1. The whole of Germany shall be declared a united, indivisible republic.

  2. Every German who is 21 years old shall be a voter and be eligible for election, assuming he has not been sentenced for a criminal offence.

  3. Representatives of the people shall be paid so that workers may also sit in the parliament of the German people.

  4. Universal arming of the people. In future armies shall at the same time be workers’ armies so that the armed forces will not only consume, as in the past, but produce even more than it costs to maintain them.

  5. Maintenance of justice shall be free of charge.

  6. All feudal burdens, all fees, labour services, tithes etc. which have previously oppressed the peasantry shall be abolished without any compensation.

  7. All baronial and other feudal estates, all mines, pits etc. shall be converted into state property. On these estates agriculture shall be practised on a large scale and with the most modern scientific tools for the benefit of all.

  8. The mortgages on peasant farms shall be declared state property. The interest for these mortgages shall be paid by the peasants to the state.

  9. In the areas where leasing has developed the ground rent or lease payment shall be paid to the state as a tax.

  10. All private banks will be replaced by a state bank whose bonds will have the character of legal tender.

  11. All means of transport: railways, canals, steamships, roads, posts etc. shall be taken in hand by the state. They shall be converted into state property and made available free of charge to the class without financial resources.

  12. In the remuneration of all civil servants there shall be no difference except that those with a family, i.e. with greater needs, shall also receive a larger salary than the others.

  13. Complete separation of church and state. The clergy of all denominations shall only be paid by their own voluntary congregations.

  14. Limitation of inheritance.

  15. Introduction of strongly progressive taxes and abolition of taxes on consumption.

  16. Establishment of national workshops. The state shall guarantee the livelihood of all workers and provide for those unable to work.

  17. Universal free education of the people.

These are the 1848 Demands of the Communist Party in Germany, Marx and Engels.

  • my_hat_stinks
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    141 month ago

    There’s definitely some issues that jump out to me on first read.

    1. I’m not sure about “indivisible”. An area should be able to self-govern if desired. More detail needed.
    2. Awful. Removing people’s voting rights in general is bad, and something as nebulous as “a criminal offence” is incredibly easy to abuse. Are people no longer citizens if they steal a loaf of bread? Also, voting age here is 16/18.
    4. No. Guns are incredibly rare where I am. I’d rather not have one, and I’d prefer not to risk getting shot every time some asshole on the street gets mad.
    7. Limiting land to a single use is generally not a great idea. What if for instance you have too much agricultural land and not enough housing?
    10. A central state-owned bank isn’t a bad idea, but abolishing all non-state banks is iffy. Should the government really have so much direct control over everyone’s finances?
    12. Your salary should not be based on the amount of unprotected sex you have. That’s just silly. Other support should be available for those who need it.

  • livus
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    131 month ago

    Surprised to see that even Marx and Engels wanted to disenfranchise the prison vote. There’s a strong classist element to that.

  • sylver_dragon
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    101 month ago

    Seems like a bit of a mixed bag. Given the source, it’s not terribly surprising though. Marxism is utopian in nature and is built on a highly centralized, command economy. These have had a history of difficulties as they tend to be slow to react to changes in market demand and rely on central planning of a very complex system. That said, some of these ideas are really good and are now part of social democracies. Like most “-isms”, it’s usually useful to borrow the better parts and be more careful about the rest.

    1. The whole of Germany shall be declared a united, indivisible republic.

    Pretty much already happened. Though, there will always be quibbling over the borders and what time in history properly defines them. But overall, I think this one is done and good.

    1. Every German who is 21 years old shall be a voter and be eligible for election, assuming he has not been sentenced for a criminal offence.

    I’m not sure about German culture, but picking an age of majority and being consistent with it seems like a good idea. I like something in the 20-25 range as that is when the human brain is mostly developmentally mature. But, there may need to be some phase in of rights and responsibilities from an even earlier age to help build maturity as the person develops. 21 seems ok for voting, but I could see an argument for both older and younger.

    1. Representatives of the people shall be paid so that workers may also sit in the parliament of the German people.

    I agree with this one. While it does have the issue of creating professional politicians, when unpaid, the only people who can be representatives are those who are already rich enough to be able to not work. And most people who seek political power aren’t in it for the pay. If they are after money, they use the power provided to make money via corruption. So, it’s far better to make politics accessible to all by having pay to support those politicians.

    1. Universal arming of the people. In future armies shall at the same time be workers’ armies so that the armed forces will not only consume, as in the past, but produce even more than it costs to maintain them.

    This is a tough one. On one hand, you have the Swiss model of conscription and it works. On the other hand, you have the US model of guns everywhere with zero responsibility. Certainly, in the late 19th century context, you can understand the desire to arm the people. Access to arms was one of the primary ways the feudal class maintained power. At the same time, in the early 21st century, does an armed populace stand a chance of over-throwing a corrupt government? That seems a more complicated question. While it seems unlikely for the people to resist a modern military, we’ve actually seen examples of this happening. Though the results tend to be pretty horrific. If something along the lines of a Swiss model of conscription, training and a true sense of responsibility can be done, I’d be for it. As a largely unregulated system, I can’t say I’d agree as much.

    1. Maintenance of justice shall be free of charge.

    Interpreting a bit, I assume this means government paid access to lawyers and the courts. In which case, yes, absolutely. People’s ability to access legal help should not be dependent on their wealth. Granted, short of some really draconian regulations, there will still be issues of wealth buying better help, but that’s probably unavoidable.

    1. All feudal burdens, all fees, labour services, tithes etc. which have previously oppressed the peasantry shall be abolished without any compensation.

    Ya, pretty easy one here. The feudal system was bad and anyone supporting it should feel the gentle kiss of a guillotine on the nape of their neck.

    1. All baronial and other feudal estates, all mines, pits etc. shall be converted into state property. On these estates agriculture shall be practised on a large scale and with the most modern scientific tools for the benefit of all.

    This starts to get to the heart of Marxism: State owned industry. I do believe that such a system can work, though may be inefficient. As I stated above, highly centralized command economies tend to be slow to adapt to changing conditions and rely heavily on accurate reporting from the bottom up. There can be poorly aligned incentives where a central authority sets a quota and doesn’t have a good mechanism for reporting up shortfalls. Or, reporting a shortfall becomes so taboo that manufacturing points just start to lie about it. This results in an overly optimistic central authority and everyone thinking everything is fine, right up until there is no food and everyone starves. That said, with good reporting, well planned incentives and good systems for dealing with shortfalls, central planning has an advantage in being able to get something done. If the State decides that the country needs trains, trains will get built. Unsurprisingly, different approaches to an economy have different benefits and weaknesses. The goal should be to take advantage of each and try to create a mix which works well for everyone.

    There is also a problem around the statement “most modern scientific tools for the benefit of al”. This is great, if the tools/practices chosen actually are the “most modern scientific tools”. If the central authority goes “all in” on a system, and that system is wrong, the result can quickly become a famine. And this sort of “tear everything down and do it our own way” mentality has a bad habit of destroying systems and then falling into traps the previous system spent years, money and lives learning. It’s often why, when a government is toppled, bureaucrats from the old regime end up in the new regime. Those bureaucrats have a lot of valuable experience and may be less wedded to ideology than to living and making money. This is also where decentralized systems tend to have a large benefit. If two farms choose different approaches, you are less likely to have both fail for making the same bad choice. This is just harder to control centrally and you will likely end up with people questioning if each approach is using “most modern scientific tools”. That phrase is easy to say and really hard to prove.

    1. The mortgages on peasant farms shall be declared state property. The interest for these mortgages shall be paid by the peasants to the state.

    I’m more a fan of private property than the Marxist system provides for. But, I am all for a Land Value Tax, which amounts to much the same thing. Tax the land based on the value of that land, and it should tend towards more efficient uses. Also, kicking people off the farms they have been running seems like a good way to kick off a famine. Again, going back to the idea that the people currently doing the job probably have a reasonable idea of how to do the job. Replacing them with random people who have no knowledge doing it, usually results in problems.

    1. In the areas where leasing has developed the ground rent or lease payment shall be paid to the state as a tax.

    As above, a Land Value Tax seems a good place to start. I’m not a fan of the abolition of private property. But, that’s really a philosophical difference and I can’t say this wouldn’t work. If nothing else, it would break up very old land holdings.

    1. All private banks will be replaced by a state bank whose bonds will have the character of legal tender.

    I’d argue that this is an artifact of the time these ideas were written in. Having a central, State backed bank has become pretty common. There is usually some separation (at least on paper), such that the bank isn’t the State. But, it’s a pretty thin wall in most cases. That said, removing all competition might be interesting. Goodness knows private banks have been very damaging to the economy of late. Though, having only one bank may simply centralize such risk and make any problem systemic to the economy. Though, if that bank does not have an incentive to seek profit or engage in rent seeking behavior, many of those risks may simply not exist. I’m not sure on this point, it’s an interesting idea but it also seems like it could be risky.

    1. All means of transport: railways, canals, steamships, roads, posts etc. shall be taken in hand by the state. They shall be converted into state property and made available free of charge to the class without financial resources.

    So, if you move to a complete, central command economy, the first part makes sense. The State should control the means to transport good and large infrastructure should similarly be owned and operated by the State. Heck, even without the central command economy, I’d like to see a move towards State ownership of basic infrastructure (road, rails, canals, electricity networks, communications networks). And then charge individuals/companies fees to access those networks to pay for maintenance. I’d skip the whole “means testing” bit, as that seems like more trouble than it’s worth. Instead, I’d build out a Universal Basic Income which would cover a basic level of use for that infrastructure. Higher levels of service would then be dependent on paying higher fees. The exception to “use fees” would be for transportation networks. Most train rides would be at no cost to the rider, roads would be open access.

    1. In the remuneration of all civil servants there shall be no difference except that those with a family, i.e. with greater needs, shall also receive a larger salary than the others.

    Holy crap this is dumb. You want to disincentivize workers, this, right here is how you do it. This will also lead to a rapid “brain drain” from civil service. People will get just enough experience to get paid better elsewhere and move on. That, or you will see widespread corruption, as the only reason to hold a civil service job for any length of time would be abuse.

    • sylver_dragon
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      71 month ago

      Hit the comment limit, so continuing on:

      1. Complete separation of church and state. The clergy of all denominations shall only be paid by their own voluntary congregations.

      Yes, please. I’m not willing to go whole hog hunting down and persecuting priests, as has happened in some revolutions. But, religion should be something people keep to themselves.

      1. Limitation of inheritance.

      This would be a question of what limits and how they are calculated and imposed. Something like a logarithmic tax might be a good way to set this up, such that very high values become very highly taxed. But, I do feel that parents have a legitimate interest passing down their earnings to their children.

      1. Introduction of strongly progressive taxes and abolition of taxes on consumption.

      In general, this sound great. The problem is, it’s way to general of a statement to really discuss. The devil is always in the details. For example, “consumption taxes” sound bad, but does that cover luxury taxes? I’m all for a taxing yachts at obscene rates. Granted, I am also generally against “sin taxes” which are used to punish people for whatever “sin” it’s currently en vogue to hate. So, maybe yes?

      1. Establishment of national workshops. The state shall guarantee the livelihood of all workers and provide for those unable to work.

      Arbeit macht… Oh,wait that’s kinda unfair. But, this sounds a lot like State run labor camps. Ultimately, this becomes a problem with a central command economy, who gets to choose the job you do? Unless we’re talking about a magical “post singularity, AI robots do all the hard work” society, we’re going to need people to do the less desirable jobs. I personally tend towards a system of Universal Basic Income providing enough money for a person to live on, with work being something you do because you want more than the basics and/or you just have a passion. This would also mean that the les desirable jobs would come with higher wages.

      I think this point may have also been influenced by the times. With the move to industrialization, there seemed to be a need for large factories which employed hundreds of people. From that perspective, this may seem to make more sense. I just think it’s leaning a bit too hard into the central command economy and might result in a lot of Animal Farm style problems.

      1. Universal free education of the people.

      And healthcare. But this list pre-dates modern healthcare or I suspect it would have been there. History has really proven the value of universal education and not having it is now seen as a very bad idea.

      As I said above, it’s a mixed bag. I think there are some good ideas in this, but I also think it’s very much an idealized society and would face problems with corruption and issue in implementation. I think it’s telling that, when the early USSR tried to implement a government based on these ideals, things went sideways. And later the People’s Republic of China faced similar issues. At the same time, much of Western Europe has built off these ideas and created a much more equitable society and we can see the positive benefits in strong social programs.

      • Atemu
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        11 month ago

        Thank you for your thoughts, I really enjoyed reading them :)

  • SanguinePar
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    The whole of Germany shall be declared a united, indivisible republic.

    Not really for a non German to say, but see no reason why not.

    Every German who is 21 years old shall be a voter and be eligible for election, assuming he has not been sentenced for a criminal offence.

    I’d say 18, make it he or she, and remove the criminal offence part.

    Representatives of the people shall be paid so that workers may also sit in the parliament of the German people.

    No to this - unelected representatives are accountable to nobody.

    Universal arming of the people. In future armies shall at the same time be workers’ armies so that the armed forces will not only consume, as in the past, but produce even more than it costs to maintain them.

    Absolutely not. Arming the entire population sounds like complete insanity.

    Maintenance of justice shall be free of charge.

    Depends exactly what is meant by that - certainly I don’t think people should have to pay for the police to uphold the law and I think there should be some form of legal support so that those who cannot afford lawyers can still have competent representation when they need it.

    All feudal burdens, all fees, labour services, tithes etc. which have previously oppressed the peasantry shall be abolished without any compensation.

    Agreed

    All baronial and other feudal estates, all mines, pits etc. shall be converted into state property. On these estates agriculture shall be practised on a large scale and with the most modern scientific tools for the benefit of all.

    Depends on specifics, but generally, yes, I’d agree with this (although I’d also not want coal mining, etc, to be a mainstay of the economy given the environmental issues it causes)

    The mortgages on peasant farms shall be declared state property. The interest for these mortgages shall be paid by the peasants to the state.

    Not sure about this one. I don’t have a problem with people having private property, as long as there are significant balances to protect the least fortunate through tax-funded national social programmes.

    In the areas where leasing has developed the ground rent or lease payment shall be paid to the state as a tax.

    Not sure I follow what this means. Is it saying that the state would become the landlord? Bit dubious about that, but it’s hard to say.

    All private banks will be replaced by a state bank whose bonds will have the character of legal tender.

    No, don’t agree with this. Having a range of competing banks seems better to me, as long as there is also strong and enforced regulation of their practices.

    All means of transport: railways, canals, steamships, roads, posts etc. shall be taken in hand by the state. They shall be converted into state property and made available free of charge to the class without financial resources.

    Certainly in favour of national infrastructure being nationalised, and of either free or heavily subsided use for those who need it. Although that could be hard to establish in a cost effective way, so perhaps just universal subsidy instead of means-tested.

    In the remuneration of all civil servants there shall be no difference except that those with a family, i.e. with greater needs, shall also receive a larger salary than the others.

    Feels unlikely to work IMO - firstly because you’d not be paying more senior people more, even though they’d be taking on more work/responsibility, and partly because I don’t think it’s government’s job to incentivise having larger families.

    Complete separation of church and state. The clergy of all denominations shall only be paid by their own voluntary congregations.

    Agreed.

    Limitation of inheritance.

    Depends on the type of limitation - taxation, yes, absolute limits, no.

    Introduction of strongly progressive taxes and abolition of taxes on consumption.

    In general, yes, but it’s a bit vague this.

    Establishment of national workshops. The state shall guarantee the livelihood of all workers and provide for those unable to work.

    Second part, definitely. Not sure about the guarantee of livelihood, feels like it would be bad for productivity and innovation. Again though, it’s a bit vague to really say.

    Universal free education of the people.

    Yes. And healthcare too.

    • @Stovetop
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      21 month ago

      No to this - unelected representatives are accountable to nobody

      Agree on this idea, but I am a bit confused by the way the original demand was worded. Is it suggesting that workers deserve to occupy otherwise elected seats, or simply that workers be allowed to attend sessions of government as an audience? I’d agree with the latter.

      Not sure about this one. I don’t have a problem with people having private property, as long as there are significant balances to protect the least fortunate through tax-funded national social programmes.

      This one is saying not that the state owns the property, but that they take over the mortgage. They’d “own” it in the sense that banks own the properties they provide mortgages for and can thereby seize them for lack of payment, though they don’t own everything in it. Following the later suggestion where the state takes over the banks, they would logically be the ones to take over the mortgages owned by those banks. Presumably, once the worker who “owns” the property has paid off the mortgage, they would then own the property in full as private property.

      Second part, definitely. Not sure about the guarantee of livelihood, feels like it would be bad for productivity and innovation. Again though, it’s a bit vague to really say.

      Think of it like insurance. If you work at a mine but the mine goes dry, the government will help you find a new job and pay you unemployment to make sure you don’t go under due to factors beyond your control. Presumably, with these being “national workshops”, they believe state operation of the industry will reduce the need to bail out businesses for bad practices/mass layoffs if it is going to end up costing the state either way.

  • @[email protected]
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    71 month ago

    The material conditions of Germany in 1848 are quite different now. Many of these demands have been met, or are no longer sufficient.

    Ultimately, the core of Marxism is that the Proletariat must take control of the State and wield it in its own favor, and that key thread remains today.

  • Rimu
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    61 month ago

    Initially I was a bit surprised that they were not proposing to seize the entire means of production, only the transport system and land held by the aristocrats.

    But I dug into it a bit more - apparently there was very little industrialization in Germany at that time other than the construction of railroads and associated iron + coal mining, which is included in the nationalisation policy. So they were intent on taking over effectively all industrial activity, such as it was.

  • Call me Lenny/Leni
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    61 month ago
    1. It depends on what is meant by a republic. There are different styles of that. I agree more with some than others. If this is a Marxist-inspired list, I doubt it’s a republic that provides many choices.

    2. This is good and all, but why exclude former criminals? If you did your time, that should be the whole of your punishment.

    3. Why not?

    4. People should arm themselves, but it should not be up to the government to arm people. The government should be indifferent.

    5. In what sense?

    6. If one believes in the idea that entitlements should be proportionate to obligations, a tax should be equally distributed across all individuals who wish to be more than simply vogelfrei.

    7. I don’t know what the first sentence there means, so I won’t rule on it. As for the second one, see the sixth response.

    8. Again, not sure what that means.

    9. Again, not sure what that means.

    10. Banks, ideally, I would imagine, should neither be strictly private or public. I have trouble fathoming the idea of something as staple as trade having the officiation process we envision. When I run thought experiments, I don’t even include banks. Ever.

    11. If for railways it makes sense, otherwise it doesn’t.

    12. I like the gist of the idea, but I wouldn’t use money to solve the issue it mentions. I’d use something else.

    13. Completely agree with this one.

    14. Here is one I completely disagree with. If you truly, rightfully own something, its fate should not be limited by outsiders who do not truly own it, except via rightful contract with the state.

    15. Why progressive taxes? I can get down with the second part though.

    16. See twelve.

    17. I can get down with that, but do you think we can reform the school system first?

  • @[email protected]
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    51 month ago

    I’m not a fan of #12, as civil servants should be paid differently depending on factors other than simply whether or not they have a family. Also not a fan of #16 since it sounds to me like forced labour for the poor, but maybe I don’t understand what a “national workshop” is.

    Otherwise I agree with at least the sentiment of all of these if not the way they’re worded. Obviously it could use a lot of updating for the modern era, but the basic premise is mostly fine.

    • Jajcus
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      21 month ago

      Also not a fan of #16 since it sounds to me like forced labour for the poor

      That is how actually that worked in some (if not all) communist countries. No unemployment, but people (mostly those ‘undesirable’ for various reasons) would be sent to hard work in bad conditions, which would often cost their health or life. The other side of the coin was: everybody had a job and little fear of losing it, so people rarely treated the work seriously enough. There were factories full of workers, but so inefficient, that nothing was produced in sufficient demand. People had money, but little to buy with it.

  • 🔰Hurling⚜️Durling🔱
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    31 month ago

    Im ok with #2 so long as the rights to vote are immediately and automatically reinstated when they have served their time in prison.

  • Lopen's Left Arm
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    21 month ago

    I’m not terribly familiar with the current state of Germany, but these all sound pretty solid to me on first review.

  • @[email protected]
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    11 days ago

    Why stop half way? All you need is a benevolent dictator, shouldn’t be too hard to find, right?

    Some of these points are good, some are just absurd. Letting “the state” handle everything and hold all the cards, and then actually believing that it won’t be coerced and corrupted or that there won’t be strong disagreements about how to handle things is just delusional and wishful thinking on a grand scale imo.

    I agree that most modern countries need to strenghen the public sector, but you still need checks and balances between powers, individual responsibilities and freedoms, real-world economic feedback and incentives, and so on.

    • @NimblyOP
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      18 days ago

      This list emphasizes democracy, don’t know where you get “dictator” from.

      • @[email protected]
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        15 days ago

        Because that’s what creating an all-powerful government leads to. Imo the key is splitting up and balancing the power, not concentrating it in one easily corruptable entity.

        • @NimblyOP
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          03 days ago

          nobody said all-powerful either

          • @[email protected]
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            13 days ago

            united, indivisible republic

            So no federalism anymore, just one centralized state power.

            All baronial and other feudal estates, all mines, pits etc. shall be converted into state property

            The mortgages on peasant farms shall be declared state property

            All private banks will be replaced by a state bank

            All means of transport: railways, canals, steamships, roads, posts etc. shall be taken in hand by the state

            So the state owns and manages all land, all finances, all infrastructure, and all means of mass transportation, on top of all the things the state controls already.

            Idk what you think centralization of power looks like, but imo this is it.