When political illiteracy meets immature ambitions: a critique of a Stanton syndicate

When political illiteracy meets immature ambitions: a critique of a Stanton syndicate
RSI organisation page for Order of Zion

The poisonous mix of dreams of domination and declarations of "freedom" without responsibility produces movements claiming emancipation while meaning the dystopia of an anti-social wasteland

Note: this article originally appeared on 4 July 2951 in Conscientious Mag

/13 May 2953/

There is no shortage of political hypocrisy or incoherence among parties and politicians making decisions on our lives in the Empire. From imperatorial candidates making claims of serving the electorate while offering tax breaks for corporations, to the hilarity of the Centralist Party putting on a serious face while presenting a programme involving, at the same time, government spending and lower taxes. We are ruled not only by elites allied with other elites, but also elites paying lip service to actual politics while being involved in political theatre.

This social reality, of Citizens and Civilians placed in a hollowed-out model of governance and a surreal information space that produces and reproduces messaging without meaning, inescapably trickles down to individuals raised in such a society, and produces some who earnestly swallow this theatrical show and begin coming up with their own salads of laughably – but also dangerously – incompatible ideas.

In Stanton – a corporate wasteland of worker exploitation, and of the domination of the private over the common – private groups have reared their heads time and again in different manifestations of the reckless proliferation of the same self-centred ideology. From pirate groups attempting to earn Citizens' and Civilians' support for own goals, to private profit-oriented organisations sucking out the resources from planetary bodies for personal enrichment, we have seen enough of examples.

The latest of such "initiatives" comes from a certain Order of Zion, a group loudly announcing a supposed "revolution […] coming July 4, 2951!!!". The tone of this proclamation is an accurate reflection of the organisation's founding summaries, which read like a confused mishmash of randomly selected and mutually exclusive slogans. The radically conflicting content of these texts leaves little room for even dignifying them as "ideas".

In their eager messaging, worthy of the apparently imminent revolutionary events, the founders of the group present a heroically dressed-up historical background for their group. Only a few lines into their self-aggrandising declarations, however, glaring gaps between what is said and how we know the world works begin to open.

The historical account states the Order's "calculated methods of purchasing, producing and trading goods […]" as having led to "acquisition of mass wealth" in the dark ages centuries past, a few sentences later claiming its membership "thrived without exploitation and oppression".

It would be tempting to adopt a tone similar to that of a professor having to explain the basics to a student, in response to this ridiculous attempt at whitewashing the basis of all wealth creation in history – backbreaking collective work of workers that only ever happened without exploitation in collective left-wing revolutionary communities. We know from the rest of this organisation's self-descriptions that they were not such a community, and the glaring omission on how this "mass wealth" was acquired and then invested "in [the group's] own system of production" at all – let alone without exploitation – reeks of an attempt to present a wishful picture rather than a realistic description of something that actually happened. The fantastical scenario of a group "infiltrat[ing] the economy" while "siphon[ing]" the material benefits to own members – in a historical setting where all wealth was created using a stratified class system of feudals expropriating peasants – can only receive a mediocre mark for fiction.

But the lavish celebration of this supposed history does not stop there, extending to further self-patting as a righteous Order that suddenly discovered the "disparity of circumstances for the common citizen beyond its borders", and took up arms to… accept mercenary contracts coming from "just part[ies]" in unidentified, unclear "conflict[s]". A fittingly impossible crowning of an impossible story defying every aspect of this era of history human civilisation lived through. In the centuries claimed to have been the setting of the events, there was "disparity of circumstances" for every single working person on Earth, and there were no mercenary contracts separating "just and unjust" parties. All feudal overlords exploited all of their peasants in vicinity, just like all corporate overlords continue to exploit all workers many centuries later, in an updated form of class society. Injustice was global and ever-present, just like it is in the economic misery of the 2951 model of capitalism, being hard-coded into the very basis of private profit interest. Again, not an impressive feat of imagination from the public relations sources in this fledgling organisation.

But maybe this history of the group is solely aimed at impressionable prospective recruits who would not cause themselves much headache about whether stories they have been pitched are true. We can move on to the manifesto of the Order of Zion, in an attempt to determine whether its focus on today invites a higher degree of believability. Not much luck there. While the group does recognise "unjust authority" of the Empire over its public – for some unclear reason limited to Stanton in their vision – the brave chest-beating of the manifesto concludes the organisation will strike to expel UEE forces from "what is inherently a system of LIBERTY & FREE ENTERPRISE!!!". I will go into the questions of "liberty" and "free" enterprise later in the article, but I need to mention that this, not very mature declaration – going against the actual history of Stanton – is paired on the organisation's RSI platform page with… no less than an iconic historical symbol of a worker's raised fist – used throughout centuries in working-class collective action and revolutions – as well as the principal symbol of anarchist political thought. Yes, a manifesto praising "free enterprise" is presented beside symbols whose entire history is steeped in anti-capitalist struggle.

We have seen this phenomenon previously, of course. Individuals and groups attempting to claim the name of anarchism for their "Anarcho"-Capitalist dystopian visions of neo-feudal domination of private economic power, while having nothing in history to claim as cases of such a "society". This comes in stark, devastating contrast with numerous examples of collective, collaborative communities of solidarity that have comprised the entire history of anarchist thought and practice. The dreams of economic domination (the latter term used ceaselessly and without irony throughout this "liberty-loving" organisation's texts, by the way) are in direct and absolute contradiction with every single ideal, theoretical work, and practical application of anarchism, a fact that is not lost on anyone who has ever read a single source about the theory or historical cases of the latter.

If you thought this combination of grand ambitions with political ignorance and self-aggrandisement of the group was distasteful, you only have to read a few lines further to come across this charming line:

To establish dominance in [combat], piracy, mercenary contracts, exploration, mining, experimentation and trade throughout the universe with an elite body of citizens selected through rigorous vetting and subsequently trained to excel beyond all other citizens.

Well, there you have it. It does not take the reader of this self-centred syndicate's promotional texts long to reach the thinly veiled crypto-fascist programme of "elite specimen" dominating the capabilities of "lesser samples" through privately designed and awarded objectives of armed action and criminal thuggery. You thought this was about "liberty"? Well, we have our own definition of the word, sorry to present the fact. Now the use of this rather despicable text alongside the noble and time-tested symbol of anarchist communities of cooperation, common good and social responsibility reads not only as an example of bad taste, but as straight ideological vomit speaking only about its authors' illiteracy, wishful thinking about the world, and shamelessly nefarious goals with regard to our society.

I mentioned the unexplained summaries in the group's supposed history of generating wealth without exploitation during one of the darkest eras in history. Their omissions extend to the current times, too – the first section of their organisation page declares an intent to "be liberated from the confines of the social constructs imposed in The Verse […]". Now, while social constructs clearly are an existing phenomenon, one would – and should – obviously ask what examples the group sees as such. Without such definitions, declarations like the quoted one mean nothing – you could walk up to the authors of this text and agree with the statement before detailing your definitions of "social constructs", and they would be horrified to hear those being the exact opposite of their imagined cases. But we are familiar with this ideological game of using dogwhistle terms, without specifics, in the hopes that like-minded reactionary individuals will recognise the signal as coming from one of their own. Any individual looking to join an organisation in Stanton or anywhere else should dare recruiters to spare them this – not very brave – game and be honest in their ideological statements. Many will not like what they will hear as a result, hence the need for syndicates like this one to obscure and obfuscate through vague references of "we are against bad things".

If we try to move aside all these disingenuous formulations, what actually does the Order of Zion offer a working-class person of the Empire, tired of the bureaucratic mess of political parties and self-service of their politicians, but also of their relentless, life-sucking exploitation by the parasitic private capital? Nothing but a sociopathic promise of escaping the rigged game by becoming a leech on society yourself – through piracy, private profit generation, and "domination" as part of an "elite". The laughably unserious thinking of "government bad, private good" does not imply freeing honest working people from their yokes. It implies substituting the odious alliance of private business-serving government and corporations with a system entirely structured around and run by the latter – a neo-feudal dystopia decorated with tech-influenced fascist aesthetics. The promise of such a future is one where the few existing social structures of state support that keep afloat the people impoverished by private capital are gone, and you and I take on the role of the peasants of the dark ages this latest group of "free enterprise" supposedly has its roots in.

There is no such thing as "free enterprise", and no such thing as freedom without qualifications. Every example of economic, social or political arrangement in human society results in different outcomes for different participating classes. If I privately own a workplace, my "free enterprise" is one where freedom of its workers to determine the type, conditions and outcomes of their work is precluded and prohibited. Hurston Dynamics' freedom to wreck the biodiversity of their planet means the absence of freedom of its inhabitants to access a healthy environment. A pirate's freedom to terrorise populations of Stanton is the lack of freedom of these civilians to be free from terror. A private group's freedom to "dominate" the system through its "elite" ranks is the absence of everyone else's freedom to not be subjected to life in such system. Pretending liberty and freedom exist as singular realities is unserious, but also extremely dangerous if people believing in these wishes of personal glorification are allowed anywhere near power.

If you come across one of these "visionaries" selling you the snake oil of sociopathy and thinly veiled fascism, know them for who they are and have always been throughout history. In Stanton in particular, encountering attempts of propaganda and recruitment from organisations such as these should be easily dismissible for any person with intentions to benefit workers and communities of the system. You have groups such as Red & Black Coalition to look to instead, if you want to bring actual liberty to the masses and the exploited.

We have a world to win for the working class, and private interest dominions are an enemy in this historic struggle. To those smearing the names of anarchism and revolution by deploying them in their anti-revolutionary, reactionary, poisonous ideology, we can only say the time-tested war slogan of anarchist communities – "no pasarán!"