An Examination of Extra-Universal Systems of Government

xsampa

Banned
The Intercellular Union​
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The Intercellular Union is a highly closed nation. Although I was denied entry to the Union because of fear of “social contagion”, I was allowed to visit its flagless embassy in Mexico City.

The building was an imposing cuboid monolith made of concrete with no windows, the vertical grooved lines being its only externally distinguishing feature. I entered through the door and showed the guard my guest armband. The meeting room itself was sparsely decorated, with only white plastic chairs and tables, and a telephone. The Ambassador A-1273 sat in front of me, wearing the gray uniform and white armbands as dictated by the Civilian Standard Dress Code. "FC- Chana, welcome to the Embassy of the Intercellular Union!" Although his tone is enthusiastic, his face is largely stoic and I suspect this display has been rehearsed. A-1273 as the first letter of his Role Number suggests, is an ambassador, and 1273 designates which ambassador he is, by date of admission. Other than that, he has no actual name. He asks for the sake of readers that he be referred to as the Ambassador. Since he has been informed of the purpose of my visit, he cuts to the chase.

The Ambassador begins by explaining the notion of the Body Politic, as it applies to the Union. "Unlike in English law where the body politic refers to the nation as a corporation, here it refers to how different types of people work together to build a nation. Also, we distinguish between productive labor which builds the state up, and unproductive jobs which tear it down."

I ask him what "productive" means and if it just means physical labor.

He responds: "Productives aren't just physical laborers - they include teachers, doctors and other professions which directly and openly aid society. A teacher teaches students who become workers, and a doctor heals people. Unproductives don't do that. They waste people's money on useless displays, like a musician making music - that doesn't help anyone, or an athlete running for the crowd."

Isn't happiness another form of social benefit?

"It isn't. An athlete or musician can make an audience feel better but they don't do anything concrete for society. Feelings are irrational and can impede progress. Only rational action can advance progress. Unlike our predecessors, we replace "life, liberty and happiness" with "life, function and progress". Just as our Standard Buildings are purely functional, so are the jobs allowed to us by the leadership for the sake of progress."

I note that his definition of rationality may well explain the stoic facial expression he has been assuming through the entire course of the interview.

I pause for a second and ask him about the purpose his role number to clarify for residents of other timelines. He huffs for a bit and speaks: "Like cells in a body, we do our jobs. The fact that we get our jobs done correctly matters more than the want to trumpet so and so's name everywhere. Of course if you do exceptionally well, leadership will look up your number and promote you to a better one. And no, these aren't punishments or meant to degrade us like how prisoners numbers worked in the Old Republic. We take pride in them because they represent our work."

He continues, "this function applies to the Standard Chairs and Standard Table I use. There's no need for ten companies to all make a chair and plaster their names all over it. The State Chair Corporation makes them, and they are durable - we design items for function, not form. We also have one shipping company that ships everything from Our Heart[1], a massive warehouse in the center of the country., so we don't have to worry"

My interview continues.

The Intercellular Union is a successor regime to the United States. During the late 1800s to early 1900s, the US was marked by immense inequality. Two main responses emerged: socialism and producerism. The socialists argued for worker unionization and control . The producerists viewed small businesses as being squeezed between the rich and the poor. Tension between the upper classes and the rest boiled over into uprising and war. A faction of the military were supported by the producerists, promising to redistribute wealth to small businesses and to use force to crush the socialists. The producerists turned on the army because it refused to redistribute wealth. The military sentenced most of the rebels as "unproductives" who could become "productive" after X years of labor. Productives, the former working class and the loyal middle class, were relocated to planned cities and wore “productives’ uniforms”.

During the Total War (1936-1943), the military government began the “economic streamlining” that saw “naturally unproductive” jobs banned and their members sent to “increase national preparedness”. During this period, the flag was banned, and productives’ calendars were replaced. With scientific discoveries like trimuriatine acid[1], the postwar leadership changed the country’s name to the Intercellular Union.

Knowing that A-1273 had some knowledge of the fate of other timelines' planned economies, I probed deeper about exactly why their bureaucrats deserved to be "productives". "Of course they do work - if they serve on the Corporate Boards, they help plan our Standard products and integrate Customer Feedback so that we make them more functional, and if they serve on governmental boards, they help ensure everyone's work is rewarded appropriately and unproductives can be dealt with ."

Because of his calm appearance, I decide to ask a controversial question. "If trade means dealing with ... less efficient societies and their "Unproductivity", does it make Cells want to leave?". His demeanor changed into a scowl. "Of course not! Loyal cells at work know what is at stake if they leave and they wouldn't anyways."

I decide to get another opinion from a defector in the Japanese dominion of Formosa, a surprising destination for defectors sufficiently far away from the Union.

My contact was Leona Hoover, a former trader. She greets me warmly. Unlike the Ambassador, I can see the emotions on her face. I mention to her what the Ambassador said to me. "Nonsense! First, the Union never really concerned itself with "efficiency" or "progress". If they gave a damn about progress they would have created 10 new types of jobs for the computing industry alone. Instead they stick to the "basics" hobbling innovation. Second, he didn't tell you about the unproductives, did he? The moment you express an inclination to do something "irrational" like painting, they begin keep to tabs on you for "wasting resources". And if you actually do so much as draw, they can send you to some distant farm to dig pig feces. I was lucky enough to become a trader for their state companies so I could trade actual products instead of the dross they make for internal consumption and actually travel to Japan to talk." I nod. What hopes does she have for the future of the Union? "Oh they'll stagnate sooner or later. The generals don't care, but they're falling behind the Compact[3] when "academics" is restricted to things you could learn in 1950."


[1] the central warehouse of the nation
[2] DNA
[3] An organization of Eurasian nations that was formed after the Total War and opposes the IU including the British Confederation , the French imperial complex the holy Roman Empire-like Federal Russian Empire and Japan and her dominions.
 
Higher Education
My cover of Silas-Coldwine's EEUSG entry, the Scholastic League. Many thanks to him for actually providing the map, most of the points of interest, and working with me on this cover.
  • The PoD is in 1141, with the execution of Piérre Abelard and the ignition of the Goliard Revolts.
  • The Americas are named Fornelia, after a cartographer. Avalon, while being French-dominated for much of its history, had the name given to it by the English stick.
  • Colonization is more diverse; there were large Swedish and Danish colonies in the New World. Colonization also proceeded more slowly than IOTL, allowing Native Fornelians to form their own tribal confederations and, later, states, further from the coasts. A Mapuche and Guarani nation exist in South Fornelia; both are Accessist regimes, given the strong association between Accessism and anti-colonialism.
  • The Ottoman Empire never existed, although the Turks did establish an Islamic state in central Anatolia and eventually claimed the title of Roman Empire (or Empire of Rum, as it is typically anglicized); if they can't capture Constantinople, they will just claim Rome's legacy anyway! The Iranians were the Islamic powerhouse of the Middle East, and continue to be the predominant Muslim power to this day.
  • Islamism is a fringe movement, with the last caliphate falling centuries ago.
  • China is nominally a constitutional monarchy, although neither the Chinese Emperor nor his parliament have true power. That belongs to the Consul of the Chinese Senate; the Consul is intended to be a first among equals executive position, answerable only to the Emperor, but in practice, the Consul is the true Emperor of China.
  • Most of Europe, Kiev, Egypt and Persia are constitutional monarchies with fully free and fair elections.
  • The European Initiative is a de facto French continental empire, formed in response to Accessist revolutions attempting to establish unified German and Italian states.
  • The Shadow War is the culmination of a centuries-long political paradigm pitting elitist technocrats against populist, anti-intellectual movements, a conflict in which the Scholastic League's influence has been a major factor. Skepticism of experts and dislike of "ivory tower" elites is not a recent phenomenon, but rather a cornerstone of the political "left" for centuries. Every uprising and revolution, from peasant revolts in medieval Germany to the Fornelian Revolutions, were motivated by this.
  • Accessism is the most recent incarnation of the anti-elitist sentiments of the world, and its "final form" as a crystalized ideology. Although bashed by its critics as being merely anti-intellectual knuckle draggers, Accessists generally advocate for the opening of access, whether it be in academics, politics, economics, or other realms of society. Accessists tend to have a nationalist bent, inspired by their skepticism against pre-national power structures (such as feudalism) and the global systems which have come to replace them.
  • The Shadow War itself is fought between the "conservative liberalism of expertise" with strong technocratic and elitist overtones, exemplified by the Global Security Initiative, and what is left of the Accessist world after the great Accessist revolutions of the 20th century. The current global powers have had to fight some seriously nasty Accessist regimes, particularly the aborted German and Italian Accessist republics. Those regimes practiced extreme "reprisals" against intellectuals and elites; consider the OTL Reign of Terror and the Khmer Rouge. The modern Accessist republics are less extreme than those old regimes, but are still authoritarian strongman regimes.
  • By the 21st century, technological development is slightly better than OTL, and is more evenly distributed. For example, Mechiko and the Fornelian Federation have similar levels of development.
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xsampa

Banned
A Peculiar Institution
My world map cover of General Lemarc’s EEUSG entry, the Confederate States of America. Includes the writeup, which was mostly provided by General Lemarc but with formatting edits and some additions by myself.

The POD is the immediate aftermath of the Battle of Sharpsburg, which is what we know as the Battle of Antietam IOTL. The Confederate leadership realizes that they just lost their best chance to win, and need to do something in order to even the odds. A program is initiated that promises large payments to slaveowners for the sale of their slaves to the Confederate government, and freedom for the slaves upon completion of military service "for the duration of the war” (translation: start fighting from now until we win, and if you're still alive you're free). History stays roughly the same until Gettysburg, where a slave soldier kills Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, allowing the Confederates to take Little Round Top and win the battle. Faced with a dagger pointed at their metaphorical heart, the Union is forced to the negotiating table.

The ultimate results of the treaty include recognition of Confederate independence and sovereignty by the Union, the rescinding of the Emancipation Proclamation, as it was an unlawful infringement upon Confederate sovereignty, and referendums in Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri. These last were insisted upon by a Union negotiating team flushed with victory and assured of the loyalty of those within the border states. The results were a total defeat for the Confederates, save in Kentucky, where Confederate agents were able to pull off more vote-rigging than their Union counterparts. The Indian Territory was also "sold" to the Confederacy as a means of the Union getting them to pay off their portion of the pre-war national debt, along with provisions that the Union could dump any tribes it didn't want into the newly Confederate territory. This was sold as "being rid of the Indian problem once and for all" to the Union public and was generally accepted as a smart play after the fact, though more than a few politicians lost their careers, and one lost his life, over "giving the damn traitors more land.”

The Confederacy enters a period of national glee, while the Union enters a period of deep depression similar to the Union in Timeline-191. A new paranoia over secessionism and "un-American mindsets" leads to a harsh crackdown on Mormonism in Utah, leading to a cycle of resistance and oppression that ultimately results in most of the southwest and Pacific coast rising in rebellion. The Union immediately blamed the Confederates and invaded, with no plan beyond "kill the Rebs!" The Confederates' network of border forts and the strong leadership of President Longstreet lead to the Union Army being bogged down and ultimately defeated, with the establishment of the Republic of California, a left-leaning junior partner of the Confederacy, and the Free State of Deseret, a totally-not-theocratic democracy that has become the Israel of TTL thanks to its long border with a nation which wants it dead. Thanks to the increased contribution of slaves and free blacks to the war effort, along with increasing pressure from Britain and France, the Confederacy manumits its slaves in a long, legally complicated process that amounts to the government “buying”[1] all slaves from their owners and then frees them.

The remaining 19th and early 20th centuries see the Confederacy expanding its industrial base, diversifying its crops, and doing its own version of dollar diplomacy in Latin America, while the Union devolves into a bitter, angry nation that grows more authoritarian by the day against any and all who could conceivably oppose it, now including those "traitorous negroes" who helped the South win two wars against them. The fact that pretty much all the blacks in the Union have little connection to the Confederacy is not factored into this assessment. Paradoxically, the Union finds itself drawn towards the British sphere of influence, as the British didn't appreciate the fact that the nation they supported specifically to break American influence has begun exerting influence of its own in Latin America and even Africa, with Confederate support and threats of embargoes being the primary reason why Liberia was spared colonization. This, along with other squabbles, leads to the Confederate economy becoming disengaged from that of the British and moving closer to the German-led Central Powers, seeing them as a fellow power that was denied their rightful place in the sun.

One thing leads to another, and the Great War kicks off in 1935. The Entente mobilizes their colonies and the Central Powers mobilize their junior allies, leading to odd scenarios such as Canadian and Mexican troops clashing with each other in Missouri, or an aerial skirmish between planes from Australia and Brazil above the skies of California. In the East, Japan seized the opportunity to get in on the China scene, granting much-needed aid to the Qing remnant in Manchuria that had been on the verge of being wiped out by the British-backed Republic of China, snapping up a few islands in the East Indies, particularly from the Entente-aligned Dutch, and giving some help to some Indian rebels. Thanks to contributions from its Latin American allies as well as colonial revolts in the British and French possessions, the Central Powers are victorious. The victors take some land, slap some penalties on the defeated powers, and establish a league of nations, moralizing about how such a disaster will never happen again while completely ignoring the remilitarization of their enemies.

The detonation of an atomic device on a remote island in German New Guinea would forever change the face of warfare and diplomacy. The nationalist regimes of the former Entente put their remilitarization plans on hold until they themselves could get such a device, and by the time they did, traditional war between the great powers was already dead in the water. A new age of saber-rattling and brinksmanship descends over the world, with the conservative, old-style democracies of the CSA, Germany, Japan, and their allies and freed colonies facing off against the autocracies and "democracies" of the USA, Britain, France, and Russia. Eventually the British and French overthrow their dictators, leading to a relative thaw in global tensions. However, the Restored British Empire continues to rule from Australia, the French have elected a new President with autocratic tendencies and a dislike of term limits, and the Russians have only moved further into authoritarianism and isolationism as a reaction to the new order. The forces of stability, tradition, and honor still have a long way to go if there is ever to be true freedom on Earth.

France and Russia removed their aristocracies, and during the Shadow War were theoretically democratic autocracies on the model of Putin's Russia, but with a commitment to nationalist revanchism similar to that of a right-wing USSR, along with a heavy dose of religiosity. The fact that their alliance was a mixture of all four major branches of Christianity, all of which purport to hate each other, somehow never comes up at the negotiating table. While the French have replaced old government, moving back to the strongman model, the Russians have become a full-blown theocracy which distrusts and is opposed to its former Entente allies.

Britain had hybridized its regime into a dictatorship of both the aristocrats and the "people," with the House of Lords still being allowed a say in government. Of course, all the real power is held in the National Union Party, from whose name the Entente's charter ideology of Unionism takes its name. Unionism is a right-wing collectivist ideology: work for the sake of the family, the people, and the nation, and the vanguard class rules in the name of the people. Any and all races of the Empire can be good British subjects and Unionists, provided they work diligently to further the Empire's goals and support her leaders unflinchingly, but inevitably some subjects will be more valuable than others. Whether this inevitability extends to those "good" subjects being concentrated in British Isles and Australia and away from the "colonial" parts of the Empire is not discussed in polite company. The National Union Party fled to Australia after democratization, with their French counterparts pulling a similar trick with Algeria.

The glorious United States of America is and has always been the only nation worthy of the name of America, and anything else is pure sedition. After the disastrous defeat in the Great War, the Americans finally realized what the problem was: themselves. Specifically, the parts of themselves that did not follow the Unionist Party (founded by disillusioned, revanchist Republicans after the death of their old party) or were a member of those racial or religious minority groups the damn Rebs were so fond of taking i). Under the leadership of Compatriot President General Daniel MacArthur,[2] the faultless hero of the Missouri campaign[3], the United States has become a dictatorship more reminiscent of Joe Steele than TL-191: opposition parties can win a few minor elections here and there, there are token votes against the President in the electoral college, but say one wrong thing about the President and it’s off to northern Dakota with you. Federalism is a dead letter, thanks to backlash against states’ rights. Individual freedoms, religions that aren't acceptable denominations of Protestantism, and generally everything that's not "American" are disappearing more and more in the USA, which is entering the 21st century and the Information Age with weapons drawn and eyes peeled for anything that could possibly threaten it.

The Confederate States of America has, by the estimates of just about everyone that isn't the Union, inherited the original mandate of the Founding Fathers, and all the responsibilities that come with it. One of the leaders on the world stage, the CSA holds itself up as a model for other aspiring democracies, and even uses its "peculiar institution" of segregation as an example of how racial assertion can be done right as opposed to certain other nations. This has the effect of spreading democracy and segregationist policies around Latin America and Africa; in the former, the old Spanish caste system has been reinforced, while in the latter, old colonial hierarchies remain in place with what remaining Europeans on the absolute top. An exception is Liberia, where the descendants of freed American slaves rule the country as a new aristocracy.

Germany and the other states within its sphere are full constitutional monarchies, with free and fair elections. The Kaiser is more or less a figurehead, although unlike the British monarchs, held in great esteem. Still, the Kaiser (or Kaiserin) is expected not to speak on political issues. Likewise with the Japanese monarchs, the country having avoided a stint with military dictatorship.

The Republic of China is a corrupt military dictatorship, and once the junior member of the Entente. It is quickly growing in power and wishes to challenge Japanese power in Asia.

The Ottoman Empire remains under the old system, now buoyed by its oceans of petroleum.

India is a corrupt oligopolic democracy, where a rich, Anglophone minority which gained control of the original Indian independence movement continue to rule the country. Most political parties revolve around language and religion.

[1] Many slaveowners took the issue to court, on the grounds that the mandatory sale of property to the government amounts to an unconstitutional taking of property by the government. The Confederate Supreme Court ruled in favor of the government: while it agreed with the plaintiffs that the mandatory sale of slaves is a taking, it ruled the taking constitutional because the slaveowners were given “fair value” for their slaves by the government. The case, Wagner et. al. v. Confederate States Manumission Commission, is still used in law schools to illustrate that while it is unconstitutional for the government to take property without due process of law, no citizen has the right to demand particular compensation.
[2] General Lemarc originally had him named Douglas MacArthur, I changed the name to indicate that this is an alternate history “sibling” of the historical figure we are familiar with.
[3] The Missouri campaign was ultimately a failure for the United States, but the Unionists blame this defeat on the politicians and not MacArthur’s leadership.

View attachment 543871
Shouldn't the various exile states in Algeria, and other former colonies be under majority rule at this point?
 
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