WORKING CLASS IN EUROPE


Working class in Europe became in the period of the Second Industrial revolution better organized and achieved more success in their demands although they had some disagreements. Besides the most influential Marxists were representing the workers claims also anarchists, Christian socialists and other political parties. Besides different political parties were workers well organized in working associations like labour union and trade union.

The main consequence of better workers organization and fight for workers rights was higher life standard of working class. Working associations and other working organizations were demanding better working conditions and higher salaries. Strikes became one of the means for achieving the workers rights and for that reason the states eventually satisfied workers claims and formed the the labour law which regulated employment, shortened the working hours, regulated the minimal salary, safety at work... The relation between employers and employees was regulated by law, while there was also regulated health, age and disability insurance and in some states also the insurance in case of unemployment.

New working and producing processes demanded also better educated workers what led to better organization of primary schools although the most of the population could not afford the continuing of education on high schools or universities. Because the factories needed more educated workers the companies sometimes established the technical and medical institutions and laboratories. The need for certain education level led to formation of workers education societies, issuing of magazines, establishment of workers theatres...

Worker were politically organized into social democratic parties. Because the workers represented different ideological stands were different also the working associations. Usually dominated two ideologies:

- Bakunin's anarchism which demanded the destruction of existing state and society and was against any possession
- Marxist socialism which demanded the takeover of power through proletarian revolution

The successes of social democratic parties in numerous states besides anarchists and Marxists soon rose the influence of theory of Eduard Bernstein who represented the takeover of power through democratic reforms and demanded the revision of some predictions of Karl Marx. Because of this his followers were named revisionists or reformists. For change of workers stands towards revolution was significant the extending of suffrage. Because later enabled also the poorer male citizens to vote and with enacting the universal male suffrage all male workers shortly before the World War I the social democratic parties became the most powerful.