Critique of the Gotha Program
I Labour is the source of all wealth and all culture, and since useful labour is possible
only in society and through society, the proceeds of labour belong undiminished with
equal right to all members of society.
Labour is not the source of all wealth. Nature is just as much the} source of use values
(and it is surely of such that material wealth consists!) as labour, which itself is only the
manifestation of a force of nature, human labour power.
But a socialist programme cannot allow such bourgeois phrases to pass over in silence
the condition that alone give them meaning.
Primary source of all instruments and subjects of labour becomes the source of use
values, therefore also of wealth.
labour depends on nature it follows that the man who possesses no other property than
is labour power must, in all conditions of society and culture, be the slave of other men
who have made themselves the owners of the material conditions of labour.
Since-labour is the source of all wealth, no one in society can appropriate wealth except
as the product of labour. Therefore, if he himself does not work, he lives by the labour of
others and also acquires his culture at the expense of the labour of others."
Second Part of the Paragraph: "Useful labour is possible only in society and through
Only in society can useless and even socially harmful labour become a branch of
gainful occupation, that only in society can one live by being idle, etc., etc.—in , one
could just as well have copied the whole of Rousseau.
Labour which produces the intended useful result. A savage—and man was a savage
after he had ceased to be an ape—who kills an animal with a stone, who collects fruits,
etc., performs "useful" labour.
Thirdly. The Conclusion: proceeds of labour belong diminished with equal right to all
members of society.
Only so much therefrom accrues to the individual worker as is not required to maintain
the "condition" of labour, society.
Claims of the government and everything that sticks to it, since it is the social organ for
the maintenance of the social order; then come the claims of the various kinds of private
property, for the various kinds of private property are the foundations of society, etc. "In proportion as labour develops socially, and becomes thereby a source of wealth and
culture, poverty and destitution develop among the workers, and wealth and culture
among the non-workers‖
"labour" and ―society," was to prove concretely how in present capitalist society the
material, etc., conditions have at last been created which enable and compel the
workers to lift this social curse.
―undiminished proceeds of labour" as proceeds of labour," "equal right" etc., since the
same thing recurs in a somewhat different m further on.
"In present-day society, the instruments of labour are the monopoly of the capitalist
class; the resulting dependence of the working class is the cause of misery and
servitude in all its forms.‖
Present-day society the instruments of labour are the monopoly of the landowners (the
monopoly of property in land is even basis of the monopoly of capital) and the
Rules of the International do not mention either one or the other class of monopolists.
―Monopoliser of means of labour, that is, the source of life‖ SOL: land is included in
instruments of labour.
The emancipation of labour demands the promotion of the instruments of labour to the
common property of society and the co-operative regulation of the total labour with a fair
distribution of the proceeds of labour
Proceeds of labour total value of the product or only that part of the value which
labour has newly added to the value of the means of production consumed?
Proceeds of labour" is a loose notion which Lassalle has put in the place of definite
Fair distribution Do not the bourgeois assert that the present-day distribution is fair?
Only fair distribution on the basis of the present-day mode of production? Are economic
relations regulated by legal conceptions or do not, on the contrary, legal relations arise
from economic ones? Have not also the socialist sectarians the most varied notions
about ―fair‖ distribution?
instruments of labour are common property and the total labour is cooperatively
proceeds of labour belong undiminished with equal right to all members of society All members of society" and "equal right" are obviously mere phrases. The kernel
consists in this, that in this communist society every worker must receive the
"undiminished" Lassallean ―proceeds of labour‖
proceeds of labour cover for replacement of the means of production used up
additional portion for expansion of production *serve or insurance funds to provide
against accidents, dislocations caused by natural calamities, etc.
deductions from the "undiminished proceeds of labour" are an economic necessity and
their magnitude is to be determined according to available means and forces, and partly
by computation of probabilities, but they are in no way calculable by equity.
The general costs of administration not belonging to production
Very considerably restricted in comparison with present-day society and it diminishes in
proportion as the new society develops.
That which is intended for the common satisfaction of needs, such as schools, health
grows in proportion as the new society develops.
Funds for those unable to work, etc., in short, for what is included under so-called
official poor relief today.
distribution to that part of the means of consumption which is divided among the
individual producers of the co-operative society.
undiminished proceeds of labour averted into the "diminished" proceeds, although
what the producer is deprived of in his capacity as a private individual benefits him
directly or indirectly in his capacity as a member of society.
co-operative society based on common ownership of the means of production, the
producers do not exchange their products
individual labour no longer exists in an indirect fashion but directly as a component part
of the total labour
proceeds of labour, ambiguity, thus loses all meaning
Communist society, developed on its own foundations, emerges from capitalist society
Every respect, economically, morally and intellectually, still stamped with the birth marks
of the old society from whose womb it emerges
Individual producer receives back from society exactly what he gives to it Example sociai working day consists of the sum of the individual hours of work; the
individual labour time of the individual producer is the part of the social working day
contributed by him, his share in it.
receives a certificate from society that he has furnished such and such an amount of
draws from social stock of means of consumption as much as costs the same of
same amount of labour which he has given to society in one form he receives back in
Here obviously the same principle prevails as that which regulates the exchange of
commodities, as far as this is exchange of equal values. Content and form are changed,
no one can give anything except his labour, nothing can pass to the ownership of
individuals except individual means of consumption.
Same principle prevails as in the exchange of commodity equivalents: a given amount
of labour in one form is exchanged for an equal amount of labour in another form.
Equal right is still constantly stigmatised by a bourgeois limitation. Right of the
producers is proportional to the labour they supply; the equality consists in the fact that
measurement is made with an equal standard, labour.
The equal right is an unequal right for unequal labour. It recognises no class
differences, because everyone is only a worker like everyone else; but it tacitly
recognises unequal individual endowment and thus productive capacity as natural
privileges. It is, therefore, a right of inequality, in its content, like every right. Right by its
very nature can consist only in application of an equal standard; but unequal individuals
are measurable only by an equal standard in so far as they are brought under an equal
point or view
Right can never be higher than the economic structure of society and its cultural
development conditioned thereby.
In a higher phase of communist society, after the enslaving subordination of the
individual to the division of labour, and therewith also the antithesis between mental and
physical labour, has vanished; after labour has become not only a means of life but life’s
prime want; after the productive forces have also increased with the all-round
development of the individual, and all the springs of cooperative wealth flow more
abundantly-—only then can the narrow horizon of bourgeois right be crossed in its
entirety and society ascribe on its banner: From each according to his ability, to each
according to his needs!
Realistic outlook, by means of ideological nonsense about right and other trash so
common among the democrats and French Socialists Latter distribution, however, is a feature of the node of production itself. The capitalist
mode of production, for example, rests on the fact that the material conditions of
production are in the hands of non-workers in the form of property in capital and land,
while the masses are only owners of the personal condition of production, of labour
power. If the elements of production are so distributed, then the present-day distribution
of the means of consumption results automatically. If the material conditions of
production arc the co-operative property of the workers themselves, then there likewise
results a distribution of the means of consumption different from the present one. Vulgar
socialism has taken over from the bourgeois economists the consideration and
treatment of distribution as independent of the mode of production and hence the
presentation of socialism as turning principally on distribution.