Reds fanfic

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

  1. BootOnFace Buoyant Armiger

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    There's no evidence that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance. That's a myth perpetuated by pharmaceutical companies and isn't taken seriously in psychiatry.

    There are genetic factors, pointing towards a biological origin, but the causes and mechanisms of depression are unknown.
     
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  2. teg The Worst Unionist

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    And just to underline this, it is sounding like Cruz had lost most of his support network, his adoptive mother died last November and his adoptive died several years ago, in the time running up to the shooting. I’m not sympathetic to what he did but it does make why he was falling into militia politics more understandable.

    I can’t say I particularly like the sound of Comintern gun laws for a variety of reasons but at least they are better than the OTL USA. (Small bars and all)

    teg
     
  3. The_Red_Star_Rising Homestuck Trash

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    Well I mean, Switzerland gets by nearly identical gun laws just fine.
     
  4. Crunch Buttsteak Supreme Thunder! Donor

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  5. The_Red_Star_Rising Homestuck Trash

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    My one regret is that I have only one like to give.
     
  6. Bookmark1995 Bookmark95 Reborn!

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    Considering the seemingly permanent division between the two Germanies ITTL, I want to explore the effects of ITTL Communism on East Germany.

    The Economist

    Has East German Identity Evolved Into Something Too Alien For Its West German Counterpart? The Burgeoing Ostlander Movement Believes So.

    January 11, 2018

    By Kevin Stewart

    East Berlin

    The city of Berlin has come to define the Cold War, where the superpower struggle has literally divided nations. Berlin, the historic German capital, has been broken in two, separated by a massive concrete wall and soldiers from every major country of the Red and Blue blocs.

    In the Eastern portion of the city, reunification, followed by "liberation of the German people from the capitalist imperialist puppet," has long been a wedge issue that every politician would follow.

    However, in a recent election to the city Soviet, a once fringe party has won several seats: The Ostland Gruppe (OG), known unofficially as the Ostlander movement. Among their platform was an end to the Cold War, and a recognition of the West German regime. Once politically toxic, especially in East Berlin, the movement is part of series of movements throughout the world challenging Cold War politics.

    But there other platform, the renaming of the DDR into the Ostland Volks Republik, or OVR, has attracted attention through its assertation that East Germans have become a seperate people entirely after decades of Communist rule.

    The Party Leader

    In a modest Berlin flat 10 kilometers from the wall lives the OG leader, Hermann Ichiyama.

    His appearance and background would suggest that he would be a fierce Liberation [1] style political figure. He has mixed German and Japanese heritage, some clearly Asiatic features, and is fluent in Russian. In many Eastern bloc nations, it has become increasingly common for people to mix Russian into their speech unconsciously.

    "Zdravstvuyte" he says before switching back to German. "Lovely to meet you."

    I asked him why a common baby would want to avoid any further confrontation and war with his Western counterpart, but I can see him already narrow his eyes at the word.

    "Oh yes, I was the sign of new, cosmopolitan Germany," he said with some sarcasm. "As I child, I united my school into a vanguard-against me."

    Ichiyama was born in 1959, and grew up in Dresden, a city still rising from the ashes of the Second World War. His father, Tendo Ichiyama, was a Japanese diplomat in the city's consul. His mother, Hilda, was a local baker. His background made him a target of bullies.

    "They would call me a Jap mongrel and my mother (who still worked) a Jap whore," Ichiyama says with unusual passivity. "They would take my books and and throw them into the river".

    Ichiyama explains that in the early Cold War (outside Berlin) most East Germans were not solidly behind Communist, as propaganda would suggest, but felt bitter over the lost of Germany's dominance and division in too.

    "Yes there were some Nazis, and many held prejudice against outsiders, but most saw Communism has something that had turned Germany into little more than an appendage of Russia. My heritage was a symbol of that."

    There was little also separating East German and West German society as well. Most East Germans still continued to hold unto old traditional values of their West German counterparts.

    "Most of the children I grew up with had mothers who stayed home," Ichiyama continued. "Homosexuality was still discouraged."

    His father's promotion to an office in East Berlin in 1971 had given his family greater standing. But a young Hermann saw the move as asylum.

    "Escaping from my old school was like escaping from a political prison," Hermann says with a smile.

    In East Berlin, Hermann found a city on the verge of change. He met kids, who like him, had mixed heritage, and who had their mothers working outside the home. Prejudice among Germans was common, but in Berlin he found an escape.

    "I felt like a belonged somewhere," Hermann says with a sad glaze in his eye.

    Their was a colorful word the rest of the country had for the changes hitting Berlin.

    "Berlinwahnsinn," Hermann said with a smile. "Berlin Insanity."

    In the UASR, many rural people had a similar word for the social changes that rocked the country after the 1950s. Metropolis Madness.

    But like the people living in the hinterlands of the UASR, the people living throughout East Germany would discover that the changes rocking East Berlin would soon hit them-whether they like or not. The political and economic reforms of the 1970s would have profound-and beneficial to many-changes throughout the Eastern bloc and the Soviet Union.

    But this would have profound implications on the East German identity, and futher divide them from the capitalist brothers living West of the Weser[1].

    Meeting a Boomerang

    Outside the Swedish embassy, Gunther Freund is awaiting a visa to go to Sweden. By doing this, he is hoping to be able to take plane back to the West, even though he is risking arrest.

    "I would feel closer to something that makes sense in prison than I do here," he said, while smoking a cigarette.

    In Comintern slang, Freund it was is called a boomerang: a person who defects to a communist state, before returning after less than year. Freund, at 25, was a young student from Essen when he chose to defect last August, a decision he has come to regret.

    "I was just a young stupid kid," he said angrily, "I believed too much in that red claptrap they throw around."

    Freund, despite finding he had more free time from his job, was told he had to spend more of it participating in government and volunteer groups. He said the whole thing burnt him out.

    "I never had free time," he said. "I was always contributing to society. It was like forced labor."

    He also struggled with the East German language, which has become increasingly fast paced and dominated by Slavic dialects.

    "Older people I have no trouble with, but guys my age talk too face and keep throwing in Russian words," he said with annoyance.

    Cultural issues, like drug use and topless-ness, have also alienated people like Freund.

    "People here have little shame," Freund said, "I understand a little hedonism is fine, but here they go all out."

    Freund was also put off by the extreme arrogance shown to him by Red Germans [2].

    "They always looked down at me and my blue roots, despite my hard work," Freund said, angrily.

    The Boomerang phenomena has accelerated in recent years. In 2017, it was estimated that of the nearly 200,000 West Germans that have immigrated to East Germany, 20,000 have returned.

    One boomerang, Fritz Geotz, recently started a right-wing online video channel called Wirklichkeit [3], and has been known for his bombastic tirades against the Reds.

    Ichiyama compares this culture war to the one that has rocked Canada since the Red Turn

    "Canada and America were nations with same demographics, but four decades of cultural divergence made them virtually distinct from one another. Even socialist Canadians were somewhat flabbergasted by what had occurred South of the border."

    Harry McDevon, the author of Memoirs of Red Turn, in which he wrote about his own misadventures in Metropolis as a young Canadian teen in the early 1980s, has said that these differences have not vanished, even decades later when the North American border has ceased to exist. He compares white North Americans as like being from two distinct tribes at war with one another.

    "To an outsider, the African tribes look almost similar," McDevon said in a phone interview, yet they still have different customs and cultures, and can easily tell each other apart. A New Brunswicker like myself and Mainer will also see each other as different, even if to an outsider, we share the same skin color".

    "Imagine if suddenly 64 million West Germans (many of them like Freund) were forced to live with 34 million East Germans," Ichiyama asks rhetorically. "It would be chaos!"

    Race and Intermarriage


    West Germany has remained almost an entirely homogeneous society due to a cultural opposition toward ethnicity and immigration, with almost 95 percent of its population ethnically German. Strong incentives toward large families has prevented West Germany from suffering the demographic transition undergoing in communist states.

    East Germany, meanwhile has gone in the opposite direction, with nearly 1/5 East Germans [4] being foreign born. The vast majority of these migrants are Slavic immigrants-an incredible irony as under the Nazi regime, the German people were seeking to wipe out the Slavic nations- from Russia, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia, as well Hungarians and Romanians [5]. Others have arrived from Red Asia (Vietnam, China, Japan, etc.), and West Africans have been a more recent wave.

    East Berlin, the city Hitler dreamed of building his white-supremacist utopia, dozens of cultures and languages are spoken every day.

    "There is a joke we Berliners have," Ichiyama says. "Our officers speak Russian, our chefs speak Italian, our cab drivers speak Romanian. What's the only language Berliners don't speak?" He pauses. "German."

    Another trend that has been rising is intermarriage between Germans and other ethnicites. Though long promoted for the ideological goal of a world without nations, it remained largely niche in the mostly conservative German state. In 1980, only 3 percent of marriages were between German and non-German. By 2010, they rose to almost 15 percent of marriages. Over 1 in 10 East German children are born to mixed couples.

    "Any common baby that tried to live in West German society would go through what I went through," Ichiyama said while narrowing his eyes. "They would liberate those children by forcing them into only German institutions."

    Language

    Russian is the lingua franca of the Eastern bloc. Anyone seeking to rise the ranks must be able to speak passable Russian, as well as anyone seeking to immigrate to East Germany.

    But like American English, East German is becoming increasingly dominated by Russian phrases.

    "Professional East German soldiers say "vintovka" instead of rifle," Ichiyama says. "East German politicians say golosovaniye instead of ballot."

    Karl Wagoner, a linguist at the University of Berlin comments that Russian and other slavic languages are altering German the same way Norman French altered Anglo-Saxon English.

    "The terms of the common man are still German," Wagoner said, "but the terms of the elite are all Russian." [6]

    Wagoner claims this trend will only acclerate as more East Germans youths become accustomed to Russian, and by 2100, Wagoner believes that East Germans will be speaking a Russian-Teutonic creole.

    Society and Culture

    Angela Kutzenov, an East German woman of partial Russian ancestry, is a woman with little body shame, who would seem typical on the streets of Metropolis or Pittsburgh. She sits before me dressed like she was about to go to the beach.

    "I can walk the streets in the nude during the summer," Kutzenov ,"because my body is a sacred, I'm taught."

    Kutzenov is also American in her enjoyment of the flesh. She enjoys an open relationship with her lesbian girlfriend.

    "Pleasure should never be a crime if there is consent," Kutzenov said firmly

    She currently runs a counseling center for rape victims. Kutzenov notes that many rapes are caused by West German migrants, who see the East German attitudes toward sex as license to commit rape.

    "These perverts forget that it is liberation is not about treating us woman like their toys," Kutzenov says angrily, "but about creating a world safe for all kinds of woman."

    Ichiyama predicts that a sudden reunification would lead to a crackdown by West Germans against the East Germans and their libertine attitudes.

    "Not all Wessies are rapists, but too many have a patriarchal attitude bred by their Kaiser-worship," Ichiyama says. "Our views would flabbergast them."

    Religion too is also important. While Christianity has remained influential in West Germany, religion in the East has become more diverse, even as the Cultural Leap allowed Lutheranism and other German faiths to return.

    Orthodox Christianity, Trinitarianism, Buddhism, Islam, and neopaganism has also grown considerably in the East.

    "In the West, they love to call non-Christians heathens," Ichiyama said sarcastically. "Some even call them 'worst' than athiests."

    West Germany also struggles with another troubling legacy: antisemitism. West Germany's Jewish community, remains stagnant and quiet, and the echoes of Nazism still linger.

    "One teacher told me I could not get into school because I was a Jew," said Karl Goldberg, an West German Jew who moved East two years ago. "I could not believe that would happen despite supposedly burying Nazism. " [7]

    East Berlin, by contrast has become a mecca of the Eastern Jewish Renaissance. East Germans rediscovering their buried heritage, combined with Soviet and Palestinian migrants, had led to creation of dynamic community.

    "I actually got to be in a Maccabean recreation," Karl said, "that could never happen back home in Aachen, where they call it 'reactionary'."

    Conclusions

    Ichiyama feels no hatred toward his West German counterparts, only pity.

    "They are brought up a certain way, and we must learn to tolerate that," Ichiyama said. "Trying to force them to accept us would only lead to war greater than the long visioned war to destroy capitalism. Let us just call ourselves Ostland, and focus on how we choose to live."

    Today, over 3/4 of Germans believe unification will ever occur. While still a majority, this attitude was once unanimous only a generation. Which means Ichiyama and his Ostlanders may only gain political ground in the coming decades, as both societies, divided by the greatest political game of our time, remain separated by ideology.

    [1] I think of Liberation becoming a blanket term for militaristic Red political movements.

    [2] OTL, West Germans, for obvious reasons, were considered arrogant by their Eastern counterparts.

    [3] German for 'reality', an unironic use of Newspeak.

    [4] OTL, 1/7 Germans are foreign born.

    [5] Non-slavic if you didn't know.

    [6] Modern English is the same way. Casual words are Anglo-Saxon, while many official words are of Norman French descent.

    [7] Antisemitism like this was common in the OTL Soviet Union.
     
  7. Alexander the Average Anti-lion tamer

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    Do the Ostlanders have a counterpart in West Germany?
     
  8. WotanArgead God of Impalers Kicked

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    Not really. - In East Germany, there was a serious shortage of labor, it was necessary to actively involve women in work on real production (step one), so they were actively paid decent allowances and paid maternity leave (step three...
     
  9. Bookmark1995 Bookmark95 Reborn!

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    Probably. Maybe they could've been founded by a boomerang (does anyone think that is good slang) who felt his values were under attack in the East.

    I think that labor shortage was caused by everybody wanting to leave the country. ITTL, East Germany isn't a basket case, thus there wouldn't be such shortages.
     
  10. The_Red_Star_Rising Homestuck Trash

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    After two world wars men were in very short supply in Germany for quite a while since men of every age demographic, old and young had taken enormous losses in the wars of Hitler and Wilhelm. This forced a higher participation of women in the work force.
     
  11. Bookmark1995 Bookmark95 Reborn!

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    K.
     
  12. WotanArgead God of Impalers Kicked

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    ?
     
  13. The_Red_Star_Rising Homestuck Trash

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    It's short for "okay".
     
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  14. WotanArgead God of Impalers Kicked

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    Please - make a list of abbreviations and jargon accepted in English-speaking forums, so that I do not have to put "?" or hammer your search engine.
     
  15. Mr.E The Man that Time Forgot

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    AH.Com Non-Pol Thread: "Franco-British Science Fiction" (Special thanks to The_Red_Star_Rising for contributing the "Lord Nemesis" post here)























    [1] Think of it as a mix of Robocop and Terminator


    [2] Alexander the Average had some plans for that, so look out if/when he does that.


    [3] Fictional show in the vein of Blake 7, but more of a Star Trek exploratory show.
     
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  16. Shevek23 Spherical Cow-poke

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    I think it is obviously risky but the fatal thing that made it liable to turn to vigilantism and lynching OTL in the USA was a lack of accountability. On paper, when an American jury is chosen they swear to uphold the law and not their personal little ax grinding club, but of course if a community is rotten on a subject like race, or under the thumb of some all powerful local boss, then due process starting with a jury trial where an innocent verdict makes the defendant immune to all other prosecution under double jeopardy doctrine was an iron defense against higher courts and larger entities, state or Federal, intervening in local corruption. I'm sure that in neither the USSR nor UASR is prohibition of double jeopardy absolute--I rather hope it is something of a norm, that one does not lightly or easily overturn a not guilty verdict, but it is in reserve as an option. And the higher organs of the hierarchy of soviets, acting as an agent of the consensus of grassroots soviets, have rights and obligations to review and intervene--again the principle of soviet grassroots democracy is not to be set aside lightly, but neither is it magically sacred.

    If we could rely on higher organs of the state hierarchy double checking and holding the primary grassroots organs accountable in a principled balance of power, I think mob mentality would be held in check by more enlightened officials and members with a canny eye cocked up the ladder, which as I've said is meant to be not "higher authority" so much as "instrument of broader authority" in the form of peer grassroots soviets.

    So yeah, a particular soviet might happen to be full of bigoted unreconstructed yahoos who don't respect the rights and needs of outgroups, but one notable instance of serious injustice on their part could bring down unwanted attention and the intervention of the larger society, on whatever level it takes to deal with the problem. The form of the state is supposed to be simple and pretty ad hoc, but people are supposed to have self-discipline and education to be judicious and considerate of comrades in unfamiliar guise--that's the Party's job, to spread culture and enlightenment, to raise the general standard through what Jello's recent canon piece calls "kritik," a German loan word (in UASR English) to evade the negative connotations of the French loan word "critique."

    Not to go all L Neil Smith here but I take the Swiss-like mass access to heavy duty military arms and mass conscription of both sexes to be a demonstration that the USSR has indeed evolved to be genuinely democratic and presumably has the sort of checks and regulation I suggested operational, that lets people wield the power of judge jury and executioner bearing in mind their actions are subject to review and themselves to judgement in turn. Which makes them effectively regulate themselves. The Kadet was not vindicated, but neither did he suffer gross harm despite having views that are distinctly in contrast with Communist ideals. He might be afraid to speak up in public but I think he can still quietly go about his legitimate business, get food, is not subject to arbitrary cut offs of water, power, or sewage service or other forms of ongoing harassment. He said stuff the public judged merited an immediate pelting with rotten veggies and snowballs and if he says it again can expect more of the same, but it will not escalate to vengeful gross violence or petty retaliation against his kin unless he goes farther and commits violence against someone, or his kin let it be widely known they stand with him--each one gets the rotten veggies treatment each time they say the offensive stuff, and if they keep their mouths shut and heads down they are merely shunned and snubbed after that. Which can be awful enough to be sure. This is Russia after all, not the UASR. I think maybe in America the public is a bit more restrained and more liable to report stuff that crosses ideological lines to the authorities, but the authorities rely on those who are formally in the militia, and the militia has standards of acceptable behavior that put them at a bit of risk in service of trying to tone down violence. And if someone meets this firm but restrained authority with violence, militia will, not professionally in the sense of a career but in the sense of corps self discipline and pride in their role hunker down and systematically exercise whatever degree of military controlled force they need to either persuade the maverick to back down and submit to due process, or take them down if they persist, with as little harm as possible but not tolerating risk to bystanders. And the bystanders having mostly served in militia themselves will support--many of them by getting out of the way, some by assisting directly as informal (but not self-appointed--they will be trained and expected to look for assent of the formal militia command on the spot) auxiliaries. Generally speaking sane citizens, even those of quite reactionary views, will recognize that violent resistance is a lost cause that will only raise the chances of getting killed or maimed and seriously worsen their legal liability, and back down and submit, knowing that due process will give them a hearing and appeals. So if a local mob is somewhat backward in their understanding of fair social mutual obligations and the local militia are a bit cruder than they should be, the mavericks might be roughed up but the worse their abuse is, the surer prompt investigation and corrective action and disciplining of responsible parties will be, even on behalf of someone with views the majority deems deplorable. Then, assuming the broader society does not deem the local majority the "deplorable" ones instead, the "deplorable" individual will separately be rebuked if only for imprudence, and possibly compelled to remedial or educational community service, jailed, banned from residing in a particular community, offered the option of exile, sent to reeducation, or possibly executed--I forget if it is ever established if an anti-death penalty movement in the UASR. Almost certainly someone is saying that; perhaps the society evolves toward treating it as very grave, heavily reviewed and questioned, to be avoided if there is any alternative--but given the notion that the UASR state and party hierarchy is deemed inherently transitional pending completion of total world revolution, never actually foresworn, and probably practiced at some level for some severe violations of public trust. IIRC there was a person convicted of being a serial killer falsely who was after a decade or more of imprisonment vindicated and set free, so clearly if execution ever happens it is not summary or quick, it is subject to heavy review and reserved for really heinous stuff beyond the scale of being a personal death machine, like organizing a violent insurgency.

    But of course in the midst of a revolutionary crisis situation--say the FBU develops Star Trek like Transporters and beams in a ruthless army of commandos and someone native to the UASR collaborates with them, and the local militia overcomes the invaders locally and catches the collaborator red handed in plain view, then they might summarily execute this person and the system would just shrug, investigating to make sure some nasty personal vendetta is not being covered up with a frame job, and finding it not so, leaves with a "good work, comrades" over their shoulder.

    As for the suggestion that leaving an arsenal around for any citizen (since nearly everyone has had militia service) to casually pick up and go on a serial killer rampage would leave both USSR and UASR reeling from an even worse incidence of this terror than OTL modern USA--well, I have an open mind in this context of the Reds!'verse. Yes, I do think politics matters, that the political regime of both Comintern founder nations has by this point evolved a changed society where people don't do that for political purposes except rarely and when they do, the trained populace drops, covers, and sorties out effective counterattack; that people who do these things OTL because they are just plain nuts are rarer too and generally observed and kept away from the guns and stuff and that psychological treatment is more effective, and where it cannot work, the person is restrained and monitored for life. It is in the context of a society transformed by a revolution carried out of, by and for the common people with a socialist goal.

    I define socialism in part by saying it has an explicit aspirationally scientific analysis of the functioning of human society, and seeks to reengineer social structure to be in the service of the common person and democratic in the belief that a more rational and egalitarian society is a superior one which is more efficient at realizing and maximizing both individual and collective human potentials. Like, you know, having a pragmatically functional form of psychology that respects individual dignity while kritiking their functionality, remembering that the obligations between individual and society are strong and mutual. Like avoiding in the first place most of the stressors that drive so many people in our society insane.

    So bearing in mind my open mindedness that a society with apparently unregulated access of mobs to heavy weaponry might not turn into a bloodbath or a reign of mob rule terror quickly becoming boss rule terror is contingent entirely on such a revolution as Jello has described in the UASR, and believing the Soviet people can also handle it has to do with UASR influence mediating and catalyzing a lot of transformation in Soviet society over the generations.

    I certainly don't think it is an obvious slam dunk that this is what a sane socialist society would inevitably be like, and certainly don't think step one in having a saner socialist society is to distribute weapons all around. (On this I might be Utopian and quite wrong since clearly a revolutionary transformation of society is unlikely to happen without a revolutionary war).

    I do not for one minute think it would be a good idea in wild societies such as we have here in the USA OTL.
     
  17. Bookmark1995 Bookmark95 Reborn!

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    However, I feel that such a transition to a mature, egalitarian society would not be without a few headaches.

    As I've speculated, a democratic Soviet Union and socialist America would still struggle to contend with ancient prejudices, even while they sing the song of global unity.
     
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  18. The_Red_Star_Rising Homestuck Trash

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    [​IMG]

    Picture semi-related:

    Rubyverse character dossier: Koschei the Deathless. An ancient being, the first necromancer, the first lich, and the one who ultimately started the human practise of dark magic and necromancy, Koschei is a being of truly ancient evil, being old even when the age of Alulim was young. More than two hundred thousand years old, Koschei was one of the first anatomically modern humans to exist, but came to rail against the possibility of his own death. He envied the gods who were eternal and unkillable, and resented that they did not share such a thing with him despite his service to them as a high priest for his tribe. In a time when magic was extremely plentiful, he sought to not only liberate himself from old age, but from the concept of death itself. He studied the ebb and flow of the old magics, and made a science out of them with his comrades. But he came to desire more than immortality, he wanted power over death. Though he could have made it so that he could have been in perfect health, he wanted no distractions from his quest for absolute power, and devoured the souls of most of his comrades in the science of mysticism to fuel his ascent into lichdom. He tore away his own death as his flesh melted off his bones and his eyes burnt into ash in their sockets, replaced by an eerie dark flame as his freshly exposed skull began to laugh. He forced the concept of his death into a series of needles that he scattered across the world and into the stars, so that so long as even one remained intact; and he was indeed always making more to further splinter the idea of his death; even total destruction could not take him. He would simply reform and return anew, unhindered by his prior defeat.

    Buoyed by his power, he used his nature as the first of the undead to tip the balance of magic, casting his spirit to the bottom of the metaphysical vortex so that all magic would drain into him and feed him. His power grew to such a point that he nearly drove the entire world into darkness, feeding himself with spilled over magic and all lost souls in the afterlives. Sycophants seeking his path to immortality soon flocked to his side, becoming the first ghosts, vampires, liches, and other such creatures who refused the embrace of death. His villainy soon forced an alliance of the gods, the empowered, and an army from the stars to unite against him in the fields of Africa. The society he had created with his shambling armies of the dead and his twisted magic was vast and terrible and all those who fell in battle to his deathless legions rose again to join him, again and again. However, after millennia of conflict, he was eventually cast down by throttling the flow of magic in an attempt to deny him such near unlimited powers. Even then, it took an army to defeat him, finally smashing his body into bone dust to stop him from trying to widening the flow of magic further to regain all he had lost and more. He kept on trying to return, but in smaller and smaller forms due to the more constricted flow of magic until he was cast into the very bottom of the well of power and his artifacts scattered across the world. Such meant that even when the flow of magic waxed again, he could not properly return to haunt the world.

    However, his cult still remained, and continually sought to bring him back or spread the teachings of dark magic and necromancy. Those obsessed with deathlessness and personal power at any price would continue the teachings of the unliving dead, and all manner of ghoulish monstrosities would follow in the wake of the grand necromancer's legacy. Sometimes, he would be returned to the world in a lesser form, but he would always be forced back before he could return himself to his full might and glory; prompting him to start creating vessels, skeletons animated by his dreadful powers and given replicas of his own mighty relics so that they could imitate him and fool his enemies into thinking they had bested him, all to plot his return. Eventually he emerged in pre-Christian Russia, weakened by forcing himself out of his metaphysical prison, and bound by the Witch Baba Yaga who sought to prevent him from consuming the world. He would not be contained for long however, fooling the young Prince Ivan into freeing him. Now unchained, he sought to forcibly widen the wells of magic and set himself up as the sole ruler of the Earth, preparing a spell to slay all the people of this land to turn them into the vanguard of his army; powerful undead warriors who could lead his witless legions. Calling forth his ancient Necrocrat servants from around the world, he prepared to end the world.

    But with the backing of the slavic gods and Baba Yaga and all the witches of the land, Ivan confronted Koschei. The first time Koschei simply reduced Ivan to dust on the spot, forcing him to be revived. But Ivan was able to find one of the needles in which Koschei hid his death, and with this knowledge managed to sunder Koschei's body and drive him back into the spirit realm. But even before he finished disintegrating back into his prison, Koschei made a dark promise. He would return, and for their part in thwarting his ascension at a time when few were in any position to oppose him, he would annihilate the entirety of the people of Russia and lay to waste everything they had ever built. "Yours shall be the lands of endless death, nothing shall grow or bear fruit in your country, and the dead shall devour all who live. This I promise upon my return, Ivan; for what you have done, your descendants shall be erased from the works of history and the bones of your scions shall dance upon the ashes of their sires." But Koschei would return sooner than expected, for the third and final opening of Pandora's box would widen the well and shatter its ability to ever close again, the age of powers and magic had returned in earnest, and nothing would ever be able to make it stop again. This allowed a cabal of Axis sorcerers in search of an ally for the cause of fascism to contact Koschei's spirit, and with his artifacts in hand; return the lord of bones to the world of the living.

    Koschei's first instincts upon being restored to life were to destroy the insolents who had dared to summon him. But after Hitler himself explained that he too wished to see Russia destroyed, Koschei sought to work out a deal with the Fuhrer. Though both recognised that in the end, only one of them could rule the Earth, he would work with the Germans and their allies for the time being as they waged war with the world. The unliving dead would soon march in unprecedented numbers in service to the fascist cause, and Koschei's necrocrats; his dearest apostles, disciples, and lieutenants would return to serve their master, whether from beyond the grave, from hiding, or their own independent schemes. The Lich Tsar looked to the east and then bid his legions march. Koschei himself would lead his host as he sought to walk all the way to Moscow and bring about the end of the people who had vexed him earlier, his armies growing ever larger as he did. Once again, the armies of the living sought to oppose him, empowered beings and even deities sought to stymie his advance and smash his legions of bone and rot into powder and gristle. He cared little, the dead were an expendable resource, and even merely conceptually dead things such as derelict vehicles were re-animated by his magics to serve in his deathless legion.

    Virtually unstoppable, Koschei's advance upon Moscow alongside the conventional Axis armies was concerning the heads of the comintern. Columbia and her friends, who had bested Idaina Kage a few years ago, were tasked with defeating Koschei before he could render the Soviet Union into a wasteland. Though initially defeated, the price was high, with much of the unit of mostly normal humans sent with Columbia having perished and much of the Moskva river city she sought to save being heavily damaged. Though it ended on a note that those who died would be avenged and the town would be rebuilt, the bittersweet tone was highly atypical for wartime movies that were usually filled with hordes of Axis soldiers being mowed down like wheat blades. And it would ensure that Commander Columbia: The menace of Koschei, would have an enduring critical popularity long after the war had ended along with some of the best performances of the wartime era Ruby Orchestra films. It would not be long before Koschei appeared elsewhere, in comics and books written to be set in the setting as well as animated shorts and later films and in the decades to come; games as well.

    In recent years, due to Koschei's reputation as a scary villain whom is rarely defeated without suffering some sort of loss or tragedy, and his ability to seemingly lose but have enough pieces on the board in play to ensure at least a partial victory; he has come to upstage the old standbys of Siegfried and Alulim, who have been felt to have more than earned at least a temporary retirement in most major works in the setting due to overuse and their diminishing sense of threat. He has come to be the primary villain in the latest major American made show; Hail to Columbia, where his performance by John Banks is consistently rated as one of the best parts of the series.
     
  19. Shevek23 Spherical Cow-poke

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2010
    Location:
    Reno, Nevada USA
    That's the stuff of history of course.

    My picture of the Revolution of May 1932 is somewhat off per Jello's latest canon post; my impression was that the governmental supreme council was multipartisan with the bourgeois parties in a small minority (like 20 percent or so between them) and the Red 80 percent or so were split among several revolutionary parties which effectively caucused together on most issues but split on certain doctrinal ones, whereas the latest post has a single Party taking complete control but having rather fluid and spectrum-like factional divisions. Still instead of a bourgeois insistence on proportional representation as I assumed would be the case we have a vanguard party shouldering aside all others, never mind they could rule with a strong majority anyway if they permitted proportional competition. But it is also plain that rivals outside the Party pale are not eradicated, merely evicted from state control, and are able by accepted state due process to come to power in a later post Great War II crisis.

    Presumably these shifting outcomes were mirrored more or less in other Councils going down the ladder to the grassroots soviets workers (citizens permitted the franchise) participated in directly--in conservative regions where the left bourgeois parties were strong they might dominate local soviets and have decreasing proportions in the councils going up the ladder to the supreme UASR one; in Redder regions it might be unheard of for non-Red parties to elect anyone to soviet leadership or the next rung up.

    Apparently I was quite mistaken to believe that there were three or four Red parties, each with a somewhat different doctrinal position but in agreement on the goal of abolition of value-forms and socialism/communism being the objective, and with pragmatic mutual respect and agreement to disagree having been forged in the pre-Revolutionary years and especially in pretty much seamless cooperation during the phase of struggle denouncing the Constitution and seizing control of the continent, driving out the last open adherents of MacArthur's putsch. (OK, not really a putsch since it managed a lot of control of a lot of people and territory a long time, and did claim a connection to the Constitution, albeit mendaciously, that the Reds trampled in contempt. But in the long run they never achieved stable rule and did not last for long on former US soil). The canon now is that the Reds had formally merged before the Revolution and came out of it unified though with permission of ideological diversity within limits. So anyway different factions will have different regional strengths.

    As I said, aside from the speculative formal due process of higher councils scrutinizing and reviewing the more drastic actions of grassroots soviets holding the formal bulk of power (via their possession of militia arms and the presumption local action is approved by local soviets) enforced by the broader national consensus on Red party standards, the Party itself has the job of monitoring the fidelity of local power to the national Party line. Again during and preparing for the Revolution, the party will have evolved procedures comrades take as customary and proper to keep locals aligned within the consensually necessary limits; locals have freedom of action in terms of execution of policy but must justify the ends that shape the means, and means are pragmatically judged for ulterior motives and proportion to values. The Party then would be the guardian of the UASR version of due process and civil rights. Formally, bourgeois values of ideological individualism are rejected with contempt, but such OTL Communists as E.P. Thompson suggested (in Whigs and Hunters for instance) that something analogous to due process and rights of the accused and juries and all that has real value, certainly in the bourgeois period.

    I don't know if believing that customs and norms within the Party and perhaps formalized as well in rules for state structure created by the sort of revolutionaries Marx focused on--highly urbanized and industrialized and thoroughly proletarian working class movements in liberal bourgeois nations such as the most developed nations--would tend to replicate these as pragmatic outcomes of building a mass revolutionary base that a sufficient critical mass of workers would join and serve creatively voluntarily, would mark me as some bourgeois idealist outside the Party pale.

    Anyway part of my belief that such a Communism can be benign and vigorously progressive is that they would; they would have had experience of hypocritical high ranking "comrades" abusing centralism for petty and counterproductive and selfish purposes and balk at highhanded discipline that did not hew to a pragmatic standard of fairness. Brutal repression of dissent would have to go hand in hand with a consensus that the judgements passed on the victims were true and fair; revolutionary necessity would justify severe measures but not a cavalier attitude to objective truth, options for correction by milder means conserving the fighting force levels of the comrades, and the humane and humanistic ultimate goals of the movement. So, "revolution is not a dinner party" as Mao said, and traitors are false comrades--but the comrades are, insofar as they are faithful to the values of the party, brothers and sisters in solidarity and letting some Stalin figure play around with non-reality based manipulations brands that person, not their would be victims, as the worst traitor, along with their enablers. In order to triumph against the USA's well developed bourgeois institutions and deeply embedded ideology, the Party had to hold to a high standard, just as justices in the bourgeois system must demonstrate an austere aspiration to high minded legal rigor or faith in the system disintegrates. The Party would denounce the latter as mystical and shaped by the imperatives of an exploitive class order, but it does not follow there is no such thing as justice, rather that it is a dialectical thing and the way to achieve people's justice to hold the people accountable to serving it. In the short run there must be trust, but trust can and must be justified by mechanisms that dialectically keep it on track.

    Therefore there is no formal rule against Party centralism, and it can be invoked and often is to enforce discipline, but the enforcement of it is left subject to consensual mechanisms. When a particular local council is deemed to be abusing the good name of Red justice, it is itself judged, punished and reformed--bad actors are identified and held accountable and that process in turn is reviewed and judged by the broader society, until we reach the level of the supreme council approving or denouncing lower level actions. If it gets to the point where the supreme council must intervene directly then things have gone terribly wrong and the success of the Revolution is in doubt but it will not be too uncommon for broad regions to be found to be out of step.

    It was admitted in earlier published canon that the success of the Revolution of 1932 was not immediately total; large regions were left to languish under left-bourgeois control or with local Party majorities languishing under false consciousness. Particular note was made of large parts of the South; it would be generations before the last vestiges of Jim Crow practices were eradicated everywhere and presumably take somewhat longer to dissolve racist values completely.

    I do believe though that in the strongly Red areas a close approximation of self-discipline by serious pursuit of Red values was largely accomplished early on, with only occasional interventions being judged necessary, and that the rules for toleration of deviation even on a scale of a whole region with a consensus dissenting from central Red values were made pretty plain; in white supremacist zones, for instance, African-Americans could continue to be in some disadvantaged status but crossing certain lines of abuse would bring down punishment, some in the form of reforms that would not be total but would be unpleasant enough to white supremacists; to allow their racket to continue locally they had to color within the lines. I'd think there would be a lot of voting with feet but people do have attachments to their homes. (I suppose; I am a military brat who was not allowed to put down deep roots in any one place and cannot imagine returning to any of the places I actually grew up in, and as an adult have had to relocate several times; "home" to me is an ambiguous and contradictory image. I don't know if I can truly understand the mindset of a person who grew to adulthood in one place). Also, the places an African-American could migrate to had their own drawbacks I gather; the leaders of the separated regions in the South given over to them were themselves dominated by a leadership with rather elitist notions, says Jello. And true toleration, acceptance and eventual embrace of African Americans in most of the nation was a gradual process, lubricated by abstract ideology of race being a bourgeois and unscientific concept and embrace of the struggle of oppressed ethnicities as related to the class struggle. Surely quite a few white Reds in the early generations were guilty of a hypocritical rationalization of racist decisions in nominally Marxist reasoning, and might not be effectively called on to kritik it and reform their thinking and reflexes in their lifetime, leaving them to be sadly denounced by future critics. And it has already been said many black Red leaders were guilty of analogous, or complimentary, forms of false consciousness, and got away with it because whites did not successfully analyze their own reactions fully and so were happy to delegate policing of norms for African Americans to African-Americans without daring to intervene critically.

    That's obviously not perfection! But is it better than non-African Americans presuming the right to set norms for people they refused to be accountable to? I think equally obviously so! The goal is for all consciousness of race to dissolve and become a mere historical memory; this clearly cannot happen overnight.

    So no, it is not an instantaneous leap to perfection, and indeed perfection is never reached. The question is not, is one Utopia superior to another Utopia on paper, but is one set of practices a general improvement on another. Without effective Party discipline founded on Party member self-discipline, the notion of delegating police power to local grassroots direct democratic councils would indeed be disastrous, and considerable unfairness and even supreme injustices presumably happened. For the UASR the question would be, is the trend to settle for that level of rough justice, to deteriorate to even worse forms of violent struggle paving the way to a crude replication of bourgeois disorder and oppression, or does the Party and people follow through on raising their standards and eroding the last vestiges of exploitation and arbitrary cruelty away via greater self-enlightenment? The premise of the TL is that the latter has happened over time, in a punctuated equilibrium with a mix of incremental evolution and revolutionary surges and an ongoing dialectic of self-criticism.

    Jello Biafra is not Ursula LeGuin, but I think she and the late luminary would agree that a real Utopia is going to be ambiguous and that the revolution is permanent and ongoing. Anyway that is the lens I see it all through; these people are not superhuman, but they are striving to raise the standards of what it means to be human, and they can take price in measurable progress in doing so.
     
  20. Bookmark1995 Bookmark95 Reborn!

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2016
    All I can say is a militia of young Russians, the Caucasus, vodka, and prejudice will create a shit ton of bedlam.