Leonie Kascher: “Manifesto of the Communist Party of Switzerland”

Proletarians of all countries, unite!
There is one goal, the conquest of power!


Leonie Kascher
November 1918

Translated and reproduced by
The Red Flag



The revolution has set up its quarters in all of Europe‘s countries. While it is raging in some coarsely and like a whirlwhind, in others it is sweeping away the old rotting pillars of the old order in quiet. The Swiss working class has recognized the order of the hour. Behind it lies the first great battle, only it emerged from this first battle defeated. Defeated not by the power of the opponent, but by the fearful small bourgeois politics of its own leaders. Why did these leaders fail? Because they didn‘t go in to battle on their own accord and with a joyful heart, but pushed and urged on by the working class. They had to fail, because they didn’t have the will to fight for that which the workers were going to battle for — socialism.

Now the bourgeoisie is rejoycing and exploiting its „victory“ determinedly and with clear goals in mind. All the pretty promises — the social reforms — are forgotten. The government is trodding along in its old pace. The reaction is reging stronger every day, a lot of our comrades are sitting in jail. Moreso, the bourgeoisie, that — thanks to its schooling and intelligence — can have a much wider overview than the great mass of the working class, has feverishly and systematically begun to arm itself for civil war, for energetic, bitter class struggle.

Workers, comrades — and us? Do we want to calmly bide our time until it‘s too late? Until one day the working class is encircled by a white guard, by a bourgeoisie recruited down to the last man? No! The battle that lays behind us is only one stage in a row of coming battles for our goal. But do we want to entrust our next struggle to a Olten action committee again? Even if the greatest and most radical […] men sit on it, do we want to submit ourselves again to their mercy, only for them to fold again in the decisive moment? Workers, comrades, let us learn from the surrounding countries. New times also demand new forms of struggle and these forms of struggle — the only ones that guarantee us to emerge victoriously out of the coming battles — are the


Instead of the Olten action committee and the workers‘ congresses, we demand a Swiss workers‘ council that directly expresses the will of the class conscious workers, is constantly in contact with them, by being made up out of fellow workers from the workplaces whom we elect directly out of them. This workers‘ council must lead the battle at large as the local workers‘ councils tell it to. We must finally recognize, like the bourgeoisie long since has, that the coming battles must take on a different character for them to be victorious. If we recognize this, we must however also change the tactics of struggle. These new tactics can be summarized in the following points:

All power to the workers‘ councils.

The next battle must be a revolutionary general strike. Already now, preparations must be made, most of all intense propaganda, especially among the soldiers.

The workers‘ councils, together with the soldiers‘ organisations, must see to the forming of soldiers‘ councils.

The workers‘ councils must educate workers on the topic of the takeover of economic power, i.e. the production in the workplaces.

A different peasants‘ policy must be adopted. Intense propaganda among the small peasants and stable workers. Education on socialism that will of course benefit them.

Workers, comrades! We know that we cannot realize socialism with one stroke, but that numerous great battles are still before us until we have conquered our ideal. We want, however, to take a step towards our goal with every battle. This is why our slogans for the next battle are not the end goal yet, but slogans that bring us closer to the end goal. Namely:

The legalization of the eight hours‘ work day.

The right of the workers to exert control over the goods of life and needs in the State.

Extended workers‘ control of production.


Workers‘ councils are formed by workplace meetings being called in all factories and workplaces. The workers‘ coucil delegates must be elected out of these meetings‘ means. All working men and women are electable and have suffrage — organized or not. Per thirty workers at the workplace and a fraction of thirty, one delegate must be elected into the local workers‘ council. The branches with very small workplaces must hold zonal workers‘ meetings and select the delegates in these meetings. The delegates of the Swiss workers‘ council are elected from the midst of the local workers‘ councils. In such workplaces where the working class is still too uncapable of action, too conservative, the vanguard minority must decide the delegate. It is not necessary for all workplaces to be part of the local workers’ council from day one. What is main is to start everywhere and not rest until all workers send delegates.

The big advantage of this new form of struggle, the workers‘ councils, consists of them not being able to be killed by the bourgeisie and them being able to put the masses in motion anytime, without long and big advertising, from one day to another at any hour of the day. If a workers‘ council decides an action at night, the delegates can notify the workers of the decisions in the morning and the workers can act on them. The will to fight is of course the first condition for this new form of struggle to flourish. It stands and falls with it! On the other hand, if the workplace or zonal delegate doesn‘t act in accordance with the will of the working voters, they can immediately be recalled and replaced by a different worker of the given workplace. Only workers employed in the workplaces and factories themselves are to be delegated, no secretaries or other bureaucrats employed by parties and unions. The worker that is constantly busy among his comrades knows best what their needs are. A council constituted in this way must be productive and cannot be silenced. If a government arrests a member or the entire council, then the workers elect a new one.