Sunday, September 04, 2005

Stability and Democracy Part 1.

With the recent release of the 'Francoist Thought' doctrine by Unlimited and his Pacific Senators, many of the great minds of NationStates turn towards actually considering to what extent the feeders are the centre of the worldwide body politic of NS. The words 'Revolution' and 'Pacific' (any Pacific) seem to go hand in hand these days and with the feeders being such breadbaskets of political ferment, an examination is warranted.

I approached four people - Dilber (The West Pacific), Conservative Front (Gatesville), Koona (Equilism) and The Red Factions (TPC and ASE) to talk in general terms about the happenings in NationStates to see if any Pacifico-centrism would arise from the data itself. To make matters perfectly clear each of them were told in clear terms what the thesis itself was - that the Pacifics were the centre of NS gameplay. Dilber and his interview will feature in part two of this article.

Asked if he believed the Pacifics were the centre of NS gameplay, The Red Factions quite clearly stated that, "They play a large part in it but can also as proven with the East Pacific be completely isolated and almost ignored." He further elucidated by saying, "There are a lot of power politics that goes on without interference from the feeders."

Koona of Equilism disagreed, "I believe that the feeders are what makes the NS world revolve, [they're] the heart of the game. And while stability is all nice and wonderful, without a destabilizing force player-created regions would only [continue] fighting invaders, leaving their foreign policy to whither. So I can say that a destabilization of a feeder is an important aspect of the game, and without it NS may have died out by now."

My own interpretation of Koona's words runs as follows: the Pacifics are big and have no founder. Therefore they are the centre of attention for the ambitious and that creates turbulence into which player created regions are often sucked.

The Red Factions, not denying but minimizing this idea said, "I do not think that there are less conflicts between player created regions. In fact, those conflicts usually lead to the huge showdowns in the feeders." When pressed for an example, TRF commented on the opposition of Moldavi to the ADN and explained his belief that the entire North Pacific Directorate episode was aimed solely by New Sparrow and USSR at destabilizing and weakening the Alliance Defense Network. He commented, "Moldavi turned to the PRP and from there involved himself in feeder politics to give [the ADN] a big kick in the teeth...would Moldavi have stayed in the ADN and the whole USSR thing never happened years ago, I am quite certain the NPD would never have existed."

Of course this dismisses the prevalent divisions between members of The North Pacific and the basic state of the region which allowed Cathy to rise to power and start the transition between semi-democracy and dictatorship. In the example of TRF, the lines become blurred. The Pacifics are pawns of the player-created regions, not the other way around. Such a model is a contradiction of Koona's view that the feeders independently play their own games and the non-feeders are then sucked in.

An alternative viewpoint to the conflict models of Koona and TRF was presented by Conservative Front. He pointed out that it was player-created regions which give the 'length and breadth to the political spectrum' of NationStates. This point is something I find myself in agreement with; whilst every point on the political spectrum invariably starts out in the Pacifics (by virtue of game mechanics), many - though by no means all - find a region outside of their initial home where they can feel at home, among fellows. This is especially noticeable amongst definite political trends - socialists or libertarian capitalists for example.

Is this enough to refute any ideologies of Pacifico-centrism? Political ideologies definitely assert themselves in Pacifics - the Pacific being the best example of a mish-mash of authoritarians and leftists - but this is much less pronounced than in regions such as Galts Gulch or Allied States of EuroIslanders - right wing capitalist and far left socialist respectively. Ideological clashes only usually, in my opinion, form the backdrop to clashes between groups which have other motivations. The invader/defender divide being one such example of 'other motivations.' Clashes are especially hot between socialist defenders and Nazi invaders - but the clash would take place if you remove the socialist and Nazi from that sentence. I conclude then that with most groups, ideology is just an aside for the most part. It colours in the picture, it doesn't necessarily draw it. Are the Pacifics missing much on the gameplay score by not polarising to the same extent as the non-feeders? Probably not.

So we revert to the conflict model. One power using another to get what it wants. Naturally the greater resources of the feeders make them prime targets for the ambitious. The Red Factions agrees with this believe that in such cases there exists, " the opportunity to use the resources of a feeder to win a conflict who originated between player-created regions." The underlying and unwritten assertion being that without player created regions conflicting with one another, the feeders wouldn't do very much. The North Pacific and the Pacific warring on one another in the aftermath of Franco rather belies this but that seems an isolated and extraordinary incident in a tapestry of feeders which, while not always agreeing, don't always batter hells bells out of one another.

Part 2 will be released soon.

5 Comments:

Blogger The Red Factions said...

Just to clarify things, I think that the episode in the NPD was merely an evolution of the conflicts that originated in the ADN well over a year ago - including RedCommunist's trial, Moldavi's treason and so forth. Would these conflicts have been resolved internally, I think we would never have witnessed the NPD.

Other than that, great stuff!

11:38 AM  
Blogger The Red Factions said...

Just to clarify things, I think that the episode in the NPD was merely an evolution of the conflicts that originated in the ADN well over a year ago - including RedCommunist's trial, Moldavi's treason and so forth. Would these conflicts have been resolved internally, I think we would never have witnessed the NPD.

Other than that, great stuff!

11:38 AM  
Blogger Ineedsleep said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4:45 AM  
Blogger Ineedsleep said...

"The words 'Revolution' and 'Pacific' (any Pacific) seem to go hand in hand these days" --- actually to me all the Pacifics appear to have stable (though different) systems of government. TNP suffered major destabalisation starting with UPS Rail, but now seems to have a strong and healthy constitution and stable leadership, though it will remain under close scrutiny by many looking for signs of weekness.

"What extent the feeders are the centre of the worldwide body politic of NS." --- the Pacific are large and active, but their importance is in the eyes of the player. Many players won't care at all what is happening in them. Whereas for others they are their home regions and of prime importance.

Unlimited paints a picture of the Pacific as under seige by grasping user regions seeking to control it. This is an excellent meme for justifying security restrictions and building patriotism and solidarity in the region. It does however ignore that almost all the PRP Senators are active in user created regions (is the Pacific under the control of the Meriotocracy/Realms of Criminology/Heartlanders/Vesta etc???).

My observation is no Pacific is controlled from outside, and such a case probably hasn't happened since Norion overthrew Commerical Affairs. There are of course players who have influence across many regions (game and user created). With puppets (both secret and open) the game is not compartmentalized and disputes will often span across regional boundaries from feeder to feeder, user to feeder, feeder to user etc.

I congratulate Unlimited on this well written humurous polical theory and watch with interest to see what influences it has.

4:46 AM  
Blogger Moldavi said...

hmm...I may not give TRF enough credit.

12:39 PM  

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