"Power Without Knowledge...": President Haig and the Era of Bad Feelings

In other news I recently rewatched Fight Club and it occured to me that, in-universe, the movie wouldn't be an adaptation of the book (which still exists TTL), but rather a Ken Burns documentary on the Regressive movement. It also occurred to me that my mention in the Y2K chapter about the Superpredator cyberterrorist cell could be soft-retconned into a broader wave of Regression inspired by Palahniuk's book. In-universe he regards it in about the same way Stephen King does that book about school shootings, given everything in the aftermath 🤔
I discovered a fun could've been media fact today that has me revisiting this. In 1999 Chuck Palahniuk wrote Survivor, which features an airplane hijacking as its frame narrative. The same year it was published it got optioned for a movie but the plug was pulled as a result of 9/11. Given the above influence of Fight Club on the nineties iteration of the Regressive movement I think it's conceivable it would be far too controversial to ever get a movie but would still catapult Palahniuk to mainstream attention, creating a scenario where we get a Survivor movie instead since the War on Terror doesn't feature any plane hijackings TTL.
 
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Media Matters: Cinema Purgatorio
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-The flag of the protagonist's unnamed home country in Pygmy

As mentioned in previous media updates, although superhero properties do a pretty brisk business TTL they are nowhere near the all consuming cultural force we would be familiar with. In many ways this is a blessing, with the success of the Dune Chronicles, the Indiana Jones series and the Miskatonic Cycle over the preceding decades setting the stage for a viewing public more open to experimenting with the blockbusters they were willing to take a chance on. Even then there were limits however, a case made most strongly by the public reaction to Fight Club.

Written by Chuck Palahniuk in 1996 in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombings the novel attracted immediate controversy over the perception by moral guardians that the novel glorified the violent nihilism of the Regressive movement. Although it was far too outré to ever be filmed it nonetheless won attention from critics even as censors tried and failed to see the book banned and Regressive groups deliberately began emulating it self-consciously in their rhetoric as yet another way to provoke a sedentary and passive society. Palahniuk had been catapulted to international acclaim and it was not long before some of his other work was optioned for films.

In the end a loose trilogy would be produced, all three directed by David Fincher and starring River Phoenix in three unrelated roles. The first, Survivor, featured Phoenix as the survivor of a cult mass suicide who hijacks a plane and narrates his life's story as he proceeds to crash it. It would premier on September 11, 2001* to critical acclaim even as many were turned off by the violence and extreme themes, a pairing that would continue through the series. The second and most experimental would adapt Rant, a strange and visceral dystopia revolving around segregated cities, a zombie-like rabies outbreak and car crash-enabled time traveling rapists. The third Palahniuk adaptation would be of his novel Pygmy, recasting Phoenix as a terrorist sleeper agent from an unnamed totalitarian country infiltrating a midwestern college**.

Although public outrage from the moral majority types had ironically made the films more commercially successful through sheer exposure, by the early 2010s tastes were beginning to change as audiences began gravitating toward films that could have deep themes without being quite so stomach churning. Into this void would step Guillermo del Toro, who had been entrusted by Universal Pictures with relaunching their Universal Monsters properties. It was an enormous gamble, but del Toro had made a name for himself with standalone films that could be simultaneously artistic, beautiful and macabre and he would throw all his energy into a set of films that he would call Gods and Monsters. Inspired by the original films and meant to offer a more emotionally weighty contrast to the more humorous Miskatonic Cycle, del Toro set out to present these staples of twentieth century pop culture in a new form for the new century.

Though not directly connected to one another in the early stages, the films would have several commonalities, including 20th century period settings, a focus on pathos over more visceral horror elements and a far greater sympathy for the monstrous characters than they typically received. The first film in the series would set the tone for the others, with 2015's Crimson Peak offering the public an emotionally engaging reinterpretation of Dracula and setting the series off to over a decade of critical acclaim and solid box office returns. Del Toro himself would go on to offer his own reinterpretations of the Bride of Frankenstein and the Creature from the Black Lagoon before turning over the reigns of the series to other directors. The latter, 2017's The Shape of Water, would set an incredibly high bar for his successors and while some have come close it's a threshold that remains uncrossed.

*Fight Club premiered September 10, 1999 so I thought fudging the date would give a bit of parallelism.
**Changed from a high school in the book given the graphic depictions of sex and drug use. The scene where Pygmy rapes a bully is still included though thankfully not shown.
 
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I also updated the Regressive flag post with a second less modernist version and decided on a better name for Radio Free America inspired by a Mack Reynolds book.
 
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Media Matters: Political Animals
Premiering in 1999 and created by Aaron Sorkin, The West Wing was a political drama series focused on the lives and work of the staff of the White House. Featuring an ensemble cast, the series is commonly regarded as one of the best television series ever made and, according to recent polling at least, is believed by a majority of the public to be a true to life portrayal of the mundane tasks and rituals that make up the work of politics, though recent criticism has centered on the somewhat naive view advanced by the series that reasoned debate is a silver bullet to overcome irreconcilable differences in politics.

Centered on the administration of fictional Democratic president Josiah Bartlett played by Martin Sheen, the series served as an invaluable outlet for Democrats during their long time in the political wilderness that separated the Carter and Mosely-Braun administrations and demonstrated that even out of power the liberal mainstream of the party still had cultural influence if nothing else. Portrayed as a brilliant economist and political thinker with a commanding grasp of theology to boot, Bartlet is served by a staff of whip smart wonks and policy experts who go about their work with a mix of boundless energy and snappy dialogue, dealing with everything from a hostile Congress to a series of domestic and foreign policy crises.

The early seasons revolve primarily around domestic affairs, offering a snapshot of the political tensions that marred the years just before the outbreak of the War on Terror. Aside from the hassle of maintaining Democratic party unity in the face of hostile Republicans and (true to life) fractured Reformers the central focus revolves around an analogue to the Regressive movement that had run roughshod since the eighties. Although Bartlet campaigned in part on a promise of dismantling the Haig security state he is forced to shelve those plans in order to properly crack down, a show of strength that counterintuitively works to his benefit in the midterm elections from a populace willing to do whatever it takes to stamp out the scourge of domestic terrorism.

After the midterms and backed by a Democrat-led coalition in both houses the show pivots to a focus on foreign policy in a bid to offer commentary on the ongoing War on Terror. Though viewed as an interesting counterfactual today, the series' invasion of Iraq stand-in Qumar in response to an Islamic terror attack on American soil was seen as somewhat contrived at the time and believed to be another example of Sorkin's alleged bias against religious faith that reappears sporadically throughout the series. Though public support for the invasion is initially high, mounting casualties weigh on the president's popularity even as he gives the order that leads to the successful capture of the Qumari officials responsible for the attack and their subsequent conviction for crimes against humanity.

This mix of perceived failures measured against real successes leads naturally into an election arc as Bartlett seeks to win a second term against a Republican clearly based on Colin Powell and a Reform candidate that drew parallels to then Montana governor David Lynch. A hardfought campaign between the three builds over the course of the season even as the stress exacerbates the president's initially hidden multiple sclerosis, culminating in an episode long presidential debate. The episode ends with the staff of the West Wing confident in Bartlet's victory even as news of the President's condition leaks to the media.

The final arc of the season sees no candidate able to secure victory, with the staff devoting their time to ensure the resulting contingent election goes to Bartlett. The final episode deals a surprise upset, with Reform candidate John Trent selected as a compromise between Bartlet and the Republican nominee. Pledging to unify the country, Trent stands at the presidential podium to deliver his address to the nation before tearing off his own face to the sound of shredding paper, revealing a pitch black void as the sky turns blood red. Trent bursts like an overripe melon as his vice president lumbers out of the Potomac to be sworn in to the presidency, releasing an ululating cry as his tentacles writhe and the inauguration crowd shrieks in horror. Why settle for the lesser evil?

Just kidding, Bartlet wins, the back half of the series deals with a war scare over Königsburg and Matt Santos runs to replace him and loses to a Libertarian. The series is considered prescient for predicting the wonkishness of the Democratic Party under Mosely-Braun and the inevitable further splintering of the American party system under the tension of three competing parties.
 
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I'm kicking around an idea for a Disney/animation update that hasn't quite cohered yet and I figured out who I want to use for the inevitable 2016 upset update! It's the last presidential election TTL before the wheels come off and the entire party system falls apart but sometimes good things can only be born of the collapse.
 
The Great Divide: Enemies at Home
Though Regression was essentially the only game in town with regards to ideologically motivated violence in the wake of the Reagan assassination by the 2010s that trend had finally begun to change, with the movement in America largely shattered by seasonal waves of government crackdowns under four presidents and the political space beginning to polarize along a more conventional left-right axis as a consequence of the election of President Mosely-Braun, the passage of the Universal Care Act and Ron Paul's Whiskey Rebellion movement. The eclipse of Regression as the national boogeyman did little to staunch the tide of political violence, however, it merely resurfaced in new forms that would continue to clash and plague the country for a generation.

The first of these new forms came to call themselves the Myrmidons. Growing out of the anti-government ethos of the Whiskey Rebellion and a clear symptom of Pat Buchanan's increasingly strong appeal to that set, the Myrmidons portray themselves as a patriotic biker association but have frequently been described by the press and advocacy organizations as a hate group and by the Mosely-Braun administration as a criminal organization. Spreading like wildfire through North America in the years since its founding, the Myrmidons organize into local chapters much like any other motorcycle club or fraternal organization, though the group has developed it's own internal lexicon to maintain group cohesion and favors ant symbology on their bikes and member vests as a reference both to the mythological origin of the Myrmidon tribe of classical antiquity and also to what they perceive as the ant's positive tendency to defend and sacrifice on behalf of their society.

The second group had been gestating on the left since the 2008 financial crisis and the beginning of Mosely-Braun's first term, though leaders within the movement calling itself the Weathermen freely admit that it was the rise of the Myrmidons and other groups that helped to crystalize their movement from one of impotent protest to one of focused revolutionary fervor. Explicitly patterning themselves on the original Weathermen* and the Students for a Democratic Society, the newest iteration of the Weathermen sought to use horizontal direct action to oppose what they saw as a continuing policy of military imperialism abroad and economic imperialism and creeping fascism at home. Explicitly denouncing terrorism as acceptable praxis, the group has nonetheless come under the intense and often hysterical scrutiny of the American right even as the more timid factions of the left shrink back from the group's perceived radicalism.

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*They draw a distinction between that initial form of the group and its successor the Weather Underground though critics deliberately ignore this distinction.
 
A Gathering Storm: The Wreck of the Hochsprung
The Cosmicist Manifesto did not have much impact in the immediate wake of its publication, something Sutter himself had expected given the fact that he had released it as a PDF published by a niche press, one more ideological jeremiad in a sea of similar invective that was barely above being self published and didn't have the forbidden fruit allure of those manifestos that had been tied to massacres or terrorism. If that was where the matter had rested perhaps we would have been spared the Antarctic Revolution and the writhing pulsing mass that is the global Cosmicist movement even now extending its tendrils across the globe and throughout the solar system. I know which one the northern bastion of Kyriarchy would prefer. As the twenty-first century inched closer to its midway point however a series of events would begin that would thrust Sutter, his Manifesto, and the radical changes he demanded onto the world stage. As can be expected this chain of events began with Macondo Technologies.

In the twenty-first century Macondo had moved from strength to strength, growing from a reliable second stringer to Atari, Google and eBay into a colossus able to outcompete them all simply through efficiently integrating its different services into a single seamless customer experience. Yes you could order almost anything and have it arrive on your doorstep the next day, but the price of that efficiency was often ruthless exploitation of the precarian underclass. Even as first world consumers became increasingly aware of the negative impact of the company Macondo was able to expand into new markets in regions that finally had disposable income and felt less guilt-ridden about where their goods came from.

The only real question had become how to meet this demand. As the exploitative manufacturing system in the Republic of China gave way in the face of domestic unrest and India churned in a cycle of climate change-accelerated sectarian violence the company settled on a solution they euphemistically called "the factory system". As elegant as it was dispassionately cruel, the program called for the creation of a fleet of large specially designed ships, the eponymous "factories", which would be equipped with large internal workspaces and sophisticated additive manufacturing systems but staffed with a skeleton crew made up of shop foremen, sailors and hardened security personnel. The ships would be deployed wherever cost of labor was lowest, where they would take on temporary workers for as long as it was profitable to do so, firing the employees and moving on whenever labor or material costs exceeded their margins or local governments moved to counter them.

Having essentially bankrolled the creation of an archipelago of mobile sweatshops, Macondo Technologies found that the richest waters (so to speak) were the islands of the global south where rising sea levels and collapsing fisheries created a large population with literally nowhere else to turn. It was the desperation of these people that would fuel the factory system, the same desperation that would provoke the system's collapse. And so we come to the Hochsprung, unofficial flagship of the Macondo factory fleet. Regarded as the most efficient*, what would reveal itself to be the ship's final destination would be Tuvalu, a nation literally on the brink of sinking into the sea.

The people of the islands knew what to expect as the Hochsprung drew near, with the horror stories coming out of the ship's prior ports of call whipping restive elements into a frenzy at the thought of this parasitic thing coming to pick the flesh from the nation's bones. By all accounts it was all over within an hour of the Hochsprung's arrival, the security services overwhelmed and executed as a hardened core of revolutionaries took the ship for themselves. News was slow to reach the outside world of the seizure, allowing the pirate regime to consolidate itself as the company scrambled to try and recoup its property. The revolutionaries had seized on the Cosmicist Manifesto as their guide star, inspired by the constructive and unified vision it offered as a counter to the indifferent world order and the reality of spiralling collapse**. By the time outside news outlets had the story the ship had been daubed haphazardly with burgundy paint and redubbed the Kanaloa, after a Hawaiin god of the sea, magic and the underworld mentioned by name in the Manifesto.

In the wake of the seizure Macondo had little recourse as the Kanaloa prowled the Pacific for months as a free floating pirate republic that made a point to seek out and attack the other ships of the factory fleet as they sailed through international waters in search of desperate workers. The locks on the 3D printers had been overridden, turning devices meant to produce consumer goods into ones equally adept at generating ghost guns. They couldn't shoot worth a damn but they were easy enough to recycle and reuse, and the machines themselves could be replenished with base blocks and other materials looted from the other factory ships. By the time the Kanaloa was finally sunk by the US Navy the damage had been done, with enough of the factory fleet sunk to render the plan unworkable and far too much international attention to possibly start it up again in any case. Macondo had learned its lesson. Rather than go to the cheapest workers it would bring the cheapest workers to it, ideally somewhere they would be too isolated from the world at large to create any more incidents. The only question was where...

*Read: "most ruthlessly exploitative"

**In contrast to the "blow it all up, damn the consequences" Regressive position.
 
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Another link in the chain between a more or less recognizable start to the century and an increasingly alien end :evilsmile: The Macondo factory system is named after and hearkens back to the original meaning of the term factory as a proto-colonial trading post and manufacturing center.
 
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THE WORLD AS IT IS
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Have a rough map of the world of the Antarctic Revolutionary Commonwealth!
  • Cosmicist International (burgundy)-defense/trade pact
  • America Unida (tan)- regional confederation
  • North American Union* (blue)- regional confederation
  • Paneuropean Community* (blue-grey)-regional confederation
  • Arab League** (green)- regional confederation
  • Eurasian Union* (red)-trade/defense pact
  • Hong Kong Accord* (yellow)- trade/defense pact
  • Monrovia Pact (purple)- trade/defense pact
*Party to the Arctic Council

**Regressive

Current Cosmintern plans for the post-Final Victory restructuring would see most of the blocs incorporated wholesale as Cosmicist Commonwealths, though the Commonwealth of Azania would give some territory to the former Monrovia Pact and the former Hong Kong Accord would likely be split in half.
 
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More Notes on Flags
Based on my above map I made some composites of the flags of the two major factions!

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- The flag of Cosmicism proper is just a diagonal anarchy flag with burgundy in the top part and of course I've already posted the flag of the Antarctic Revolutionary Commonwealths before but here are the rest of the "currently" existing Continental Commonwealths (clockwise from top-left): The Commonwealths of Azania, the Indian Continental Commonwealth, the Nusantara Commonwealth and the Commonwealth of Patagonia.

Arctic Council.png

-And here are the big four of the Arctic Council, something that'll get its own entry but is naturally vastly more important in a world starved for resources and lacking all sea ice. Clockwise from top-left we have the Eurasian Union, the Hong Kong Accords, the North American Union and the (unchanged) flag of the Paneuropean Community.

As for the remaining factions America Unida uses a tricolor hearkening back to Gran Columbia, the Arab League uses a plain green rectangle and the Monrovia Pact uses a standard Pan-African flag.
 
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The Great Divide: Enemies Abroad
Although militant Regression had given up the mantle of prime political provocateur in America by the mid-2010s the ideology still had a certain appeal around the world and would recur intermittently over the following century as the ravages of climate change became increasingly devastating. As such I think it's well past time to put together a single post laying out the diversity of theory and praxis within what was by this point a global movement. There's naturally some cross-pollination of techniques and ideas, but the factions that have arisen within the Regressive scene are largely a product of differing political cultures and attitudes toward the state as the helper or hindrance toward the universal goal of the reduction of the reliance on technology and the decreasing of the global population as laid out in Industrial Devolution.
  • Kaczynskian Primitivism- The "orthodox" position rooted in the writings and tactics of Ted Kaczynski, whose unfinished manifesto provided the core of the anonymously published Industrial Devolution. Operating primarily through illegalist direct action this branch of the movement has essentially organically grown a vanguard party structure through osmosis by co-opting and absorbing the anti-government militia movement in the United States*. The Primitivists became the bette noir of the Anglosphere and were able to mainline principles that led directly or indirectly to the other Regressive tendencies. While bombings were the standard technique this school also developed a worrying proficiency with computer viruses and other cyberweapons aimed at critical infrastructure.
  • Nasrism- The brainchild of the Green Guard and its leader Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Nasrism reinterpreted Regressive ideology brought to the Middle East during the first Levant War through the lense of Islamic environmental principles. Often erroneously called Eco-Ba'athism, the ideology is more committed to the notion of the vanguard party than the Primitivists who fell backwards into it and the movement's ideal is the creation a decentralized and deindustrialized revolutionary Regressive state in the Greater Middle East**. In common with actual Ba'athism at the very least it isn't sectarian and as such has followers throughout the region, with Nasrist groups even springing up as far afield as Indonesia.
  • Neomalthusianism- A reaction against the violent methods of the Primitivists and the Nasrists, Neomalthusianism arose primarily in Europe and parts of Asia as a reform oriented approach to Regressive ends. Although the Neomalthusian school embraces efforts to deindustrialize where feasible and shift to renewables to ease the transition the largest impact of the school has been in the issues of legalized euthanasia and family planning. That last, inspired by the one-child policy employed by China from 1980 to 2005 under two governments shows the most promise, with lingering low birthrates giving credence to the belief that a similar policy imposed worldwide would only require a generation or two of actual enforcement to become self-perpetuating.
Aside from these three "current" schools two more are destined to come into existence in the wake of the Second Tainted Victory.
  • Extinction Rebellion- Founded in 2018 as in OTL the movement is more militant but nonetheless represents a counter-offensive against the three prior factions of Regressive thought. Arguing that mass action that avoids, you know, mass murder, dictatorship and reproductive coercion has a better chance to gain mass popular appeal and produce faster results, XR is a major faction of the reborn Citizens Party and has contributed a noticeable current of geoanarchism to the party platform. Having abandoned the "traditional" Regressive symbolism XR uses the same stylized hourglass they do here.
  • Including the Tsalal feels like cheating but they are a Regressive group that takes direct inspiration of one kind or another from the first three strains of the movement, though of course the lense they intuit it through is Zoranist rather than Islamic. Given the harshness of their environment they have a less strict view on the strategic adoption of technology but prefer a semi-nomadic hunter-gatherer existence.

*Depending on the group in question it varied from traditional militias with a coat of green paint to more disorganized Project Mayhem groups.

**Something akin to the Geoist countries in the Separateverse in practice, though on the plus side they'd stop drilling for oil and topple all the oppressive monarchies in the bargain 🤔
 
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No questions at the moment... just came across this TL a few days ago and decided to check it out... been enjoying it a lot - keep the chapters coming!
I'm glad you've been enjoying it! It comes in fits and starts honestly 😂 But still my job starts in May and my posting will most likely become intermittent for a few months and I want to get as far with my two main TLs as I can before then.
 
Well then, looking forward to them, and good luck with your new job!
Thanks! If you haven't read it my other one is The King in Yellow, an interlinked set of weeklong TLs dealing with President Lovecraft, Fascist Greece and all sorts of other fun stuff! I'm going to post the first entry of Part 3 (Raise the Black Flag!: A Jersey Devil TLIAW) on Tuesday!
 
Writing on the Wall: Production and Consumption
As I've previously mentioned, economics is probably one of the areas of the Cosmicist program that has evolved and diverged the most from my initial rough concept, going from a bog standard mixed economy with certain reforms to a top-to-bottom system of fiscal and monetary transformation. Still, money and debt alone do not an economy make so I wanted to go through and better describe the way the actual material economy functions in the ARC and the broader Cosmintern, born out of a combination of environmental justice and opposition to corporate concentration of power.

The foundation of the Cosmicist material economy is the guarantee of universal basic services, where each citizen is entitled to housing along with a statistically adequate amount of food, water, and energy per day that may be supplemented out of pocket as desired. The basic amount is linked to the individual through their account with the Antarctic Continental Bank and operates similar to an EBT card in that it can only be used on specific expenditures.
  • Housing- The overwhelming majority of habitation in Antarctica relies on a model of the megalopolis network of linked arcologies, with the size of the housing units at the basic level limited by family size similar to the Singaporean housing model. People have sentimental attachments to the places that they live and may sign even long-term leases but land cannot be owned as property and the social norm is that people will move as their family size and personal income fluctuates over the course of their lives. In order to prevent class stratification units are rated based on size/luxury and residential areas are designed to prevent both the concentration of units of the same rating and any wild disparity between the ratings of neighboring units. Mixed-use property is the norm, with residential units, businesses and recreational spaces existing in close proximity and a robust network of public transportation operates within the arcology systems.
  • Food/Water- The basic allotment of daily food can be acquired anywhere or even delivered directly to the individual housing unit, though the system does not allow the funds to be spent on either unhealthy or luxury food items. Automats are common for dining on the go and most levels of most arcologies have commissaries operated jointly by the municipal government and local residents. The actual fare varies depending on local tastes but advances in vertical farming and (live) animal-free meat production means you can find pretty much whatever you have a craving for.
  • Energy- Energy production is a fully public utility in a Cosmicist nation, with Antarctica in particular using a combination of geothermal, wind and nuclear energy and making full use of the six months of uninterrupted daylight during the polar summer, with excess energy stored in the form of subterranean molten salt to be used as necessary in the leaner months. In a transitional or more decentralized system outside of Antarctica proper each individual home would be equipped to generate wind or solar power, dumping any excess into the grid to supplement areas where production is low for whatever reason.
The Cosmicist attitude towards businesses is one born out of a complete rejection of the monopolization that ran rampant in the 21st century. As such firms are typically divided into four different rough categories: the individual producer, the cooperatives, the hypercorps and public utilities.
  • Individual producers do exactly what it sounds like, working by themselves to generate some good or render a service. Due to the sheer scales of market forces this class is almost entirely content creators, artists and entertainers, though advances in materials science have made it easier for a single person to produce physical objects of various types at a significant rate. Most individual producers tend to also work a few hours a week with the public utilities to supplement their income or afford specialty materials for their own projects.
  • Cooperatives are the standard, consisting of groups of people who work in and collectively own a business, providing whatever niche material or service the market will support. Absentee ownership is either illegal or strongly socially discouraged depending on where you are, with all joint owners expected to pull their weight and with all major decisions subject to workplace democracy.
  • Hypercorps also operate as co-ops, primarily legally distinguished either by the scale at which they operate or the sorts of services that they provide. Most regional chains are classified as hypercorps, along with producers of things like armaments and complex equipment.
  • Public utilities are owned and operated by either the municipal, regional or continental government and encompass socially necessary services like the public health and transportation systems and the construction and waste management industries.
A commitment to environmental sustainability is baked in to the Antarctic constitutional structure and this manifests itself in a legal obligation for firms to both use literally as high a percentage of recycled materials as is scientifically viable* and a staunch opposition both to planned obsolescence and to the proprietary nature of specific internal parts. The last is accomplished through a process called syncronization, where the designs of certain common parts are kept in the public domain or copylefted and may be used by anyone with access to the proper materials and a sophisticated 3D printer. This is similar to the way that the 3-point seatbelt was released publicly because it was a social good. The net result is a system where innovations in design quickly proliferate and universal standardization of parts between companies makes repairs and modifications relatively easy, even on complex devices like cell phones.

Labor issues and business practices are resolved at the regional level through the Regional Trade Combine, a joint legislative/executive body that works alongside the regional government, with the elected leader of each RTC simultaneously serving on the steering committee of the regional government. The majority to the RTC is made up of delegates put forward by Solidarity, the continental union to which each employee is required to belong. Operating on the one big union principle, Solidarity advocates for the workers as a whole rather than segregating by industry and is advised on the drafting of labor policy by a corporation (in the syndicalist sense) made up proportionally of the major firms of the region similar to a state chamber of commerce. Conflict between the union and the corporation is limited because of the near-universal push for the cooperative owner-operator business model.

*While the consumer is expected to recycle, the system is far less of a scam here because the requirements to use recycled materials force companies to go out of their way to collect those materials and incentivize the practice. This avoids the current system, where recycling is almost purely an ephemeral act used to soothe guilty consciences without measurably contributing back into the resource supply chain.
 
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Since the ARC economy is essentially built from scratch out of a patchwork of the Macondo services contractors hired to manage the Antarctic Economic Territories and the gray and black markets that had sprung up around them it was relatively easy to impose the new economy from the ground up, whereas the other Continental Commonwealths had to go through a transitional economy period to build up the new system. Synchronization was inspired by the concept of "internal completion" from Look to the West, which mandated both standardization of parts and a specific process for divying up government contracts. One aspect that doesn't transfer over is that internal completion motivated the workers by requiring them to use the equipment they made in their day to day lives. Synchronization doesn't really need this tactic, since humans on an assembly line are a rarity given advances in automation.

Every few years, a competition would be held for a new item; sometimes this was a complete celagus or kurrus, but more usually engines would be procured from one company, weapons from another and so forth. The forced standardisation ensured this would not cause issues with integration later on, and would allow individual parts to be upgraded without requiring a new model altogether. The winning corporation would be assigned the contract, but the runners-up would be awarded other, related contracts (such as, for example, an engine for support ships rather than warships). Only the lowest-ranked bidders would be shut out, and these would often receive ‘temporary management’ from the Combine to remove their managers and redirect them to a new project. An important concept in all this, developed by the administrator Antonius Ferrerus (né Antonio Herrera) was Internal Completion.[6] This was intended to remove bottlenecks in the process by bringing management of the whole process under a single overarching body, even if individual parts were taking place in different factories. Internal Completion was also based on the idea that each worker involved in the process should have a vested interest in the result. For example, if a company was assigned to work on a new boiler, that same boiler would be used to heat the homes of its workers in the winter (even if it was actually designed to power a lineship). The logic was that no worker would slack off, or manager accept shoddy work, if he knew it might result in him waking up freezing in the night because something had gone wrong.
 
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Writing on the Wall: The Cosmicist International
While the actual structure of the organization was sketched out in the Cosmicist Manifesto and sympathetic groups had been communicating on the fringes since before the Kanaloa, the Cosmicist International only came into existence as a concrete entity in the wake of the Antarctic Revolution, where it was written into the new nation's Basic Law, specifically as a section of the article establishing vanguard pluralism as the law of the land and establishing the framework of the Antarctic Cosmicist Party.
  • The central organ of the Cosmintern is the General Assembly, which is open to any recognized Cosmicist interest group, political party, revolutionary vanguard or labor organization. Any member group may petition the Assembly, advise policy or draft resolutions.
    • Individual groups do not vote, but caucus with one another based on the Cosmicist Geoscheme System, which divided the globe into the proposed Continental Commonwealths. These geoscheme caucuses ("unrealized Continental Commonwealths") receive one vote each exercised as a bloc and as a consequence those groups that are not tied to a specific region are relegated to a purely advisory role. Those Cosmicist states that do not represent their entire geoscheme region tend to still be first among equals within their respective caucuses.
    • The realized Continental Commonwealths, ie. those formed to specifications, each have a vote equal to the unrealized ones but together form the Presidium, and aside from serving as the steering committee of the body are also the only ones with the power to actually put up proposals for a vote. Based on the Antarctic precedent each Continental Commonwealth uses its collective head of government as its Cosmintern delegation.
  • The will of the General Assembly (as directed by the Presidium) is exercised through the Standing Committees, each of which deals with a specific issue and formed as the result of a web of binding treaties. Dealing with issues like mutual defense, cultural exchange and economic integration, perhaps the most important in the long term is the Standing Committee on Nondominiums, which governs policy in international waters and also serves as the primary organ of space collaboration.
It is fully accepted that the unrealized Continental Commonwealths will eventually become realized ones as the Zeitgeist gives way to the Weltgeist, gradually hollowing out the General Assembly and swelling the Presidium. This is considered a feature rather than a bug, intended to make the Presidium the central legislative/executive organ of a world government while the broader Assembly serves as an advisory body made up of nonstate actors. It is expected that as the territories carved out of the nondominioms reach a critical population threshold they too will become Assembly members, caucus and eventually become realized, with the cycle repeating itself until the entire solar system is made up entirely of equal and fully recognized Presidium members.
 
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