A Guide, Resource, and Repository of Could-have-been Ideologies for your Alternate History

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by PachPachis, Feb 20, 2017.

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  1. Threadmarks: Nihilistic Socialism - Kerguelen

    Kerguelen Prime Specimen

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    Nihilistic Socialism

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    ‎"Introduce a little anarchy. Upset the established order, and everything becomes chaos. I'm an agent of chaos...”

    What is Nihilism?


    The nihilism in this entry is centered on a Russian breed of anti-government activism that wholly rejected the policies of Imperial Russia. As time went on, the movement began to speak against the authorities that ruled them, the government, the Church and the Tsar. Secret societies popped up all across Russia composed of indebted lawyers, resentful students, and zealous philosophers. After the government began to crack down on nihilist counterculture, the movement soon united under the idea that a revolution must happen no matter the cost. This led to a decade long era of political terrorism which resulted in multiple protests, bombings, revolts, and the assassination of Tsar Alexander II.

    What made them different from your everyday anarchist was their belief that norms and restrictions brought upon by society assisted in the oppression of human freedom. Like many other ideologies, it has gone through multiple interpretations by multiple philosophers from multiple groups, so we’ll try to generalize it as best as we can. Mikhail Bakunin, an anarchist activist believed that the nihilist movement contradicted the principles of anarchism. The main principle being that man should respect the liberty and humanity of his fellow man. The nihilists, on the other hand, had other notions. A common cry by nihilists was to proclaim their "hate of a great and holy hatred" regarding authority and aesthetics. Another key difference between nihilist and anarchist philosophies was utilitarianism, the belief that a society's main purpose is to maximize the happiness of its people. To create a society that will cater to the needs of the people, civilization must be rebuilt from within by any means necessary.

    Nihilists made utilitarianism a key feature of their philosophy, but how they interpreted it differed. Some students believed that uninhibited hedonism would be the path towards maximum pleasure. Others practiced asceticism and abstained from sensual pleasures in their quests to rebuild their minds. Revolutionaries such as Nikolay Chernyshevsky spread nihilism amongst the peasantry to intertwine the ideas of nihilism and revolutionary socialism. Chernyshevsky believed that Obshchinas, rural peasant communities should serve as a blueprint for a revolutionary Russia. He believed that these communities managed to prosper thanks to policies such as communal ownership and democratic governance. Soon, he would be praised by all sorts of people, from Marx, to Lenin, to (possibly) Ayn Rand. But none of them would be more affected than Sergey Nechayev, the fellow whose picture can be found above.

    Nechayev believed that the greatest obstacle preventing a utilitarian society was the inherent wants, conventions, and morals imbued in human nature. By studying the work of Machiavelli, he concluded that ruthless immorality was what allowed for total control of Russia by the church and the state. By that logic, the destruction of the Empire could only be achieved by a revolution led by an even more ruthlessly immoral leader. A revolutionary himself would need to become a truly dedicated man, rejecting mortal pleasures, ties to loved ones, and his old moral code. This was all done their minds would be consumed by one thought, the revolution. So basically, think them of Jedis that really, really hate the government.

    Nechayev married the ideas of Blanquism and Chernyshevsky’s writings, believing that a group of highly organized conspirators would be the ones to bring about the revolution. After infiltrating all levels of the government, from the army, to the law, to the bourgeoisie, they would lead the common people towards revolution and overthrow the said government. The revolution would be brought about by any means necessary, including violence and terrorism. After the fall of the old order, a Committee would be chosen to rebuild the nation, oversee workers councils, and abolish private property. Women would be given the freedom of mobility and the Obshchina would become the model of a new Russia. People would live in communal dormitories and feast in communal eating places, except those who refused to support the new government.

    Karl Marx wrote a brief essay criticizing Nechayev’s philosophy, calling it “barracks communism” and “purely a form of authoritarianism, overseen by regulating offices and an anonymous dictator in the form of a committee.” However, the students of Marx would soon rehabilitate Nechayev’s image during the Stalin era, praising his unyielding devotion for the revolution. To put it bluntly, a political nihilist wouldn’t be used to describe your Rick and Morty obsessed roommate who believes that all life is meaningless. A true nihilist would be your roommate who believes that the only thing worth living for is being a part of the movement that will see common prejudice, aesthetic morals, and the social order burnt to ashes.

    As Collectivist Goodies:

    After the revolution, the oppressive aesthetics of the Empire have been replaced by a greater moral order. An order that seeks to reform the government into an apparatus that serves the people and the people into loyal men who serve one another before themselves. Local worker's councils will have their policies and leaders decided by the ballot and the will of the people. The Committee itself will have its goals decided by the commune leaders but often resort to popular referendums. The constitution has been lovingly crafted to ensure that the people will be given as much freedom as possible, without threatening their greater happiness.

    From a young age, children are taught to treat their fellow countryman as brothers and sisters. The citizens spend their lives by the side of their fellow countrymen, working for the greater good of their fellow countrymen. Prejudice in sexual and racial forms is frowned upon in the nation where all men are born equal. The nation has converted towards agarian socialism, but industry is accepted as a means to improve the happiness of the people. Private property, a concept which turned society against pursuing maximum happiness has been abolished. The masses live full, content lives, knowing that their deeds have been done so that their nation may prosper long after their deaths.

    As Individualist Goodies:

    The communes of the post-revolution have become quite a pleasant place. After the overthrow of the Tsar, the communes have begun to drift apart as populist, reformist, and religious ideologies became more and more common. Now, they have become a loose confederation of agarian communes, free from the influence of some autocratic leader. Private property and industry have been abolished in exchange for a nation of democratic rural communities. The communes have become remarkably tolerant of outsiders and other ideologies, welcoming both with open arms. In the event of an ideological split or a disagreement, the commune leaders will solve it through a popular referendum.

    In the event of a famine, the other communes will do their best to help their fellow countrymen during these desperate times. Oppressive and authoritarian aesthetics have been eliminated during the revolution, and the people are free to practice their freedom of love and speech. Children are raised to reject the backward notions that allowed for the rise of the bloody Tsar and are instead encouraged to pursue personal freedom and pleasure. In the Land of Do-as-you-please, the people are wholly content, with nothing but full bellies and sunny skies for years to come.

    As Collectivist Baddies:

    The Tsar has died decades ago, but the revolution continues on. It is the revolution against reactionaries, infiltrators, and aesthetics. It is a revolution that will see a new nation born from the ashes of triumph. The nihilistic state is Orwell's nightmare given life, with a faceless Committee ruling over the masses. The intelligentsia are focused on purging reactionary industrial aesthetics from language, culture, and society with a fervor that would make Pol Pot proud. Ancient aesthetics such as religion, culture, and family have no purpose in a nihilist society, serving as distractions from the revolution. Children are only born to rid the mind of sexual desire and to provide new revolutionaries for the next generation.

    The youth are raised in schools, where they will learn from a young age to cast aside personal attachments and private interests in the name of the revolution. They are crowded into gloomy barracks where they will live, work, and die amongst their brothers and sisters. Every so often a few "traitors" and "spies" will be found by the government and are sentenced to die by the hands of the people. Lynch mobs parade the streets as the people release their anger, their loathing, their resentment onto some poor unfortunate souls. In short, it is a nation which sustains itself on hate. Hate has become its lifeblood, its mother's milk, the very essence which gives it life. Because after all, what is a revolution without an enemy?

    As Individualist Baddies:

    They say that the only thing separating man from beast is law and order. In that case, the country has become a savage jungle. Every so often, a revolution wracks the nation to its core, overthrowing the communes, and building a new government, waiting to be overthrown. If the leader fails to amass enough followers to fight the revolution, then he has lost the support of the people and will be sentenced by the new government. While the first couple of years were quite bloody, the country has stabilized into a series of communal city-states. These communes resemble a series of agarian GULAGs, working its people to death in an attempt to outcompete their rivals.

    Meanwhile, the revolutionary committee presides over it all having remained true to the nihilist belief that all people if mistreated, should be free to rise against the social order. Their soldiers remain on the sidelines while militias fight against one another in their own revolutions unless national security is threatened. Famines and starvation is an everyday part of life, with most people dependent on black markets for survival. Radicals, demagogues, and fanatics have begun their own revolutions before facing a guillotine. Hell, even some nutjob claiming to be Genghis Khan took over for a while. Yes, the world may balk at them, but in a savage jungle, the fittest survive and the weak die.

    Neutrals:

    The neutered committee is constantly divided as the members constantly bicker with one another on policies regarding land distribution, communal living, and direct democracy. For the people, voting is mostly a formality to show loyalty to one's political faction. Hunger strikes and labor movements have broken out across the country as the people wish for an end to this constant deadlock. The attempted ruralization of the country has been met with some resistance from the bourgeoisie, unwilling to hand over their property, and the peasantry, angered by the recent socially liberal policies. The nation has become a bleak place fraught with nothing but stagnation, radicalism, and social upheaval for years to come.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2019
  2. Kerguelen Prime Specimen

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    Yes, they did.
     
  3. Crying Your ideology is shit, SHIIIIIIIIT

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    My bad then, I didn't know as much about them as I thought I did (not that I'd ever claim to be an expert). Nice entry.
     
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  4. Marisa Kiridifferent Valery Sablin fan account

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    we live in a society
     
  5. PachPachis Danish Literature

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    nihilists rise up
     
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  6. Lenwe Well-Known Member

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    why? nothing really matters
     
  7. Alexander the Average Anti-lion tamer

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    Why not? Nothing really matters.
     
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  8. WotanArgead God of Impalers

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    As far as I remember, in the USSR, Nechaev was treated like a fraudster.
     
  9. Kerguelen Prime Specimen

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    He was, until he wasn't.
     
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  10. Threadmarks: Ateitininkai Ideology - Augenis

    Augenis Latvia isn't real

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    Symbol of the Catholic Federation "Ateitis", which Šalkauskis was the leader of and which would become the bearer of his ideas.

    "Ateitininkai Ideology"
    What is it?

    The brainchild of Stasys Šalkauskis, one of the most famous and esteemed Lithuanian philosophers of the Interwar period and the leader of the Catholic Federation "Ateitis" (usually referred to as Ateitininkai). A dedicated proponent of Christian ethics and democracy, Šalkauskis has had a profound influence upon Lithuanian politics since the Interwar period, and his ideas continue to hold impact today, inspiring Christian and nationalist magazines and movements such as Bernardinai, Pro Patria, and of course Ateitininkai, which continue to exist until present day.

    Šalkauskis developed a complex political project which he dubbed "the Optimal Political System" (Optimali politinė santvarka), which he detailed in numerous works before World War II, including one called Ateitininkų ideologija ("Ateitininkai Ideology"), which I've chosen to use as an easy name to dub this ideology with. Unfortunately, this project was not complete and many of the pages he had written were lost during the war, so all which we have to make conclusions with are a few pages, his earlier philosophical and theological works, and opinion pieces on the Lithuanian political system which we have a hold of. In practice, Šalkauskis's ideas can be considered to be a branch of Distributism - highly influenced by the doctrine, he opposed both capitalism and socialism and believed a society organized in small, familial units and corporations would be the optimal system of economic distribution - however, there are differences, especially in the way how Šalkauskis justifies this doctrine.

    Principles:
    • "The calling of the Lithuanian nation: it is a full synthesis of two civilizations, East and West..." (The Lithuanian Nation and its Education, 1933)
    Šalkauskis believed Lithuania to hold a unique, messianic role in world history. He divides the planet to two civilizations, East and West, corresponding roughly to Asia/Russia and Western Europe respectively, and according to him, these two civilizations are different as night and day, having different traditions and cultures. Šalkauskis calls the West a civilization of rational essence and the East a civilization of emotional essence, the West an active, laboring civilization, but one which abandons aesthetics and culture in its search of efficiency, and the East a passive civilization, but one which is exemplary in aesthetics and spiritualism. The West is practical and the East is sensitive. However, Šalkauskis does not claim one to be superior to other, but both of these essences to be incomplete and long to unite with each other.

    Like the Avatar, Lithuania is unique in that it is not limited to one of these two essences. Its history is a tug of war betwen East and West - it was a part of Eastern civilization until the Union of Lublin in 1569, when it was brought to the Western fold, only to get pulled back to the East upon the Partitions of Poland, then once again started to return to the West after the collapse of the Russian Empire. What this means is that the culture which formed in Lithuania unites Western and Eastern essences, it is their synthesis, and this synthesis must be preserved, because it will bring forth a new era in world history. Šalkauskis's ideology centers around preserving this uniqueness. He believed capitalist individualism and secular socialism to be threats to Lithuanian culture, which would erase this unique synthesis if left to reign in the country, so he chose to search for a third path and found Christian ethics, which he built into the Optimal Political System.
    • "Our capitalist system is especially inclined towards a brutal Mammonism, which holds no care for the poverty of people, which it rightfully calls an organized greed... It divides people to different classes and sets the stage for a social revolution." (Societal Education, 1932)
    Šalkauskis was opposed to capitalism, which he usually called "individualism" to differentiate it from Christian collectivism and socialism. He believed it to be atomizing and culturally destructive ideology, one which will lead to a brutal social revolution if not defeated. Believing in cultural and political unity, he saw this antagonism between social classes as something to be stopped, and as a solution, he offered Distributist inspired Christian corporatist redistribution of wealth. This is one part of his ideology which Šalkauskis did not delve deep into and is presumed to have been one of the tenets of his ideology whose details were lost in World War II. His supporters such as Pranas Dielininkaitis and Antanas Maceina would expand upon this idea further and pay it additional care, although their ideas were... far from moderate, nigh-totalitarian in their outlook. More on that another time.
    • "Christian ethics raise the highest norms of human existence, which... guide not just the self-improvement of a person, but the improvement of society as well. ... To rightfully organize society, alongside social reforms we must educate man according to the principles of solidarity, not competition." (Christian Politics in the Current Hour, 1921)
    Being a university professor and leader of a youth organization himself, Šalkauskis placed great care and importance upon education in his writings, believing it to be the tool which will allow Lithuania to embrace its messianic role of uniting the planet. He wrote a program on an optimal education system and divided it into five sections - political, economic, social, national and international education. Again, however, only bits and pieces of his ideas survived World War II, while others were left incomplete due to his early death in 1941. What is known is that Šalkauskis wished economic education to focus on the ability to organize one's economic life according to virtue, while national education was going to be the most important of all five sections, focused on imbuing students with national pride and Christian morale, which would serve as their guidance through life. However, you should not take this and make the conclusion that Šalkauskis was a some sort of Lithuanian nationalist or chauvinist - quite the opposite, in fact. Šalkauskis believed that all national minorities in Lithuania should have the chance to receive education in their language and learn about their nation's virtues rather than those of their own, and was a staunch supporter of cultural pluralism. After all, if it is a fusion of East and West, then it cannot turn its back towards neither, it must embrace both. In addition...
    • "Christian morality and its foundation - the Decalogue - express principles of natural morality, whose universality does not depend on one's view towards religion." (Unknown article)
    Šalkauskis was a devout Catholic, having turned towards faith after having left disappointed by the nihilistic and socialistic student circles in the University of Moscow, but he was also religiously and culturally tolerant. Again, this is where his core concept of Eastern and Western essences uniting in Lithuania affects him. Though he saw Lithuanian culture as something unique in world history, he, unlike actual Lithuanian nationalists, did not consider it to be unique because it was unique, nor did he see Christianity as something inherent to its uniqueness - rather, Lithuanian culture is unique because it is a synthesis of so many different cultures, religions and traditions. This synthesis should continue and no religion or viewpoint disregarded simply because you don't believe in it, or it does not believe in your religion.
    • "A movement, risen from tangible matters of life, which should find its legal conclusion in a system of federated trade unions, where the interests of labourers and businessowners are represented. Through corporative methods of organization, it should guarantee the rights of the weak and return the rights to human labor which capitalism denied in the organization of machine labour." (Needs of the Moment and Demands for Principles, 1926)
    Šalkauskis was a strong proponent of democracy - however, his concept of democracy was different from the brief democratic period during the interwar Lithuanian republic, which was dubbed "Seimocracy" and which he criticized for atomizing society through constant partisan conflict. As stated before, he was highly influenced by Distributism and his opinion on political organization reflects this. Šalkauskis's optimal state is one where society is organized into corporations - economic, political, cultural or religious ones, much like the Ateitininkai which he was a leader of. These corporations would further unite into federations, the primary method how citizens of the Optimal Political System would be able to express their will to rule their country. Economically, these federations would be collections of trade unions, representing the voices of laborers and business owners; culturally, they would be autonomous religious or cultural organizations, able to freely propagate their ideas and learn from the ideas or others. The culmination of this federated system would be the central government, one of the few pieces of Šalkauskis's project which we do have information on:

    Salkauskis-valstybes-valdymas.jpg

    Šalkauskis's project on reforming the central government of Lithuania.
    The central government would retain a rather standard three-way separation of powers between a legislature, an executive and a judiciary, although with the added caveat of having no head of government - instead, the President would be the supreme expression of national government, a merger of a head of state and head of government.

    The legislature, the Seimas, would be composed of three houses, and each one of these houses would appoint their own set of ministers to compose one united cabinet of ministers:
    • The Political House, or Little Seimas, would be directly elected from all citizens according to party lists like any normal parliament, and appoint Ministers of Internal Affairs, National Defense, Healthcare, Justice and Foreign Affairs.
    • The Economic-Social House, or House of Corporations, would be composed of elected representatives from farming communities, economic corporations and trade unions, and appoint Ministers of Agriculture, Public Utilities, Industry, Commerce, Communications, Finance and Labour-Social Security.
    • The House of Ideological Communities would be elected from all the federations composing the country's population, and appoint Ministers of Education, Art, Information, Ideological Communities and Faith-Public Morality.
    The three houses and the ministries would be overseen by the courts system, the State Controller, and finally the President. Despite having a rather large amount of ministries for a small nation as well as three houses of parliament, the central government should be a noncommittant actor rather than one overseeing all matters of state. The cultural and economic federations, if operating under the guiding principles of Christian ethics, should be able to resolve issues between each other autonomously and work together towards a common good.

    As good guys

    If successfully implemented to the letter, Šalkauskis's Optimal Political System would not exactly be a terrible place to live in - at least it is certainly more benign than many other ideologies presented on this thread. Its tenets such as opposition to capitalism, campaigns against poverty and support for trade unionism, and redistribution of wealth do not put it far away from the Christian socialist spectrum, and while Šalkauskis himself was a heavy opponent of socialism, I could even imagine him agreeing with libertarian socialists depending on circumstances.

    If nothing falls apart, you are looking at a pluralistic democratic republic with a rather unique system for central government and a society built upon autonomous communities of citizens making their daily lives better without involvement from above, be it private or public. Not difficult to imagine it as better option than most things which came out from the interwar.

    As bad guys

    Šalkauskis's Optimal Political System can go very, very wrong, although he himself would be disgusted by the ways how some people took his ideas and ran with them. Šalkauskis would serve as an inspiration for Pranas Dielininkaitis and Antanas Maceina, who, in the process of dismissing some of his tenets and adding some others, would turn it to a totalitarian ideology, a weird mix between outright Nazism and Christian socialism. But that's a whole another ideology which I'll try to cover another time.
     
  11. Alexander the Average Anti-lion tamer

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    Nationalism is weird.
     
  12. Rambam23 Peacenik

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    Seems like a rather standard version of national syndicalism or integralism, which was of course very popular among Catholics in this period. Were the ateitininkai antisemitic like most movements of this sort from Maurras on?
     
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  13. Augenis Latvia isn't real

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    They were not, until they were.
     
  14. Alexander the Average Anti-lion tamer

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    The history of European antisemitism in a nutshell.
     
  15. Forbiddenparadise64 The Great

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    I just showed this to an unironic German Nazbol/Strasser-sympathiser and she did not like this at all. Apparently people here need to read primary sources from Strasser, Karl O. Paetal and other contemporaries.
     
  16. CountPeter Apparently the anti-christ.

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    To be fair, the far right does have a habit of sticking their head in the sand RE accurate accounts of their beliefs. It is like Peterson fans who, until the Zizek debate, defended any idiotic statement with the idea that "you need to read his books" and then running away with fingers in their ears to anyone pointing out that they have indeed read his stuff.
     
  17. Forbiddenparadise64 The Great

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    Strasserists aren’t that far right nowadays, as in Strasser’s own works, he dropped the whole antisemitism thing later on and it evolved, as did the early German Nazbols, who agreed with Marxists about world revolution but wish to preserve national borders and culture.

    She did actually provide quotes and translations of works by Strasser and the other German nazbols and how their beliefs evolved at least.
     
  18. LostInNewDelhi Anarcho-Shaivist

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    Is she interested in posting about it? Using threadmarks we could have it so this "response" is like a subheading to the original Strasserism post, and then do similar things if anyone wants to provide another perspective on other featured ideologies.
     
  19. RiverDelta They/Them

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    Wait, weren't the Strasserists tied pretty deeply to the Nazis, though? I'd be pretty wary of talking to someone who's that close to white nationalism. Also, modern white nationalists seem to have a thing for Strasser.

    What are her social views, I guess?
     
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  20. CountPeter Apparently the anti-christ.

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    Very much disagree.
    I talked earlier in the thread about my own experience with National Anarchism (which sees itself as Strasserist) and regularly experience them (Strasserists) trying to take over conventionally far left places (like Solarpunk communities). Even a quick search of Strasserist communities finds race to regularly be brought up.

    Strasser didn't drop Antisemitism. He mellowed it out after he was forced to flee (which makes his own writings unreliable like Trotsky), but he still proposed things like forcing Jews to abandon Judaism is they wished to live in Germany etc.
    As for the nazbols, for the most part they were an incoherent mishmash untill they later adopted strasserism.
     
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