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Rural Reconstruction Association

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The Rural Reconstruction Association (RRA) was a British agricultural reform movement established in 1926 with Montague Fordham as its Council Secretary, a post he held for 20 years.[1]

History

Influenced by the ideas of guild socialism, the RRA sought for a time the creation of a National Agricultural Guild with land ownership held by land councils who would operate as local sections of the Guild.[2] Its main consistent aims however were to revive agriculture and to decentralise the population of Britain.[1] It sought to standardise prices and produce grading, regulate imports and encourage more of a balance between agriculture and industry which, it argued, would benefit both sectors by ending over-reliance on manufacturing.[1] As such, the Agricultural Marketing Act 1931, Wheat Act 1932 and Agricultural Marketing Act 1933, all of which moved towards protectionism in agriculture, were seen by the RRA as a vindication of their arguments.[1]

Their 1936 document The Revival of Agriculture attacked modern economics whilst praising what they saw as the more realistic approach of Elizabethan times, where financiers were servants of producers rather than masters. They argued that this system could be returned by controlling imports and so allowing domestic agricultural produce to reach a higher value. This would mean that banks would be more prepared to advance loans to farmers and would lead to the creation of a system of agricultural credit banks.[3] A revived agricultural sector was also presented as being central to national well-being as it would encourage fresh organic produce.[4]

The group grew close to the Economic Reform Club and Institute (ECRI) in the 1940s[5] and with the ECRI it produced, between 1944 and 1956, a journal dedicated to the reform of the rural economy edited by Jorian Jenks.[2] Jenks' Rural Economy journal proved the focal point for fascist sympathies within the movement as Jenks, a former member of the British Union of Fascists, was close to the Union Movement.[6]

The group enjoyed the support of some leading British figures as Sir George Stapledon and Lord Lymington were amongst the members of its board[2] whilst Lord O'Hagan served as President of the movement for a time.[7]

Discover more about History related topics

Guild socialism

Guild socialism

Guild socialism is a political movement advocating workers' control of industry through the medium of trade-related guilds "in an implied contractual relationship with the public". It originated in the United Kingdom and was at its most influential in the first quarter of the 20th century. It was strongly associated with G. D. H. Cole and influenced by the ideas of William Morris.

Agriculture

Agriculture

Agriculture encompasses crop and livestock production, aquaculture, fisheries and forestry for food and non-food products. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that enabled people to live in cities. While humans started gathering grains at least 105,000 years ago, nascent farmers only began planting them around 11,500 years ago. Sheep, goats, pigs and cattle were domesticated around 10,000 years ago. Plants were independently cultivated in at least 11 regions of the world. In the twentieth century, industrial agriculture based on large-scale monocultures came to dominate agricultural output.

Protectionism

Protectionism

Protectionism, sometimes referred to as trade protectionism, is the economic policy of restricting imports from other countries through methods such as tariffs on imported goods, import quotas, and a variety of other government regulations. Proponents argue that protectionist policies shield the producers, businesses, and workers of the import-competing sector in the country from foreign competitors. Opponents argue that protectionist policies reduce trade and adversely affect consumers in general as well as the producers and workers in export sectors, both in the country implementing protectionist policies and in the countries protected against.

Rural economics

Rural economics

Rural economics is the study of rural economies. Rural economies include both agricultural and non-agricultural industries, so rural economics has broader concerns than agricultural economics which focus more on food systems. Rural development and finance attempt to solve larger challenges within rural economics. These economic issues are often connected to the migration from rural areas due to lack of economic activities and rural poverty. Some interventions have been very successful in some parts of the world, with rural electrification and rural tourism providing anchors for transforming economies in some rural areas. These challenges often create rural-urban income disparities.

Jorian Jenks

Jorian Jenks

Jorian Edward Forwood Jenks was an English farmer, environmentalism pioneer and fascist. He has been described as "one of the most dominant figures in the development of the organic movement".

Fascism

Fascism

Fascism is a far-right, authoritarian, ultranationalist political ideology and movement, characterized by a dictatorial leader, centralized autocracy, militarism, forcible suppression of opposition, belief in a natural social hierarchy, subordination of individual interests for the perceived good of the nation and race, and strong regimentation of society and the economy.

British Union of Fascists

British Union of Fascists

The British Union of Fascists (BUF) was a British fascist political party formed in 1932 by Oswald Mosley. Mosley changed its name to the British Union of Fascists and National Socialists in 1936 and, in 1937, to the British Union. In 1939, following the start of the Second World War, the party was proscribed by the British government and in 1940 it was disbanded.

Union Movement

Union Movement

The Union Movement (UM) was a far-right political party founded in the United Kingdom by Oswald Mosley. Before the Second World War, Mosley's British Union of Fascists (BUF) had wanted to concentrate trade within the British Empire, but the Union Movement attempted to stress the importance of developing a European nationalism, rather than a narrower country-based nationalism. That has caused the UM to be characterised as an attempt by Mosley to start again in his political life by embracing more democratic and international policies than those with which he had previously been associated. The UM has been described as post-fascist by former members such as Robert Edwards, the founder of the pro-Mosley European Action, a British pressure group.

George Stapledon

George Stapledon

Sir Reginald George Stapledon FRS was an English grassland scientist and pioneer environmentalist.

Gerard Wallop, 9th Earl of Portsmouth

Gerard Wallop, 9th Earl of Portsmouth

Gerard Vernon Wallop, 9th Earl of Portsmouth, styled Viscount Lymington from 1925 until 1943, was a British landowner, writer on agricultural topics, and politician involved in right-wing groups.

Maurice Towneley-O'Hagan, 3rd Baron O'Hagan

Maurice Towneley-O'Hagan, 3rd Baron O'Hagan

Maurice Herbert Towneley Towneley-O'Hagan, 3rd Baron O'Hagan, was a British Liberal and later Conservative politician.

Source: "Rural Reconstruction Association", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2022, September 14th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rural_Reconstruction_Association.

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References
  1. ^ a b c d P. Conford, 'Finance versus Farming: Rural Reconstruction and Economic Reform 1894-1955', Rural History, 2002, Vol.13 No.2, p. 229
  2. ^ a b c Peter Barberis, John McHugh, Mike Tyldesley, Encyclopedia of British and Irish Political Organizations, 2002, p. 32
  3. ^ Conford, 'Finance versus Farming', pp. 229-30
  4. ^ Conford, 'Finance versus Farming', p. 230
  5. ^ Conford, 'Finance versus Farming', p. 233
  6. ^ G. Macklin, Very Deeply Dyed in Black, New York: IB Tauris, 2007, p. 66
  7. ^ Agricultural Policy debates from Hansard

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