|General Secretary||Shinzo Mori|
|Founded||12 August 1955|
|Student wing||RA Students|
|Youth wing||Young RA|
Economic liberalism |
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The Rikken Aikokusha (立憲愛国社, "Constitutional Patriotic Society"), is a center-right neoliberal party in Taihei Tengoku. It currently controls the majority of the judges in the Final Court, and has been the dominant party in Taihei politics since the early 1970s. The party received 70.81% of the vote in the 2014 judicial elections, winning 60 of 69 contested seats.
The Rikken Aikokusha was founded on August 12th, 1955 in the city of Tenma by Ri Kou You, a Pollonan-educated Yujin economist, as an interest group for like-minded professionals. By the 1950s, the Taihei National System's failings were apparently clear, with the ruling Dōmeitō establishing a draconian regime of material-based planning. Ri established an intellectual society for a growing number of the Tenma professional class who opposed the National System. The society quickly spread to other large cities like Nara and Takao.
Though originally the Aikokusha as an organization avoided electoral politics, Aikokusha members (with Ri's approval) began to independently contest local elections almost immediately and single-member Final Court seats in 1957. As the Aikokusha was not in and of itself an opposition party but a "reform society," many Aikokusha-aligned candidates were able to run as a reform wing of the Dōmeitō without running afoul of the public peace laws. In the 1959 tranche elections eighteen Aikokusha members, including Ri himself, representing a Nara ward, were elected as part of the Domeito government.
Starting in the spring of 1961, the Taihei government began deploying combat troops to support an insurgency in neighboring Ruccola. Although Taihei operatives had been covertly operating in the area for some time, the involvement of the military and the escalation of the insurgency led to a Maredoratic League sanction of the country. Public opinion about the war was divided from the beginning, with significant support for the war on anti-League and nationalist grounds matched by intense opposition. Much of the new "reform Domeito" judges of the Court began to openly break with the party line, especially on the issue of the tightening ration. Ri and the reform bloc announced that they would leave the Domeito and establish the Rikken Aikokusha as a political party. In December they faced special elections due to their change of party status; ten lost their seats and the eight remaining RA judges (with Ri at the head) joined the opposition against another supermajority Domeito government.
Ri at this time established contacts with domestic elements of the Yamato Communist Party, who were themselves establishing support within elements of Yamato society. Though barred from campaigning, the YCP courted the Yamato middle class, competing with the RA, but also had strong support in many of the labor unions employed by favored zaibatsu. Ri offered to allow "passable" Communists to enter the party to run as Aikokusha candidates, circumventing the test act which prohibited "atheist" parties. In return the YCP would direct its cadres to aid the RA against the Domeito, who would at the very least allow the YCP into Taihei Tengoku once it won its majority. The escalation of the war in 1963 and 1964 swung public opinion against the war, especially as large units of the SNLF became involved in the fighting. In an upset, the Domeito lost most of its contested seats in 1963, through RA opposition in the cities and YCP-backed campaigning in the commanderies. Though it retained its majority, the RA opposition threatened to end the fifty-year dominance of the Domeito over Taihei politics. With three kings of the Regency in old age, the latter half of the decade would provide the dominant party to win control of the Regency in addition to the Court.
In a last attempt to secure victory against dwindling popular support and increasing Ruccolan resistance, Taihei forces launched the Easter Offensive in March 1965, aiming to cut off and destroy the Ruccolan regular forces deployed in the region. After fierce fighting, a forceful Van Luxemburger intervention repelled the Taihei offensive and doomed the insurgency. Taihei forces and the remnants of the insurgency retreated across the border and the country teetered on the brink of open war against Ruccola on land and Van Luxemburg on the sea and air. The failure of the offensive broke the Domeito; though a faction insisted on no concessions to the League it was quickly subdued by a much larger faction seeking peace to avoid popular revolt. Led by the RA opposition, the Regency and the Court came to terms with the Maredoratic League and agree to pay reparations to the Ruccolans to end the sanctions.
Though the next election was over a year away, the collapse of the Domeito was a foregone conclusion, though with a Domeito-aligned Regency little in the way of reforms could be passed. The Domeito majority fragmented into many de facto independent judges and various opposition parties. However, the Aikokusha, being the main opposition during the war years, swept the 1965 election with its accumulated reputation. Its share of the Final Court expanded from a roughly quarter of the Court to a majority. The Domeito ceased to exist as a party, leaving behind no organized opposition in the Court and a powerless gerontocracy in the Regency.
"Washing" the party
The end of the Domeito era left the RA as the sole effective force in politics, though cracks soon appeared in the party. The test act banning the Communists was repealed in 1966, causing many of the crypto-YCP judges to declare their allegiance to the YCP. Combined with defections from the moribund Domeito, this left a majority of the Court in contest in the 1967 elections. Flush with aid from foreign communists, the YCP threatened to destabilize the government and the Aikokusha at a critical juncture. Though the Regency remained opposed to large-scale reforms, the regents themselves had little support in the Court for their own initiatives. With their age still advancing and their physical conditions in decline, whoever had control of the Court could seize control of the Regency.
In order to regain a dominant coalition, Ri and the core of the neoliberal bloc (the "Gang of Eight," in the Court since 1961) made another series of secret overtures, this time to the post-Domeito splinter groups, especially those poised to lose seats in single-member districts. The Gang of Eight offered the Domeito fragments a chance to stay in power in the RA party-list seats and to protect the core of the zaibatsu against both radical market reform and against the communists. In exchange, the Domeito would align with the Aikokusha and support the neoliberal bloc against the YCP. At the plenary meeting in March 1967 Ri, with the backing of the Gang of Eight, made a motion to revise the party bylaws to give its senior members greater power in vetting members for admission and leadership. Enraged but already outnumbered, most of the remaining leftists in the Aikokusha walked out of the congress, declaring their allegiance to the YCP on the way. However, with the communists gone, no opposition remained to admit the second, larger round of Domeito refugees into the party. In a maneuver Ri later called a "thorough washing" of the Aikokusha, he re-established direct control over the ideology of the party and expelled the YCP entryists.
This maneuver proved devastating to the YCP. Though well-organized, Ri was well aware of its foreign connections. Accusing them of using the economic instability as a ruse for revolutionary agitation, tarring metropolitan YCP candidates with their association with radicals. In the commanderies, the party-list ballot, listing the party name, logo, but no other information, aided the Aikokusha. While the RA had its reputation for ending the war and the sanctions, the YCP was little-established beyond radical labor unions and considered suspect. The YCP was routed, and a wholly neoliberal RA gained a supermajority in the Final Court.
The Aikokusha in power
The Rikken Aikokusha describes itself as a broadly liberal party based on the principles of the Heavenly Revolution. Unofficially, its ideology is best described as Ri Kou You Thought, an idiosyncratic strain of neoliberalism based upon the ideas of the late Ri Kou You. The core tenets of RKY Thought is its "soft authoritarianism," a combination of total control of the civil service and a belief in meritocracy and performance legitimacy.
The Rikken Aikokusha used a Marxist vanguard organization adopted from the Yamato Communist Party, centered around student and urban vanguard cadres. After the coronation of Rikan Yu the party moved towards a broad-tent, liberal organization. RA cadres are ideologically and professionally vetted by sitting judges in the Final Court and form both the electorate at party conferences and the pool of candidates for political and party office.
Executive authority within the party rests in the 24-member Central Committee, led by a General Secretary. The General Secretary is an elected position and is considered to be the heir apparent to any vacancy within the Regency. The Central Committee fills cabinet posts, and can recommend a list of candidates to the party for the next Central Committee, which are selected through a series of approval votes. Regents and Presidents of the Final Court must resign any affiliation to a political party before assuming office, but form an influential network of party alumni.
Each metropole and commandery has its own local Rikken Aikokusha chapter, which fields candidates for local office. A full term in local office is required before the Aikokusha allows members to contest national seats.