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The Mobilization of the Countryside: Program of the Agrarian League [Bund der Landwirte] (1912 version)

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3. Effective protection of our animal husbandry against epidemics from abroad. Regulations for the gradual implementation of the recovery of our domestic animal stocks with sufficient state support. Supplementation of the meat inspection law with a prohibition against the import of prepared meat, as well as tougher controls on the import of lard and bacon.

4. Legal measures to protect genuine production from adulteration and unfair competition from the surrogate industry; protection against the adulteration of fertilizers and commercial feed.

5. Simplification of the administration of workers' insurance.** Change in the old age and disability law with respect to Klebezwang*** and an appropriate distribution of the burdens. Further, appropriate expansion of the circle of those insured to members of the middle class in agriculture, commerce, and small trade.

6. Suitable consideration of the particular nature of subsidiary agricultural trades in legislation in order to preserve them as such for the agricultural enterprises, to keep them from being disconnected from agriculture and from being unilaterally exploited by big capital.

7. Appropriate consideration for agricultural interests in the construction and running of public transportation installations. Traffic parity between agriculture and industry, elimination of customs and traffic preferences for foreign products.

8. Compilation and suitable arrangement of all legal provisions touching on agriculture into a separate Agrarian Law, which reflects the nature of the rural property in line with German-legal notions.

** Whenever the agrarians said, “Simplification of the administration of workers' insurance,” [“Vereinfachung der Verwaltung”], what they really meant is cutting payments and services and reducing costs for employers; some even meant abolishing workers’ insurance altogether. [Please note: this information has been graciously provided by Prof. Dr. Hans-Jürgen Puhle (Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main). For a detailed analysis of the Agrarian League within the context of Wilhelmine politics, please see his book, Agrarische Interessenpolitik und preussischer Konservatismus im wilhelminischen Reich (1893-1914). Ein Beitrag zur Analyse des Nationalismus in Deutschland am Beispiel des Bundes der Landwirte und der Deutsch-Konservativen Partei. Hannover: Verlag für Literatur u. Zeitgeschehen, 1967, c1966.]
*** Klebezwang (literally: “being forced to paste), refers to the obligation (under the Alters- und Invaliditätsgesetz) to buy stamps for (and paste them into) the workers’ annual insurance cards in order to show that the contributions to the insurance had been paid on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis. Industrial workers usually kept the insurance cards themselves and did their own pasting. Agricultural workers, laborers, and domestics, however, were usually incapable – or considered incapable – of keeping their cards in order (or had no place to store them, etc.), so it was usually the employer’s responsibility to keep these cards on their behalf, to buy the stamps, and to paste them in for them, i.e. to make sure that their workers were properly insured. This constituted additional work, which employers were eager to avoid. [Again, with thanks to Prof. Dr. Han-Jürgen Puhle for explaining this concept.]

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