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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: April 2020

9 - Creating Parties, Political Alliances, and Interest Groups: Rural Politics in the 1930s

from Part V - Rural Conflicts and the Polarization of Village Society


This chapter examines how different political groups organized the rural sector during the Second Republic. Socialism remained heavily influenced by orthodox Marxism, and their policies centred almost exclusively on improving the living standards of the landless labourers, a group that represented just 5 per cent of Spain’s active population. Both large and small family farmers had to pay higher wagers at a time of weak farm prices and technical difficulties to increasing farm output.The legislation of the first republican-socialist coalition governments of 1931 and 1932 threatened traditional property rights and religious privileges, finally drawing both the Church and rural elites into mass party competitive politics. While a small but influential sector never accepted either the 1931 Constitution or a democratic republic, a new conservative party (CEDA) attracted support from across the country in defence of property rights, the Church, and Spain’s political unity. By 1933, it claimed around 800,000 members. The chapter ends by showing how the significant regional land-tenure regimes helped develop strong regional political movements in Galicia and Catalonia.

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