1830 to 1930:

Growth of the Radical Left in Bergonia




The People
The Land







Daily Life



Radical Republicanism

Historical conditions in Bergonia were of course very different from those prevailing in France and the rest of Europe, but the nobility who repressed peasants and workers in Europe also by means of imperialism oppressed Bergonian peasants and workers.  The Iregemi who had gained control of the land in Bergonia were not unlike the French First Estate.  It was not then surprising that Jacobinism found adherents in Bergonia.  

It was the north half of Bergonia, the half colonized by the French, where the Bergonian Republic was established.  The Republic was founded by descendants of French settlers and Catholic converts among the atrei, all people with an interest in French culture. 

1830-1848:  French Antecedents to Bergonian Radicalism

The French Revolution of 1789-94 gave birth to radical republicanism which many called Jacobinism.  The French republicans rebelled against the feudal nobility of the Ancien Regime.  Historical & economic conditions in Bergonia were of course very different from those prevailing in France and the rest of Europe, but the nobility that oppressed peasants and workers in Europe also oppressed peasants and workers in Bergonia, by means of imperialism.  Moreover, the Iregemi who had gained control of the land in Bergonia were not unlike the French First Estate.  It was not then surprising that Jacobinism found adherents in Bergonia.  

The Bergonian Republic was established in the north half of Bergonia, the half colonized by the French.  It was founded in the main by descendants of French settlers and Catholic converts among the atrei, all people with an interest in French culture and precedents, and with fluency in the French language.   French-speakers awaited dispatches from Paris, corresponded with friends in France, and imported books and newspapers from there.  Many of the French-speaking whites living in and dominating the new Bergonian Republic were familiar with Voltaire, Descartes, the encyclopedists, and Rousseau.  Thus it is not surprising that French Jacobinism found adherents in Bergonia.

Socialism appeared in France among the followers of Henri de Saint-Simon and Charles Fourier.  The term "socialism" was first coined by Pierre Leroux, a Saint-Simon follower, in 1832.  Fourier died in 1837 and his followers continued writing peaceably about his principle of free association.  Saint-Simon died in 1825 and his followers largely dispersed and became prosperous bourgeoisie.  Fourier advocated self-sustaining cooperative communities he called phalansteries.  He was concerned with the nature of work, and how work could become interesting and creative for all men an women.  Fourier attracted some interest in Bergonia.  But other radical idealists emerged, all advocating the socialization of the means of production.  Among these was the Christian reformer De Lamennais, and the Christian communist Etienne Cabet, both of whom were readily translated into Nacateca and Minidun.  Joseph Proudhon was also translated into the Bergonian languages.

Militant communists appeared in France in the 1830s.  They sought to imitate the Conspiracy of the Equals of 1796, during the French Revolution, which ended when the Directory famously executed the Conspiracy's alleged leader Gracchus Babeuf.  Even at his trial, Babeuf advocated suppression of private property in favor of a "community of goods."  Phillipe Buonarotti, one of the few surviving leaders of the Conspiracy, wrote an account of it in 1828.  It popularized the Conspiracy to a new generation of radicals, and helped to steer interest toward issues of property and class.  This account was avidly read in northern Bergonia as well as in France, especially when it was translated from French into the native languages.

Auguste Blanque followed Babeuf's strategy by organizing a secret armed conspiracy of revolutionaries.  Blanque led the failed Paris insurrection of 1839.  Blanque too interested many of the discontents in Bergonia.

Saint-Simon and Fourier both believed that socialism could come about through purely voluntary cooperation.  They both relied, rather naively, on the hope that the property-owning classes would gladly surrender their prerogatives to labor, thoroughly misunderstanding the heart of capitalism.  Louis Blanc was one leader who understood that socialism would not come about without a takeover of state power.  

None of the early French socialists imagined that the state would own, manage or operate the factories, farms and mines.  While many different schemes abounded, they all imagined cooperative groupings of workers.  Louis Blanc argued for cooperative groupings he called national workshops which would over time grow to revolutionize economic life.  Unlike Saint-Simon and Fourier, Blanc did not believe that the workers would voluntarily organize on their own; he instead imagined a revolutionary state that would promote the national workshops by financing them.  The income generated by the workshops would first go to repay the state, fund pensions, buy new equipment and otherwise capitalize the enterprise, and the workers would divide the remainder among themselves in equal shares.  Blanc believed that revolutionary political action would bring about his new socialist order.

Then came the Paris Commune of 1848.  In February riots broke out in Paris and mobs took the street.  King Louis Phillippe called out the National Guards, but many of the enlisted men refused to fight their fellow citizens.  On 23 February 1848 a confrontation between troops and rioters climaxed with the troops firing and killing 35 citizens dead. 

The next day Louis Philippe abdicated and fled.  The rioters were guided by socialists and radical republicans.  A provisional government quickly emerged, comprised of the leaders of the small radical faction in the parliament and the leaders of the city's insurrection.  Universal suffrage was immediately proclaimed, thus enlarged the franchise from the wealthiest 250,000 men to all adult males, over nine million.  Socialists wanted immediate social revolution, but a national election for a constituent assembly produced a majority of republicans who wanted only political reforms. 

The government took first steps to set up national workshops, but as a parody of the workshops envisioned by Blanc.  The new assembly took power on 4 May 1848 and created an executive body of five moderate republicans.  The socialists were excluded from power.  The socialists "Part of Action" rose up against the new assembly, but the national guard suppressed them. 

On 21 June the assembly shut down the workshops, and on 23 June the socialists openly revolted.  Barricades were built, rendering the east side of Paris a fortress with over 50,000 defenders.  The assembly of moderates gave dictatorial powers to General E. L. Cavignac who organized regular army and national guardsmen to attack the insurgents.  Cavignac used artillery in the streets of Paris.  Thousands died, and 3,000 radical prisoners were deported en masse to Algeria.  The assembly went on to create a bourgeoisie republic, and in December the citizens of France (including millions of peasants voting for the first time) stupidly elected Louis Napoleon president.

In France the landed nobility had already been swept aside by 1848.  Now the bourgeoisie became the oppressors, and in part the 1848 uprising resulted in a bourgeoisie republic.  Factory owners, bankers, tradesmen and peasant proprietors became the new political class.  The peasantry remained agelessly ignorant, and thus temperamentally conservative, and therefore opposed the radicalism of Paris' industrial masses.

The events of 1848 inspired interest all over Europe in republican and socialist ideals, and in Bergonia too.  The heroic dimension of the martyred workers of June resonated deeply with some Bergonians. 

A Bergonian writer of French descent, Thomas Jeullier, lived in Paris during the commune and was swept up by the radical fervor.  He participated in the fighting, suffered a concussion from an artillery blast, covertly escaped Paris and helped put a number of hunted radicals on shp at Le Havre bound for Bergonia.  He and his friends arrived in Glen in October of 1848, and within a year his Chronicle of a Revolution had been translated into all the languages and circulated everywhere. 

The general belief spread among those who knew enough in Bergonia to care that a bourgeoisie clique manipulated the vote in favor of Louis Napolean, and he became reviled.  Later, opponents of Bergonia's dictator, John Rarsa, compared him to Louis Napoleon.  

Revolutionary Precondition I:  A Restive Peasantry  

The French Revolution resulted in major land reform and the destruction of the landed gentry.  This turned individual peasants into proprietors with conservative sensibilities.  In Bergonia, on the other hand, land stayed in the hands of the Iregemi gentry well into the 1800s-- until the Mountain Lion revolution of the 1850s.  The Bergonian peasantry had to struggle against the gentry for decades before they won any meaningful victory.  But even though the peasant village associations obtain title to the productive land, they still had to struggle against the Iregemi.  The Iregemi found new, more capitalist ways to oppress the peasantry.  

After 1850 Bergonian agriculture, as mentioned, was geared toward the export market, producing large plantation-style farms, especially in the south and east (sugar, fruit, tobacco, cotton).  Many peasants were diverted form their traditional crop and diverted-- sometimes by migration-- into one-crop commodity farming.  Bergonia's population was growing quite quickly, so that even with migration from the peasant villages to the cities and mining towns the rural population still grew.  Peasant activism well preceded any labor organizing in the factories.  In the wars of 1835-39 and 1854-56 peasants often joined in the fighting.  The Liberal political reforms of 1840 clipped the wings of Iregemi power.  When the Liberals expanded the franchise to all adult males, the peasant associations were on hand to organize the new voters.  The iregemi attempted to limit peasant voting by instituting difficult registration requirements, thus guaranteeing a thousand local skirmishes in which the peasant associations played a militant part.  Thus the associations became a fixed part of the political landscape, intractably opposed to the Iregemi and the local governments the Iregemi controlled.  

The reforms of the Liberal Decade just whetted the appetites of the peasants, and they joined the Mountain Lion Party which won the civil war of 1854-56.  The subsequent reforms virtually destroyed the legal basis of Iregemi power.  

But new corporations bought land for plantations, and the peasants on them worked as wage earners, retaining no legal right to any share of the harvest whatsoever.  Thus the rise of plantations provided a new way to oppress and wring work out of the peasantry.  When peasants acquired individual title to their land they sometimes unwittingly sold it to corporations.  Peasant grievances therefore persisted beyond the Mountain Lion's reign, giving the peasant associations continued purpose.  The peasant associations were far more mature than the emerging labor unions, in many cases three and four generations old, while labor unions were just organizing for the first time.  Many of the first generation of labor leaders were transplanted peasants who had acquired organizing experience in the service of peasant associations.  

Marx postulated that socialist revolution was the business of the urban proletariat.  Most Bergonian activists recognized the superior organization of the peasantry as compare to the urban proletariat, and were therefore prone to dispute Marx.  They paralleled the Russian Alexander Herzen (1812-1870) who preached that the communalism of the Russian peasant village was a sufficient foundation for socialist revolution.   

Revolutionary Precondition II:  Rise of the Proletariat

Socialism in both France and Bergonia arose in response to industrial oppression.  In every industrializing country, peasants migrate to the cities (sometimes new cities) to work in the newly built factories.  Rural forms of industrializing occurred too: largely with mining, timbering and sawmilling.  The wars of 1834-39 and the innumerable local conflicts retarded industrial development, largely by making capital formation difficult, but during the "Liberal Decade" (1840s), the Liberal Party government achieved a stable currency, minimal legal norms, and a banking system all necessary to capital formation. And so it was that during the 1840s that massive industrialization commenced.  Peasants in southern Berg and Amota raised cotton, so textile mills appeared in the cities of Amota and the English colonies.  Bergonia was fortunate to have abundant iron and other metal resources, largely in the Ifuno and the other highlands, so that Crisitoni and many other cities of the interior hosted iron and steel mills, foundries and plants.  Bergonia exported all manner of agricultural things to Europe (sugar, booze, bananas, dates, oranges, ciders, coffee), which spawned huge harbors in Glen, Comleta, the Clacupo cities, Alari Arsai and Harler.  

By 1870 a big urban proletariat had appeared, living in small compressed brick- and-adobe rowhouses, smothered under soot-- a subtropical version of the European industrial tenements.  The most industrialized regions were: Glenrec & Zeinran, Rarsecin, Comleta, Paiatri, the cities of Cuecha, and Pueoi.

1848-1866:  Birth of the Bergonian Left Wing

The failure of the 1848 socialist uprising in Paris and elsewhere in Europe was tragic.  But the events of that year excited the nascent socialist movement in Bergonia.  The early socialists suddenly became transfixed by the French example that revolution was possible.  The semi-socialist, very egalitarian party known as Lance & Pen had organized among peasants and petty bourgeoisie, and the accounts of the Paris Commune fascinated them.  Just four years later (1852) the Mountain Lion Party joined with Lance & Pen and many peasant associations in launching the Uprising of the Interior.  Bergonia experienced a revolution that year, which resulted in universal franchise and destruction of Iregemi power over the peasantry.

The people in Bergonia most susceptible to these European political philosophies were literate factory workers and students.  In progression, students, exiles, sailors and writers who traveled to Europe learned of socialism and anarchism, and brought books and pamphlets back home.  Socialism and anarchism were first known to those in the coastal cities literate in one of the European languages.  The Communist Manifesto was translated into Nacateca and Minidun in 1850, just two years after it first published.  Throughout this period the works of Marx and Bakhunin were translated into the Bergonian languages.  

The fact that so many Bergonians knew French and had a familiarity with French culture made Bergonia quite susceptible to French influences throughout the 1800s.  It is not surprising that Bergonian socialism had a distinctly French flavor.  

1866-1879-- Suppression of the Left under Rarsa's dictatorship:

In 1866 Rarsa became dictator and clamped down on the country.  Lance & Pen was utterly suppressed and its leaders imprisoned.  The Mountain Lion Party, champions of egalitarianism, was forced onto a leash.  It was ironic that he had relied upon the Mountain Lion Party to get the presidency.  Under the pressure of censors, police harassment, judicial persecution, and occasional arson, the Mountain Lion split into two: the majority submitted to the new dictator and became compliant, while the more radical "Feral Cats" went underground and became, essentially, Blanquists.  

Over time the factory workers, miners and dockworkers came to resent Rarsa, whose regime suppressed union organizing. The peasants, however, were pleased with Rarsa who preserved for them all the reforms of the 1852 revolution.  In fact they idolized him, and yet during his reign hundreds of thousands of them ended up wage slaves on the new cotton, coffee and fruit plantations.   

News of the Paris Commune of 1871 galvanized thousands, inspiring them to organize, but of course all organizing under Rarsa's had to occur clandestinely.

In 1875 a native activist named Manre Shalerei wrote an short eloquent summary of socialism called A Primer to Revolution.  Rarsa's government immediately censored it, so it was distributed on the sly.  Shalerei attempted to argue socialism from a variety of perspectives, summarizing Marx, but also citing Proudhon and Kropotkin, as well as traditional Tan arguments about justice and equality.  This book was translated into all six of Bergonia's major languages.  It became a bestseller.  

During his dictatorship the left remained suppressed.  It was against the law to "advocate in any way the troublesome doctrines of socialism, communism, chartism, tanism, anarchy or any other cause for disorder, rebellion or revolution." (Gen. Edict 110)

1879-1908--  Resurgence of the Left under the Third Commonwealth:

In 1879 Rarsa allowed the adoption of a liberal constitution, which established the Third Commonwealth, and lifted a lot of the oppressive features of his dictatorship.  He remained president until 1885, after which his successors allowed much more generous freedom of speech and organization.  The nation's largest parties were the Liberals and the Conservatives, but leftists also appeared in the open air and made themselves known.  

By 1885 socialist parties and anarchist groups had formed in all the big cities, aligned roughly according to the extent to which they adopted either European socialism or native radical ideas based upon Tan.  They were, with their names in english & minidun

The Feral Cats loved their nick-name, but their new party was formally named
Social Equality Party (Poti Reslic Bor) (PRB)
(Min.).  The more literal meaning would have been "the party in favor of equal standing for all."  The acronym, PRB, matched the consonants of "preba," the big mountain cat of Bergonia.  They were loosely organized in local political clubs and state organizations.  They had an annual national convention, and elected a "National Coordinating Council," but no strong national leadership.  They were habitually given to intra-regional feuding. 

The Mountain Lion Party organized in 1816 to give expression to the egalitarian impulse.  In the 1820s and 30s it had no coherent political philosophy, other than the passionate egalitarianism.  But they did develop a specific program: (a) universal franchise, (b) universal education, (c) giving the peasants complete ownership of their lands, plus the mills, and (d) the right to strike.  They challenged the Iregemi's property rights to peasant land, but had taken a reformist approach to the abuses of capitalist ownership of industry.  They led the uprising in 1856, which culminated in the presidency of heroic General John Rarsa.  Rarsa turned on his Mountain Lion allies.  Some of their leaders capitulated to Rarsa, while the more radical arm of the party went into underground opposition.  

While they evaded Rarsa's police, their egalitarianism transmuted very quickly into socialism.  A Primer to Revolution was important to them, but so were Miradi religion and Tan precedents (especially the Selone communes).  They muted their outrage at seeing their former comrade-in-arms cavort with the nation's nouveau riche, the first generation of industrial capitalist moguls, and they emerged from Rarsa's oppression making explicit calls to  smash the rich.  After Rarsa's liberalization their socialist conversion transpired rapidly, so that in 1886 their national convention adopted the word "socialism." 

In 1890 one of their leaders, Maniolo Pratli, devised a theory of socialism that was uniquely Bergonian, and he became one of the most influential theorists for later generations of Bergonian leftists,  Previously he had written a book called Anti-Marx, but it had little influence among Europeans because it not only attacked Marx and Engels but also Hegel, materialism and modernism from a traditional Bergonian point of view.

The Feral Cats developed multi-faceted strategic approaches to advancing the cause: reaching out to industrial unionists and peasant associations, and participating in parliamentary and local elections.  But since they believed that the revolution had to be made by the masses, their primary strategy was mass propaganda and education.  They worked hard to get their own presses and put out magazines, newspapers and pamphlets.  They formed their own schools where they schooled young people in doctrine and organizing skills, as wells as related subjects like economics and history.  They even organized a cooperative of machinists to manufacture printing-press for sale to leftist organizations.  Yet the Feral Cats were not theoretically wedded to any of these approaches, and their leaders repeatedly and explicitly stated that the party would adopt any new strategy or tactic that might advance the cause, and drop any approach that proved counterproductive.  

The Feral Cats had a strong battle-tested base in the countryside, which included many atrei peasants, and they supported a number of radical peasant associations.  (Most histories ignore how often and how well peasants have managed to organize themselves, in almost all civilizations and times).  The anarchists also organized in the countryside among the peasants, mostly in the coastal regions.  The socialists and communists did very well with the miners.  The chief battleground for the intra-left competition was in the cities.  


The Democratic Workers Movement (Kein Tibre te Democrasi) was organized by a group of atrei academics who married Tanic philosophy with both anarchist and socialist thinking from Europe, very much like the Feral Cats.   This party worked hard to build ties to anarcho-syndicalist unions, particularly the Syndical Federations (see above), and grew with them symbiotically.  Anarcho-syndicalism of course originated in Europe, but thanks to the DWM, anarcho-syndicalism took on a peculiarly Bergonian cast.  For this group as well, the Tan Era Selones were an inspiration. 

This group was affiliated with the Folk Movement, a rather mystical, highly influential, art criticism circle in Ceiolai, that expressed a sometimes rather bizarre form of radicalism, but promoted a lot of progressive art.  This group and the Folk Movement both consisted of a lot of people active in the social, literary and artistic movement known as the Ciranic Movement, which advanced the syncretic creation of a new Bergonian culture, combining the best of the Atrei and the West.  Its members were almost exclusively bourgeoisie in origin, and even suffered from a somewhat-deserved reputation as a bunch of parlor-room dilettantes.  But DWM activists impressed the factory workers and miners by their willingness to stand on the picket lines and go to jail, and by 1910 it had grown and it forged strong links with the syndicalist working-class movements.

The Commonwealth Party (Gatlerin Poti) was organized by atrei who found justification for socialism and democracy on purely Bergonian grounds, borrowing from Tanic philosophy in Pre-Columbian times, and admired the practices of the selone.  They argued that a priori considerations of justice and equity justified socialism.  They foresaw a system of worker collectives and guilds.  In time they accepted the theories of Maniolo Pratli and developed a closeness with the PRB.  This party had strong links to the radical peasants organizations, all regionally based.  

This party was explicitly a political party, participating in elections with the idea that elections was the preferred way to build the desired "national coalition," but they were also convinced that a national movement required a bedrock of local movements.  They had the idea that workers and peasants would organize locally and then in a federated national coalition they would take over state power by elections and mass action and, if necessary, force.  They would use the state to sweep aside the capitalists, and then take over the factories, the shops and the land.  The state then would, through institutional democratic procedures, serve and nurture the worker and peasant collectives.  This is much the Marxist formulation of revolution.  

The Gatlerin dispatched cadres to assist local groups in their attempts to organize.  The cadres visited factories, neighborhoods and towns and villages to stir people up against local outrages and abuses of power, offering their services to the locals, and building up strong local political clubs everywhere.  This local organizing of political clubs was in time the Gatlerin' primary strength.

This plainly nativist party displayed a native four-pointed star, gold in color, on a field of red.

In 1887 a radical faction split off from the Gatlerin, dissatisfied with the idea of gradualist electoral politics, and formed the League of Democratic Revolutionaries..  They wanted to advance a revolutionary overthrow of the government, and formed Blanquist-type cells in preparation for a campaign of violence.  In 1882 they commenced a wave of terror that frightened everyone.  Between 1882 and 1904--when most of the leaders were arrested-- they successfully assassinated over fifty politicians, government officials and leading businessmen, caused over twenty train wreck, sank a ship in the Zeinran River to stop all river traffic, set fire to the Supreme Court building in Ceiolai, and fired cannonballs into the facade of the regional office of the National Bank in Glen.  They may have been the first terrorist group to understand the importance of economic targets.

The biggest party was the Democratic Socialist Party (Poti Democrasi Soshali), strong all over the country, drawing from all demographics.  It had ties with the German Social Democrats and the UK Labor Party.  Like those European parties, it held to the belief that the revolution could come through politics, and ran candidates for office.  They saw government as the revolutionary instrumentality, either by government's law-making authority or government's monopoly on force.  Therefore they competed directly with the Gatlerin for left-wing votes. 

The SRP was founded by Bergonians of European descent and atrei sympathetic to European thought & culture, especially atrei from Christian backgrounds.  Since Bergonia had a French element, particularly in its emerging intelligentsia, it is not surprising that Bergonian socialists would more readily borrow more from French socialists, such as Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, Louis Blanc and Jean Jaures, than from German theorists.  The SRP's theorists plowed the same ground as Proudhon, Blanc and Jaures, and were familiar with and able to argue marxian theory.  They had little to do with Bergonia's Pre-Columbian precedents.  They also paid attention to American democracy, for many Bergonians of the time liked and admired the orderliness and lawfulness of American local towns & communities, and Dewey was admired.

These guys were tireless organizers and artful propagandists. This party used poster arts,  broadsides and newspapers to spread the word, and their publications sold hugely because they were bright, optimistic, funny and sentimental, as well as strident and  radical.  Its breadth or organization approached the big Social Democratic Party in pre-WWI Germany.

During the 1890s they wrestled with the question of whether to adopt an explicitly revolutionary program, whereby they would openly seek the ultimate overthrow of the state and the revolutionary transformation of society.  A majority of them said no, that such confrontation and violence was not necessarily inevitable, and certain not desirable, and that a lawful and democratic revolution was possible, and indeed the strategy most likely to succeed (and history shows that they were in large part correct).  


The Revolutionary Socialist Party (Poti Cumitrin Soshali):  A firm minority of the Democratic Socialist Party believed that revolutionary action was needed, that electoral politics were ultimately futile, co-opting and corrupting, and that the party should become ready to seize the center of power "by revolutionary and criminal force."  In 1899 this minority seceded from the DSP to form their own organization, the Revolutionary Socialist Party.  This group refused to run candidates for office except on the local level, repudiated all national parlimentarianism, and sought to build links with the unions.  They set up cells and planned and conspired.  

They had a violent arm, only loosely affiliated, of course, called the Red Storm, that sometimes committed big thefts, broke men out of jail, attacked police stations, and set fires.  Red Storm aided local labor unions in strikes, especially the ; Red Storm gunmen sometimes arrived to confront scabs and strikebreakers.  Red Storm men would stand guard at peaceful RSP rallies. 

In later times, the DSP and the RSP became allied, and Red Storm men guarded DSP rallies.

The Communist Party (Poti Comunisti Bergonia), a strictly Marxist party, sent delegates to the First International.  They became deeply influenced by the English trade unionists they met at the First International, and returned to Bergonia with redoubled dedication to start trade unions.  They steadfastly maintained that they were a revolutionary party and refused to run candidates for election.  See more on these crum-bums.

The Anarchist League (Taga Anarci) was organized in the late 1870's by Bergonians who had read Bakhunin, Kropokin and Proudhon.  It grew through the mechanism of organizing new chapters, which became autonomous Anarchist clubs, and the Anarchist League grew as a federation.  But very soon it fissured into to factions. 

A minority of the clubs followed the hard, violent line set out by Bakhunin.  This group, called Duracla, the "Actionists," also called "left-wing anarchists," argued for unrelentingly violent attack against the institutional state.  Imitating Blanque, the Actionists retreated into cells, armed themselves, and in 1886 unleashed a wave of terror: assassination, attacks on police stations, fires and bombs.  John Rarsa's dictatorship reacted by jailing all anarchist leaders.  This unfortunately included the leaders of the majority faction of anarchist clubs, called Democratic Anarchists, also called "right-wing anarchists," which followed the non-violent line set out by Kropotkin.  

Reflecting these two wings, the Anarchist League formally split apart in 1881.  Afterwards there proliferated several hundred local anarchist organizations, or "clubs."  Some sympathized and worked with the Actionists.  Most were Democratic Anarchist clubs and most of these affiliated with local syndicalist trade unions.  These clubs met to form voluntary regional associations.  They tried to practice what they preached.  They founded their own member services (buying clubs, clinics, homes for the homeless, housing projects, schools).  They established a limited number of successful cooperatives, (e.g. bakeries, trucking and horse-train companies, publishing houses, small manufactures.  They ran Bergonia's first daycare centers for working women.  

The Democratic Anarchists grew.  They reformed the Anarchist League in 1892 and made it their umbrella.  

The Bakuninist Actionists altogether disappeared by 1915, except for two factions.  One large Actionist faction, the Black Stone, evolved into rank criminality and became very famous and rich in the 1920s, then splitting into warring factions of opulent, flashy and horribly violent men who supplied the nation with some of its most scandalous headlines in the late 1920.  The other faction was know as the Arrowhead, and became so steeped in nativist traditions of revolutionary action that they turned to pre-columbian atrei mythology, and rolled around in the romance of the Banda warrior stuff.  They ended up becoming a Kilitan militia.

Bergonian anarchists attended the two international anarchist conventions in 1877 and 1907.  They published well-read newspapers and magazines.  They influenced and were close to many avant guarde artists. 

The Organization of Labor Unions:

The first unions organized around 1820.  These were nearly all trade unions, and they had close ties with the Mountain Lion Party.  After the Mountain Lion split in two, the unions maintained close ties with the Feral Cats, and most embraced the name "socialist" when the Feral Cats did.  The unions conducted strikes in the 1860's and 70's, but after a very large strike among the textile workers John Rarsa prohibited strikes in 1869.  

There was, coincidently a wave of strikes in 1885 in Bergonia, just as the dictator John Rarsa was unloosening the reigns of power, coincident to a wave of strikes in the United States.  Bergonia's railway workers struck in 1887, and the government attempted to fire all the strikers.  Afterwards the Conservative government attempted to ban all strikes.  

The unions tended into two groups, not unlike the growth of labor in the United States and elsewhere: trade and crafts unions, and industrial unions organizing the big new industrial operations.  In the 1890s new syndicalist unions formed, to compete against the older "socialist" unions.  Thus, the multiplicity of radical tendencies was mirrored in the nation's fractured labor movement, which by 1910 included these groups of unions.

The older, larger socialist unions, strong in the interior, including craft unions, textiles workers, railroad workers, and coal miners, bitterly opposing management with sometimes ruinous and violent strikes, but obtaining the first labor contracts in Bergonian history, thus within a few decades becoming a little complacent.  Most of these unions and radical professional associations (e.g. lawyers) affiliated under an umbrella called the Congress of Unions and Guilds, which became a hotbed of activism for the PRB (see above) and very active in supporting political reforms.  


The anarchist-syndicalist federations, which followed the line set forth by Proudhon, and were close to the anarchists and the Democratic Workers Party (see above), one branch prevalent in the cities, organizing truck, bus & taxi drivers, bakers, the stevedores, switchboard operators, electrical and water workers, and another branch spreading throughout the villages.  They formed state and regional Federations of Syndicals.


The newer, more militant industrial unions, more interested in Marxism, springing up between 1895 and 1910, a later generation of unions in new industries, such as the Iron and Steel Workers, the Auto and Machine Workers, and the workers in the burgeoning chemical industry, which all tended to concentrate  in the coastal cities.  They formed the National Industrial Workers, and became allied with to the communists and the Revolutionary Workers Party (see above)


And of course independent unions that survived by strategic compromises with management.  Most of these had reformist goals, like the AFL and the CIO in the US.  Management was happy to accommodate such unions, give them a contract, and then manipulate them to serve as firewalls against the real radical unions.

How Leftists typically become their own worst enemies:


The natural proclivity of the Left everywhere, it seems, is divisiveness and sectarianism.  All around the world, in just about every nation, leftists have indulged in internecine quarrels, either over ideological purity or over the means to the end.  When the bigger enemy waits outside the door, they quarrel childishly about fine points of doctrine and strategy, focusing on the slight differences between them and not the fundamental similarities.  One graphic portrayal of this appears in Warren Beatty's movie Reds.  Likewise, during the late 1960's and early 70's, the New Left fell apart in the same quarreling.  Students for a Democratic Society (the SDS) for a few years grabbed the forefront of the campus movement, but then very rapidly splintered into factions, each denouncing one another for some slight error.  


History has seen some occasions where disparate leftist movements have banded together-- when the reactionary opposition becomes so deadly that the luxury of quarreling disappears.  During the Spanish Civil War anarchists, socialists and communists all manned the front together.  But even with Franco's guns aimed at them, the natural proclivity worked its evil magic: acting on Stalin's orders, the Spanish communists back-stabbed the anarchists and assured victory for Franco.  Hitler likely would have never taken over Germany if the Communists and the Social Democrats had made common cause, but to the last breath the two leftist movements refused to cooperate.  


The counterpoint to leftist fragmentation has been communist hegemony-- Marx's "dictatorship of the proletariat" with the glue of gun and gulags.  On other occasions when the heterogeneous left has unified, communists have preempted coalition leadership, and then forced the other leftists into either obedience or oblivion.  There have been many times when communists have made common cause with other socialists, as well as anarchists and liberals, but each time they abandoned or turned on their allies.  Most non-communist leftists ended up in prisons after the revolution.  This is what happened in Russia, in Eastern Europe after WWII, and in Cuba.  Nowhere have communists allowed other leftist opposition.  


Either left wing sectarianism or communist aggression has killed the revolutionary surge in every country, except in Bergonia.  Communist aggression has usually succeeded only because of sectarianism, so if sectarianism can be avoided and if the left wing could unite, then the communists could be corralled, and something different than Marxist-Leninist dictatorship might emerge.


1908-1921-- Creation of the Democratic Front:


In 1908 the leader of the PRB (the Feral Cats) invited all the left wing parties and organizations to join into a broad based united front against the capitalist establishment.  The government immediately perceived the threat and dispatched agent provocateurs to stir up division among the various groups.  


The next year the "PRB-Cats" hosted a "unity conference" in Sonai, and nearly all the groups, including the Berg Communists, came.  A bomb went off in the auditorium the night before the convention was to begin.  They carried wooden benches into a nearby school gymnasium.  One of the anarchist leaders was shot in the head after the first day's meeting, but stubbornly refused to die.  The conference dissolved into shouting chaos.  The communists, anarchists and some trade-unionists stormed out, each in turn.  But the Feral Cats, the non-Marxist socialists and the syndicalist trade-unionists remained.  Two days later they agreed to form the Democratic Movement, with the stated goal of replacing the capitalist system with a "free workers socialist commonwealth."  They also endorsed a declaration of human rights that the PRB (Feral Cats) sponsored.  They resolved to consult with each other, not oppose one another, assist each other on the local level, and meet in an annual national convention.


But it had to wait until 1919 for the various groups to formally create a new front organization-- the Democratic Front, a coalition consisting of the PRB, the Commonwealth (Gatlarin) Party, and the Democratic Workers Movement.  Within a few months the Anarchist League entered the Democratic Front, in sort of an "associated" status.  The social democratic DSP, the revolutionary RSP, and the Communist Party both declined to join, but the very large DSP/RSP did finally join with great fanfare in 1925.  


In 1921, to match the unity of the Democratic Front,  the larger socialist unions merged with the smaller anarcho-syndicalist unions to form the United Federation of Workers   

"Little Theory, Much Heart"

This slogan was first uttered by Umac Dherein (a Minidun name), Bergonia's foremost socialist activist in the 1920's, a short dark atrei man with bushy black eyebrows and a gigantic moustache that often hid his wry grins.  He grew up in Glen, the son of an activist dockworker, and dropped out of pharmacy school to become an organizer for the Gatlarin Party, and later its chairman.  He was one of the earliest proponents of a grand left coalition, which came about by establishment of the DF in 1919.  He was prominent in establishing the form and substance of the DF message, and was the dominant figure at the pivotal 1922 and 1924 national DF conventions.  It was during this time that he wrote the hugely popular, "The Bourgeois Revolutionary."

He professionally organized street demonstrations, and did so as an artist would.  He made them into great public displays of theater, with plenty of flags and banners and music.  The invention of the microphone and the public address system was a miracle for him.  He boasted that he did something new with each demonstration.  Bergonians had always been prone to theatrics, and he played to it.  Umac also organized demonstrations as a general would.  He carefully calibrated each demonstration's strategic purpose.  Many were just to rally the faithful during campaigns and promote morale, or to drive public opinion on a particular issue, but he organized a number of street actions to support strikes.  This was during a time when strikes were illegal.

He was a man of irrepressible verve and boundless energy, and did everything with rough humor.  He could not speak without waving his arms.  Some biographers speculate that he was to some degree a manic-depressive.  Indeed during the holidays at the end of 1924 he went into a profound depression and could not return to public life.  He went into seclusion, and then his father successfully petitioned the court to institutionalize him, but his wife rallied the Gatlarin faithful, and a dramatic court hearing with demonstrators in the streets resulted in his return to her care.  He emerged from his depression in 1928 and reentered politics.  

His tactics became more confrontational, as everyone realized that a decisive moment was coming.  Now he organized demonstrations and street actions-- with men bearing arms-- as direct challenges to state and capitalist power.  He lead these groups in blocking streets, storming public buildings, battling police, and helping unions occupy the plants.  He trained cadres of professional street fighters and marshals, identifiable by armbands and headbands, he led the crowds in challenging, outflanking and overrunning the police and soldiers.  

"You debate the revolution.  I fight for it.  As my fellows and I fight, we will give you plenty of new things to debate," he boasted at the Democratic Front Convention in 1930.  The next year, in July, as civil war was breaking out everywhere, he was assassinated by a police agent while walking through a hotel lobby.  He was on his way to meet a new girlfriend, likely paid by the police to lure him into a trap.

The Bergonian revolutionaries of the DF tended to be short on theory (very short, compared to Marxists), but thick on practicality.  The eight principles were all the formal doctrine the DF ever had.  Dherein said, "The eight principles do not give us a delicately balanced, comprehensive social theory, but only a rough recipe for socialist society.  They become for us eight yardsticks and eight anchor points to use as we build our socialist house."

The Eight Principles:

"At least we have eight things we can agree on."

The diamond of eight stars on the national flag signify the Eight Principles of the Bergonian Revolution.  The Democratic Front in its 1922 annual convention, that year in Glen, adopted the Eight Principles, although the Anarchist League refused to endorse them until 1928.  The Communist Party was not part of the DF, and never considered adopting them, although the socialist-syndicalists repeatedly taunted communists with questions like, "Name one thing in the principles that you disagree with."  The eight-point platform gave the amalgam of various socialist and syndicalist revolutionary parties something they could all agree on.  

The DF's FlagAfterwards the DF raised a banner of eight yellow stars set against a red field, symbolic of the eight-point platform.  They also took to emblazing the blue field on the national flag with their eight gold stars.  (Bergonians use their traditional four-pointed star, eschewing the five-pointed star as a symbol of everything Western.)  

Although the 1922 convention adopted a programmatic statement that ran 1200 words long, the summary set out in the preface was what appeared on leaflets & posters all throughout the country:

  1. Liberty:  "Personal liberty belongs to every man and woman  to speak and to write, to organize and petition authority, to choose work, life and travel according to individual conscience and taste, with no state or workplace censorship."

  2. Equality:  "There shall be no ruling class.  All men and women shall have equal claim to the the good life, and equal access to power.  All races, creeds, communities and religions deserve both equality and autonomy, and no language or religion shall be suppressed."

  3. Democracy:  "All authority in every part of society shall be subordinate to democratic selection and control.  The people and workers shall either govern directly or choose their governors."

  4. Socialism/Syndicalism:  "The common good shall direct all policy, and the means of production will pass out of private hands, and into the cooperative hands of the workers and farmers, who shall enjoy the full fruits of their labor."

  5. Decentralization/Federalism:  "Local power is better than national power.  Plural power is better than a single party.  Divided power is better than consolidated power."

  6. Education and Science:  "All the people shall obtain education in the arts and sciences at free schools and universities, and science shall guide policy."

  7. Religion  "In a free society all religions shall have equal freedom to preach and practice."

  8. Public Ownership of Land:  "The land and natural resources of the country shall be allocated, protected and used to the benefit of all the people."

The anarchists with reservations agreed to the Eight Principles, but the Communists refused to do so-- they could not stomach Number #6 which accepted Religion.  They could not see how Marxist atheism created for the workers' movement an unnecessary enemy.

"Fight the War on Every Front"

This is what Dherein and others argued at the founding of the DF.  By "every front" they meant that the revolution would not neglect any stratagem for winning.  Rather than arguing which strategy (e.g. elections, organizing labor action, conspiring for violence) was best, the DF would do it all.  The ultimate, very explicit goal was to push on all fronts simultaneously, making harder for the bourgeoisie to defend.  They hoped that democratic elections would promote the revolution, but they were sure that the revolutionary process would also require worker action to seize their shops and factories.  It might also require street action, and ultimately the activation of armed militias and gangs. 

Dherein maintained that the majority of the people, no matter how leftist their politics, preferred to avoid violence, and that victory at the polls would grant a legal victory that would provide the legalistic bourgeoisie with their greatest humiliation.  But he predicted that the capitalist bourgeoisie would abandon legalisms when the Left won elections, and resort to violence.  He called this the bourgeoisie "retreat into the castle," but in fact he was describing more of a charge from the castle gate-- in essence he predicted that an electoral victory by the Left would be answered by a capitalist coup, perhaps with outside support.  This in fact happened in Iran, Brazil, Greece, Chile, and most seriously and dramatically in Spain, precipitating the great Civil War.  In a broader sense Fascism was sort of a bourgeoisie reaction to revolutionary socialism.

The Left, therefore, had to anticipate capitalist violence and prepare to meet it.  A revolutionary had to be willing to advance the revolution by whatever means.  "They [the bourgeoisie] devised this legal system as a way, a fence, a set of tethers to protect their property and corral the people.  When we use the law against them, they will cast it aside as they would any other broken tool.  They will cast it aside and come after us honestly with guns.  Then the claim of lawfulness will forever belong to us, but we will still need to shoot back."

"Fighting the war on every front" was the Bergonian answer to the great strategic disputes concerning means that divided the Left elsewhere.  European syndicalists, and the I.W.W. in the US favored labor action culminating in the "general strike."  Social democrats favored elections, which ultimately led to gradualism, Fabianism and reform.  Communists on the other hand argued no compromise with the bourgeois state and planned for a revolutionary moment when they could take over the state.  Some revolutionary groups favored fanning out among the industrial proletariat to educate people and raise working class consciousness, while other radicals including many anarchists favored "direct action" against the state apparatus.  The Bergonian preference-- do all these things.

The Internal Split

Going into the revolutionary period, the Democratic Front appeared powerful, united and invincible, frightening the capitalist class.  But from its inception the DF had remained factionalized within, as all non-totalitarian leftist movements are.  The factions of course related back to the original parties, so that:

I.  The PRB (Feral Cats) and the Democratic Workers Movement formed one "flank" of the movement, increasingly embracing syndicalist views, infuenced heavily by French socialism and Tan ideas, and increasingly more focused on trade unionism, and worker cooperativism, .  The PRB and DWM each reorganized several times during the 1920s to sort out their organizational functions, the result of which was the Workers Freedom Movement as a single legal political party organized as a federation of local clubs, running candidates for office under the DF banner.  In the 1920s They sponsored the Democratic Vanguard, a parallel organization with a fiery newspaper and press, a visible street presence, and soon began organizing armed militias in the countryside.  They were strongly attached to the unions that had been in the Congress of Unions & Guilds and the Syndical Federations.

II.  The Democratic Socialist Party and the Revolutionary Socialist Party formed the other "flank," the group most affiliated with the word "socialist," with European notions of socialism and liberty, absorbing some of Marx, and becoming explicitly revolutionary.  The very large DSP still ran slates of candidates under the DF banner, sharing the ticket with candidates from the other two parties.  The DSP continued to do best among the  left-wing parties at the polls.  In the meanwhile the RSP maintained a fiery newspaper and press, a visible street presence, and soon began organizing armed militias in the countryside.  The DFP increasingly took a more revolutionary stance than their equivalents in Britain (the Labour Party) and Germany (the Social Democrats of Edouard Bernstein).  They publicly told off the German Social Democrats for their part in aborting the 1919 Revolution, squandering a perfect revolutionary opportunity, and betraying many of their allies to death, and shortly thereafter they condemned the Labour Party as a bunch of sell-out reformists.  

Leaving the Gatlerin (Commonwealth) Party in the "center" or the "fulcrum" position between the other two, and in truth somewhat ambivalent, but with powerful, active local clubs, a positive reformist political face that did well at the polls.  The Gatlerin remained the second highest vote-getter of the coalition parties.


20 Sept 05