Swiss Labor Party

Swiss Labor Party

 

(SLP; Parti Suisse du Travail; Partei der Arbeit der Schweiz; Partito Svizzero del Lavoro), a political party established by a constituent congress held in Zurich on Oct. 14 and 15, 1944; successor to the Communist Party of Switzerland. The SLP united primarily members of the Communist Party of Switzerland and the Swiss Socialist Federation. The congress declared the thoeretical foundation of the party to be scientific socialism: Marxism-Leninism. The party took its place at the vanguard of the struggle to defend the interests of working people. The Fourth Congress of the SLP in 1949 ratified the first party bylaws.

During the years of the cold war, the SLP was in effect a semilegal organization in several cantons, and party members were prohibited, under an occupational blacklist (Berufsverbot), from occupying government posts. Led by such figures as E. Woog and J. Vincent, the party waged a struggle against right and left opportunist deviations in its ranks. In the late 1950’s the party overcame its difficulties, and its influence in the working-class movement increased. The National Conference of the SLP in 1971 ratified new bylaws based on the principles of democratic centralism, as well as a program which had been adopted in 1959.

The program declares the party’s principal objective to be the construction of a socialist, and eventually communist, society in Switzerland. The transition to socialism in Switzerland can be achieved by peaceful means as a result of a broad national movement, and the working class will be the decisive force in accomplishing this goal. The SLP has called for the united action of “all the forces of peace and labor, which are, in any way, the victims of exploitation and domination by big capital.” At the same time the SLP declares the socialism in Switzerland to be “pluralistic.”

The Tenth Congress of the SLP (June 1974) and particularly the Eleventh Congress of the SLP (May 1978) have marked a major step in consolidating the Marxist-Leninist international stand of the party. The Eleventh Congress confirmed the party’s loyalty to Marxism-Leninism and declared its goal to be large-scale cooperation with all political forces that struggle against the policies of monopolies and the government and for radical transformations in the country’s economic and political system. The party’s principal aims will be to increase its influence on the broad masses, improve the living conditions of the working people, and protect the democratic rights of the workers. The congress has stressed the necessity for further organizational and ideological consolidation of the party’s ranks and deeper fraternal ties with communist and workers’ parties.

The practical activity of the party is concentrated on the basic socioeconomic demands of the working people: a better social insurance system, higher wages and salaries, higher pensions at a lower pension age, the construction of housing for working people, legally guaranteed three-week holidays, a reduction in military expenses, and the preservation of democratic rights. Much

Table 1. Congresses of the Swiss Labor Party
CongressPlaceDate
Constituent ...............ZürichOct. 14–15,1944
Second ...............GenevaOct. 6–7, 1945
Third ...............ZürichNov. 30–Dec. 1,1946
Fourth ...............BaselJune 4–6, 1949
Fifth ...............GenevaMay 31-June2, 1952
Sixth ...............GenevaMay 28–30, 1955
Seventh ...............GenevaMay 16–18, 1959
Eighth ...............GenevaMay 16–18, 1964
Ninth ...............La Chaux-de-FondsNov. 1–3, 1968
Tenth ...............BaselJune 1–3, 1974
Eleventh ...............GenevaMay 13–1 5, 1978

attention is paid to coordinating the activities of the Swiss working people with the foreign workers, who constitute a considerable part of the country’s working force. The SLP is the only party that fights for real rights for foreign workers.

In foreign policy the SLP concentrated its attention on the struggle for peace, for a genuine Swiss neutrality, and for the development of political, economic, and cultural ties with socialist countries; it also opposed the arms race.

In the 1979 parliamentary elections the party entered candidates in only one-third of the country’s cantons; it received 2.1 percent of the vote and gained three seats out of 200 in the National Council. In the 1975 elections the party won four seats.

Delegations of the SLP have taken part in the international conferences of Communist and workers’ parties in 1957, 1960, and 1969 in Moscow and the Conference of European Communist and Workers’ Parties held in Berlin in 1976. The party approved the documents adopted by these conferences.

In accordance with its bylaws, the SLP is organized on a territorial-production basis. The territorial or production units are united in local sections, which are united in cantonal sections. The highest body is the party congress. Between congresses, the highest body is the Central Committee, which elects the Politburo, Secretariat, and general secretary of the SLP. A. Magnin became general secretary of the party in May 1978. In the same year J. Vincent was named honorary chairman. The party publishes the weeklies Voix ouvrière, Vorwärts, and II Iavoratore. (See Table 1 for Congresses of the SLP.)

SOURCES AND REFERENCES

Materialy Xs”ezda Shveitsarskoi partii truda. Moscow, 1975.
Programmnye dokumenty kommunisticheskikh i rabochikh partii kapitalisticheskikh stran Evropy. Moscow, 1960.
Bodenmann, M. Zum 40. Jahrestag der Gründung der Kommunistichesen Partei der Schweiz. Zurich, 1961.
Que veut le Parti suisse du travail? Geneva, 1971.

D. Z. IAKUKHIN

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