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Alternate History

Peasant States (Twilight of a New Era)

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The Peasant States of the Balkans and Austria-Hungary’s Ruthenia, can be characterized as the product of large scale peasant mobilization in the domains of the political and social structures by the agrarian parties. For some authors it represents the culmination of nation-state building in the Balkans.

The Peasant States can be descriptive as the expression of agrarian corporatism. That is to say that the interest of the rural zones and peasants are expressed and organized in the State Institutions and have a key role in the economical and social decision making. This agrarian corporatism is usually constitutionally formalized by the creation of a para-legislative body. This decision making body is more powerful than the economic councils that follow the French model and its resolutions and mandates are obligatory.

Rural private property is keep, but undergoing a land reform to accomplish a better distribution, improvement in outputs, and technical improvement. Also to decrease or take away the power of groups that held large estates such as the Crown, nobility, large landowners and the Church. Unlike the socialist revolutions, there was no goal to collectivize all the land. Quite contrary, all sorts of property existed and flourished - small and medium landholders, cooperatives, state farms, etc. - but with the inconvenient that economic planification is impractical or cumbersome to implement.

The strong state intervention in the rural population and areas can be characterized as an agrarian state capitalism. This also comes in hand with a general improvement of the welfare of peasants and similar groups. In many cases for the first time farmers and their families had access to schools, health care, electricity and modern roads.

A major difference with fascist corporatism is that elements of the liberal state such as elections, basic liberties and freedoms and separation of State powers are keep. There is no subordinating role of the society by the State. Civil organizations usually pursue their interests and there is no official ideology stating that divergent interests are and must be coordinated and harmonized in the unity of the State. One mechanism peasant mobilization, that becomes necessary for the system to keep running and to legitimize the rule and corporatism of the agrarian parties. This mobilization is made usually playing the distinction of working groups versus parasites (non productive groups). Is not unusual that a so called agrarian people’s revolution is celebrated at a given date or state propaganda loathes the previous regime and glorifies the feats of the government.

Although political plurality is maintain, legally and electorally, peasant states have a dominant-party system. The main party favored by the electoral system and votes is the agrarian/peasant in each Balkan country. There is a tendency toward political authoritarianism.

Bulgaria has gone farther in its political systems being fully been reorganized according to the estatists theory. Parties represent estatists interests therefore the BANU is the representative of the peasants, the Workers’ Party of Bulgaria urban workers, and so on. Parties not following this scheme do exist but do not benefit from advantages given by electoral contingencies and laws that openly and legally favor estatist organizations.

Peasant States

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