Reds fanfic

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by E. Burke, Jan 17, 2015.

  1. The_Red_Star_Rising Homestuck Trash

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    You can quite easily wrangle up a population of well over three hundred million (and approaching 400 million) from western europe alone for the WEU, which is plenty to compete with the USSR or UASR. I think the FBU would be pragmatic enough to accept the help of the rest of capitalist Europe, which if unified with the same foreign policy and a united economic structure; is pretty much an instant superpower overnight. And it seems that western Europe is in much better straits than it was in our timeline, or at least; Jello says it is.

    And if they support the right factions in an empowered Brazil/Venezuela/Bolivia group they can get a loyal great or even superpower, which can also be done with Indonesia which also has a population roughly in the ballpark of the USSR and UASR (though lower by a hundred million or so). India remains the golden goose, and African and middle eastern resources are still likely to be competed over tooth and nail.

    The combined spheres of influence of western europe's colonial empires and parts of South America is easily the single largest such empire in human history. You're talking about people who control half of the world's land area and more than half of its population (albeit much of it unindustrialized). That's a helluva lot.
     
  2. Mr.E The Man that Time Forgot

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    Excerpts from "Uncle Sinclair's Strange Views" (1996) from "The Collected Essays of Martin Gardner, 1938-1998" (New York, St.Martin's Griffin, 1999)

    "Out of the many attacks on pseudo-science in "Fads and Fallacies," perhaps the one that caused the most criticism was my criticism of Upton Sinclair. Particularly the passage where supposedly, I said that Sinclair had caused Grandfather Debs to die. (In actuality, I had merely mentioned that Debs was suffering malnutrition from the fasting diet recommended to him by Bernarr Macfadden and Sinclair.) (1) Note that in the book, I talk about his works before the revolution, and brought it up only twice to indicate how he used his position as Presidium to patronize research into these fields. His unscientific support for food fads and ESP especially. This did not deter the many letters, who called the book "a thinly veiled fascist plot to discredit socialism" (though, like the other critics, they seem to like the other passages.) Of course, my intention was not political. It was to show how influential these ideas were, especially to men in power, like Uncle Sinclair. In fact, I decided to avoid talking about his post-revolution career, primarily because his influence in disseminating these ideas was mitigated by other, more rational minds, and also to prevent any investigations from criticizing such a figure. However, it is worth discussing how Upton Sinclair's endorsement of ESP and Food fads eventually led to their popularity in the UASR today.
    [....]
    After attaining his position following the Constitutional Convention, Mental Radio, his 1930 "study" of his wife's ESP powers, was released, and soon became the basis of a scientific study. Despite less than satisfactory results, he continued to give grants to ESP research, done the same way he did it with his wife, until he eventually left the Presidium. He also promoted various diets, like fasting as a "worker's dietary solution," which would cure any ailment, and the machines of Albert Abrams, which helped revive the Doctor's following ten years after his death. Such thinking soon spread because of this endorsement. Even after his retirement, there was ESP studies done into the late 60's, done by official government channels, despite the attempts by Scientific collectives to block funding into these studies. The amount of people who followed food diets increased by 30% between 1938 to 1950, and the number of people claiming to have psychic abilities at some point increased greatly. Another major field of research was into machines to cure many ailments at once, suspiciously much like the machines of Mr. Abrams
    [....]
    I do not protest his good works as the first Presidium. However, it was primarily because of Sinclair that quackery has managed to survive in the UASR. Around 38% of Americans believe in psychics powers. Whilst official government crank research has declined significantly in the past 30 years, there is still several lingering trends in media revolving around "worker's diets," and homeopathy, which are a direct send-off of Sinclair's defense of diets. This is the reason one must address this part of history. Such acts inevitably cause pseudoscience to spread.

    (1) The full passage, which is in the OTL book, was about Debs dying because he was given a naturopathic treatment before death, rather than actual medical assistance. It was to illustrate the point of the chapter, about the uselessness of homeopathic treatments.

    ------------
    Yeah, the idea for this came from Gardner talking about Upton Sinclair several times in his most famous work, Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science. It sprang from the implications of this support in the UASR.
     
  3. tuxer I am not a Grammar Nazi, I am a Alt-Writer

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    fascinating update. It does give the UASR a new dimension as well that personality politics can lead to spread weird and ridiculous ideias. But how popular in the present-day UASR are these pseudo-science? ... hopefully not as popular as in OTL and probably suffering from discrediting by an educated, science-literate populace.
     
  4. Alexander the Average Anti-lion tamer

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    I've actually been wondering about how prevalent pseudoscience is in the USAR, and whether or not it has the same problems as OTL USA.

    If I'm being optimistic I think that it wouldn't be as widespread. The elimination, or at least serious curtailing, of the profit motive would plausibly limit it, both by limiting the market incentives to promote pseudoscience, such as the oil lobby's opposition to the consensus on climate change, along with the various snake-oil salesmen that make money from promoting quackery such as Joe Mercola, Mike Adams, Gary Null etc. as well as negating a lot of the big business dickery that provides a lot of the misplaced anger that drives people to alt-med and other forms of pseudoscience. Furthermore, the highly democratic nature of the USAR should also go some way to minimising the potential for the bureaucratic patronage of pseudoscience, such as what happened with Lysenkoism. A more secular US would probably also avoid a lot of the problems surrounding creationism.

    If I'm being pessimistic, however, I can see the ultra democratic structure of the USAR having the potential to create pseudoscience strongholds and fifedoms in areas where such beliefs are prominent, so you might end up with some towns and kibbutzim refusing to administer vaccines or rejecting fluoridation (which I believe Portland currently does). If this is the case I can certainly see the FBU attempt to promote the idea that Communism encourages pseudoscience. I could also see some degree of incredulity, although not outright denialism, towards the dangers of climate change in certain section of the USAR, as well as in the Third World, with the former claiming the dangers are exaggerated to justify forcing a hippie-dippie ascetic lifestyle on honest hard working Americans, and the latter seeing it as a tool to curtail their development and keep them subservient to the superpowers.

    Ultimately it's going to come down to a number of other factors; the state of education in the USAR (presumably better than OTL, especially without the religious influence), the extent to which expert opinions are integrated into the decision making process, whether or not the environmental movement in TTL has the same issues with pseudoscience as OTL, especially with regards to the naturalistic fallacy, and the extent to which conspiracy theories are prevalent in society.

    Whilst overall I think that pseudoscience is going to be a lot weaker in the USAR than the USA, I do think it would be interesting from a narrative standpoint to have it be a bit of a problem for the USAR, especially in response to those who complain that it's a bit of a Mary Seutopia. Maybe one of the unforeseen consequences of the Second Cultural Revolution could be certain pseudoscientific ideas gaining some degree of support in the name of opposing the perceived "rigid scientism" and "dogmatic materialism" of American culture.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2015
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  5. tuxer I am not a Grammar Nazi, I am a Alt-Writer

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    I don't think you can completely eliminate the profit factor because the UASR is socialist - which by marxist dogma means it's transitioning between the necessary evil of capitalism and moving towards the communist utopia. What is happening is basically what some call economic democracy - where decision making and ownership of profits does not belong to a limited group of people (corporate managers/shareholders) but instead done by the collective of workers to whom the profits are distributed and thus increasing their purchasing power. Money still exists in the UASR and it will continue to exist to the present-day and as such, human greed will certainly lead to shady businesses.

    However, due to the UASR's collectivist nature, certain types of pseudoscience such as the anti-vaxxer movement will not exists as it is part of the anti-corporate sentiment. While some collectives might be worryingly powerful, such as energy collectives or agricultural collectives, they will never achieve the level of politico-economic power that multinational corporations wield OTL because there will dozens if not hundreds of collectives working in those specific areas.

    The level of education, which promotes critical thinking and creativity, might have a negative blowback especially during the Second Cultural Revolution which, as you proposed, is a fertile group for crank ideas.
     
  6. Libertad Interdimensional Traveler Anarchist

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    I also see the Second Cultural Revolution creating a fertile ground for pseudo-scientific revivals as you have a rebellious section of the population that will include a crusade against that perceived "rigid scientism" and "dogmatic materialism", if not "authoritarian rationalism". You pretty much hit it. The good thing is that we might not see the level of corporate monopolies' control and influence IOTL today that encourages climate change denial and the anti-evolution aspect of creationism. Intelligent design might hang on since this is going to be related to a belief in God, a Great Creator or a Supreme Being. But the level of belief in a 10,000 or 6,000 year old Earth ITTL is something we might not see in the UASR. Nevertheless, if the three way class analysis is to be taken into account by ITTL's New Left, the "coordinators" can still form informal associations representing certain class-based interests and heavily influence the economic democracy of the UASR with that military-industrial establishment created by World War II and the Cold War. Interestingly, we can see a FBU creating a sense of superiority of itself by seeing those non-white dominions like India, in a subtle way, and the Comintern, more openly, in a way that they supposedly promote "pseudosciences" that tries to create a more backward human civilization and the FBU is there to "save modern civilization" or something. FBU might have that more restrictive environment interestingly since we see a capitalist ruling class trying to make most of what it have in the remnants of capitalism ITTL. FBU state capitalism might not be able to tolerate the establishment of certain wacko things happening in American society IOTL today.
     
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  7. Mr.E The Man that Time Forgot

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    History of Rapture-Part I

    So, I was watching a Bioshock playthrough, and watched Andrew Ryan's opening film, and thought, why not do a history of Rapture in this world:

    Andrew Ryan: Is a man not entitled to the sweat on his brow?

    No! Says the man in Calais. It belongs to the poor. [I feel this needs changing, but I don't know how]

    No! Says the man in the Vatican. It belongs to God

    No! Says the man in Deleon-Debs. It belongs to everyone.

    I rejected those answers; instead, I chose something different. I chose the impossible. I chose... Rapture. A city where the artist would not fear the censor; where the scientist would not be bound by petty morality; where the great would not be constrained by the small! And with the sweat of your brow, Rapture can become your city as well.

    ------------------------------------------------------------

    Andrew Ryan fled Russia shortly after the October Revolution, due to his personal belief that society is advanced by great men, and destroyed by so-called "parasites," when they take over. To that end, he fled to America, during what is known as "The Guilded Age", where he would amass a great fortune, and become a major . However, then came 1933. He supported the military junta, and after its defeat, fled into Cuba. However, he grew to dislike the junta as well, opposing its suppression of the native Hispanic population, and also its controlled economy. He went to Britain shortly after, where he helped the war effort against the Fascists. However, he grew to dislike the Labour government, and its "quasi-socialist" policies. He hated the atom bomb, believing it to be a weapon for the parasites in America and Russia to destroy their enemies. When he heard that the FBU was planning to make its own bomb, that was the last straw. He decided to create his own paradise, away from the clutches of the superpowers. He began work on Rapture in 1947, where he would, through various shield companies, all the necessary materials. He decided to go to one place neither the FBU or the UASR could reach, the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. After building and completing the city in 1948, he filled it with the best and brightest he could find. Rapture experienced an economic boom at first, where entrepreneurs could create new business, science was greatly advanced, and a new art culture developed without censorship. This was furthered by the discovery of the substance ADAM, which is formed by sea slugs, by Brigid Tenenbaum. This, however, would prove to be Rapture's downfall
    ------------------
    So, thoughts? Anyone want to contribute anything?
     
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  8. MernStahl Phantasiac Tyrant

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    Pretty good, aye.

    One has to wonder if the inhabitants of Rapture would have less American accents, given that by the time it's established, many Americans probably wouldn't be coming down. And given Ryan's brief stay in the FBU, we might see some more FBU inspired things down there too perhaps (the machine gun looking less like a Tommy Gun for example maybe).

    The game itself probably wouldn't change much - whilst it was claimed it wasn't actually supposed to be a criticisms of Objectivism in particular (more a criticism of utopian ideals, hence Bioshock 2), the game did a pretty good job at pointing out the flaws in such a society. So I'm not sure if much would change. Maybe some more direct references to the Cold War and the UASR and the Revolution - "They claim we exploit the masses, the lazy dullards who feed off our great works!" - and maybe a denunciation of the increasingly state capitalist (and in Ryan's eyes, oppressive) nation the FBU is becoming but not much else.

    The other Bioshocks - I haven't played Bioshock 2 but that involved some kind of creepy collectivism I think so that'd be interesting to analyse. Maybe some plays on Stalinism.

    Bioshock Infinite - that's set prior to the revolution so not much would change. Perhaps during the dimension travelling or something there would be references to the future state of the world.

    Interesting thoughts there in the SCR. There has been mention of rejection of Orthodox Marxism in the aftermath of the SCR I think already (kind of like the different forms of Marxism that have sprung up in OTL, such as analytical). Not to mention arguments about libertarian socialism. I wonder if Gerald Cohen still writes his book.

    And the FBU will certainly get a "white man's burden" viewpoint from all that, viewing the communists with their crazed pseudoscience and the native populations with their "backward" (read: non-European) cultures as signs that civilisation is steadily declining all around them.

    Three-way class analysis - you mean Weber's idea?
     
  9. Libertad Interdimensional Traveler Anarchist

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    It's not Weber. It's Robin Hahnel and Michael Albert's idea on "coordinatorism" and their proposed solutions through parecon or participatory economics, which ITTL will be explored further deeper by the 1970s, with the UASR having greater resources and security to proceed to use the information technologies developed IOTL in the 1950s and start an earlier Project Cybersyn and furthermore, use such things in industrial workplace settings by 1960s. An equivalent of the 1990s Internet boom can start earlier ITTL if that's the case. Maybe around 1980s. Jello intends to make this happen ITTL through the UASR by the time of the Green Revolution.
     
  10. tuxer I am not a Grammar Nazi, I am a Alt-Writer

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    An update

    The Mutant Liberation Front is a fictional team of anarchist superhumans appearing in American comic books. The MLF is composed of mutants, a subspecies of humans born with superhuman abilites and traits. The MLF fights for equality and justice between human mutants and normal humans, but they're opposed by the Shi'ar, another human subspecies with superhuman abilities but whose society is hierarchical, archaic and sustained by enslaving normal humans.

    The contrast between mutants and the Shi'ar compose the backbone of the comic book's premise, but the the MLF day-to-day storyline deals with conflicts between normal humans and mutants - whose tension can escalate to a full on racial war.

    World of the Mutant Liberation Front

    The actual definition of a mutant is a human born with a link with the Ethereal Flow, a vast field of psionic energy surrounding the Earth, which allows them to develop superhuman traits. However these traits are rarely beneficial, with some mutants developing animal abilities, however they have a deformed appearance, while others develop a wide and diverse range of supernatural powers but they are difficult to master and come with severe psychological consequences.

    The MLF is a democratic organization whose main ruling body is the Committee of Global Equality (named after the Internationale's Global Peace Council) and whose membership is composed of people elected democratically by the collective members of the MLF. However posterior writers heavily decentralized the nature of the MLF, dividing it into two categories: warriors and scholars. The former is composed of mutants with great fighting skills, do not have an established headquarters, they spent much of their time travelling in a jet and dedicate themselves to liberate enslaved humans from the Shi'ars' clutches, fight against human supremacist groups, government conspiracies and even cosmic threats; on the other hand the Scholars live in Mutant Town, Metropolis, and dedicate themselves to track and teach mutants to control their abilities as well stage demonstrations for mutant rights and many members have strategic political positions in the State Building.

    The Shi'ar, like mutants, get their abilities from the Ethereal Flow but without the negative outcomes. They are extremely attractive but while their powers are much weaker than those of their mutant counterparts, they have absolute control over them. The Shi'ar wield extreme political influence, serving as the people behind the power, aided by using psychic mind control and the general lack of psychic powers amongst mutants.

    These facts make the Shi'ar a great threat to the UASR as they live according to an hierarchy of power, they have their own segregated gated communities where brainwashed humans serve the Shi'ar and their control over their superhuman powers, allow them to violate the rule of law by brainwashing politicians, military personnel and judges.

    ______

    I think that neatly translates the X-Men into the world of Reds!. I changed a lot because the political nature of the UASR could not have allowed the X-Men to live segregated from humans in a luxurious mansion while other mutants hide in sewers or live in slums. :rolleyes:

    Another thing is that the Professor X vs Magneto ideological conflict is simply impossible to exist in the UASR- which was created by a revolution. In this world Magneto would win by default.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2015
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  11. Mr.E The Man that Time Forgot

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    Do you have any ideas for a roster for the MLF?
     
  12. Mr.E The Man that Time Forgot

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    History of Rapture-Part II

    Frank Fontaine (real name unknown) was a petty criminal and smuggler, who was arrested for engaging in a widespread bookmaking operation in 1947. While waiting for judgment in his jail cell, he was approached by the Secretariat of Public Safety, who released him in exchange for help. They were reports of several ships connected to British and French corporations mysteriously disappearing in the mid-Atlantic. Investigations showed that these were all connected to a mysterious millionaire named Andrew Ryan. They feared it was a way of getting spies into the country covertly. He was smuggled into Canada, where he learned of Ryan's "North Atlantic Project," and followed the investigation, until eventually learning of its true purpose. He managed to kill a fish smuggler associated with Ryan's scheme, and adopted his identity, Frank Fontaine. With this, he was able to gain access to Rapture, by telling Ryan how much he admired his ideals, and wanted to help achieve them. In truth, he saw it as away as to amass as much wealth as he could away from the prying eyes of the UASR. SecPubSafe reported him missing in Toronto, and they eventually gave up on their investigation.

    He slowly built up a smuggling ring in Rapture, bringing illegal goods from the surface. However, then, Brigid Tenenbaum discovered the effect of a sea slugs venom on an injured worker's hand. The slug produced raw ADAM, which could be used to enhance a person's abilities. Seeing the opportunity, Fontaine founded Fontaine Futuristic to develop the ADAM, and later the "Little Sister's Orphanage" to gain little girls to experiment on. He also founded the "Fontaine Home of the Poor," to gain more medical specimens. While Ryan at first admired Fontaine, he eventually found out about Fontaine's smuggling operation, he ordered it shut down, and Fontaine killed. In an elaborate scheme to take control of Rapture, Fontaine decided to steal Ryan's illegitimate son, and artificially age him, to eventually take our Ryan, sending him out of Rapture, and creating fake memories for him. He also faked his death, and used his smuggling ring to bring various American socialist books to distribute in his poor houses, and remade himself as "Atlas," proletariat hero. He rallied the lower masses, and eventually tried to start a socialist revolution on New Years Day, 1959, starting with the Kashmir Restaurant. The Revolution essentially destroyed Rapture, and forced Ryan and his colleagues underground, while his city slowly died out due to rampant use of ADAM destroying the sanity of its population
     
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  13. The_Red_Star_Rising Homestuck Trash

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    "No, says the man in Bonn; it belongs to the army!"

    I figure that west Germany's probably going to be primary armed camp in Capitalist Western Europe since it's the one staring down the fulda gap rush scenario (or be the vanguard for any potential attack against the USSR). Only it's smaller than in OTL since West Germany is probably just going to be the French and British occupation zones out of this map:

    [​IMG]

    With some alterations (I can see the French and British trading some territory more to the center for the sake of giving the French occupation zone more strategic depth, particularly at that extremely narrow part near Alsace-Lorraine) of course given the likely nature of the arguments over the occupation of Germany and Austria, as well as shifting the occupation zones so that France and Britain's zones in Austria are more connected and have more depth..

    They might even join Austria to Germany for the sake of increasing their west german vassal's viability.

    But yes, the West German state is probably going to be developing a sizeable military much like OTL East Germany. The Entente cordiale has enough of a size advantage to ensure that West Germany is always going to be subordinate to them though. And of course, they have to balance allowing the west germans to build a big land military to stare across the border and have an identity that would commit to continuing to keep the germanies separate as long as the other half is communist (even with an East Germany mostly being neutral in China, America and the Soviet Union's power games they'd want a lot of people at the ready just in case the worst comes to pass), and having to ensure that German revanchism either stays dead or is not directed against the western part of europe. West Germany's probably going to be one of those weird places of strange contradictions.

    Well, weird contradictions and several thousand MBTs parked and ready for war and enough AA guns to allow a man to walk up the streams of shells and touch the clouds.
     
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  14. Alexander the Average Anti-lion tamer

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    Didn't a previous post on the Great Crusade threat mention that West Germany was balkanised into several royalist states (I remember a Rhine Duchy and some back and forth between Westphalia and Hannover)? I assume that Austria would also have its monarchy restored if it falls into the FBU sphere.
     
  15. The_Red_Star_Rising Homestuck Trash

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    In retrospect, I'm questioning the decision to balkanize Germany and not try to set up a new Empire or Kingdom of Germany. Breaking them up into piecemeal bits means that you don't get as valuable a contribution to the capitalist economy or as good of a buffer/vanguard against the Soviets and East Germany, and it also makes the individual states perhaps easier to subvert into new ideologies. Furthermore, it also prevents them from trying to hijack German nationalism into a safeguard against communism.
     
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  16. Mr.E The Man that Time Forgot

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    So, I was reading through some articles about Soviet interest in ancient aliens, and I was thinking of doing another pseudo science update specifically about ancient aliens, but I don't know what exactly to do with that. Any suggestion?
     
  17. Alexander the Average Anti-lion tamer

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    Some ideas for pseudoscience.

    I have some ideas for a counter-cultural movement in the USAR that rebels against some of its collectivist and materialist values, taking inspiration from individualist anarchism and romantic liberalism, a neoliberal movement if you will. Chief among their concerns is the shrinking of the private sphere, and its increasing assimilation into the public. Key features include rebelling against the culture of mandatory political involvement, tendencies toward delinquent and antisocial behaviour, fetishisation of the great outdoors, praising the virtues of solitude and alone time, valuing the emotional and spiritual over the rational and scientific, valorising eccentricity and decrying conformity, and bad angst-ridden poetry. I'm sure there's room for various pseudoscience and woo to slip in there.

    Another area in the Comintern that may prove fertile ground for pseudoscience might be China. Given the more nationalistic bent of the state ideology ITTL given that the KMT are likely the dominant party (the earlier alliance and cooperation with the CCP is likely to butterfly away many of the things that won them mass support from the population as a whole), as well as the fact that vast parts of northern China are independent and in the Soviet sphere and Tibet is a FBU protectorate (I also have ideas for a post-war civil war and rump white Chinese state in the south if Jello and co are interested), I can see the Chinese state taking a very hard nationalistic stance on a lot of things. Whilst they will most likely be more open and democratic than IOTL, they are probably going to have a spotty record on minority rights, viewing cultural minorities as potential fifth-columnists, and enacting the sorts of assimilationist policies (under the guise of building a "proletarian culture") that will turn that into a self-fulfilling prophecy (I can see a British/Indian backed separatist movement in Yunnan being a thing, and well as the Soviet Union and FBU backing Taiwanese independence, albeit for different reasons). As such I can see state-backed sponsoring and fetishisation of all things traditionally Chinese, such as medicine and religion. I can also see this having a bit of an impact on USAR counter-culture during the Second Cultural Revolution, much as in OTL, because the more things change the more they stay the same.
     
  18. Mr.E The Man that Time Forgot

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    I always thought that during the Second Cultural Revolution, the popularity of Eastern religions and philosophies, like Buddhism and Hinduism in the UASR would increase, much like it did OTL. Perhaps cultural dissemination from China could contribute to that growth, and maybe, New Age pseudoscience could grow because of this growth in Eastern philosophies.
     
  19. Alexander the Average Anti-lion tamer

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    I think it would be rather like the OTL influence of "Eastern Culture" on the hippie movement, although the emphasis would be much more on China and rather less on India. I also think that Buddhism might not be as popular though, given that Tibetan Buddhism is likely tied up in the FBU protectorate, Zen Buddhism's associations with Imperial Japan, and the fact that Theravada Buddhism in dominant in FBU and FBU aligned territory (Burma, Thailand and Western Indochina), although Mahayana Buddhism, in particular Chinese and Korean schools, may gain a bit of a following in the wider Comintern. That said, I'm not an expert on Buddhist theology or East Asian culture, so take this with a pinch of salt.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2015
  20. Mr.E The Man that Time Forgot

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    That is true. However, given Japan is a UASR ally later on, Zen Buddhism could also make inroads. Indian culture and religion might still be prominent, because individuals sympathize with India (center of spirtuality) being under the morally corrupt capitalist FBU heel. Or conversely, the British and French counterculture (if there is still one) could be more Indian in influence.