The Capitalist Party was established with the aim of promoting free trade, deregulation, privatization of state industries, and limitation of governmental power. At its height, it was relatively successful, and while it never gained the status of a major party, it was one of the more noteworthy - and vocal - of the intermediate-sized groups.
The party eventually collapsed due to leadership concerns, and most of its members departed for the Reform Party, established by a former Capitalist Party leader. The Reform Party is one of the largest in the Senate, and is still based around a core of former Capitalist Party members. The remnants of the Capitalist Party itself were steered (critics say "hijacked") towards ideas such as family values, anti-abortion, and other such causes (in keeping with the views of the new leader), while still retaining its free market economic policies. The tiny remnant of the group is a component of the Values Party, which merges free market ideology with various moral codes based on religious ideals - former party members call this "a mockery of what the party once stood for", and deny that the current Capitalist Party has any real relation with the original.
Colour and Emblem
The official colour of the Capitalist Party was light or medium blue. Its emblem was a pair of parallel arrows pointing in opposite directions, symbolising trade and commerce.
The party's name in Lendian was "lo Partido Capitalisto".
"The only fair and just way of organizing a society is by allowing people to succeed or fail on their own merits. The market will reward those who make wise choices and punish those who make foolish ones - we have neither the need nor the right to interfere."
History of the Party
The Capitalist Party developed out of a faction within the old Liberal Party, once the main opposition to the unbroken governance of the massive Imperial Party. The Liberals were the first party to adopt anything resembling support for free trade - prior to their arrival, the political scene had been dominated by a form of mercantilism which advocated extensive private ownership, but also advocated heavy state encouragement and protection of economic expansion, with the government seen as essential to economic prosperity. The only real alternative to this vision offered was by the Communist Party. The Liberals, however, believed in opening markets and allowing the economy to function with only modest government supervision.
Initially, the Liberal Party promoted this view based simply for the pragmatic reason that they thought it would result in the best outcome. Gradually, however, a faction developed that gave deeper thought to the philosophy behind it, and concluded that free enterprise was not merely "a good idea" but a moral imperative. It was this group that later formed the basis of the Capitalist Party.
In the late 280's, when the Liberal Party was self-destructing as a result of policy disputes, leadership battles, and loss of support to other parties, the faction became focused around Randalo Avico, a Liberal councillor. When the Liberals finally collapsed, Avico withdrew from electoral politics, instead founding the pressure group called the Association for Free Market Economics (AFME). AFME was not a political party, but attempted to influence any parties that would listen, swaying them towards a free market ideology. By this time, the Imperial Party had long since abandoned its hostility to the free market, but had not embraced it wholeheartedly - as such, it was to the Imperials that AFME did most of its lobbying.
Tension soon arose within AFME, however. Avico had established the group for the purpose of promoting free market economics, but many within the party wanted it to also take a stand on social issues (particularly, rights of privacy and gun ownership). Avico strongly resisted the discussion of social policy, wanting to present a united front on economic policy (which he saw as more important). Despite his efforts, however, many in the party soon entered into bitter arguments over social matters. Gradually, two camps became established. One, which leaned towards libertarianism, believed that the basis for market economics was freedom, and that the party should promote this same freedom in social policy as well. The other, which leaned towards moralism, believed that free market ideology was about justice and morality, not freedom, and that the government should promote morality in social issues too. The libertarian faction centered itself around a prominent member named Beladona Verencia, whose views are quite similar to those of the modern Libertarian Party, while the moralists gathered around Miguel Santana, another prominent AFME member. A third group chose to remain outside both camps, backing Randalo Avico's policy of focusing solely on economic matters.
In 296 AP, it was decided (upon Avico's urging) to convert AFME into a political party. Avico believed that the political climate was such that a new party was viable, and that an AFME-based party would fill a niche that was currently under-served. Still wary of the danger posed by disputes between the followers of Verencia and the followers of Santana, Avico named his new group the Capitalist Party, stressing the common ground of both factions and excluding social policy from the party's focus. He pointedly ignored both Verencia and Santana when nominating a deputy leader, instead choosing Esteban Malimo, one of the few within the party who shared Avico's desire for a neutral social policy. Verencia and Santana, wanting to avoid splitting the party in two, agreed to accept Malimo rather than fight each other for the position.
In the elections of 297 AP, the new Capitalist Party performed fairly well, gaining five seats despite its newness. Avico, Malimo, Verencia, and Santana took four of the seats, with a neutral member, Paulo Dias, taking the fifth. The Capitalist Party did not form any firm alliances, instead choosing to support different parties on a case-by-case basis. On matters relating to social policy, Avico tried to keep to a "middle course", but tension still arose between the party's two wings.
When elections were unexpectedly held in 298 AP, the Capitalist Party further increased its proportion of the vote, winning an additional three seats. This proved to other parties that the Capitalists success in 297 AP was not simply by chance, and increased their willingness to work with Avico. In 300 AP, the party failed to gain further seats, but managed to retain those it already held. For the Capitalist Party, the election was marked by bitter fighting between supporters of Verencia and Santana.
Late in 300 AP, Randalo Avico retired from politics, leaving the leadership of the party open. It was Avico's stated desire that Esteban Malimo, his deputy, should take the leadership, but both factions within the party believed that they could successfully take control. Gradually, however, it became clear that Verencia's libertarian faction was too extreme for many ordinary members of the party, and Santana appeared to be on the verge of winning. In order to prevent Santana's victory, Verencia and her followers transferred their support to Paulo Dias, regarded as a neutral (but perhaps slightly libertarian-leaning) compromise. Dias, with the backing of both the libertarians and moderates, defeated Santana and claimed the leadership.
Initially, Dias' leadership of the party impressed many, and he became highly popular with moderates within the party. He continued to be criticised, however, by Santana's faction, and also by a small number of libertarians who thought that he was not libertarian enough. Verencia, however, continued to support him until she retired from the party in mid-301.
Of concern to many people, however, was Dias' slow moderation of his economic policies. While Dias began with economic views similar to those of Avico, he gradually came to see these as unrealistic. While his changes made the party far more attractive to voters, and increased its public support, it was not popular with the party itself. The libertarians and the moralists, while disagreeing strongly with each other on social matters, both believed in a highly liberal market system, and considered the changes made by Dias to be "putting votes ahead of principles". Dias strongly rejected this, saying that the party's old policies were "extremist" and even "irrational", telling party members that "while the principles of free market ideology are correct, they must not be treated as some sort of holy code, advanced without consideration for practical concerns and common sense". Dias' policies, while pleasing to the electorate, were a major factor in the rift that developed between him and the Capitalist Party.
In October of 301 AP, the tensions between Dias and other senior party members broke out into the open, with Santana launching a scathing criticism of Dias and Dias replying in kind. Shortly afterwards, Dias decided to leave the Capitalist Party with the intention of forming a new group, leaving the leadership vacant. The party's libertarian faction, which had merely been trying to change Dias' views rather than drive him out, found that they had no suitable candidate to challenge Santana, who easily won the position of leader.
This loss caused much fighting within the libertarians, with many people accusing the libertarian leadership of "getting rid of a bad leader by giving the job to an even worse one". Most libertarians soon left the Capitalist Party, eventually founding the independent Libertarian Party. An number of other people, however, left the Capitalist Party to follow Dias - these were, on the whole, moderate memberrs of the party who agreed with Dias about adopting a more mild policy platform.
The group Dias formed, called the Reform Party, took most of the support that Dias had built up with his moderate policies, and the victory of Santana caused the Capitalists to lose any support they might have gained from libertarian-leaning voters. Santana's increasingly extreme policy statements further eroded what support the Capitalist Party might have gained, and in the 302 AP elections, it gained only a single seat (filled by Santana). The Reform Party, by contrast, gained twenty seats. Santana accused Dias of "selling out, abandoning capitalist principles in order to win votes".
After the election, Santana began to steer the party towards his faction's social policies, alienating the few libertarians who remained with the party. As well as maintaining the party's strong support of free trade, privatization, and the abolition of welfare payments, Santana introduced policies in favour of "family values" and in opposition to same-sex marriages. More policies of a similar nature were to follow, causing Reform and the Libertarian Party to claim that the Capitalist Party's devotion to personal freedom had "long since gone".
In 303 AP, Santana began talks with Dominco Maleo, a former deputy leader of the Cruisian Party. Maleo had previously promoted "secularization" of the Cruisian Party, while still having it promote exactly the same policies (therefore evading restictions on religious parties contesting elections). The Capitalist Party, Maleo, and several other groups agreed to form a new united organization called the Values Party, which would promote both free-market economics and religious-based moral codes. The Values Party continues today.
List of Leaders
- Randalo Avico (296 - 300)
- Paulo Dias (300 - 301)
- Miguel Santana (301 - 303)