Infamous image of a traffic warden drafted into service as soldiers mutiny, 3rd Jan 1991.
Royal Mounted Police
Questarian Communist Party|
Trades Union Congress
Alliance for Freedom
|Casualties and losses|
|Questarian Army and Questarian Police fought on both sides; this table indicates the position of their leadership.|
The Questarian Revolution, also known as the December Revolution or the 1991 Revolution was a series of events in Questers, which culminated in King Stephen IV, being deposed, the Questarian royal family permanently exiled, and the creation of a Communist Commonwealth in Questers. The new state, supported by the Questarian Communist Party, trades unions, the Armed Forces and various student and left-wing organisations, continues to the present day. Vast changes in the social, political and economic structure of Questers have been seen as a result of the revolution.
Although it was influenced by the Pollonan Revolution, it did not happen because of a war, foreign intervention, or total government collapse. It is therefore somewhat rare in the history of revolutions, having been also noted for the speed of the post-revolution changes, its general popularity, and general non-violence. The Questarian Revolution continues to provide a model for left wing activists throughout the world today, and the general model with which the Questarian Communist Party approached the revolution has since been considered a standard model by communist parties across Maredoratica.
While the effects of the revolution were far-reaching, especially in the economic sphere, relations with other countries have been normalised since the late 1990s, as other Maredoratic countries, especially Alisnan, have become closer to Questers. After the revolution, Questers returned land that it had conquered from Varnia in 1942, paid reparations for the Questarian colonial legacy, and embarked on a worldwide foreign aid program. For some, the single-party and economically centralised state created in the revolutions aftermath have been a source of tension, and major political parties in many countries still focus an anti-Communist political stance based around the events in Questers.
In Questers, the revolution is usually referred to as The Revolution or The December Revolution since it began in December 1990. It is sometimes called 1991, referencing the date the King abdicated, or 1990 referencing the date it began. It is only called the Questarian Revolution when being compared directly to foreign revolutions, such as the Morivaine, Varnian or Pollonan revolutions. In the 1990s, it was often referred to as the Christmas Revolution, but this description has become politically incorrect.
The Questarian Royal Family, the House of Beaufort, had ruled Questers with absolute power since 1487, when it defeated the House of Jessel. Increasingly, it granted powers to the new Parliament, the House of Commons. Between the 17th and 19th centuries, the House of Commons was appointed by the King and only met once a year to discuss issues of state. From 1821 onwards, the House of Commons was still appointed by the government, but was in permanent session, meeting weekly and at the time of the Questarian revolution, daily. In 1956, the King decided that Parliament would allocate 33% of its members via sortition, an old Questarian practice. Although various Kings listened to their Parliaments more than others, Stephen IV was well known as a King who had little concern for his Parliament.
From the late 19th century to the 1950s, Questers started to become an industrialised country. People moved from the rural areas to the city, where they became literate, then politically conscious. There were almost no regulations on labour practices until the 1959 Labour Act, and wages were low. The Questarian Communist Party (KCP), which had been founded in 1921 but was technically illegal, grew quickly in this era; in 1951, KCP membership was only 4,500, but by 1961 it was 29,000 and by 1971 there were more than 3 million members. Trade unions, which were also illegal, co-operated in the underground with the Communist Party.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, after twenty years of steady growth, a recession caused the economy to plummet. Millions of workers were laid off with little compensation or state support. The Trades Union Congress (TUC) and Communist Party took a rapid influx of members and began mass political organisation. They were joined by members of a growing intelligentsia and students who felt outraged by strict controls on civil liberties. While the Army and Police nominally supported the government, the King and Army General Staff repeatedly ignored warnings from the Royal Committee for Surveillance and Intelligence (RCSI) that the lower ranks, including junior officers, were becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the political situation.
While many proximate causes of the Questarian revolution have been cited, most Questarian scholars believe that the attempt by Questarian Energy to reduce the pay of coal workers, and the ensuing coal strike which began in September 1990, led directly to the events of the Questarian revolution.
Between 1980 and 1989, real national income plunged by almost 30% as a consequence of a sovereign debt crisis. Unemployment grew from 1.2 million in 1979 to almost 14 million in 1990. The Questarian Communist Party (KCP) began actively recruiting both the workers and unemployed into the Trade Unions, which were heavily Communist-influenced. Throughout the 1980s the Questarian economy sustained serious industrial action on a never before seen scale: the number of workers who went on strike in 1981 was more than the entire preceding three centuries.
In 1989, Questarian Energy, which owned more than half of the country's coal mines and coal-fired power stations, announced a new contract which was condemned by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and KCP. Questarian Energy's workers announced a strike in September 1990. The whole Questarian Energy workforce went on strike, and electricity production fell by almost half. After high-profile clashes between the police and strikers, Communist Party members joined the strikers en-masse.
By October 1990, the Communist Party's Central Committee believed that this was the "moment of revolution." They requested extra funding from foreign sources to enable continued resistance, and received it.
1990 General Strike
On December 1st, after weeks of negotiating with members, the Trades Union Congress called a general strike. The Questarian authorities were caught unawares, despite continued warnings by the Royal Committee for Surveillance and Intelligence that the TUC commanded the loyalty of a large number of Questarian workers. Workers in railways, gas-fired power stations, truck drivers, miners of all types, and factory workers went on strike. Only farmers, by request of the TUC, continued to work. It became impossible to find food in supermarkets or petrol in petrol stations, or to take a train to any part of the country. The Communist Party and TUC, via methods worked out in the early 1980s, managed to provide basic sustenance to striking workers, especially because of financial assistance from Communist parties around the world.
December 11th is usually the date given for the beginning of the Questarian Revolution, as armed Communist Party members stormed the House of Commons. Troops from the 1st Battalion, the Jesselton Regiment refused to intervene. On the same day, the commander of the Jesselton Garrison was deposed, and by the evening, municipal buildings and police stations were being occupied by the Communists. Over the following week, similar patterns emerged in major cities. Throughout December, units of troops and police districts refused to follow orders, and allowed the Communists to occupy municipal positions; the first county to fall entirely to the Communists was Sortland, on December 17th; by December 28th, the last municipal building in Jesselton was in Communist hands. Meanwhile, workers had begun to return to work in areas controlled by the Communists.
By January 3rd, the whole of the King's cabinet recommended a negotiated settlement with the Communists. They were joined on January 6th by the Army General Staff, after the occupation of the Army Headquarters in Dettinghamshire by a group of communist officers. On January 8th, the King offered a negotiated settlement to the Trades Union Congress, but not the Communist Party. On January 9th, a bomb killed the King's brother, the Prince of Cardigan, in a hotel in Altringham. The negotiated settlement was withdrawn, and half of the King's cabinet resigned. From that moment onwards, the Army General Staff made an internal decision to intervene against the King at the most convenient time.
On January 14th, Hallia became the final county in which all borough and municipal offices were occupied by Communists. By this time, almost all strikers had gone back to work. The Communists controlled every county and borough council in the country, the House of Commons, and most major government offices. The King asked the Army General Staff to call up the reserves and restore order. They refused. The next day he met with Richard Elliot, Chairman of the Central Committee, and offered his abdication. It was accepted at 1709 on January the 16th, 1991. The next day, at an official handover ceremony, a Royal Foot Guard shot Elliot dead, and Daniel Parker took over as Chairman.
Parker appointed as General-Secretary
On February 2nd, Questers changed its formal name from the Kingdom of Questers to the Questarian Commonwealth. Political parties, except the Questarian Communist Party, were outlawed on February 7th, and Parker appointed a cabinet to oversee the nationalisation of the means of production. During the same time, the Questarian Army merged with the Yeomanry and the Communist Party's Local Defence Units into one fighting force, the Combined Forces, and replaced some of the Army General Staff with members more loyal to the Communist regime. On February 10th, the Government announced a draft in case Pollona invaded. Although the end of the revolution is usually given as January 16th, Questers did not have a Communist government until February the 7th when Parker finally appointed a cabinet.
From February 1991 onwards, the government, led by General-Secretary Daniel Parker, embarked on a crash program with the aim of creating a Communist state in Questers. Industries were nationalised, powers of county and borough councils standardised and devolved, the armed forces general staff was non-violently purged, food was rationed and education and healthcare became guaranteed rights. It was the fastest creation of a welfare state in history. At the same time, while many of the moves were popular, the state also controlled dissent. The Royal Committee for Surveillance and Intelligence was reformed into the Intelligence Office, with separate agencies for internal and external security. The powers of police were rapidly expanded and the number of policemen on the streets increased.
Major opposition to the Communist movement came from the Church and from what remained of enterprise, as well as the remaining nobility. Most of the Questarian nobility and aristocracy left the country in 1992; of the 2,254 individuals who had a title in 1990, almost 300 remained in 1992. In November of 1992 the Government announced plans to disestablish the state Church, withdraw state funding for the Clergy and outlaw the teaching of religion in schools. It is widely believed that by late November or early December, considering the anti-Church stance and the increasing power of the Communist state, Stephen IV decided to attempt to intervene.
Exile of Stephen IV
On February 23rd 1992, the Farbyshire Shire Troops arrested Stephen IV in his country home in northern Farbyshire. Brought before the Cabinet, he was accused of plotting to overthrow the Commonwealth. He argued that as Sovereign, it would be treason to bring him to court and that his abdication was voluntary and could be repealed at any time of his choosing. Daniel Parker put the question to the Judiciary, and many privately answered they were sympathetic to the argument, with a majority of Chief Justices, and the Director of Public Prosecutions, suggesting that it had weight. Only the Attorney-General's Office rejected Stephen's claim. It was therefore decided to exile him, since it was believed that having exposed these beliefs, he could attempt to return at any time of his choosing. Parker also acted on evidence from the Intelligence Office's Counterintelligence Directorate (CID) that Stephen IV was going to try to launch his own coup d'etat sometime in June or July. Having been exiled, he was ordered out of the country by March 2nd, and on March 1st boarded a flight to Hammarsborg, Galla, where he still lives and where a large Questarian expatriate community resides.
Shooting of the Royal Family
See also -- Murder of the Questarian Royal Family
There were still members of the Royal Family in Questers, notably the Crown Prince and his brother. On the 7th of March, 1992, they were exiled also, along with all the direct relatives of the King, including three of his cousins and his nephews and nieces. They were summoned to Jesselton Central Detention Centre on the 14th of March, and at midnight on the 14th, departed in convoy, escorted by a squadron of the Jesselton Yeomanry to the air force base at Honway Bay, still Jesselton. The Crown Prince and his pregnant wife, Seina of Boaga, would take an air force C-130 to Boaga, and the remainder of the Royal Family would take a separate plane and join Stephen IV in Galla.
At Honway Bay airstrip, the Yeomanry handed over the Royal Family to G Squadron, the Special Air Service (SAS). Before the handover, the Crown Prince offered his sidearm to the commanding officer of the Yeomanry, who refused to take it, reporting to have said: "I think you ought to keep that, Sir."
At 2:25 AM, the Royal Family heading to Galla was put on a bus to the other side of the airport, and the Crown Prince and his wife went in a land rover to the other side of the airport. Both were escorted by the SAS. The bus and the land rover shortly disappeared from one another's sight. At 2:33, the bus stopped, and the driver got out. At 2:34, the bus exploded, killing its sixteen occupants instantly. The convoy carrying the Crown Prince also stopped. Sources vary about what happened in the Crown Prince's land rover, but both the Crown Prince and his wife were shot and killed. An autopsy has never been carried out. The next day it was reported that the bus was destroyed by a bomb planted by "anti-state saboteurs". Until 2014, it was believed that the Crown Prince and his wife died in the bus with the rest of the Royal Family.
This was the official story until 2014, when the Ackleman Inquiry found that the Special Air Service, under the direction from the General Staff, had intentionally planned the murder. Questers was heavily condemned both in 1992 and 2015 for its refusal to issue an apology for the events, which galvanised anti-communist feeling in Alisna and worldwide.