted by the Social Democratic Party of Germany during the SPD Congress at Erfurt in 1891. Formulated under the political guidance of Eduard Bernstein, August Bebel, and Karl Kautsky, it superseded the earlier Gotha Program.
The Anti-Socialist Laws or Socialist Laws were a series of acts, the first of which was passed on October 19, 1878 by the German Reichstag (parliament) lasting until March 31, 1881, and extended four times. The legislation gained widespread support after two failed attempts to assassinate Kaiser Wilhelm I by the radicals Max Hödel and Dr. Karl Nobiling. The laws were designed by Chancellor Otto von Bismarck with the goal of reversing the growing strength of the Social Democratic Party, which was blamed for inspiring the assassins. The perks occasion tended to strengthen the socialist, so Bismarck dropped the laws and changed his coalition, becoming an ally of his former enemies the Catholic Centre party, which appealed to Catholic workers to oppose socialism.
Wilhelm Hasenclever was a German politician. He was an originally a tanner by trade but later he became a journalist and author. However, he is most well known for his political work in the predecessors of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD).
Social democracy is a political, social and economic philosophy that supports economic and social interventions to promote social justice within the framework of a liberal democratic polity and a capitalist-oriented economy. The protocols and norms used to accomplish this involve a commitment to representative and participatory democracy, measures for income redistribution, regulation of the economy in the general interest and social welfare provisions. Due to longstanding governance by social democratic parties during the post-war consensus and their influence on socioeconomic policy in the Nordic countries, social democracy became associated with the Nordic model and Keynesianism within political circles in the late 20th century. It has also been seen by some political commentators as a synonym for modern socialism and as overlapping with democratic socialism.
Lassallism is the strategy of the pursuit of socialism through the use of the state. This school of thought developed from German jurist and socialist activist Ferdinand Lassalle.
The Critique of the Gotha Program is a document based on a letter by Karl Marx written in early May 1875 to the Social Democratic Workers' Party of Germany (SDAP), with whom Marx and Friedrich Engels were in close association.
Revolutionary socialism is the socialist doctrine that social revolution is necessary in order to bring about structural changes to society. More specifically, it is the view that revolution is a necessary precondition for a transition from capitalism to socialism. Revolution is not necessarily defined as a violent insurrection; it is defined as seizure of political power by mass movements of the working class so that the state is directly controlled or abolished by the working class as opposed to the capitalist class and its interests. Revolutionary socialists believe such a state of affairs is a precondition for establishing socialism and orthodox Marxists believe that it is inevitable but not predetermined.
Friedrich Wilhelm Fritzsche (1825–1905), commonly known by his middle name, was a German trade unionist and socialist politician who was elected a member of the Reichstag. He was a founder and President of the General German Cigar Workers' Union (ADZV) in 1865. The subject of police persecution for his radical political views, in 1881 Fritzsche emigrated to the United States of America, where he edited the newspaper the Philadelphia Tageblatt for a time before retiring from politics.
The Spartacus League was a Marxist revolutionary movement organized in Germany during World War I. The League was named after Spartacus, leader of the largest slave rebellion of the Roman Republic. It was founded by Karl Liebknecht, Rosa Luxemburg, Clara Zetkin, and others. The League subsequently renamed itself the Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands (KPD), joining the Comintern in 1919. Its period of greatest activity was during the German Revolution of 1918, when it sought to incite a revolution by circulating the newspaper Spartacus Letters.
The Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany was a short-lived political party in Germany during the German Empire and the Weimar Republic. The organization was established in 1917 as the result of a split of left wing members of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). The organization attempted to chart a centrist course between electorally oriented revisionism on the one hand and Bolshevism on the other. The organization was terminated in 1931 through merger with the Socialist Workers' Party of Germany (SAPD).
Georg Ledebour was a German socialist journalist and politician.
Julius Motteler was a pioneering German Socialist and Businessman.