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The Bismarckian Anti-Socialist Creed (Adopted by the Law Act of 1878)

Law Against the Publicly Dangerous Endeavors of Social Democracy from October 21, 1878* 

§ 1. Societies [Vereine] which aim at the overthrow of the existing political or social order through social-democratic, socialistic, or communistic endeavors are to be prohibited.

This applies also to societies in which social-democratic, socialistic, or communistic endeavors aiming at the overthrow of the existing political or social order are manifested in a manner dangerous to the public peace, and, particularly to the harmony among the classes of the population.

Associations of every kind are the same as societies.

§ 2. In the event that a registered cooperative comes under the provisions of § 1, par. 2, then § 35 of the Law of July 4, 1868, concerning the legal status of cooperative associations for business and [other] economic purposes [Erwerbs- und Wirtschaftsgenossenschaften] (Bundesgesetzblatt pp. 415ff.) is to be applied.

In an analogous event, § 29 of the Law concerning registered Assistance Funds [Hilfskassen] of April 7, 1876 (Reichsgesetzblatt pp. 125ff.) is to be applied to Registered Assistance Funds.

§ 3. In the event foreseen by § 1, par. 2, Independent Fund Societies (not registered) [Unabhaengige Kassenvereine (nicht eingeschrieben)], which have the statutory purpose of mutual support for their members, are not to be immediately prohibited, but are to be put under extraordinary state control.

Where several independent societies of this kind form a union [Verband], and in the event that in one of these societies the endeavors described in § 1, par. 2 are manifested, this society can be ordered excluded from the union and put under control.

Likewise, if the described endeavors manifest themselves in one branch of a society, control is to be confined to that branch.

§ 4. The authority invested with the control is empowered:

1. To attend all sessions and meetings of the society [Verein].
2. To call and conduct membership assemblies.
3. To inspect the books, papers and cash assets, as well as to demand information about the affairs of the society.
4. To forbid the carrying out of resolutions which are apt to further the endeavors described in § 1, par. 2.
5. To transfer to qualified persons the duties of the officers or other leading organs of the society.
6. To take charge of and manage the funds.

§ 5. In case the membership meetings, the executive committee, or another managing organ acts in opposition to the directives of the controlling authority issued within the scope of its powers, or in case the endeavors in § 1, par. 2, are manifested after the introduction of the control, the society may be prohibited.

§ 6. The prohibition or the imposition of control are within the competence of the State Police Authority [Landespolizeibehoerde]. The prohibition of foreign societies appertains to the Reichskanzler.

The prohibition is in all cases to be publicized through the Reichsanzeiger; in addition, the prohibition by the State Police Authority is to be publicized through the designated newspaper for official notifications by the authority of the locality or district.

The prohibition is valid for the entire area of the Federation [Bundesgebiet] and embraces all branches of the society, as well as every ostensible new society, which in reality is to be regarded as the old one.

§ 7. With the prohibition, the society’s cash assets, as well as the objects intended for the purposes of the society are to be confiscated by the authority.

After the prohibition has become final, the Administrative Authority [Verwaltungsbehoerde] designated by the State Police Authority must delegate the settlement of the affairs of the society (liquidation) to suitable persons and supervise the liquidation; the Administrative Authority must also make known the names of the liquidators.

The decision of the Administrative Authority takes the place of a resolution by the membership meeting provided for by the laws or statutes.

The liquidated property of the society is, without detriment to the legal claims of third parties and of the members of the society, to be utilized as provided in the statutes of the society, or in general laws.

The moment when the prohibition becomes final is to be considered the moment of the dissolution of the society (or the closing of the Fund).

Appeal against the decrees of the authority is permitted only to the Supervising Authority [Aufsichtsbehoerde].