The Saturnian Commonwealth, a Marxist rewrite of Titan

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The Saturnian Commonwealth, a Marxist rewrite of Titan

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

Firewall Agent

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.

Titanian?

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citizens nowadays view “Titanian” as akin to a slur, and there’s a push in some Councils for school datafiles to change historical references to the moon’s old name.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.

Economics

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

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Worker’s Fairs

Worker’s Fairs

The Saturnian Commonwealth’s most prominent nationalized industries are the Department of Biotics, the Department of Military Affairs, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Data. Each Department has further subdivisions for specialized tasks and subjects. Given the subject and scope each Department covers, a significant portion of resources goes into their maintenance. Even in a moneyless society you only have so much uranium to power so many generators. As a result the Commonwealth has to prioritize on large-scale matters.

In keeping with the direct democracy model, social events known as Worker’s Fairs are held in the months before the Commonwealth Annual Budget. In theory the Departments (both national and local) will put their best foot forward and provide the data for why the public should keep supporting them and their relative importance for the next social programs. In reality, it is a desperate display of emotion mixed with analysis, simultaneously exalting their own relative importance while downplaying the efforts of other Departments.

Problems in the Worker’s Paradise

From a surface glance, things seem pretty good. Our nanofabrication facilities provide for the basic needs of the majority of the populace. Our healthcare system is second to none and our One Mind One Body policy makes us an attractive option to Fall refugees. Our soldiers perform with relative success in going toe to toe with the Ultimates and Jovians where other Autonomist communities have failed. People don’t need to worry about making enough credits to avoid starvation or indentured servitude like in the inner system, and we have better safeguards against the insurgent virus and WMDs than the insecure anarchist stations.

Overall the average Saturnian has it pretty good compared to the rest of transhumanity, but that doesn’t mean our shit smells like roses.

Discrimination: The Commonwealth’s Anti-Discrimination Initiative and the Reputation Economy both do a good job of weeding out the outwardly bigoted from the Departments and positions of trust. Everyone pats themselves on the back for being progressive and credit this to ridding Saturn’s moons of capitalist oppression, but that’s not how bigotry works. Socialism means that the working class gains control of the means of production; but public ownership isn't going to better help your Fall refugee neighbor suffering from PTSD to not reflexively flinch when their new AGI neighbor tries to shake their hand. For historical examples, just look at historical Marxist figureheads who declared homosexuality a capitalist degeneracy, or when prospective Jews were continually asked if they were anti-Zionist at party meetings to “make sure they’re one of the good ones” when they wouldn’t ask such a question of other ethnicities.

And before you explain how capitalist hierarchies intentionally exploit ethnic rivalries and identity politics to remain in power, I know that and I agree with you; but that’s not the point. Bigotry is antithetical to socialist principles, but the disease still exists in the Commonwealth just as it did in the past, and there’s a certain geo-political group who gets hit the hardest: Spanish-speaking and Latino people.

In terms of solar system demographics, about half of Fall refugees from Latin American countries currently reside in the Jovian Republic. Those with the most incentive to immigrate to the Commonwealth from other habitats are the ones within Jovian space. Even the slave-owning shitheap that is Mars has better political freedoms, medical care, and up-to-date Mesh than the Junta. So we have a fair amount of people immigrating disproportionately from a widely-reviled political entity who all happen to share a common language and culture. It won’t show up as something as blatant as a doctor denying life-saving medical implants, but it will show up in more subtle ways. Folk less likely to ping someone’s @-rep for quality service when they see the name Gutierrez flash on their Mesh inserts.

On a similar level, AGI are distrusted due to post-Fall fears of saboteurs and difficulty in adjusting to human mores, and uplifts of more territorial species find the communal habitats and social structures metaphorically suffocating. Friction between said groups and the rest of society is not uncommon as a result.

Infighting: We are well aware of the legacies of socialist movements, both the positives and negatives. We can appreciate the historical efforts of the Marxist-Leninist Black Panthers and the National Liberation Front of Vietnam in fighting oppression and imperialism, but we can also condemn the Marxist-Leninists of the Soviet Union who coerced non-Russian minorities into giving up their languages and culture and those who went along with Stalin’s Purges. Socialism will not create a utopia, but it our system is leagues better than the capitalist inner system; much as Old Earth liberal democracy was a superior choice to feudal aristocracies and fascism. We can learn from the mistakes of the past while championing the progress we’ve made throughout the eras.

This is why the Commonwealth implements direct democracy and instantly recallable delegates based at local levels, and it is also why we have a separation of powers so that no individual Department can lay claim to every instrument of government. It is all too tempting for even the farthest-left to get the impression that they alone know what’s best for the proletariat and declare themselves the People’s Vanguard. And yes, we do have some folks like that, but again they have no choice but to tolerate the “hysteria of elections” for now.

Naturally, our democratic system spawns a lot of popularity contests. Our socialist system is equally home to delegates with accumulated @-rep making promises and schmoozing their way into the status of “Person of the People.” Such folk are also the first to condemn other delegates who screw up by claiming that they or a Saturnian they know can do their job better. When a reactor experiences a meltdown or some infugee’s biomorph suffers sudden organ failure, people are going to want someone to blame. Sousveillance and public information can only go far, and all it takes is for a perfect scapegoat or people demanding action now before all the facts come out for the wrong person to be punished.

There’s also the matter of Vulgar Councillors, an informal name for elected delegates at the council level who only care for their region/space station in the Commonwealth. They deliberately encourage the expenditure of resources to their own representatives at the expense of others. The Commonwealth’s Department of Data does its best to ensure intercooperation and broadcasting events from all over our territories to ensure a sense of closeness, but you still get regional rivalries when there’s something at stake to be lost.

The Schubert Incident: the Worker’s Fairs between the Big Four (nationalized Departments) are the most vicious political infighting of all in the Commonwealth. The Schubert Incident was a particularly infamous example: the documentation of XP feeds regarding the toils of the Commonwealth soldiers in fighting the TITAN remnants on the moon of Iapetus. Reports of having to gun down civilians and squadmates hopelessly infected by the exsurgent virus, as well as other indescribable horrors, resulted in a widespread problem of PTSD among the Department of Military Affairs’ soldiers. The Department of Biotics used this to argue to the public for more resources for psychological counseling, saying that “all our victories will mean nothing if we are left broken in the end.”

Their appeal to their suffering garnered much sympathy among the public, and it worked. Various pre-Fair metrics predicted a huge downscale in resources and labor for the non-Biotic Departments. Alvin Schubert, a high-ranking officer in Department of Military Affairs, acted in coordination with the Department of Data into downplaying and even challenging the XP feeds’ authenticity. The pro-Military Affairs side alleged that the Department of Biotics was exploiting a tragedy for increased status, that the XP feeds were capitalist propaganda designed to weaken the Commonwealth from within, and a host of other wild claims. The pro-Biotics side argued that the Department of Military Affairs was treating its workers as expendable cattle and covering their own asses

In short, the Schubert Incident saw widespread sacking of individuals in the Departments of Military Affairs and Data. Eventually a compromise was reached so that a “reasonable amount of resources” would go to the Department of Biotics while still leaving a generous amount for the other Departments. Us Saturnians are a force to be reckoned with, particularly in regards to x-risks and keeping the Ultimates and Jovians off our turf. And although acting for the good of the Commonwealth is something most people agree on, the squeaky wheels of direct democracy means that how this is done is fickle and subject to people acting against their own interests.

Bonework: The act of labor for the betterment of the whole is a prized affair in our culture. Use of labor vouchers and @-rep in lieu of credits ensures that a corporate aristocracy won’t seize the means of production, and the horrors of the Fall are so fresh in people’s minds that folks are willing to put up with overtime if it means helping the Department of Energy refurbish their habitats’ nuclear grid.

But any labor, even ones you love doing, can get tiresome over time. Creative arts need to give time for their ideas to percolate in the ol’ skull-meat, and the repetition of mental tasks and muscle memory needed to complete a choreographed dance, march, or spontaneous Augmented Reality symphony show can be taxing for any ego. The Commonwealth recognizes the value of rest and recreation, but our culture’s idolization of labor for a greater purpose can push folks into what we call “bonework.”

A portmanteau of “working oneself to the bone,” bonework is basically any form of labor done beyond what is naturally healthy for the body and mind. Due to the near-ubiquitous nanofabrication facilities for food and energy, this type of labor is not done for sheer survival but rather for other factors. Attempts at making up for past deficits, hope of system-wide recognition on the Circle-A for a breakthrough project, desire for self-perfection, hoping their labor will protect the Commonwealth from the TITANs, and even just adulation of public respect as the “ideal worker” are the most common reasons for bonework.

Drugs and narcoalgorithms which push the morph or ego beyond their limits, experimental implant blueprints, synthmorphs which don’t need to eat or sleep, forking, and subjective time alteration in simulspace all combine into the perfect cocktail for workaholics. We get a fair share of egos entering into ‘braindead’ status for extended periods once they finally crash, or some obsessive worker downloads some untested ‘self-improvement implant’ blueprint from the dark corners of the Mesh and ends up unleashing the exsurgent virus into a habitat. You get folks who spent virtual years in a Mesh server working on some grand project, only to come out unable to relate to anyone and choose to retreat back into their personal world.

In spite of the Department of Biotics’ discouragement of the practice and protocol violations for self-destructive labor, boneworkers still churn out enough high-quality projects to the point that communities reward their martyrdom with @-rep; and thus continues the cycle. Sure most of them crash and need to spend months in psychological counseling, but too many people think they’ll be that special exception or determine that the risk is worth it.

Subversive Memes: Every society has rules; even the “freest of free speech” Extropians bristle at the idea of workers entering into negotiations with their bosses via collective bargaining as “a collectivist assault on the individual.” It doesn’t have to be laws or paper, but transhumanity is a social organism which needs trusted confidantes to lean on for mutual support. Militias to fend off aggression, doctors and psychiatrists to heal our maladies, you get the drift. Things which can tear apart this social cohesion are justifiably shunned from the in-group.

The Saturnian Commonwealth is no different. The Constitution guarantees freedom of speech, the ability to criticize the government without having your family kidnapped to a blacksite, and (gasp!) even read capitalist literature in the privacy of your own habitat. But in an age of psychosurgery, exsurgent virus-laden blueprints, and simulspace forks generating false XP by hacking into one’s cyberbrain among other things, our society has broadly-applicable limits on what is socially acceptable and even legal.

Subversive memes are a catch-all category for ideologies, arguments, and media deemed dangerous to the social stability and physical and mental welfare of Commonwealth citizens. There are terabytes worth of legal records on this field, but for Firewall interests I can boil it down to the most applicable.

Subversive Ideologies: Exhumanism, fascism, overhumanism, eugenics (in the sense of reproductive control and forced uploading to ‘better morphs’), uplift/human/AGI supremacy and other ideologies which seeks to demonize those on the outgroup will inevitably lead to less rights and potentially violence for those not part of the ingroup. Technically speaking, non-overhumanist ultimates and bioconservative sympathies are legal, but given both groups’ association with speciesism and authoritarianism they are often subject to societal disapproval.

Hypercapitalism and support for inner system governments are also deemed a subversive meme. Anarcho-capitalism is exempt from this as part of the pact with the Autonomist Alliance, which is perhaps the most controversial aspect of the law. It’s well-documented that many Extropians are okay with hierarchy in the workplace and practice “consensual” indentured servitude, but their position in the Main Belt and top-notch cracking of inner system DRM blueprints makes them better allies than enemies at the moment. There’s much gnashing of teeth and factions who wish to see them turned into space dust right this instant, but practicality against a greater threat keeps our lasers cool for now.

But this AnCap tolerance has led to an exploit in the system. Paid agents of the Planetary Consortium set up small Mesh stations to broadcast in the Commonwealth, using funds from Extropian banks with quantum entanglement encryptions to throw off the money trail. So far they stick to plausibly deniable actions like supporting projects at Saturn Autonomous University with favors via the @-rep system in exchange for attending “free market seminars,” or playing up the chaos of anarchist habitats when sectarian warfare or exsurgent virus outbreaks grow out of control. And for now most Commonwealth citizens are okay with their social safety nets and worker-owned collectives, but these hypercorp-Extropian stations are firmly in the pockets of the Planetary Consortium. If they had their way, Saturn’s rings would be plastered with privately-owned infugee factories pumping out whatever can make their shareholders a profit.

Singularity seekers are deemed to be enemies of transhumanity for TITAN sympathies, as are most exhumans. That both groups are disproportionately involved in dangerous crimes and violation of transhuman rights means that most citizens aren’t too concerned about overwhelming force against them as long as their own don’t get harmed. On a similar note, blueprints and XP created by known exhumans and infected exsurgents is deemed a public safety threat. Such software is recalled from the public Mesh to be analyzed and safeguarded by the Department of Data if not destroyed outright.

There was an incident back in 4 AF when a singularity seeker teenage minor was building jacked-out morphs in the vacant portion of a construction site. Legally speaking she was a minor but the detection of dormant nanoswarms in the area meant that the Department of Military Affairs utilized a chain barrage of plasma cannons at the area after evacuating what civilians they could. The singularity seeker was given no forewarning or chance to surrender, and her cortical stack was slagged. A few civil liberties groups complained about this unwarranted force and slippery slopes, but a public opinion poll shown that most citizens approved of the Department’s “timely action.”

A Bloated Military: The Saturnians do most of the heavy lifting in the Autonomist Alliance. The Extropians have mercenary armies and scum barges are armed to the teeth, but they are too decentralized to put up a united front in case the Planetary Consortium got really imperialist and send their spaceships past the Main Belt. In fact, the Department of Military Affairs is a relative exception in Commonwealth culture: a hierarchal system where key decisions are made by secret meetings between Chief Marshals. We even have military black sites hidden among Saturn’s rings which have a shoot-to-kill policy for unannounced persons. Officers also cannot share their own XP feeds to friends, family, or the public if there is risk of leaking sensitive data. While the Department of Military Affairs requires the consent of a majority vote of Councillors to declare war or send spaceships to colonize a celestial body, specific details of operations (like a black ops assassination against an Ultimate Autarch) are determined in a secret assembly of Chief Marshals.

Beyond these privileges the other Departments don’t have, the trauma of the Fall, media of TITAN technology destroying less-defended habitats, aggression from Inner System powers, and the untrustworthy nature of the alien Factors all adds up to the voting public in granting more leeway to our soldiers. Barring the year of the Schubert Incident, every post-Fall Worker’s Fair saw the lion’s share of resources poured into the Department of Military Affairs. Unlike the necessities of the other Departments, military spending is not guaranteed to result in immediate improvement in quality of life; healing vats and nanotechnology see regular use, as does upkeep of the Mesh network. But of those plasma cannon arrays stationed on 24 of Saturn’s moons, only 3 of them have seen post-Fall use. And their power input alone is enough to support a habitat of 400,000 people.

What this means is that there’s a lot of non-military projects up in limbo or archived for the time being, and given our Post-Apocalypse Stress Syndrome many Saturnians are willing to do with less if it means feeling safer. And sometimes this means fabricating a second fenris morph for emergency use by the local militia instead of building that new aquarium-accessible section in the public park for octomorphs. It’s also making some of our officers cockier and all-too eager to test out their toys. Serious discussion has been floated in seizing the Ultimate habitats for repurposing of military technology, or even an invasion of the Jovian Republic with the hopes of adding their oppressed proletarians to the Autonomist Alliance.

I shouldn’t have to spell out why interfactional warfare is a terrible idea; during the Second Battle of Locus, the anarchists nuked their own city to keep the Consortium from claiming their territory. They had backups elsewhere so it wasn’t ‘true death.’ But this would be a preemptive war not in self-defense, and the majority of Jovian citizens are unmodified baseline humans. Even the seizure of Europa will result in the permanent loss of countless souls who for all intents and purposes have no choice but to die for their regime. Do we have any right to make that choice for the Jovians?


"Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it."
~George Bernard Shaw, 1856-1950

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Political Groups

Political Groups

The use of accountable direct democracy obviates the necessities of a political party for Councilors to an extent, although there are still individual habitats and Councilors who have similar worldviews. As a result, they’re more likely to coordinate Rep and resources for shared goals and leverage on the Departments.

Council Communists: Approximately 45% of Councilors adhere to this worldview, and it is also the blueprint for the Saturnian Commonwealth’s governmental structure. It is basically early Soviet-style democracy before the Bolsheviks ran out the opposition: Council Communists posit that socialism must be a decentralized structure with an emphasis on self-government at the local level and reject the idea of a centralized government or Vanguard. Typically they seek to lessen the power of the Big Four where they feel necessary but still feel the need for a united Saturnian bloc.

Saturnian Anarchists: This political group has a lot in common with the Council Communists policy wise save that they advocate for a dissolution of nationalized industries and remove the use of Councilors in favor of delegating votes for every political issue to the general populace of the Councils. This is the least popular ideology among Councilors (about 5%) and they never vote on an issue until they get word back from their constituents.

A few anarchist Councilors are actually Firewall agents or proxies, and used their experience in that agency to promote an alternate form of military: instead of a Department, the Commonwealth would rely on small elite teams of unconnected black ops agents and their various forks. In theory, their independent nature and experience would put them above rank-and-file soldiers and prevent widespread corruption in case one cell gets compromised. Predictably, this idea hasn’t gained much support among the Commonwealth’s citizens.

Analogs: Based on the concept of pre-digital computers, Analogs blend far-left politics with bioconservatism. They are a small yet steadily growing (10%) ideology among Councilors. They advocate for a social means of production, but believe that the horrors of the Fall make the use of a post-scarcity economy with automations to be far from ideal at this moment in time. For that reason, they advocate for increased restriction and regulation against such technologies. Other Saturnians claim that this will not only return folks to scarcity, but could threaten their socialist way of life due to the increased need for thankless manual labor normally done by AI. Analogs counter that the problems such as forknapping, rogue nanoswarms, and psychosurgery for altered behavior pose a greater risk to the free will of the proletariat and can be subverted for tyrannical ends.

Marxist-Leninists: Known in capitalist and autonomist habitats more popularly as Stalinists and tankies, Marxist-Leninists primarily seek to change the Saturnian Commonwealth into a centralized system of government led by a Vanguard strongman. About 25% of Councilors adhere to this worldview, and they are the biggest supporters of more support for the Department of Military Affairs and a potential Jovian invasion. In more contemporary issues they are pushing to alter history textbooks into portraying Second World dictatorships as egalitarian democracies, and a shift away from the Reputation Economy in favor of labor vouchers to become economically independent of the other Autonomist groups.

A disproportionate amount of Saturnian soldiers hold some degree of sympathy with this ideology, and often point to World War 2 as support for their beliefs: the Third Reich posed an X-threat to the Jewish and Slavic populations of Russia because the Nazis viewed said groups as subhumans meant for extermination. There’s a similar line of argument with the Japanese Empire as an X-threat to the Chinese and Koreans. And with the many threats to transhumanity, they argue, socialists need to embrace the examples of historical figures such as Stalin and Mao instead of trusting in “unstable systems” like anarchism and decentralized worker’s states to guard them.

Needless to say, the other ideologies and Autonomists in general aren’t too fond of Marxist-Leninists, who they view as tyrants in revolutionary garb. But even so, they’re gaining more sympathy among citizens who feel that they’re the socialist group most serious about guarding us from x-threats.

Miscellaneous: The remaining 15% of Councilors belong to less numerous ideologies and tendencies. You have a dozen local Saturnian Communist Parties of various -isms, “leftists without labels,” and even some centrists who believe that a non-agression pact with inner system capitalists is a practical response against the TITAN remnants on Iapetus. There’s even Secundus, a Council habitat primarily comprised of anarcho-capitalists. The Saturnian Constitution makes them live a communal socialist life; in spite of the locals’ complaints, the rest of the Commonwealth tells them that they’re more than free to extol the virtues of Rothbard and Von Mises as long as they don’t force the means of production into the hands of an elite few.

Adventure Hooks in the Saturnian Commonwealth

The habitat of a remote Council has a population entirely sleeved in cyberbrains. A disreputable Councilor hacked their systems to get them to vote they way she wants in the guise of democracy.
Due to social media warfare and election of firebrand Councilors, one Commonwealth city suspended all trade and cooperation with another. One of the Councils is on a space station or trojan which needs the resources of the other habitat to function. If something’s not done soon, many lives will be put at risk.
Marxist-Leninists within the Department of Military Affairs become aware of a Jovian terrorist cell active in the Commonwealth, but choose not to intervene. They seek to exploit a national tragedy and get the Councilors to vote for a full-scale invasion. Your Firewall cell is deployed to stop the terrorists, but if the Marxist-Leninists become aware of your presence they will move to neutralize and/or frame you as collaborators of the terrorists.
After an Extropian venture capitalist is caught in a heinous public scandal, the Saturnian Commonwealth finally puts up the option to vote on whether or not anarcho-capitalism shall be declared a subversive meme. This has the potential to tear apart the Autonomist Alliance, and soon every geo-political bloc from across the solar system is deploying spies, meme warfare, wetwork, and economic sabotage to sway the voting public for or against this policy.
An individual the PCs are tracking disappears. Investigation reveals they were darkcasted to a military blacksite in Saturn’s rings.
Seizing upon post-Fall fears, a dangerous phenomenon of “X-ing” where one reports a dangerous exhuman in a building grows in popularity. Although done by both pranksters and genuinely vengeful people, this can turn deadly soon if the PCs don’t put a stop to this.
An anarchist hacktivist group is gathering dirt on prominent Councilors in hopes of convincing the Saturnians to transition to a “more pure direct democracy.”


"Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it."
~George Bernard Shaw, 1856-1950

Libertad Libertad's picture
Daily Life

Daily Life

Residence: If you are a civilian, you likely live inside a habitat on one of Saturn’s moons or an orbiting space station. Your residence is a small affair, likely an apartment or townhouse part of a greater superstructure by yourself and/or a small family unit. Your specific residence and its personal effects (toiletries, medication, clothing, Mesh inserts, etc) are your own to use and not shared communally. You along with your surrounding community are responsible for the maintenance of your structure, and decisions for its use which affect everyone are decided via majority vote. There’s a lot of discussion and sometimes bickering and argument with your fellow residents, but social cohesion is maintained via a combination of compromises and public shaming of anti-social behavior.

Public Goods: Publically-owned nanofabrication facilities provide for the creation of food, clothes, batteries, and other items necessary for survival. Most technological devices run on fusion power, with a few orbital “solar-catchers” beaming down energy to satellite generators. Habitats of respectable size have public transportation in the form of shuttle units, but some families and townhouses have a garage of one or two vehicles in reserve.

Labor: Automations with AI handle most skill-less jobs, and the Mesh has free access to skillsofts and courses containing higher-level skills for people to learn. Analog communities usually have a rotating system where its residents commit to a form of labor usually performed by said machines (janitorial, structure building, etc) which is assigned once-per-week. Nobody can opt out of this system barring excessive physical/mental trauma; the ideal is that it will teach all of the community’s members the value and necessity of such labor.

Your workplace is much like that of inner system habitats, save that all company decisions are determined via direct democracy of all employees than a boss or board of directors. It is still common for workers to delegate things to those they feel are the most qualified to operate in certain matters. At its best, this results in a meritocratic office place; at its worst, nepotism. The exception is work within the Department of Military Affairs, which still follows a hierarchal chain of command.

You do not need to do a job for sustenance, but the surrounding culture encourages you via the granting of @-rep or labor vouchers for satisfactory tasks. More than a few Councils have social contracts for members to agree to on the age of adulthood which include such tasks, and those unsatisfied with the contract can browse other Councils on the Mesh to find one more to their liking. There are some who choose to egocast out of the Commonwealth entirely, although in such a case they are left to fend for themselves in their new home. The major Departments have offices in every habitat and provide for the major industries which affect things beyond the Council level. As a result, their administration, communications, and efforts operate at a national level.

The labor voucher system grants a numerical unit to individual citizens after they complete a monthly psychosurgical scan at the local clinic. The scan gauges the time, effort, and community input by monitoring the levels of stress activity in the ego and via correlation with Mesh activity and social networks related to that profession. The voucher units can then be spent on luxury goods and privileges not easily obtained via public nanofabrication, but the Constitution forbids their (and any currency’s) use in purchasing items vital to the means of production (factories, Mesh networks, public land, etc).

The scan can be duped, and there are cases where a person pours their heart and soul into work but comes up less than satisfactory, but overall the people assigned to this duty are professionals in their field and scan does a good job of assigning reward based on an individual’s level of effort.

Habitats: Most Saturnian towns and cities have a clean, retrofuturist art style to the buildings and public places. AR graphics are quite common especially on space stations when terraformed scenery can’t “pretty up” the place. What is lacking are the myriad corporate advertisements common to inner system habitats; instead public Meshes are attuned to allow the user to find items and events of interest via personal settings. The only mandatory signals are those the local Councils and the Department of Data deem important for public security or what has been agreed upon in the Council’s social contract. Towns also have military drills and simulspace exercises to gauge the inhabitants’ readiness against foreign invasion and domestic terrorism. Terrestrial habitats have a series of fallout shelters stocked with emergency reserves and can “go analog” for Mesh-free operation.

Entertainment: You most likely get your entertainment from the Mesh. Due to a differing interpretation of copyright law, many holo shows and games which cost credits in the inner system are free here (as free as the labor that goes into the maintenance of bandwidth allows). Artists are rewarded by the community via @-rep or and the labor voucher system in theory. In practice there’s still a tendency for media with broad appeal to be rewarded as such, leaving the more “outsider artist” types at a disadvantage. However, plagiarism (in the form of claiming another’s work as your own) is just as condemned here as in the inner system and punished with social consequences (shunning and/or @-rep loss).

There are also physical “augmented reality” games, and the larger habitats have public parks or “forest zones” in the case of smaller spaceships where folk go to relax among a close approximation of Old Earth wilderness. Physical sports, particularly zero-gravity, have a rabid following with competing teams between varying Councils. A nationwide tournament is held in a grand stadium on Owen annually and attracts large crowds and media coverage. Pornography, of course, is just as popular here as the sunward polities.

Life of a Soldier: If you choose to sign up for military service, you enter into a social contract where you give up certain privileges in order to perform your duties as a soldier. You become a newly-enlisted private who shares communal space with other soldiers and are charged with obeying the orders of senior officers to the best of your ability. You are egocasted to one of the stations in Saturn’s rings for basic training, and moved about to other bases around the Commonwealth afterwards. You spend time in simulspaces, zero-gravity environment, and resleeving into military-designed synthmorphs for acclimation to battlefield conditions. You also gain blueprint access to more dangerous gear than the standard weapons for Saturnian civilians such as rail weapons, grenades, and guardian nanoswarms. Said blueprints are usually firewall-protected and only for use during times of emergency. Typical military gear for a ground-bound soldier includes an automatic rifle, light body armor, and a medichines implant.

Elections and Worker’s Fairs: Every Earth-based year all of the Councils in the Commonwealth hold elections. The universal prerequisites are that the Councilor is a current resident of their representative Council, is of sound mental ability to perform their duties, cannot run for four or more consecutive terms, and does not hold membership in governmental bodies part of inner system, Ultimate, or otherwise anti-socialist habitats. Otherwise anyone can run, and prospective Councilors perform all the usual duties of votes-seeking by visiting constituents and outlying proposed plans they have for their community. It is at this point many local Mesh grids are abuzz with messages, manifestos, and @-rep activity of the candidates running.

Worker’s Fairs are the same but instead determine the proposed resources assigned to the Saturnian Commonwealth’s Departments and national projects. Departments host extensive social gatherings in local Councils, serving as half theme park and half advertisement firm in demonstrating the Department’s virtues and important things they’ve done to serve the people. Citizens rate their overall level of satisfaction with the Department’s work via the Mesh, and this data is gathered and submitted across all of the Commonwealth’s media structures to calculate the total votes. From this a percentage of labor and resources is assigned to each Department based on what the public thinks is most vital.

Crime & Punishment: WIP


"Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it."
~George Bernard Shaw, 1856-1950

Libertad Libertad's picture
Mechanics & Crunch

Mechanics & Crunch

New Faction: Marxist
You believe in the transference of the means of production to the general public and seek the creation of a classless, stateless, and moneyless society via worker's revolution. What makes you different from Anarchists is that you don’t necessarily dismiss the use of a State by the proletariat in the transition period to said society. Your views on fellow Autonomists and even other communist groups may differ depending upon your specific ideology (Leninism, etc) and background.

Advantages: +20 Networking: Autonomists skill, +10 to an Academics [Field] or Profession [Field] of your choice, +10 to one weapon skill of your choice

Disadvantages: None

Common Morphs: Flat, Splicer, Uplift Morphs, Pod Morphs, Synthmorphs


"Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it."
~George Bernard Shaw, 1856-1950

o11o1 o11o1's picture
This is pretty great, i like

This is pretty great, i like it. not sure if i'll be able to use it though, most of my players are really enamored with Titan.

A slight smell of ions....

Toaster Commissar Toaster Commissar's picture
Finally, some Reds in Eclipse Phase!

I always found it a little weird that there were so few explicitly Marxist stations and groups in a setting where there was so much revolutionary agitation, especially considering that number of autonomist ships and stations were simply taken over by their striking crews and then run by the unions, which sounds like something right up the alley of revolutionary syndicalists. There was a brief mention of "Marxist agitators" by Das Frettchen in the Valles-New Shanghai writeup for Sunward, but you definitely filled a void IMO. Great work!

One suggestion: maybe the Commonwealth has an "cultural organ" similar to ProletKult from the very early days of the Russian Revolution (before Lenin and the Right Opposition types nixed it for being too left communist) that tries to make a fresh new "worker's culture" with all the wild artistic and literary experimentation that entails? Might even birth some cool additions to background stuff, like a Neo-Constructivism school of architecture.