Footnote 109, Chapter 8, Page 265:

A much more extensive discussion of Austria’s experience with consociation is provided in the following earlier draft of this case study. Austria Austria is cited as one of the clearest examples of a country which was stabilized by consociational government. It is clear that this country achieved and has maintained stability since consociational elements were introduced after World War Two. Intergroup antagonism there prior to that war was sufficiently intense to provoke a “short, but sharp civil war” in 1934 in which representatives of the historically socialist group “engage[d] not only the paramilitary groupings of the right, but also the security forces of the bourgeois-dominated state apparatus.” Barry argued that Austria is the case of consociation which best illustrates the benefits of the consociation system. He explained that Austria is the jewel in the ‘consociational’ crown because it ‘presents virtually the only example of a European state in which an initially unsuccessful parliamentary system turned into a successful one, and in which constitutional and party-structural factors can be held constant over half a century (1919-1969). Interestingly, this description of Austria’s great achievement does not include any mention of the sort of population segments or divisive cleavages which constitute plural societies, as they are consistently described by Lijphart. For Austrian history to provide convincing evidence for Lijphart’s consociation theory, its governance system needs to have been introduced in a plural society. If Austria was not plural according to Lijphart’s definition, the country’s usefulness as a means of assessing consociation theory is not as substantial as has been suggested previously. The extent to which Austria has been plural will be examined through reference to Lijphart's descriptions of what constitutes a plural society, which are quoted and discussed in the Chapter 3. The five aspects of his definitions can be summarized and compared to the Austrian experience. Lijphart explains that, in "completely plural societ[ies]," it is possible to "identify exactly the segments" into which they are divided and "state exactly what the size" of each segment is, in terms of the number of people it includes. A society is also regarded to be "completely" plural when there is "perfect correspondence" between segmental boundaries and the boundaries separating the segments' organizations, to the extent that the segments constitute "virtually separate subsocieties." According to Lijphart, plural societies occur when these boundaries are "sharply divided along religious, ideological, linguistic, cultural, ethnic, or racial lines." An argument is made on pages 77-78 that it is inappropriate to consider ideological cleavages as evidence of such pluralness, considering several qualitative issues including the extreme rarity of Lijphart's mentions of a relationship between these two phenomena. The "final test of a completely plural society" identified by Lijphart is that, "since party and segmental loyalties should coincide, there should be little or no change in the voting support of the different parties from election to election: in a perfectly plural society, an election is a segmental census." Historical accounts suggest that Austria fitted some of these criteria for plural societies before and after World War 2 but also that the set of criteria does not describe the country's experience to an extent which definitely justifies its portrayal as that of a plural society. While it was possible to identify the segments into which the country was divided, calculation of the exact sizes of these segments is frustrated by the fact that they included members of some of the same groups, such as the "workers," a sizeable number of whom supported the party which opposed the Socialist segment. Although it was not true of the other segments, the extent to which workers in the Socialist segment could "live in a world organized by [their] party," from before World War 2 suggests that the boundaries separating segments and their organizations were relatively congruent and conducive to separate subsocieties. However, with the exception of religious devotion, rather than religious denomination, the divisions separating Austrian society did not correspond to the cleavages identified with plural societies involving language, culture, ethnicity, and race. The Socialist party's appeal for support from other segments through espousal of a moderate version of traditional leftist goals from the 1920s, including its decision to "not oppose Catholicism," suggests that they expected change in their electoral support from election to election and that Austrian elections were not simply "segmental census[es]." Considered together, the extent to which Lijphart's criteria for pluralness existed in Austria suggests that it is by no means clear that Austria was plural during its periods of segmental antagonism and consociation in the twentieth century. Lijphart explains that Austria was clearly divided into three groups, which he calls the "Catholic, Socialist, and Liberal-National Lager (camps)." He also points out that the country is "almost completely homogeneous as far as language is concerned." Other analysts of Austrian history describe these groups differently but also agree that it was possible to identify the segments into which the country was divided. For instance, Barbara Jelavich calls these groups the Christian Socials, Social Democrats, and more "German-based parties" which were particularly drawn to Nazism during the World War 2 period. Alfred Diamant also identifies these groups using mostly ideological terms, the “Socialist Lager,” the “Nationalist Lager,” and the “Christian-Social Conservative Lager.” He explains that the three issues that maintained the division between these groups involved “the social question, church-state relationships, and German nationalism.” Lijphart points out that, although there were these three segments, they worked within a "two-party" system dominated by the Christian Socials and Social Democrats. Jelavich explains that, prior to World War 2 and the major changes it affected in Austrians' political goals, the Christian Socials "would have preferred a conservative constitutional monarchy with a strong Catholic orientation," while the Social Democrats saw "the republic...[as] only a brief stopping point on the road" to a "future socialist society" and the "German-national groups" wanted "union with Germany." She points out that, at this stage, "the Austrian state was a second choice for all concerned." The commonality holding the Social Democrats together seems to have been an ideological one in favor of socialism, while the Christian Socials "never ha[d] the cohesion in interest and ideology of their Socialist opponent" because of the great social and economic diversity of its members. The Christian Socials were united in their fear that the Social Democrats were essentially "Bolsheviks" in pursuit of revolution and, "most important[ly]," in the "strong Catholic tie that all [Christian Socials] shared." The cleavages dividing this country before World War 2, thought to have been calmed by consociation, seem to have been ideological, regarding the nature of the government and the extent to which their shared Catholic religion should regulate their state. If it is accepted that ideological cleavages do not render societies plural, the country cannot be considered plural because of the absence of very firm divisions on the basis of a religious, linguistic, cultural, ethnic, or racial cleavage. Lijphart explains that, if denominations are used to calculate indices of religious fragmentation, Austria is “nearly homogeneous” with regard to religion. Markus Crepaz similarly describes Austria as having been “overwhelmingly Catholic.” However, Lijphart contends that this religious homogeneity “is more apparent than real” because the country contained “sharp religious cleavages between practicing and nonpracticing Catholics.” He estimates that “Belgium and Switzerland should indeed be rated higher than Austria and the Netherlands on an overall index of pluralism.” However, the Dutch religious cleavage is arguably quite different from that which Lijphart identifies in Austria. The Dutch people were firmly divided along both denominational and secular/religious lines of cleavage. Lijphart explains that Haug incorrectly assessed the extent to which Austria was plural because she assumed that intensity of Catholicism did not constitute the sort of cleavage that characterizes plural societies. To construct her index of pluralism, she used five variables involving “language, religion, race, sectionalism, and interest articulation by nonassociational groups.” Presumably because Austria’s only intense divisions involved the economic conservativism and the Catholic church’s role in policymaking, Haug determined that Austria deserved the “lowest possible overall rating and … included [it] in the category of ‘negligible pluralism.’” If such divisions are judged not to render societies plural, her assessment would be correct and Austrian consociation’s promotion of stability would not provide insights into the systems’ operation in plural societies. In fact, Jelavich's account of modern Austrian history challenges the notion that there was the sort of very clear division that characterizes Lijphart's plural societies, separating Christian Socials and Social Democrats with regard to religiosity. She points out that, even in the 1920s when the antagonism between the two groups was at its height, in the Social Democratic party, [i]n the question of religion... adjustments were made [to conventional Socialist and Communist stances], owing to the fact that most peasants and many workers were sincere, believing Catholics. In opposition to the Communist and Socialist line of thought that regarded religion as an 'opium of the people' and called for a campaign against it, the Austrian Socialist party emphasized that religion was a private matter. Thus it did not oppose Catholicism as such, but only the church organizations and societies that did not support the interests of the workers. Although the Social Democratic party opposed its Christian Social rival regarding the separation of church and state and religious control of the educational system, both parties contained many "sincere, believing," presumably practicing Catholics. Therefore, even if a cleavage corresponding to intensity of religious belief is considered capable of rendering societies plural, the assertion that such a cleavage firmly divided the Austrian population into the sort of impermeable units characterizing plural societies seems quite debatable. In his extensive exploration of Austrian national identity, Ernst Bruckmüller emphasizes that the country's problematic divisions did not involve linguistic, cultural, ethnic, or racial cleavages. He also suggests that a fundamental disagreement concerning the proper status of Austria motivated the country’s cleavages involving religiosity and ideology. When Germany unified, a substantial proportion of people left in the rump portion of the Hapsburg Empire, Austria, wanted their territory to be included in Germany. This was apparently not because those favoring German inclusion were any more ethnically German than those who did not prefer this option. It is true that, “[i]n the older Austria images the mythology of origins appears in two different and completely contrary formulations- in a ‘Germanic’ one and one that views the Austrians as people of predominantly or partially ‘mixed’ origins.” Austria was apparently viewed in this way because it had been the center of a very diverse empire including Slavs, Hungarians, and Italians. However, by the time consociational components were adopted after World War II, these groups had gained independence from the empire and the territory recognized as Austria was inhabited by a population of relatively homogeneous ethnicity. The absence of a cleavage involving ethnicity, or “Germanness,” is confirmed by Lijphart’s identification of only religiosity and ideological divisions, during the country’s period of consociation. Some argue that religious and ideological cleavages coincided with that which divided those who sought and opposed the country’s incorporation into Germany. However, a myriad of factors seems to have motivated some people to desire inclusion in Germany, one of which was simply dislike for the monarchy, whose center of dominance had been Austria. Religiosity levels and opinions concerning socialism and class did differ strikingly between the segment favoring German inclusion and those preferring Austrian independence. Particularly before the World War Two period, Catholicism and economic conservatism were identified as attributes of the Hapsburg Empire and those who advocated the preservation of its rump state, Austria. Bruckmüller extensively describes the 'black legend’ about the Catholic, Hapsburg Austria- as a refuge of intolerance and indolence, servility and stupidity- [which] was invoked again and again by Protestants, liberals, and German nationalists, by socialists and National Socialists. In a 1977 publication, Lijphart explains that Austria is 89.4% Catholic. The Protestant population identified in this quote seems to have maintained the cleavage separating it from its Catholic counterpart, while agreeing with many Catholics that church and state should remain separate. However, the motivations of the coalition against Austrian independence are better comprehended if the trends in their desire for inclusion in Germany are analyzed. In the mid-nineteenth century, while the Hapsburg empire was still intact, the “German Austrians saw themselves as the supporting nation of the monarchy, as the ‘best Austrians.’” Bruckmüller explains that, at this time, “[f]or many German Austrians a definite Austrian patriotism and a similarly definite adherence to their own Austrian state accompanied [their] feeling of belonging to ‘Germany.’” In 1918, the year the empire came to an end, “the Republic of Austria constituted itself… as part of the German Republic” but the victorious powers in World War One would not accept this inclusion of Austria in Germany, known as Anschluss. After Anschluss was thus “prohibit[ed],” enthusiasm for it was most common among German nationalists and Christian Socialists but Bruckmüller explains that the “actual social breadth of the desire” for it remains “unknown.” Another “wave” of enthusiasm for Anschluss in 1921 was “supported more by the ‘right,’” who included the party containing those who opposed separation of church and state, and Anschluss apparently became increasingly popular partly for economic reasons. It seemed to many in Austria that Germany was, and would become, much more economically successful than their state. Bruckmüller explains that, in the early twentieth century, “with few exceptions the famous debate about the viability of Austria seemed to conclude again and again that the small republic could not exist financially.” He provides substantial evidence supporting Friedrich Heer’s belief that After so many defeats and humiliations the engrossment in ‘Germanness’ and logically then also in ‘Germany’ as the redeeming power state of the Germans was plainly and simply a flight from the situation in Austria that was increasingly perceived as unbearable. This self-image stood in very strong contrast- at least from the Austrian standpoint- to that of the German Reich, brimming with self-confidence, with its powerful army and its impressive economic data. It always stood in the background as an alternative model… The eventual decrease in support for Austria’s inclusion in the German state was apparently not motivated by trends in religiosity, reconciliation between socialists and conservatives, or the Austrian resistance. By 1943, enthusiasm for Anschluss had dramatically declined because Hitler “pushed… aside… the loyal nationalists” rather than granting them any power, which along with other factors “very quickly created a legitimacy deficit in Vienna.” Bruckmüller explains that, the “Pan-German idea had probably played itself out” in Vienna by 1943 and the “beginning of air raids by the Allies probably took care of the rest” of enthusiasm for Anschluss. He observes that the German military defeat in World War Two “brought to pass the very thing that would have hardly been considered possible in 1938: namely the urgent wish of the Austrians not to belong to the Germans in any way.” The cleavage motivated by disagreement concerning Anschluss apparently remained after consociation was introduced through a grand coalition of the two major parties in 1945. To the extent that this cleavage separating the originally pro- and anti- Anschluss groups involved religiosity of Catholics and ideology, these factors do not account for trends in the groups’ later antagonism. If the intensity of support for connections between church and state or advocacy of socialism motivated support for Austrian independence, one would expect that the Austrian resistance movement against Nazism would have been primarily composed of devout Catholics and economic conservatives. Years before the majority of Austrian opinion turned against Anschluss, “Catholic legitimists of the Winter school and some communists… began to form resistance groups.” If socialism motivated support for the Anschluss, the first groups in the resistance movement would not have included communists. The diversity of the Austrian resistance movement throughout the German occupation suggests that no clear cleavages involving Catholic religiosity and economic liberal views existed in the divide between those supporting and opposing Anschluss. Bruckmüller explains that the Austrian resistance had to struggle against its enormous ideological and party fragmentation. It was not only on the right that agreement was not very simple between Catholic-monarchist, more likely Christian Social, and more likely aristocratically oriented groups. On the left the agreement difficulties between communists, revolutionary socialists, and more traditional Social Democrats were also great. This situation existed in the period immediately preceding consociation but the fractionalization suggested by these observations differs significantly from the notion that the society was firmly divided between the three Catholic, Socialist, and Liberal-National camps. The lack of clear lines of division involving religion and economic ideology is emphasized by historical discussions of "Austrian National Identity," such as Lonnie Johnson's, which discusses this period but not the division between Christian Socialists and Social Democrats. Anton Pelinka also confirms that these three groups, which he calls the "Christian-Conservative," "Social Democrat," and "pan-German," were no longer "closed camps" by the 1930s, as the Austrian Nazi party attracted voters "in numbers far beyond the strength of the traditional pan-German camp." It seems plausible to argue that this country was not organized into the sort of self-isolating, antagonistic segments considered to characterize plural societies as of 1945, when consociational elements were first adopted and Austrians of all groups had apparently come to agree that independence for Austria was preferable. It almost seems as if their decision to remain a united nation, as well as state, encouraged them to embrace a grand coalition executive system in 1945 and interact in a stable fashion since then. While Austria may have been more divided earlier in the twentieth century, a strong argument can be made that the country was not a plural society when consociational elements were introduced there in 1945. The possibility that it did not constitute such a society at that time means that analysis of consociation’s effects there cannot be assumed to be characteristic of those achieved by the system. Incidentally, if religiosity and economic liberalism are assumed to have been cleavages in Austria when consociation was introduced, cross-cutting cleavages, as well as some heterogeneity of regions, would have also existed and seemingly combined segmental autonomy with incentives for political moderation. Lijphart explains that the Austrian “religious and class cleavages came close to cutting across each other at right angles.” He also suggests that the religious and ideological groups that would be divided by such a cleavage were not heavily concentrated geographically. Austria has been a federal state throughout its experience with consociation and, although it is “not a highly decentralized” one, any delegation of power to regions would have increased the moderating role of this geographical heterogeneity. Consociation may well have brought a degree of stability to Austrian society that would not have occurred simply as a result of the change in popular opinion about identification with Germany, following World War Two. However, a persuasive argument can be made that Austria was not a plural society when consociation was introduced and, therefore, this country’s experience of the system does not provide much insight concerning the theory the it brings stability to plural societies.