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Serpent

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Nice essay Tommy.

BTW, why are so many people obssed with such ahistorical concept as "discrimination"?
Agreed.

It's one way to counter ethnic nationalism and show the universal nature of communism.

That's the basic outline I have in my mind. I had my doubts about the laying out of definite rights but that idea seemed so overwhelmingly popular ...
But there's not much agreement about what those rights should be. It seems quite bourgeoise to me since it assumes that the interests of the state and the people would somehow be opposed. Why else would the people need to be protected from the state? Why else would the state need to be restricted? Is not the people and the state one and the same?
Anyway, maybe some general statement of good intent in the preamble to the constitution itself would be sufficient as a gesture...
 
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Communard

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But there's not much agreement about what those rights should be. It seems quite bourgeoise to me since it assumes that the interests of the state and the people would somehow be opposed. Why else would the people need to be protected from the state? Why else would the state need to be restricted? Is not the people and the state one and the same?
Anyway, maybe some general statement of good intent in the preamble to the constitution itself would be sufficient as a gesture...
It is not "bourgeois" to acknowledge that the state is made up of fallible human beings. Unless common sense has been declared to be bourgeois, that is...
 

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Some sort of statement of rights - these are not to be overly precise or restricting

Official and binding definition of the powers of each institution of government

A right to amend the constitution, given enough support

A clause to allow for the abolishment of the constitution as a part of the abolition of the state

A solid definition of how to solve electoral problems such as the one we have recently experienced

That's the basic outline I have in my mind. I had my doubts about the laying out of definite rights but that idea seemed so overwhelmingly popular ...
This all sounds good, except perhaps for the rights part, I really urge you to avoid putting things that haven't been agreed upon by the major factions in there; especially so-called political rights. Social and economical rights should be less controversial, such as the rights to food, shelter, employment, healthcare and education. Those rights are actually in the current RL Swedish constitution so it shouldn't be too radical for a socialist state. However, I urge you to avoid things like freedom of speech or freedom of the press since it hasn't been uncontroversial in the past.

Also, I think the constitution should start with a definition of the constitution, that states that it is a framework for the political (and possibly legal) system of the VSVR, but is not intended to regulate the political (and possibly legal) content.
 

Serpent

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It is not "bourgeois" to acknowledge that the state is made up of fallible human beings. Unless common sense has been declared to be bourgeois, that is...
I agree. But the writers of the constitution are also fallible human beings and a constitution makes the state inflexible, possibly locking it permanently into flawed policies. If the rights are not bound by the constitution they can not interfere with the work of the state. And since the state works with the best interest of the people at heart limiting the effectivity of the state is harmful to the public good.
If the rights are not defined in the constitution then they can change according to the public will as expressed in free elections. If they are bound in the constitution the rights will ossify and no longer be subject to democratic change. The constitution will soon be the will of the dead imposed upon the living.
 

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I agree. But the writers of the constitution are also fallible human beings and a constitution makes the state inflexible, possibly locking it permanently into flawed policies. If the rights are not bound by the constitution they can not interfere with the work of the state. And since the state works with the best interest of the people at heart limiting the effectivity of the state is harmful to the public good.
If the rights are not defined in the constitution then they can change according to the public will as expressed in free elections. If they are bound in the constitution the rights will ossify and no longer be subject to democratic change. The constitution will soon be the will of the dead imposed upon the living.
A Constitution seeks to ensure that the state remains a body which acts in line with the will of the people. If there is no freedom of political opinion then there can be no democratic expression of the people's will, by definition. The people's will will be declared to be whatever the Chairman wants it to be. Even if he believes he is acting in the best interests of the people and the revolution, that cannot be allowed.

On your second point, an amendment process will surely address that concern.
 

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I fear that the adoption of a constitution marks the final end of the revolution as we know it, and the transition of the VSVR into the role of a traditional state. The fervour has been fading for some time, but recently it seems to have reached a new low. The re-emergence of bourgeois ideals such as religion and nationalism, along with wars that resulted in mere regime changes, rather than furthering the revolution emphasize this. And now we sit, bickering and arguing over a constitution, a document supported by a mere 20% of the people, only considered now in response to one easily fixed problem that has only happened once in the history of the VSVR.
If the constitution is a requirement, it should be as minimalist as possible, containing only the outline for elections, how to deal with tied elections, and a few basic, non-political rights. It should not be possible to add terms to it, or else we will end up with a document resembling that of the United States. It should be possible to repeal the document entirely if 70% of both the Assembly and the Central Committee support the move. The document should be a framework for the operation of the state, not a user's manual.
 

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I fear that the adoption of a constitution marks the final end of the revolution as we know it, and the transition of the VSVR into the role of a traditional state. The fervour has been fading for some time, but recently it seems to have reached a new low. The re-emergence of bourgeois ideals such as religion and nationalism, along with wars that resulted in mere regime changes, rather than furthering the revolution emphasize this. And now we sit, bickering and arguing over a constitution, a document supported by a mere 20% of the people, only considered now in response to one easily fixed problem that has only happened once in the history of the VSVR.
If the constitution is a requirement, it should be as minimalist as possible, containing only the outline for elections, how to deal with tied elections, and a few basic, non-political rights. It should not be possible to add terms to it, or else we will end up with a document resembling that of the United States. It should be possible to repeal the document entirely if 70% of both the Assembly and the Central Committee support the move. The document should be a framework for the operation of the state, not a user's manual.
Why does a constitution mark the end of the revolution? It exists to protect the revolutionary ideals against those that would subvert them! It is those who wish to strip the people of their basic political rights, who see themselves as above the people, who think they know better than the people do, they are the true counter-revolutionaries. Which will better wither away, a state which seeks to follow the will of the people, or a state which seeks to control it?
 
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Why does a constitution mark the end of the revolution? It exists to protect the revolutionary ideals against those that would subvert them! It is those who wish to strip the people of their basic political rights, who see themselves as above the people, who think they know better than the people do, they are the true counter-revolutionaries. Which will better wither away, a state which seeks to follow the will of the people, or a state which seeks to control it?
The ideals of the revolution are protected by the people themselves. We do not need a paper, representing the stagnant ideals of a certain time period to be the frame holding the revolution together. Experience has shown that even small forays into authoritarianism result in serious setbacks for the chairman.
Not even a large minority of the people supported the idea of a constitution. Only a mere one fifth did. Yet the government is now deadlocked for five years, and all for a constitution. Is that not the very definition of thinking we know better than the people?
 

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The ideals of the revolution are protected by the people themselves. We do not need a paper, representing the stagnant ideals of a certain time period to be the frame holding the revolution together. Experience has shown that even small forays into authoritarianism result in serious setbacks for the chairman.
Not even a large minority of the people supported the idea of a constitution. Only a mere one fifth did. Yet the government is now deadlocked for five years, and all for a constitution. Is that not the very definition of thinking we know better than the people?
You cannot just assume that everyone who voted for a particular faction agreed with every one of their policies. There were no doubt MLs who wanted a constitution and DAs that didn't. It wasn't even the major issue at the last election. The government is deadlocked for five years because of the lack of a constitution. What would you have preferred, civil war?

If someone wants to deprive people of the right to their own political opinion seems to suggest that that person thinks he knows better than them, does it not? Those "forays into authoritarianism" you talk of also ended with the deaths of thousands and the political suppression of some of the finest minds this republic has ever known. Why not prevent them from happening in the first place, instead of simply hoping that they fail? Obviously they will fail eventually, since as you said the people are the ultimate safeguard, but at what cost? Best to nip tyranny in the bud.

You seem to think that it is impossible for a Constitution to be a living document. The bourgeois constitution of the USA exists to protect the interests of the bourgeois class, and this has required only minimal changes due to their entrenched authority. Our revolutionary constitution shall protect the rights of the people as a whole, due to the lack of class divisions in our society, and thus may be amended by them in a democratic manner if it becomes neccessary.
 

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The governing coalition agreed to a constitution. As for saying that authoritarianism has always been a political loser... what history were you reading?
 
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One can only hope that the Democratic Anarchists will get more interesting then, or another reactionary party will join the New Right - one that is less distasteful than the Nacis - like the old Revolutionaries were. It just has been an unsatisfying trend (I really do not intend to complain, this is the most intricate and well fleshed out timeline I've seen in quite a while) that the German Socialists, United Front, Moderates, moderate Anarchists, and Democrats, and Democratic Anarchists are so boring compared. The Luxemburgists were a real shot in the arm to the usual, interesting but cyclical extremes of the hardline Marxists and the hardline Anarchists that have defind the new, internal dialectic of the revolution - they redefined the paradigm and now the anarchists are more interesting because they are Free Soviet supporters rather than free marketeers in a socialist context. However I just don't want to see the Democratic Anarchists wind up as bland as the Independent-etc. coalition or Kropotkin's sadly botched government - the events were very exciting, but the factions themselves not so much.

There just seems to be an archetype of bland moderates that always exist between the hardliner Marxists and Anarchists, and I think that could be shook up a little.
 

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One can only hope that the Democratic Anarchists will get more interesting then, or another reactionary party will join the New Right - one that is less distasteful than the Nacis - like the old Revolutionaries were. It just has been an unsatisfying trend (I really do not intend to complain, this is the most intricate and well fleshed out timeline I've seen in quite a while) that the German Socialists, United Front, Moderates, moderate Anarchists, and Democrats, and Democratic Anarchists are so boring compared. The Luxemburgists were a real shot in the arm to the usual, interesting but cyclical extremes of the hardline Marxists and the hardline Anarchists that have defind the new, internal dialectic of the revolution - they redefined the paradigm and now the anarchists are more interesting because they are Free Soviet supporters rather than free marketeers in a socialist context. However I just don't want to see the Democratic Anarchists wind up as bland as the Independent-etc. coalition or Kropotkin's sadly botched government - the events were very exciting, but the factions themselves not so much.

There just seems to be an archetype of bland moderates that always exist between the hardliner Marxists and Anarchists, and I think that could be shook up a little.
Ya. The reason I voted for TGs, Revolutionaries, and Nacis was because fascism, in all honesty, is very interesting. Not that I'm a fascist myself, and not that any of them are really "fascist" in the traditional sense of the word, but I just find it so interesting because it's so damn weird.
 
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Of course, I am now reminded that there are other Real Life developments in Marxism that could still occur in this timeline before the Victoria time limit runs out. For all I know the titanic struggle between Leninism and Plekhanovism could eventually be interrupted by some sort of New Right style agrarian Marxists or even Marxist-Leninists. Some sort of pseudo-Maoist movement putting Marxist-Leninism in the agrarian context would certainly make Trotsky irate. Or perhaps the Plekhanov idea of abandoning vanguardist prostelyzing in unindustrial areas without their own native communist supporters will, with this advent of international Comintern ideologies emerging into VSVR politics, rise to some sort of Third Worldism or pseudo-Maoism that way. After all, if Frenchmen and Irishmen can wander into Cologne why not an African from the great socialist experiment there? Of course finding Real History figures to fit the role might be hard. Then again, this is the early 20th century, so it might not.
 

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Freedom of religion, culture (not nationalism), occupation and speech so long as any of the above do not impinge on the freedom of others to do the same.
Violence in deed or word may be subject to arrest.
 

Enewald

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Haha.
The constitution serves THE PEOPLE, NOT THE STATE, NOT THE PARTY, NOT THE SOVIETS OR ANYTHING ELSE.
It is for the people!
People die, ideas change, but a written constitution stays!

Freedom of speech is a must, and basic fundamental rights must stay even after the state becomes smaller.
In fact, there will always be a state, but it must grow smaller with time.
The society must become more democratic and more equal with time.

The fact being, this party, does not rule for a proletariat that stands above everything else, but for the people!
For everyone!

Every citizen shall have the same defence against state and party, constitution is the shield of the entire society!

A constitution shall not bring this revolution to an halt, it shall fuel and protect it!

The state shall rule in the name and for the welfare of the people, not just your precious proletariat!

I demand a revolution, a revolution that serves the mankind, not just the Ruhrland and its little workers!
And that constitution, that shall be our shield in that revolution!
 

Tommy4ever

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The Constitution of the Republic and the Grand Assembly of the Comintern

The Constitutional Congress than ran in Cologne through the month of February sparked heated and varied debate. Elements of the Congress demanded a complete overhaul of the VSVR’s political system whilst others demanded that the Constitution not be issued at all. Overall the discussion seemed to point to 3 important rules: establish some basic rights for citizens, set out the democratic system in a single document and make sure the Constitution is neither permanent nor overbearing.

When the Congress ended and the Central Committee began to tough process of drafting the Constitution. The Committee members decided to divide the constitution into a declaration of rights and a legal document dealing with the government institutions of the Republic.

The Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen

Each and every citizen of the United Socialist People’s Republic must maintain certain inalienable rights. The rights of the citizen are not limited to those listed below, but these are the most unmoving and unshakeable of the citizen’s rights. These rights are the foundation stones for the Republic; they are the point which any and all governments must adhere to. These are the rights of man.

• All men and all women are born equal and are to be treated as such

• Every man and woman citizen above the age of 18 has the right to vote in any citizen’s election within the Republic

• All citizens of the Republic have the right not to go hungry

• All children between the ages of 5 and 16 have the right to an education provided by the state

• All citizens of the Republic have the right to free healthcare provided by the state

• All citizens have the right to whatever political beliefs they wish

• All citizens of the Republic may maintain whatever religious beliefs they wish although they do not have the right to force their faith upon others

• No one is to be discriminated against based solely on their sex or their race

• All widows and widowers with children have the right to a state provided supplement to their wage

• All citizens who have spent 40 years of their lives at work have the right to a state provided wage from their retirement until their deaths


These are the inalienable rights of man. They may not be infringed by the state or by any citizen of the Republic.


The Declaration of the Rights of Man, named so in honour of a similar declaration made during the French Revolution, was a controversial document. The freedom of religion in particular had large sections of the Republic and even larger sections of the Party in uproar. Trotsky initially called it a reactionary strike at the heart of the revolution. This particular article was forced through by Anton Drexler – the National Communists had been surprisingly willing to back off from squabbles ever since the election and this was Drexler’s only true sticking point in the entire Constitution. The whole period after the election saw a large scale shift in public opinion away from the squabbling and politicking of the Old Right and the Left and towards the New Right. By remaining outside of the debate and acting as the voice of reason Drexler destroyed many misconceptions of his faction whilst the sticking point of religion only angered the hard line Marxists and Anarchists who would never vote National Communist anyway. By mid March many political pundits claimed that if the election was to be held again the National Communists would be sure to be the largest faction.

The second half of the Constitution dealt with the drier side of things.

The Republic and the People’s Party

The government of the United Socialist People’s Republic and the People’s Party are not a single entity. The government of the United Socialist People’s Republic is administered, on behalf of the proletariat, by the People’s Party.

In order to achieve admission into the People’s Party the potential member must:

• Not support the idea of capitalism

• Must support the idea of proletarian control over the means of production

• Must be either a citizen of the Republic or a member of a Party that is accepted by the Comintern

• Not be a supporter of the bourgeoisie or the aristocracy of any state

• Not publically follow any religion

• Not discriminate based on sex, race or cultural background

• Swear not to infringe on any of the Rights of Man

There are three key facets of government within the United Socialist People’s Republic. The first is the Constituent Assembly. The Assembly represents the People. It is elected every 5 years (unless extreme mitigating circumstances are present) by Proportional Representation. For any Bill drafted by the Central Committee to become law the Bill must gain the confidence of the Assembly ie it must have more votes in favour than against. Members of the Assembly have the right to petition the Central Committee to place Bills before the Assembly but they may not propose them without the agreement of the Committee. All members of the Assembly have the right to vote in favour, against or abstain from any vote.

The next facet of the government of the United Socialist People’s Republic is the most powerful – the Central Committee. Positions within the Central Committee are awarded to each faction according to how many seats that faction wins in the Assembly. For every 10 seats the faction gains one member. An eleventh member is then appointed by the Committee as a whole. Any member of the Central Committee may propose a Bill. In order for a Bill to be put before the Assembly it must first be put to a vote before the Committee. All Committee members may vote in favour, against or abstain from a vote. Any ties in voting are to be broken by the Chairman.

The Chairman of the United Socialist People’s Republic is both the leader of the People’s Party and the head of government of the United Socialist People’s Republic (being the leader of the governing Party). He is a member of the Central Committee and his vote shall act as a tie breaker in the event of any ties in voting. Whilst any Central Committee member may propose a Bill the agenda for discussion within the Committee is to be drawn up by the Chairman or, if he wishes, the General Secretary.

Elections in the United Socialist People’s Republic:

The Assembly is elected according to proportional representation. For every percent of the population that votes for a particular faction that faction shall gain one seat in the Assembly.

The Chairman is to be elected by the People’s Party. Each Party member shall have the right to cast a single vote. Votes are to cast according the faction. The faction with the single largest number of votes shall appoint a Chairman. In the event of a draw in votes the faction that can ensure the support of the single largest number of members in the Assembly shall have the right to appoint a Chairman.

In order to stand as Chairman a candidate requires the confidence a full ¼ of the Assembly. This shall discourage candidates with little popular support cannot win the Chairmanship. It shall also encourage either joint tickets or the simple withdrawal from the Chairmanship election. In order to ensure the ability of entirely new factions to compete in the Chairmanship election if a faction that is not represented in the Assembly wishes to put up a candidate for the Chairmanship election then it must produce a petition signed by 500,000 citizens prior to the beginning of the election campaign. After its first election in the Assembly this method of standing for the Chairmanship may not be used again.


Another part of the Constitution and another controversy. The bans on entry to the People’s Party according to publically accepting religion and discriminating based on sex or race were designed as an attack against Drexler. Much of the National Communist faction had sympathies with the religious whilst there was a strong undercurrent of machoism and nationalism that risked infringing on the discrimination law. Yet Drexler refused to hamper his booming growth in popularity at the expense of creating discontent within his faction. Outside of this issue electoral reform was the other major point of contention. Tactical voting and ‘vote switching’ (where a Party member would cast his vote first according to whom he wanted to win and then change it later according to who he didn’t wanted to prevent winning) were becoming endemic issues in Chairmanship elections. Thoughts of once again giving the Party a say in the makeup of the Assembly were dismissed as that would weaken the role of the people in government, ideas of a return to 2nd preference voting were toyed with but again dismissed. Instead a new system was devised that would allow for divisions within the Assembly to exist but would limit the number of candidates standing for the Chairmanship to 4 at the absolute most, more likely 3 or even 2. This would help allow each major wing of the Party to place a candidate (the Left, Old Right and New Right) up for election whilst at the same time combating the problems of tactical voting.

Both parts of the Constitution would be up for review every ten years. The new Rights of Man were to come into effect immediately whilst the second half of the Constitution would come into effect on January 1st 1910. In 1915, 1925 and every 10 years thereafter the Constitution would be up for review. In order to amend the Constitution each amendment would first require the support of the Central Committee and then 70% of the vote from the Assembly. The main idea behind this was to make it easier for the Constitution to be finally abolished when the time came to begin to dissolve the state entirely.

Aside from the Constitution this period saw the appointment of the Grand Assembly of the Comintern. The Grand Assembly was set up as a sort of international government that would one day become the basis of the Socialist World Republic. As of 1905 the Grand Assembly had few real powers. All constituent Republic maintained sovereignty, although there were plans to begin transferring powers to the Grand Assembly as soon as it proved itself to be workable. For now it would merely act as a forum for the members of the Socialist International.



Each constituent Republic was guaranteed a single seat whilst each 10 million citizens after the first 10 million would mean another seat in the Grand Assembly. Nothing showed how utterly dominant the large nations in the Comintern were better than the makeup of the Assembly by nation. The VSVR, Soviet Union and France provided just over half of all members and together contained in excess of ½ a billion people (the majority being in the VSVR). The Assembly also showed just how dominating Europe was in the Comintern as a whole. Just 10 seats were provided to exclusively Asian Republics, although it must be noted that the Soviet Union gained a seat from its lands in Central Asia and Siberia whilst 2 of the 3 seats of the Netherlands were provided courtesy of the East Indian portion of the Republic.



Observing the makeup of the Assembly by faction made the international dominance of Marxism abundantly clear. 65% of seats were held by the 3 major Marxist blocks: the Leninists (the block supported by the VSVR’s powerful Marxist faction), the Plekhanovites (the largest faction in the Soviet Union) and the Councilists. The international Anarchist movement had been declining since the start of the 1880s and the much publicised failure of the Kropotkin government in the VSVR. However the degree to which it had declined was quite shocking – around half of all seats held by Anarchists were provided by the VSVR. Elsewhere peasant based socialist parties bandied together in the Agrarian League whilst nationalist groups (such as the National Communists – their flag bearer) formed the Regionalist block.
 

Konnigratz

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Inoffensive to all factions for the most part, and fairly minimalistic to boot. I, for one, am satisfied with the Constitution.

Now, we shall see how effective the unity government will be in the running of day-to-day matters. The shrewdness of the National Communists is particularly worrying. I fear they may be portraying themselves as the bringers of peace and harmony merely in order to further their own nationalist agenda.
 

Serpent

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(edit, before reading the constitution.)

A non-minimalist constitution serves the political status quo, not the changing will of the people and certainly not any kind of revolution. Even if it can be amended it will by necessity be a difficult process requiring a political consensus rarely seem in VSVR politics and such a consensus will be increasingly difficult to find as the constitution itself becomes sacralized (like the american constitution has become).

An unlimited freedom of political oppinion endangers everything most of us have worked for the last 60 years. We cannot allow capitalist and nationalist propaganda to tare our country apart with their appeals to petty selfishness and artificial differences. The success of the Nacis have shown us that we are still not safe from backsliding into a bourgeoise mentality, and such tendencies can not be combated if we allow misguided and malicious propaganda to spread unhindered in our society. An unrestricted political freedom will open the doors to political agents and saboteurs from our enemies who will build within our borders a "fifth column" to undermine our culture, corrupt our economy and destroy communism forever. Unrestricted freedom, freedom without responsibility, may well mean the end of freedom itself.

--
(edit, slow internet. may change post when I've read constitution.)
--

On the whole, the constitution is better than I had feared, worse than I had hoped. I'm most pleased by the fact that while people may have whatever political ideas they like they may not necessarily express them freely. Together with the anti-discrimination clause in the party that should put an end to the secessionalist tendencies. Religion is a non-issue since anyone who speaks of their faith in public can be said to be attempting to prozelyte and may therefore be punished by the law.

I also wish the new Assembly of the Comintern the best of luck. May it enjoy a smooth path towards a world-government. :)
 
Last edited:

J. Passepartout

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On first reading I find this acceptable and only find things I would phrase differently (in the list of Party membership requirements, you don't need the 'musts' in the bullet points because there is already a 'must' before the list, and one or two other things like that I am forgetting.)
 
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