Between unitarism and federalism is the General History...

4. Between unitarism and federalism

The struggle of classes and nations in Austria.

Compared to Hungary, political life in Austria was much more stormy, or rather muddled. Its class and national composition clearly doomed it to endless turmoil, and here the internal situation since 1867 is a chain of continuous upheavals, all growing in size and significance, until the imperialist war of 1914-1918. It did not inflict the twofold monarchy of the last blow. The compromise of 1867 found Austria relatively economically weak country - it lagged behind both Germany and France. None of the nations that inhabited this country allocated the bourgeoisie so strong as to ensure an unconditional and decisive preponderance of one nation and its leading role. Hence the increasingly intensified interethnic struggle, which filled at times with completely unexpected content the Constitution just discussed. The main rivals were the Germans and the Czechs, but the unity in their national environment was far away, since the large Czech bourgeoisie was more willing to negotiate agreements with Germany than the urban petty Czech bourgeoisie, the main enemy of the Germans, and on the other hand, the German bourgeoisie did not get on well with the German landlords. It was precisely the German landowning nobility that found the points of contact with the great landowners of other nations of Austria and therefore was not averse to even supporting the nationalist claims of the Czechs and Poles: the feudal lords unite amicably against the German bourgeoisie without distinction of nationality. Politically, the latter was set up for obvious reasons centrally: it needed a fairly strong and unified government that would lead to a struggle with feudal remnants in civil circulation that hampered Austria's industrial development.

Political parties.

Therefore, the political party, representing the interests of the German bourgeoisie in the Reichsrat, appropriated the name "liberal" (or progressive). At the same time, she fully approved the neutral Constitutional order of Austria and willingly called herself "constitutional." On the contrary, the political party of the German aristocracy was almost entirely opposed to the liberals: it insisted on weakening the central government, i.e., on granting more significant rights to the Sejm lands, it was, therefore, a supporter of something similar to federalism. She resolutely opposed the secularization of Austrian family law, the weakening of the school power of the Catholic clergy, the departure from the concordat, which the liberals sought, for the power of the Catholic Church in civilian life was one of the obstacles to capitalist development. The supporters of the aristocrats formed a Catholic party, a conservative party, which went largely to join with the national parties and encouraged the federalistic lusts of the Czechs.

The government of liberals and unitarism.

In the struggle between these two main currents, which turned out to be almost equivalent, Emperor Franz Joseph and his court lost the role of arbiter, who tipped the scales in one direction or another. And he often fluctuated these scales, introducing instability and uncertainty in politics and sometimes leading to a very dangerous crisis. Immediately after the emergence of the new order, he leaned to the side of the liberals, and the liberal ministry carried out a series of laws aimed at strengthening the central authority and weakening the remnants of feudalism in civil use (the administration reform with the abolition of some of the judicial functions that remained with it, the reorganization of the army, and the Reichsrat imposed a ten-year contingent, the strengthening of the financial sector, a significant weakening of the power of the clergy in the field of marriage law and the management of the school case). The triumph of the liberals, however, did not last long. Particularly sharp resistance to their policies came from the Czech Republic and Moravia, where Czech nationalists boycotted the Sejmins, who were in the hands of the government majority, refused to recognize the Reichsrat and demanded the restoration of the "Czech Kingdom" (Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia) on the same, in general terms, on which the independence of Hungary was restored. Quite large popular unrest began in Prague. Other Slavic lands also rose in more or less decisive opposition to the central government: the Galician Diet demanded broad autonomy, the Dalmatian highlanders rose with weapons in their hands. The confusion intensified due to the growth of the strike struggle of the proletariat. And at the end of 1869 the Viennese workers organized a very impressive demonstration under the slogans of universal suffrage and political freedoms. The Reichsrat was going to continue the struggle against the "federalists", but the Slavic deputies all left it, so that the lawful majority hardly survived, and the position of the liberals became extremely difficult.

The Conservative government and "federalism".

The emperor, who is very malleable to clerical agitation and associated with sympathetic sympathies with the aristocratic elements of the country, did not firmly support the liberals, and after the Franco-PUnited States war he turned completely in the opposite direction, putting in power an aristocratic ministry with "federalist" plans. He even announced his full recognition of the rights of the Czech kingdom. A special rescript was already suspended in the Czech Republic of the general Austrian Constitution. But the strongest excitement that engulfed the German bourgeoisie received a very impressive support from Hungarian landowners, who feared major complications from the southern Slavs in case of success of the Czech claims: Hungary made it clear that it would oppose any attempt to transform dualism into "triialism." >

Again the centralists. Electoral reform.

Then the emperor, already accustomed to the sharp turns, again called for the power of the centralists. Again the Czechs who returned to the Reichsrat left it. But in 1873 the government resorted to an event that promised to facilitate its struggle against the national opposition: a new electoral law conducted through the Reichsrat as an amendment to the Constitution (which required a qualified majority of two thirds), abolished the elections of members of the Reichsrat by the Sejm of the Lands and established direct elections by the population . Now the four-year system of voters' division, which was used in the election of Seims, was transferred to the general Austrian suffrage. The Saeima lost, therefore, the opportunity to sabotage the elections of the Reichsrat, and the government got rid of the need to dissolve them and to appoint new elections to get the majority willing to fulfill its electoral function. The national opposition lost one of its guns. In the Czech Republic, the Czech deputies elected by the population refused to appear in the Reichsrat, but the significance of this refusal was weakened by the fact that the country still had representatives in the Reichsrat, though exclusively German. Among the Czechs, moreover, there was a stratification: part - the old Czechs - firmly adhered to the old tactics of boycott Reichsrat, the Young Czechs stood for the transfer of the struggle to the parliamentary field. In the late 1970s, the tactics of the Young Czechs triumphed, and in the future it was they who represented the most active sections of the Czech bourgeoisie, burning with the desire to discourage the German capital from the internal Austrian market, whereas the old Czechs, with their conservative-noble traditions and methods, are agile.

Weakening liberals.

The Liberal Ministry was not limited to the reform of the electoral law: other reforms were undertaken, in particular, the concordat was formally abolished (1874), the interference of law and administration in economic relations was significantly weakened. But the position of the liberals was greatly shaken due to the stock market crash of 1873 and the prolonged economic depression that followed. They split up in the Reichsrat into three factions ("clubs"), which weakened the cabinet, which in some cases had to maneuver between these factions. In 1879, the Cabinet fell as a result of the great discontent caused by the large part of the bourgeoisie in the occupation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, or rather the expenses that were required in connection with this occupation, and the Slavic unrest, which should evidently have increased in the same connection. Engaged in the struggle for the domestic market, the German Austrian bourgeoisie did not yet have an appetite for imperialist seizures, to which Austria Bismarck was pushing. The closest reason for the resignation of the cabinet was the defeat of the liberals in the elections of 1879, when they lost the leading position in the Reichsrat. There were about 145 constitutionalists against 170 more or less certain federalists, who were made up of Czechs, who at last returned to the Reichsrat, Poles, smaller Slavic groups and German aristocrats.


Now, after a long break, another turn was made towards an agreement with the national opposition. The liberal bourgeoisie was weakened, and the federalists were strengthened by the fact that the mass of the petty bourgeoisie, devastated by crises and crashes, eagerly listened to the demagoguery of clerics, agrarians and other federalists. For about fifteen years (1879-1893), a motley anti-liberal coalition of old Czechs, Polish aristocrats, German conservative Catholics and other reactionaries, Slavic and German, was in power. The government (the city of Ta'af) only made insignificant concessions to the Slavs, for example, in terms of language, the purpose of which was precisely to aggravate and incite ethnic hatred and distract their attention from a friendly political struggle with the government. The real victories were won only by the landlord clique in its attempt to slow down the bourgeois development of the country: it achieved a partial abolition of freedom in crafts and trade, a number of exceptional laws, in the manner of the German, against the labor movement (prohibition of trade unions, etc.), measures tending to strengthening kulak land ownership. Were, however, made attempts to entice workers by introducing insurance against injuries, reducing the working day to 11 hours and mandatory Sunday rest. The reaction seeks to direct the discontent of the exploited workers and the ruined petty bourgeoisie into the mainstream of anti-Semitism.

A well-known significance was attached to the reform of the electoral law, whose aim was to strengthen the petty-bourgeois sections of the electoral corps, which were on the brink of the reactionary federalists: in 1882, down to five florins (about five rubles), a direct tax was required, the payment of which was required for the right voices in urban and rural curia.

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