An Examination of Extra-Universal Systems of Government

Discussion in 'Alternate History Books and Media' started by Ephraim Ben Raphael, May 19, 2011.

  1. Ephraim Ben Raphael Super Writer Extraordinaire

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    An Examination of Extra-Universal Systems of Government Fourth Edition, by Aguaribay Chaná. First Printed in 1404 A.F in Cantonese, Novaya Gutenberg Printers, The Nutshell.

    "Any one Earth will inevitably contain a thousand varieties of humanity, each with its own culture, traditions, and philosophical beliefs. These elements combine with other factors such as geography, climate, and pure unadulterated luck to create what man inevitably terms to be “government” in whatever language he happens to speak. It would be tempting to describe one’s own type of regime as “inevitable”, patterned on basic human nature and destined to replace all other types due to its inherent superiority. This was, after all, how my own state described itself for the first thirty years of my life.

    But the Multiverse puts paid to this hubris, as it does to so many other notions held dear by the multifarious facets of humanity by proving beyond a doubt that no one system of government can claim to be consistently superior to any other- or that if one is then only the Infinity itself could discern this superiority by examining the Countless Worlds. But to the merely finite minds of our species it is clear that for every world where Direct Democracy became the dominant practice, there is one where Absolute Monarchies hold supreme. For every history that chronicled the seemingly “inevitable” rise of Demarchism there is one where Kratocracies became the only legitimate governments and for every Cold War or Great Game won by the forces of Rationality and Technocracy there is one where Faith and Theocracy triumphed (the latter being impossible as my former homeland would have me believe).

    Indeed the only commonality between different forms of government that can be said to be in any way multiversal is that one form usually (but not always) tends to triumph over all others in any given history. We see this even with the Enkidus and the Mi Anaka who can honestly be expected to have different tendencies than H. Sapiens…

    …This work attempts not to understand the reasons why various nations develop the governments they do, but rather merely to present various examples of governments that do exist in a tableau of human accomplishment- or for that matter failure depending on your political views. It was to this end that I have placed certain limits on the countries I surveyed in my research, to pare down the possible candidates for this book. To begin with I eliminated any government not majority Homo Sapiens (meaning no disrespect of course to my Enkidu colleagues but they’ll have to wait for their own book). In addition I refrained from describing any country on any world that I could not personally visit or at the very least (in cases when visiting wouldn’t be entirely salubrious to my person) interview citizens or former citizens of the state in question.

    As a final note in this forward, I would like to remind the reader that this is but a small sampling of the many possible systems of government that exist in the Multiverse and it is always open to expansion and improvement.”
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2018
  2. Ephraim Ben Raphael Super Writer Extraordinaire

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    So after a vote of what I should focus on writing next, this won out to my surprise. Essentially it's exactly what it says on the tin; an examination of different styles of government from throughout the multiverse. Chapter one will cover different types of Communist countries, including but not limited to Trotskyist, Anarcho-Socialist, Christian-Socialist, and an alternate form of Maoist governments.

    I'll try to keep it interesting, and I'm open to any and all comments, suggestions, or contributions (provided I get to review the contributions first).
     
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  3. rvbomally Russian Hacker

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    Cool, I voted for this on the poll in ASB. I think it would be interesting to see different types of governments not really seen in OTL, such as technocracy or meritocracy. I'm also interested to see if any of your governments live up to the ideals they aspire too or fall short like many in OTL have.
     
  4. Ephraim Ben Raphael Super Writer Extraordinaire

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    Great! I admit to being partially inspired by the highly detailed governments you've been showing us in your APA TL.

    I'm not sure if Meritocracy is specific enough to really examine, but once I actually manage to understand the ideology of Technocracy I plan to do a chapter on different forms of it.
     
  5. fortyseven Mastermind

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    Interesting.
     
  6. Baconheimer Berserker of Chaos

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    Are you taking suggestions? If so then you should do Syndaco-Litteralism.
     
  7. Ephraim Ben Raphael Super Writer Extraordinaire

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    PM me on what that is, and I'll consider it.
     
  8. Ephraim Ben Raphael Super Writer Extraordinaire

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    An Examination of Extra-Universal Systems of Government Fourth Edition, by Aguaribay Chaná. First Printed in 1404 A.F in Cantonese, Novaya Gutenberg Printers, The Nutshell.​

    Chapter 1​

    Being a Consideration of Socialist and Communist Forms of Government​


    “Socialism as an ideology, or its more radical partner Communism, rarely fails to have a noticeable influence on worlds whose divergence occurred after its creation. While the term itself dates to the early 19th century, socialist ideals of communal ownership and living date back as far as the philosophers of the ancient Hellenes. As a result of this even in universes diverging two or three millennia back politico-economic ideologies espousing similar tenets to orthodox socialism are far from uncommon. The governments examined in this chapter however, are all ones whose primary philosophy is descended from Socialism as envisioned by Karl Marx in his 1848 Manifesto.

    One of the more fascinating political creeds, Socialism is astounding by breadth of potential and by the lengths to which it has been distorted and reshaped so that its label is often used to encompass political systems that any neutral observer would label as authoritarian or even tyrannical while at the same time it can be applied to astoundingly liberated nations whose practices permit freedoms that would shock some of the most ardent libertines…

    …Also mesmerizing about Socialism is the expansive number of schools of thought it plays host to. Marxism, Marxist-Leninism, Stalinism, Maoism, Trotskyisms, Socialist-Libertarianism, Communism, Communalism, Hegelianism, Socialist-Nietzschism, and many, many others existing often simultaneously within the same universe where they compete and frequently attempt to exterminate each other. The following six countries are examples of only a few of the more esoteric types of Socialism or Communism in existence…”
     
  9. Archangel Battery-powered Bureaucrat

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    Subscribed!:)
     
  10. archaeogeek Banned

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    A musicocracy (basically people get nominated because of musical - could be expanded to just artistic - skill in contests) could be entertaining >.>
     
  11. January First-of-May Well-Known Member

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    IIRC Pasha Mirotvor did a TL (ca. 1980 POD IIRC) where (eventually) people got nominated because of their chess talents. :cool:
    It was (presumably) very ASBish, but also funny. :)
    (It was, unfortunately, also in Russian, so I'm not sure if anyone here would be interested.)
     
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  12. Ephraim Ben Raphael Super Writer Extraordinaire

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    Yay!:)

    Both those sound like fascinating ideas that could be very fun to write about. Unfortunately I'm trying to steer away from the more blatant ASBs.:(

    By the way country number one will be a Trotskyist Communist State in Africa, so stay tuned!
     
  13. archaeogeek Banned

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    Pity. I admit the idea came from remembering an old game of Ravenloft where the country was a republic ruled by a Meistersinger, who was elected by a singing contest every year (of course, the official bad guy was unbeatable). Although I'll note that the gorsedd came pretty close, the court bard being more or less the "prime minister" to a welsh prince.

    What about a bardic republic ;)

    Also, I call shenanigans at the Trotskyist state: there is no trotskyist state but the People's United Nations of Earth ;)

    (seriously I'm enjoying your posts)
     
  14. fortyseven Mastermind

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    Winner of game becomes ruler is a more refined version of last man standing/might=right.
     
  15. FDW Banned

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    This looks to be interesting…
     
  16. Ephraim Ben Raphael Super Writer Extraordinaire

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    United Proletariat Dictatorships of Africa​

    Spring in Muqdisho, the Somali Proletariat Dictatorship. It’s only 10 o’clock in the morning and already the fiery equatorial sun is burning off the layer of coastal fog that drifted in during the night. I’m nursing an overpriced glass of cambe or mango juice on the porch of what the Europeans of this universe would call a café. Across the street a would-be politician is delivering an impassioned speech in Somali under the watchful eyes of a dozen policemen and a handful of interested onlookers.

    Not for the first time, I wish that my command of languages extended to the native language. I find the local dialect of Arabic strange but understandable, but Arabic tends to be discouraged here due to its perceived religious connotations by the mostly State Atheist or Christian Ethiopians who dominate Africa’s only remaining Communist state in this universe.

    Another five minutes wait brings my contact- Ayub Farqi, a prosperous local entrepreneur whose cousin is a friend of mine and student of anthropology in the Nutshell’s New Misr University. I ask him about the gesticulating politician.

    “An Independent.” He tells me. “The Party lets them run but they put extra police about becausethey know it scares off potential supporters.”

    The Party of course, being the African Communist Party whose place as the UPDA’s only official party is sanctified by the country’s constitution.

    “Eh, things could be better.” Ayub says when I question him about his opinion on the government. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for what I have- we get many more freedoms than they do in India, but the state needs to reform.” A wave of economic reforms after the dissolusion of the USSR fifteen years ago revitalized the national economy, but the government is still a dictatorship whose president has been in power for the past two decades and routinely gathers over 90% of the vote in regular elections.

    My interview continues.

    The official government ideology of the United Proletariat Dictatorships of Africa is that of Trotskist Communism- an off-shoot of hard line Socialism. Originally promulgated by Leon Trotsky, a leader of the 1917 Communist Revolution that overthrew the Russian Empire and later the first head of state of Communist Russia, Trotskyism was the first communist ideology to see widespread success and grew to eclipse Marxist-Leninism, its biggest ideological rival at the time. Unlike Leninism or later Tilakism (which rose to prominence in this universe’s India), Trotskyism never sought to focus on the revolution in any one country, but rather espouses an idea of “International Revolution” that seeks to create a worldwide Communist movement without factionalism.

    Trotsky’s efforts found fruit in the 1920s and ‘30s as Russian representatives traveled the world often in secret to promote Trotskyism in all corners of the globe. The already restive colonial population of Africa following the First World War (a conflict between Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and Britain, France, and Imperial Russia that ended in a German defeat) took eagerly to the ideas of racial equality and self-determination Trotskyism offered and launched a series of massive rebellions against the European powers. (Other revolutions occurred at the same time in Asia and Latin America, resulting short lived communist governments in Mexico, Venezuela, and Costa Rica, and a longer lived one in Brazil while also triggering a reactionary backlash in China that led to the rise of fascism and an eventual coup by the Blue Shirt Society) Most of the Communist uprisings in Colonial Africa failed, some after achieving brief independence for a few years, but Ethiopian Trotskyites were successful in toppling Empress Zewditu and creating the Proletariat Dictatorship of Ethiopia. Flush with success the Ethiopians invaded neighboring European colonies in the Horn of Africa, taking advantage of sympathetic local uprisings and the European focus on the rebellions in West Africa to liberate the region declaring not long afterwards the establishment of United Proletariat Dictatorships of Africa.

    Organized along the lines of the Soviet Union (whose practices the UPDA imitated whenever possible) the Union is a federal state divided into five Proletariat Dictatorships governed by 100-member Peoples’ Assemblies and the national African Congress from whose ranks the president is chosen. While elections are for the most part fair and legally required to have at least two candidates, forming parties other than the ACP is illegal and there is no organized opposition. Nevertheless unaffiliated candidates run frequently for local offices and hold a large minority of elected mayors and city councils while public criticism of the government is legal despite being strongly discouraged.

    Considerable power is concentrated in the office of President whose control is not absolute but is focused in him and a handful of highly influential party leaders. Historically Oromo Ethiopians tended to dominate the government and bureaucracy due to their superior numbers, but an official policy of ethnic and racial equality meant that this was never absolute and other ethnic groups avoided the sort of marginalization faced in other, non-Trotskyite communist states.

    Ayud was not the only local who I interviewed, I spoke to quite a few others (not all Somali) during my week-long visit, and they expressed mixed views for the most part. While I got a sense that the majority wanted to see political reforms in government, they seemed almost universal in wishing to avoid the sort of revolutionary transition to democracy and dissolution of the state that resulted in chaos in neighboring post-communist East Africa and the Congo. As a dictatorship the UPDA is one of the ‘nicer’ ones, but as a socialist state it ranks pretty low, unlike the next country I examined.

    EDIT: Just got a flag and a map up. The flag is all aquished for some reason, but you should get the idea. The map shows the legacy states of the Peoples' Republic of the Congo and the Socialist Republic of East Africa. Both Angola and Morocco are also former communist states- ignore the star on the UPDA it's still communist.

    EUG I.png
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2011
  17. rvbomally Russian Hacker

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    So the PoV character isn't from OTL (or a close OTL analogue)? If so, would we get a glimpse into their home timeline? Great work, by the way. The politics of the UPDA reminds me a little of the PRC's.
     
  18. Ephraim Ben Raphael Super Writer Extraordinaire

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    I was wondering when someone would notice that!:)

    The narrator is an inhabitant of the "Nutshell", a pocket universe that exists as a sort of crossroads in the multiverse so he's familiar with all sorts of other histories including ones where the First World War was known by another name (or didn't even exist) and thus has to clarify for readers who might come from TLs with POD well before 1914. He wasn't born there though, Aguaribay Chaná is from OTL Paraguay that is part of a gruelingly repressive world state who will feature in its own update later on. When Chaná made his way to the Nutshell he had never learned to read or write or to do mathmatics more complex than counting up to ten. Since that time of course he's learned a great deal and become sufficiently educated to teach in a well known university- while also becoming a well-respected name as a comparative-historian.

    I'm glad you liked it, I based the UPDA off a slightly nicer PRC/USSR analouge with politics like the modern PRC.
     
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  19. imperialaquila Aspiring Thru-Hiker

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    Oooh, very nice. I look forward to more.

    One nitpick about the map; the eastern horn of Ethiopia is actually predominantly ethnic Somali, so I think a Communist state would try to at least reflect ethnic boundaries when drawing up its internal divisions. Since they seem to be slightly nicer than the USSR, I don't think they'd engage in the kind of mass ethnic dispersals Stalin got up to that might justify those borders. Unless they're trying to de-emphasize ethnic divisions?
     
  20. Ephraim Ben Raphael Super Writer Extraordinaire

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    Thank you.:)

    They just used the pre-existing colonial borders. There was a push to de-emphasize ethnic divisions (We're all just Africans!) but it didn't work too well. And given that the founders of the UPDA were predominantly Ethiopian, they really didn't want to make their portion of the country any smaller.