chapter  Chapter Two
35 Pages

The Origins of Social Democratic Identity, 1789–1875

WithStefan Berger

This chapter talks about the cigar makers as a perfect example of the importance of the workplace for the emergence of collective identities which culminated in the formation of defensive trade unions. The peculiar working conditions of the cigar makers gave them particular opportunities to gain and strengthen their Social Democratic convictions. The chapter discusses the men and women who participated in the early Social Democratic organisations. Early labour associations were at least as much the last refuge of the artisan as the first stirrings of the organised working class. Wage labourers, the gradually emerging new type of worker, continued to share many of the traditional values and norms of the social groups and milieux to which they had originally belonged. Industrialisation should be seen as a complex socio-cultural process which was part and parcel of the genesis of capitalism. The 'moral economy' of the artisans played an important role in the formation of the early labour movement.