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  • Communist/ socialist Syndicate?

    Ok I know that this is somewhat of a hot button issue and also pretty much everyone has an opinion on it.

    Ok so we know the technocracy has touched literally every single modern day nation, and quite a few that weren't. Every wide-scale political movement has felt their influence, one way or the other, for good or ill.

    So... communism. Or socialism. There were quite a few possibilities out there. A few bits and pieces where things could have changed, or gone the other way.

    How would a Technocracy that threw itself behind socialism/ communism work out? Or at least, it wasn't such a massive one sided victory. Mind you, I think there's already quite a few similarities. For starters, communism has a noted focus on the workers who do work, i.e. human activity, and that's literally a focus for primal utility.

  • #2
    I would say that the technocracy should be fully involved in a wide variety of social movements. The Craft Masons definitely had some strong proto communist themes. One interpretation could be that the entire cold war could be seen as technocratic experimentation.

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    • #3
      Really depends what you think that kind of world would be like? As well as how much depth you want to give it.


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      • #4
        Originally posted by LaughingGull View Post
        I would say that the technocracy should be fully involved in a wide variety of social movements. The Craft Masons definitely had some strong proto communist themes. One interpretation could be that the entire cold war could be seen as technocratic experimentation.
        One interpretation?

        I thought it *was* the interpretation. What else would the Soviet Union be, other than a split-off of radical syndicate and New World Order, seeking to fast forward the time table using Russia and East Europe as the base, in the aftermath of the Second World War? I mean, look at their propaganda and what they tried to do. Peak technocracy there.

        Of course, a dozen or so paradox backlashes over, and the entire thing fell apart, but it certainly stunk of the Technocratic Union.

        edit: In fact, when the Soviet Union talks about 'capitalist saboteurs'? They weren't wrong. The entire thing was one massive power struggle, fighting, politicking, and killing for resources and power. Until one side lost, and the Soviet Union broke.
        Last edited by Accelerator; 06-18-2021, 10:49 AM.

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        • #5
          I don't know the canon answer, but here's some mussings:

          The general tendency after Sorcerer's Cruzade it's for the Technocracy to align with the "status quo" and "powers that be", while the rest toil in the sidelines. Because, in the past, Communism was very hegemonic in part of the world, it would only make sense for the technocracy to be the "powers that be" at that side of the Iron Curtain, too - regardless of the fact that etherites are said to be so big on socialism. It makes narrative sense if you want to play in a communist country arround that era, as to have them in their typical roles of protagonist/antagonist.

          As for the Syndicate, I see two ways to go about it: Either the Syndicate exists and opperates at both sides of the Iron Curtain, experimenting with different types economy for the masses. As you say (and it's my favored interpretation, too) Or you go "Civil War", and say the NWO are the socialists and the Syndicate are strictly capitalists (as the new book implies for the current modern world) .

          Personaly, being such a big part of the world and history, I don't think the Syndicate should be left behind: You would be left with a "crippled" Technocracy, and would have to repurpose NWO, in order to play Mage in the Soviet Union. I think it's more interesting to have a specialist faction for the all too important economic leg of that subject.

          It's my understandingn that Marxism it's very much on line with the school of classic economics founded by Adam Smith. Loosely speaking, the added value (there's also value on nature) of manufactured items comes from the process of work, trough the different means of production. Marx doubles down on the importance of the workers that do the job on this value generation. And proposes that this value shouldn't be expropiated by someone just by virtue of having a legaly binding title of property. The discrepancy it's not so much about the source of the value, as it's about what to *do* with that value. Who has the rigth to keep most of it, why, how...etc.

          But, as you said, Paradigm wise it's still "human activity" creating value. Perhaps more so than with Smith, but way less so than with the School of Austria's marginal utility. If there's conflict in the Technocracy about this, it's from a strictly insider perspective (what it's the correct way to organize the world) - outwards this is still the march of the modern world and the developpment of the technocratical paradigm.

          if you want to have Syndicate there, yet you want to keep the current metaplot, you could say the Syndicate become 100% Capitalist during the fall of the Soviet Union - perhaps you could even say that this event was aking to an "Aehter" thing for many Technocrats, that would join the Etherites.
          Last edited by Aleph; 06-18-2021, 10:44 AM.

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          • #6
            Communism is antithetical to the Technocracy. At it's core, communism posits social and economic equality between all peoples (the people own the means of production and produce what is needed). The Technocracy is a cabal of superhumans who quietly manipulate the world behind the scenes and believe themselves inherently superior to Sleepers. You simply can't have a true communist society and also have the Technocracy standing above everyone else, running the show from the shadows.

            Honestly I think the Technocracy would have pushed for the USSR (and China and other nations) in the direction of authoritarianism and dictatorships and away from actual communism which is basically what happened in real-life. There, of course, would have been experiments with the communist/soviet paradigms, but I think many of the members of the Technocracy were really afraid of where that sort of thing would eventually lead.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post
              Communism is antithetical to the Technocracy. At it's core, communism posits social and economic equality between all peoples (the people own the means of production and produce what is needed). The Technocracy is a cabal of superhumans who quietly manipulate the world behind the scenes and believe themselves inherently superior to Sleepers. You simply can't have a true communist society and also have the Technocracy standing above everyone else, running the show from the shadows.

              Honestly I think the Technocracy would have pushed for the USSR (and China and other nations) in the direction of authoritarianism and dictatorships and away from actual communism which is basically what happened in real-life. There, of course, would have been experiments with the communist/soviet paradigms, but I think many of the members of the Technocracy were really afraid of where that sort of thing would eventually lead.
              That depends.

              How self-aware do you think the Technocrats are? Do you think they're well meaning but corrupted by age and might, or know they're lying and are in it for the power?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Aleph View Post
                I don't know the canon answer, but here's some mussings:

                The general tendency after Sorcerer's Cruzade it's for the Technocracy to align with the "status quo" and "powers that be", while the rest toil in the sidelines. Because, in the past, Communism was very hegemonic in part of the world, it would only make sense for the technocracy to be the "powers that be" at that side of the Iron Curtain, too - regardless of the fact that etherites are said to be so big on socialism. It makes narrative sense if you want to play in a communist country arround that era, as to have them in their typical roles of protagonist/antagonist.

                As for the Syndicate, I see two ways to go about it: Either the Syndicate exists and opperates at both sides of the Iron Curtain, experimenting with different types economy for the masses. As you say (and it's my favored interpretation, too) Or you go "Civil War", and say the NWO are the socialists and the Syndicate are strictly capitalists (as the new book implies for the current modern world) .

                Personaly, being such a big part of the world and history, I don't think the Syndicate should be left behind: You would be left with a "crippled" Technocracy, and would have to repurpose NWO, in order to play Mage in the Soviet Union. I think it's more interesting to have a specialist faction for the all too important economic leg of that subject.

                It's my understandingn that Marxism it's very much on line with the school of classic economics founded by Adam Smith. Loosely speaking, the added value (there's also value on nature) of manufactured items comes from the process of work, trough the different means of production. Marx doubles down on the importance of the workers that do the job on this value generation. And proposes that this value shouldn't be expropiated by someone just by virtue of having a legaly binding title of property. The discrepancy it's not so much about the source of the value, as it's about what to *do* with that value. Who has the rigth to keep most of it, why, how...etc.

                But, as you said, Paradigm wise it's still "human activity" creating value. Perhaps more so than with Smith, but way less so than with the School of Austria's marginal utility. If there's conflict in the Technocracy about this, it's from a strictly insider perspective (what it's the correct way to organize the world) - outwards this is still the march of the modern world and the developpment of the technocratical paradigm.

                if you want to have Syndicate there, yet you want to keep the current metaplot, you could say the Syndicate become 100% Capitalist during the fall of the Soviet Union - perhaps you could even say that this event was aking to an "Aehter" thing for many Technocrats, that would join the Etherites.
                And to add a bit of emphasis to that final point, the etherights already have a faction that deals with socialist / communist economic theory. I don't have my book handy, so I may be wrong about their name; but I think they're called the Utopians. I could see them as a non-Technocrat group that has access to Primal Utility, too, and are ready to give the technomancers in the Traditions the same benefits the Technocracy enjoys (access to whatever their version of Primal Ventures is called, and arguably the technocratic mass production facility) of they could just get the Traditions to go for their collectivist views instead of the more individualistic treat that the tradition generally tend to favor.


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                • #9
                  Sure thing, the Etherites have you covered in the modern era. It would make me happy to have them behind some collectivist Tradition shenanigans


                  Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post
                  Communism is antithetical to the Technocracy. At it's core, communism posits social and economic equality between all peoples (the people own the means of production and produce what is needed). The Technocracy is a cabal of superhumans who quietly manipulate the world behind the scenes and believe themselves inherently superior to Sleepers. You simply can't have a true communist society and also have the Technocracy standing above everyone else, running the show from the shadows.

                  Honestly I think the Technocracy would have pushed for the USSR (and China and other nations) in the direction of authoritarianism and dictatorships and away from actual communism which is basically what happened in real-life. There, of course, would have been experiments with the communist/soviet paradigms, but I think many of the members of the Technocracy were really afraid of where that sort of thing would eventually lead.
                  Trully, the Craftmasons were killed very much because of similar ideals. I think that at least the Technocratic leadership ain't going to be really onboard with handdling the power to the people, so to speak. Not really. They would be behind the corruption of the system, as they tend to be.

                  BUT, I think there's also a place for Technocrats that believe in the model, even if from a place of Hubris where they believe they're the ones that should lead humanity to that equality (and thus be in charge until it's 100% done). Eventually the masses will be free, but the pragmatic needs of the now require enligthened people to supervise the project...

                  Like: In Soviet Union someone has to revise the 5 years plans(who better than someone that can predict the future?), someone has to lead the industrialization that allows the people to live better (who better than the experts of ItX?), someone has to figth the vampires that supported the Tzar and the werewolves in the woods (like, an army of the people. And, who's the best at reinforcing the military of a nation?)...etc. You get it

                  I think the rank and file could be led to believe Communism it's exactly what they're building from the shadows, even while the leadership prob. isn't on board from a pov. of 100% authenticity (as they killed a faction for having collectivist ideals, that included mages giving their shadow-power away).

                  I think that's something one could play out. And if that leads to be against against certain decisions of "the party" - I think that's much more interesting and dramatic if you're part of it, and believe in it, than as an outsider that criticizes what's perceived as other.
                  At the end of the day, the real leaders would be above both sides of the curtain, playing chess with humans while knowing that the only real power it's magick, and that it's all theirs to command. Or that's how I see the Technocracy upper echelon, at least.
                  Last edited by Aleph; 06-18-2021, 01:37 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Let's be frank here. Considering the Technocracy and the Soviet Union, one can argue that the Technocracy is the Vanguard party that safeguards humanity while slowly granting them more power.

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                    • #11
                      To allow the masses to benefit from the Instruments and secret knowledge that comprise the arts, instead of hoarding it in towers...effectively giving the "means of production" to the masses ... ¿ain't that the spirit, comarade?

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Aleph View Post
                        To allow the masses to benefit from the Instruments and secret knowledge that comprise the arts, instead of hoarding it in towers...effectively giving the "means of production" to the masses ... ¿ain't that the spirit, comarade?
                        For the revolution, comrade! We must stamp out all bourgeoise thought, to ensure that the purity of our society! Some people claim we are cruel. We are cruel, only to be kind. Only under our aegis, can the revolution be protected, shielded, from the bourgeois Traditions! Those who seek to lord over mankind using their deviant powers! Only under our guidance, can the Masses truly be brought to freedom.

                        Onward, for the New World Order!

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                        • #13
                          In much the same way that cybernetics is something that is shared between Iteration X and the Progenitors, I tend to think that USSR-style socialism would be something shared between the NWO and the Syndicate.


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                          • #14
                            I'll just copy-paste what I wrote on another thread, for starters, with key parts emphasized.

                            Originally posted by Me!
                            ..."Everything can be bought, everything can be sold" is a fair maxim for a Syndicate paradigm, sure. But what about "the rising tide lifts all boats", or dare we suggest, "from each according to their ability, to each according to their need"?

                            And yes, I am absolutely, positively suggesting not just the existence, but viability, of Communist Syndicate agents. Note that I said the Syndicate is superficially interwoven and dependent upon capitalism.

                            Here's the rub: we get tied up and bogged down discussing capitol, value, and trade in terms of goods and services. That only encapsulates two, perhaps, three forms of capitol: financial, material, and living. What of social, intellectual, experiential, spiritual, and cultural capitol? It's only natural we get bogged down here, because we live in an economy of scarcity of natural and human resources, which places undue value and priority upon the three most basic, rudimentary, and immediate forms of capitol, and the latter five are only experienced and valued in the context of the former three's acquisition and preservation.

                            A post-scarcity economy wouldn't be the end of capitol: it would be the beginning of it. Because those other five forms of capitol would at last be equal, and exchange of those forms would be acknowledged, free, and ideal in a post-scarcity society. That's why Primal Utility is so great; it's a grand unified theory of value, unlinked from any individual form of capitol. That is the Syndicate view of Ascension, what differs is which economic theories are likely to get humanity there.

                            The other four conventions are groups of mages whose lofty aspirations for all humankind are limited by the methodologies and consensuses of their time, and not least the egos of those who practice those shared paradigms and are afraid to loosen their grasp on power for the sake of long-term gain. Syndicate's no different.
                            Of course there are going to be Communist/Socialist Syndicate agents. The convention's view of Ascension -- to achieve an economy unbound by scarcity in which all forms of capitol are equal and infinite, and each individual is free to contribute to the economy by the means available to them, receiving in exchange goods and services they need -- is fundamentally leftist. The Syndicate, ideally, views scarcity itself -- the fundamental source of economic inequality -- as the ultimate barrier to achieving that goal. Inequality simply cannot exist in a post-scarcity economy, because scarcity is the necessary precondition for inequality to rise.

                            Many -- hell, most -- agents may be in various states of denial about it, or work under mistaken assumptions. Which is where that whole "hubris" and "Ascension isn't easy, because a mage more often than not works against their own ultimate interest" bit comes in.
                            Last edited by Theodrim; 06-18-2021, 07:08 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Aleph View Post
                              BUT, I think there's also a place for Technocrats that believe in the model, even if from a place of Hubris where they believe they're the ones that should lead humanity to that equality (and thus be in charge until it's 100% done). Eventually the masses will be free, but the pragmatic needs of the now require enligthened people to supervise the project...
                              Oh, there absolutely are going to be "True Believers" who sincerely want the goal of eventual equality with everyone. Just remember that it's the World of Darkness. Those people will be in the minority. Most of the leadership of the Technocracy is going to be assholes especially when we're looking at the organization from a historical viewpoint. I mean, remember during WW2 the Technocracy took the side of Nazi Germany, not the Soviet Union. The organization expressly embraced Fascism. Ultimately much of the leadership of the Technocracy prefered an end-game where they remain the leaders and they remain in power and in charge.

                              Of course that brings us to present where a lot of Technocracy's leadership vanished with the Avatar Storm, so suddenly those individuals who listen to their better angels can start exerting more power and maybe push the organization back onto a better course. Or maybe not. That's a direction for players and STs to explore at their tables.

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