Writer's Notes: The following is a rewrite of the Titanian Commonwealth, which I found to be too capitalist-lite "Scandinavian utopia." I decided to revamp it into a Marxist-influenced society running on direct democracy with a diversity of leftist voting blocs. Also Eclipse Phase's autonomist bloc doesn't have any traditional communist factions of note, so I decided to make one.
I have a more readable version in Google Docs, which has bolding and italics and all that jazz in appropriate places: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1gvyoNGKZD17SaM7zFgv3wc5u-hdwvDo9gxW-L4pWUEw/edit?usp=sharing
The Saturnian Commonwealth
Posted by: Red Amy
Ever since the Americans won the space race to the Moon, it seemed like a snowball’s chance in hell that socialism would ever see as far as Saturn’s rings. But here we are, a living testament to the murky river that is history. And if you’re an online subscriber to the Stellar Proletariat you know that the Commonwealth won’t let you forget it. Even with an open Mesh and all the data in the world, that doesn’t prevent the usual memes from distorting the big picture. If you hear it from the anarchists, we are the Deal with the Devil, state capitalists or degenerated worker’s state one step removed from going Jovian. Hear it from the Planetary Consortium, and we’re the face of Militarized Socialism that will reduce transhumanity to soulless synthmorphs building megastructures in the shape of Vladimir Lenin’s face. Forever.
And it isn’t just our ideological opposites. The Department of Data does a good job at sprucing up our image as a “Worker’s Paradise” where our most pressing issues are teenage delinquents spamming capitalist memes all over the place. The truth is far more complicated.
Let’s get something out of the way first. Titan was the original name of Saturn’s largest moon, but post-Fall it’s now known as Owen (named after socialist pioneer Robert Owen). The moon’s original name sounds the same as the seed AI which resulted in our loss of Earth and the displacement, death, and forced uploading of billions of transhumans. Commonwealth citizens nowadays view “Titanian” as akin to a slur, and there’s a push in some Councils for school datafiles to change historical references to the moon’s old name. Given our holdings on the rest of Saturn’s moons and rings, the term “Saturnian” is a more appropriate and holistic descriptor, even if the majority of our population lives on Owen.
Our Guiding Principles
First off, we are socialists. The Commonwealth’s sixty million differ on the specifics, but the closest agreement would be Council Communism with elements of Democratic Socialism. Most of us are not libertarian socialists or pro-anarchism; we still have a government, set of legal structures, don’t view the concept of a State as inherently oppressive, and realize the need for a large military in fending off aggression. Technically speaking we are not truly Communists; communism as envisioned by Marx had the end-goal of a classless, stateless, and moneyless society achieved after a world revolution against capitalism and thus the State’s usual functions would wither away over time. Although we count many Marxists among our population, the Fall more or less put a kibosh in anything like this happening, and the Commonwealth is more focused on improving things in the here and now based on what is practical in the near future. All the same, we strive for a society where accumulation of wealth and vast income disparity is a thing of the past and major decisions are done by the community and instantly recallable delegates rather than a closed hierarchy of kings, bureaucrats, or CEOs.
Our society is managed in a federalist structure: the local level is the Council, subdivided into local provinces among Saturn’s moons and space stations, while the Federal level covers the entirety of Commonwealth territory. What would be traditional businesses in the inner system are managed via a series of decentralized shared cooperatives owned by the general public at the Council level, but key industries such as healthcare and civil defense are nationalized via Departments (known informally as the Big Four). Allocation of resources, conflict resolution, and modes of governance are determined by direct democracy, which can either be at Council or Federal level. The testimony of witnesses and experts regarding certain issues is gathered and distributed via the Mesh to those of voting age via sousveillance and the Department of Data. Various Councils and large cooperatives send delegates to represent their peoples’ needs and interests, but ultimately are bound by said community’s instructions and can be instantly recalled via majority vote.
We utilize a separation of powers to ensure that authority doesn’t concentrate too heavily in the hands any single branch. The Councillors are elected by the people based on specific promises to their proletariat constituents and also instantly recallable by them if said promises are unfulfilled. The Departments execute duties in line with their functions (healthcare, military, etc) and whose budgets are determined annually at Worker’s Fairs where they convince the public of their respective strengths and thus allocation of resources. Similarly, Department authorities can be defunded and recalled if their job performance is found wanting, and both Councillors and Department officials are required to keep XP feeds during working hours for cross-reference and ensuring that they are performing their duties properly. And finally, nanofabrication blueprints for handheld low-power kinetic and beam weapons are freely available to those who aren’t deemed “at risk agents.” This is to ensure that the common folk won’t be disarmed in the event of a tyrannical regime, be it internally or externally.
What We Learned From the Fall
The legacy of the TITANs and loss of Earth weigh heavily on our minds, regardless of what the Jovian Junta claims. We rejected their backwards authoritarianism, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t any less militaristic. The lessons we took from the Fall were that the capitalist nations of Earth in their infinite greed unleashed a weapon even they could not control, and that even post-Fall they still stifle the livelihoods and freedoms of citizens in the Consortium. Credits, gun control, indentured servitude, and restriction of nanofabrication facilities in producing essential goods create needless artificial scarcities while their oligarchs lounge away in pleasure palaces. This proves more than anything that their way is extinction. But the misery of those living in the Jovian Republic and the anarchist’s sectarian splits and carelessness of security are equally folly.
To fare our best against oblivion, we must utilize the technology we have at our disposal while ensuring that as many of our citizens as possible receive a good quality of life. The TITANs were made by human hands and human minds; perhaps with knowledge and responsible usage of transhuman technology, citizens working together under a socialist banner instead of at the behest of oligarchs can find a way to prevent another Fall. The melting of the polar ice caps was Earth being shredded by the cancer of capitalism; the antimatter warheads and TITANs its death knell.
To that end, the Commonwealth’s popular figureheads and memes promote a sort of idealist patriotism. We proudly point to our accomplishments: the most infugees with physical bodies per capita in the solar system, our democratic ways, our successful campaigns against Ultimates, Jovians, and exhuman aggression, our being autonomist yet still having 60 million person working infrastructure, our top notch universities and science departments.
In terms of economics, we don’t have wage labor or land barons with expansive private estates, and we use the New Economy as well as Saturnian Labor Vouchers which determines demand for goods. Unlike inner system credits, labor vouchers are not transferable between people or transmuted into capital. They are akin in function to 21st century gift cards.
The Labor Voucher system is a proposed attempt to get the Saturnian Commonwealth economically independent from other autonomist factions factions when the time for infighting inevitably comes. It also doubles as a more familiar kind of pseudo-currency which is easier for inner system infugees to grok than the morass of social media-esque favor-trading that is the Circle-A. One more advantage is that labor vouchers are a pre-existing system within socialist thought, notably Karl Marx’s Critique of the Gotha Program where he went into extensive detail as to how his communist society would operate.
@-rep is still in use like most New Economy habitats, but this puts us Saturnians in the wider community of otherwise opposing ideologies. What would ding your @-rep in the Commonwealth may get you approving pings in Extropia, and the anarchists and scum still look at us like a caged bull who may very well turn on them once the capitalists are defeated. The Autonomist Alliance is little more than a non-aggression pact held together by grip tape. Why else would anarcho-capitalists who exalt free trade, Stirnerists who think that morality’s a spook, and libertarian socialists who hate individualism and state socialism want anything to do with us? It’s because we’re afraid of the other side more: inner system hypercapitalists, fascist Jovians and Ultimates, and the odd exhuman outpost and exsurgent outbreak are at the forefront of everyone’s minds. Only after these problems are dealt with can we argue in perpetuity about centrally planned economies vs. decentralized Councils or whatever memes are going about in Autonomist space.
"Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it."
~George Bernard Shaw, 1856-1950