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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Rivive Il Duce

I think it is fair to say Goonswarm is not a democracy. There may be some trappings of the republican ideal when it comes to Goonswarm politics, but is there anyone out there who really believes that if The Mittani or any of the other Goonswarm directors said "no" their veto would be overridden? If you believe this you are naive or worse, in denial.

No, Goonswarm is not Athenian democracy nor is it Roman republicanism. Now, there are many out there saying, "hey stupid, it's a military hierarchy! Derp!" Yes, all military organizations are by necessity authoritarian command structures. Democracy get's people killed on the battlefield. In Eve Online it not only gets ships exploded but capsuleers podded. Thus it is that any PvP corporation, alliance or coalition naturally gravitates to an authoritarian structure in time of conflict. That is the nature of the beast.

But that only pertains to combat. Goonswarm is for the most part not involved in an alliance wide war. They have enforcement actions ongoing but more about that later. That's where the military explanation ends. Random acts of violence do not negate the mootness of the argument. So how is the CFC ruled in this time of peace? In short, by an authoritarian regime.
Authoritarianism is a form of social organization characterized by submission to authority as well as the administration of said authority. In politics, an authoritarian government is one in which political authority is concentrated in a small group of politicians. [1]
So what defines the characteristics of an authoritarian system and how can we be certain Goonswarm is ruled by one? Well, according to Wikipedia, authoritarian regimes manifest thusly.
  • Authoritarianism is characterized by highly concentrated and centralized power maintained by political repression and the exclusion of potential challengers. It uses political parties and mass organizations to mobilize people around the goals of the regime.
  • Authoritarianism emphasizes arbitrary law rather than the rule of law, it often includes election rigging, political decisions being made by a select group of officials behind closed doors, a bureaucracy that sometimes operates independently of rules, which does not properly supervise elected officials, and fails to serve the concerns of the constituencies they purportedly serve. Authoritarianism also tends to embrace the informal and unregulated exercise of political power, a leadership that is "self-appointed and even if elected cannot be displaced by citizens' free choice among competitors," the arbitrary deprivation of civil liberties, and little tolerance for meaningful opposition.
  • A range of social controls also attempt to stifle civil society, while political stability is maintained by control over and support of the armed forces, a bureaucracy staffed by the regime, and creation of allegiance through various means of socialization and indoctrination.
The emphasis is mine and highlights those areas that I know, oft times from personal experience, are manifest within Goonswarm. Who out there does not believe they have a highly concentrated and centralized power structure, that it is a select group, and it has little tolerance for opposition? Don't even get me started on the entire third bullet concerning the stifling of civil society. HELLO, Ministry of Love you knuckleheads who refuse to see it.

As for the rest of the characteristics, I can't say for certain they have or have not manifested themselves. As far as we know, not one has tried to depose The Mittani. I also can't speak to the Goonswarm bureaucracy's internal workings or any desire members of Goonswarm may have to affect a change in leadership. This does not necessarily prove Goonswarm is not ruled by an authoritarian regime. In fact, it opens the door for an even more onerous political formation.

You see, there are many gradations of authoritarianism. We who live in Roman style republican states often lump all authoritarian forms of government into one bushel basket of bad apples. We fail to see there are different forms of authoritarianism that have arisen for various reasons. Just because the Goonswarm political system doesn't hit every single point of the authoritarian spectrum doesn't mean it isn't suffering under a specific form of authoritarianism. Let's consider totalitarianism [2] for instance.

So how does one tell the difference between generic authoritarianism and totalitarianism? There are several categories one compares to make the distinction. Here they are straight from the Wikipedia site.

Does The Mittani not have high charisma? Have they not "functionalized" his leadership by not only creating TheMittani.com website, but admitting the name is now more a role carried on by the ruling few rather than one person? And oh boy, does Goonswarm have an official ideology! Their use of terms like Goon-born and pubie show their disposition toward limited pluralism. Five certainties out of seven (and the other two most probably.) That's gotta be some sort of record. But what really caught my attention were these two explanations of key differences between totalitarians and authoritarians:
(1) Unlike their bland and generally unpopular authoritarian brethren, totalitarian dictators develop a charismatic 'mystique' and a mass-based, pseudo-democratic interdependence with their followers via the conscious manipulation of a prophetic image.
(2) Concomitant role conceptions differentiate totalitarians from authoritarians. Authoritarians view themselves as individual beings, largely content to control; and often maintain the status quo. Totalitarian self-conceptions are largely teleological. The tyrant is less a person than an indispensable 'function' to guide and reshape the universe.
Sansha Kuvakei's balls if the first one doesn't describe The Mittani to a nano-particle! I also see "indispensable 'function' to guide and reshape the universe" as particularly damning as well. Oh, but wait, it gets worse. There are further sub-types of totalitarianism responsible for innumerable heinous crimes against humanity. Compare this definition to Goonswarm and you'll understand the true nature of the situation.
Fascism is a form of radical authoritarian nationalism that came to prominence in mid-20th century Europe. Fascists seek to unify their nation through a totalitarian state that promotes the mass mobilization of the national community, relying on a vanguard party to initiate a revolution to organize the nation on fascist principles. Hostile to liberal democracy, socialism, and communism, fascist movements share certain common features, including the veneration of the state, a devotion to a strong leader, and an emphasis on ultranationalism, ethnocentrism, and militarism. Fascism views political violence, war, and imperialism as a means to achieve national rejuvenation and asserts that nations and races deemed "superior" should attain living space by displacing ones deemed "weak" or "inferior".[3]
The emphasis is mine and the meaning is clear. I could quote goon after goon leader who has espoused fascist ideals, but I really don't need to. Every line of goon propaganda, every goon denunciation, every war declaration from the Ministry of Love proves my point. Goonswarm is a fascist organization and The Mittani is their Duce. But it's okay, Eve Online is just a game. Live with it. Revive il Duce!

Just kidding... except for the fascist part.

Fly Careful

*Note: comments on this post will be heavily moderated. Those comments that do not contribute to the discussion will not see the light of day. You are warned.

12 comments:

  1. I can't agree with you that GSF isn't functionally at war all the time, but that doesn't really matter, the rest of your analysis still works. GSF is indubitably a fascist regime by the definitions you posted; unfortunately, applying the criteria you quoted, so is every other null alliance, as well as the small matter of every industrialized country IRL.

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    1. Discounting anything RL, I'll say "Indeed." and also add most WH alliances to the list. The only real question is where do they fall on the spectrum of authoritarian structures.

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    2. Definitely,there's a spectrum; which leads to the question: do the most powerful alliances become the most fascist, or do the most fascist alliances become the most powerful? Looking at our country's less savory moments, moments where we've moved towards that list for a period of time: (iirc we're both from the US), slavery, manifest destiny, post-WWII exploitation; the lesson seems to be that power corrupts, not that corruption leads to power-which jibes with Mord Fiddle's recent column about the change in GSF's culture over time.

      This is why I don't feel any animosity towards GSF for being what they are, in the way that you sometimes seem to: it's the destiny of the most powerful coalition in EVE to become the villain. They're not the first, and far from the last, coalition to evolve and devolve according to the workings of human nature. In real life you can analyze the history of every superpower, not just the most recent one, as a conflict between the temptation of power and the effort of individuals and society to resist that temptation. EVE is just a game, and so this tendency is both magnified, and carrying less consequence--and so one understands why GSF jumps into the role, instead of resisting temptation. Every story needs a villain, after all. But, if you do feel animosity towards them, it just means they're playing the villain superbly, I suppose.

      Just remember, when cheering on whoever GSF is fighting, that GSF, after defeating the evil BOB, quickly became a new version of their old enemies. There really isn't any reason to believe whoever eventually defeats GSF won't become a new version of the same just as quickly, and for those detractors who aren't fans of cold-hearted backstabbing and metagaming, probably worse in their view, just as GSF advanced in those departments over BOB.

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  2. Well written admiring the effort. :) just wondering who pulled your tail. Lot of effort into an article about a who cares item.

    Sly

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    1. Well, discounting the war dec from Goonswarm last year, no one pulled my tail. I actually *enjoy* doing things write ups like this. It really is for my own amusement and then I share.

      Delete
  3. Some men called asking were you were. I said you were out. They said they'd be back.

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  4. Interesting writing. Nothing really new in it but still good work.

    So why should someone run a corporation or alliance like a democracy? It is a Corporation not a state after all. You are free to go if you don't like it.
    As CEO myself I care about what my friends/corpmates think and would like to have. But I also see the amount of work I put into it. If there is one in my corporation who thinks he can do a better job than I do, he can either step up and support me or found his own corporation to proof it.

    The group of people CCP Seagul called "enablers" and "instigators" is a minority within the eve community/playerbase (IMO).
    Many just log in and want to play the game, without thinking about far away goals. They just like to have someone telling them where they are going and get guided on that path.

    This isn't meant negative to anyone or related to any kind of IQ levels or what ever. It is simply a question of dedication to the game and how you want to play the game.

    But I must admit that I don't really know what you wanted to tell with that post? Was it a response to someone/something?
    Or do you just want to know how many goons will come by and flame the comments?

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    1. "So why should someone run a corporation or alliance like a democracy?"

      They should not. It won't work. At the very least a military authoritarian structure is essential. From there, you can go to any depth of authoritarian you like. I'm good with that - in Eve Online.

      And this is not a response to anything specific so long as you don't count the Goonswarm war-dec on my old carebear corporation last year. But what fun would it be to get along with everyone? I've got to have someone to wag fingers at. ;-)

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  5. I think that you are playing the cards a bit loose, but overall correct. It also shouldn't be a surprise. New Eden is, by design and definition, a land without the effective rule of law. Representational systems of government require that the strong and the clever (at least those who act amorally) are restrained.

    The only way for a capsuleer to stand for civil society is to stand against the ruling order.

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  6. Yes, you are absolutely correct. Isn't it fascinating that in Eve society we ended up with a Mussolini and that thousands of players were either naive enough or stupid enough to think it'd be cool? Eve is an incredible social experiment device.

    Thank goodness it's only pixels!


    PS: And Kudos to you for not using the N word even once (the one ending in 'i' not 'r'). It usually fucks up any argument. Although in this case it would be useful to remember history had TWO notable fascist states, not just one.

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  7. It's time to commence the protest against Goons. Everybody should add to their in-game bio that they now refuse to utilize tech2 as an economic sanction against goonswarm. Doesn't have to be true of course. Think of it as indulgence. slogan: moon the moons.

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Be civil, be responsible and most of all be kind. I will not tolerate poor form. There will be no James Hooks here. We are all better than that.