On the Reduction of the Working Day

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Meeting minutes of August 11, 1868
General Council of International Workingmen's Association

This is a excerpt of the meeting minutes of the General Council of International Workingmen's Association meeting in August 11, 1868, as published in The Bee-Hive, August 22, 1868, about the speech made by Karl Marx regarding reductions on labor hours in a work day.

Citizen Marx could not coincide with Eccarius that it (the reduction of labor hours) would lead to a diminished production, because where the restrictions had been introduced, the instruments of production had been vastly more developed than in other trades. It had the effect of introducing more machinery, and made production on a small scale more and more impossible, which, however, was necessary to arrive at social production. The sanitary question was settled. But a reduction of the hours of labour was also indispensable to give the working class more time for mental culture. Legislative restrictions were the first step towards the mental and physical elevation and the ultimate emancipation of the working classes. Nobody denied, nowadays, that the State must interfere on behalf of the women and children; and a restriction of their hours led, in most instances, to a reduction of the working time of the men. England had taken the lead, other countries had been obliged to follow to some extent. The agitation had seriously commenced in Germany, and the London Council was looked to for taking the lead. The principle had been decided at former congresses; the time for action had arrived.

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