12/22/14

The Solomani Mind: Grassroots political activism in the Solomani Confederacy

Although overall and long term governance of the Solomani Confederation rests solely in the hands of the highest Directors of the Solomani Party, who are usually kept divided equally between Home and Terra, with a third portion spread around various other Confederation worlds to prevent a possible mass assassination of the Party's leadership, matters of little importance to the Confederation as a whole, and day to day administration of individual worlds and settlements is left to the corporate interests that actually own those locales.  Some of these corporations handle all such affairs internally, effectively ruling the citizens of their settlement with strict yet generally fair and tolerable policies dictated by the administrators of that organization.

Other, more progressive Corporations and local Party Directors have found it both more economically advantageous and beneficial to the morale of the citizenry to preserve (or at least pretend to preserve) the ancient political systems of Terra, giving the people a chance to elect representatives to convene on their behalf to direct the policies of their settlement, as well as to petition the Party Directorate on various matters. This arrangement has led to the creation of myriad political causes and "parties (lower case P)" around the Confederation. Most of these factions come and go within a year or two as their members awaken to the futility of trying to change a nearly 5000 year old society, and many others evolve and adapt to changing political memes, but only a rare and select few, such as the Preservation party, headquartered on Luna (Terra, Sol) have the actual numbers and clout to genuinely influence Party policies. More than a few parties also exist only as public relations operations of local or rival corporate organizations, seeking to influence the morale of the citizenry.

A few sample parties are provided here, but use your imagination and consider how irrelevant and whimsical some fringe real world political causes may seem to those not affiliated with them.


A few sample minor Solomani "Political Parties"

The Labor party:
The Labor party is the oldest continuously operating socio-political faction in Solomani space, tracing its roots directly to the Lunar Labor party on Luna in Sol system's pre-jump drive colonial era.

The Labor party exists to improve the plight of the common working folk of the Confederation, constantly petitioning local administrators and directors, as well as Party leadership itself in hopes of obtaining higher wages, safer working conditions and other matters of importance to the average citizens.

Most Laborers and leaders are down to earth, hard working and well meaning folk who, despite wildly variant views on larger social and political issues, band together for their basic day to day interests, though corrupt and opportunistic charlatans seeking only to elevate themselves as liaisons with the corporate and governmental interests on their world or colony are not unknown.

Other parties, common citizens (even those not actually affiliated with the Labor party) and many low level Party government officials are sympathetic to and friendly with the Labor party, at least grudgingly agreeing that the working man sometimes suffers to promote the welfare and productivity of the Confederation. It is usually only the administrators and low to mid level management of corporate organizations that actively dislike and oppose Labor party members and leaders.

The Social party:
Generally dismissed as idealistic, irrelevant and out of touch with economic reality by almost all corporate and Party government officials, the Social party is simply the current incarnation of a fairly constant yet ever changing theme in Solomani politics; the idea that the government and corporate masters should provide all basic needs and luxuries to their citizens.

Social party causes are usually focused on attempts to obtain cheaper (or, ideally, free) air, water, food and medicine for the citizens of whatever world or colony the party cell is active on. Less often, such luxuries as improved holovid network access, cheaper or faster transportation networks and other frivolities are the subject of the party's activism.

Most Socialites are well meaning and harmless, generally wide eyed youths driven by grandiose dreams but inexperienced in the realities of life in 57th century Solomani space. Although most corporate and Party officials find the Social party annoying, there is rarely any real ill will toward them and it is highly uncommon for party members or leaders to have any noteworthy enemies.

The Preservation party:
Almost as old as the Labor party, the Preservation party was founded almost immediately upon public awareness of the discovery of the Vilani on Barnard's Star in 2097 (Terran). Isolationists and social conservatives within the nations of the UNSCA feared that the introduction of alien influences to Terran culture would endanger the traditions and legacies of the people of Terra.

The Preservationists existed as a moderately influential force throughout the Rule of Man, when Solomani culture was on the rise and exerting its own influence on the other sophonts of known space, as well as through the Long Night, when limited to nonexistent contact with outsiders made threats to Solomani culture a less critically important matter, and it was not until the formulation of the Solomani Hypothesis and its confirmation by the members of the haut-Devroe expedition that the Preservation party blossomed into its current and ongoing prominence.

The Preservation party is directly responsible for the formation of the Solomani Movement and the themes of racial, historical and political patriotism common in the Confederacy. The Preservationists are closely allied with, though formally independent of the Party government, and often occupy low level administrative positions in local corporate or government bodies, granting them a fair amount of local clout as well as access to contacts through the Party government.

The Repatriation party:
An offshoot of the Preservationists, and one of the Confederation's newest socio-political factions, the Repatriates advance the cause of welcoming home the far flung kindred of the Solomani people, to include all races transplanted or manipulated by the Ancients from Terra to their current home worlds, with the exception of the Aslan/Fteirle, for reasons discussed previously in the "Solomani Hypothesis and Terran Human Supremacy" article on this blog, provided that those individual beings cast off their "alien" culture and adopt the lifestyle and values of the Solomani.

Obviously, the Repatriate agenda is quite controversial in much of the Confederacy, especially among elder Solomani humans. Old, deeply ingrained suspicions and prejudices are difficult to cast off, though the general peaceful success of the Repatriate party so far is having a slow but soothing affect on relations.

This article is based on material from "Luna: A Traveller's Guide" 
by Marc W. Miller, from Dragon Magazine Issue 87 (1984, TSR, Inc.)

1 comments:

Christine Mayfeld said...

I want to emphasize the undertone of Rich's second paragraph, summed up with the statement "preserve (or at least pretend to preserve) the ancient political systems of Terra".

Despite the similar naming convention, the Solomani Confederation has little or nothing in common with Star Trek's United Federation of Planets. The vast majority of Sol. citizens are in reality nothing more than living property of the corporations who control their home world or colony. The Solomani Party operates behind a carefully crafted facade of Terran patriotism, manifest destiny and traditional republican (in terms of the illusion of a governmental republic with a representative government, not the early 21st century political agenda) democracy, but in truth, Party directors are either hereditary successors to a position their family purchased (with money and/or loyalty) ages ago, or carefully controlled and monitored puppets for the powerful corporations, both Confederate and Imperial, with interests in the Confederacy.

Only the off the beaten path world of Tlaloc (Kukulcan, Solomani Rim, 2631), an agricultural center exclusively adminstered by the SolAg Corporation, operates as a true representative democracy. On that world, natives of the planet (80% Sol human, 15% Vargr, 5% other) who enter employment with the company are granted status as shareholders after one term (4 standard years) of work. Once a person attains shareholder status, they not only begin to scale their income based on corporate performance, they are entitled to vote in any of the nearly weekly polls that help the company management run SolAg and administer all aspects of life on Tlaloc. SolAg's Party operative, stationed on Terra since the end of Imperial occupation 3 years ago, is a stalwart supporter of the Labor party and a vocal critic of the less people-friendly Party directors. SolAg's rapidly growing influence in the food trade within the Confederation and beyond, including regular acquisition of smaller rivals, prevents other interests in the Party from retaliating against SolAg's critiques, for now at least.

The rest of the Confederacy looks more like a hybrid of the Star Wars Empire, where the illusion of a functional senate is kept to hide the tyranny of a corrupt Emperor and his cronies, and the Alliance from the Firefly-Serenity universe, where high tech, wealthy corporations run almost every aspect of people's lives, while distracting them with high tech shinies and sometimes unsubtle social engineering.

Sort of like Neo and friends in the Matrix, once a Solomani citizen wakes up to the harsh realities of life, they often become bitter and resentful, and if possible, sign on with the next free trader that comes along and hope for a better, freer, life.

Post a Comment

TNN on Twitter