Dear Socialist Movements of eRepublik,
Some of you may know me, some of you may not. My identity at this stage is irrelevant; what is important is what you in particular are doing. It is often said that people stand on the shoulders of the giants which come before them.
Personally I don’t like to refer to the Beta Communist movements of the past as giants, they were anything but. However, you are following the same path that I and many others once took. It is important to realize that many of the same problems you face, inactivity, leadership problems, geopolitical difficulties, ect, were all problems that personally I had to help solve. So if you will humor me for a moment I would like to lay out a few guidelines for Socialist parties in particular.
If you are a capitalist pig dog and reading this, some of the rules may apply to your own capitalist party, so keep reading anyway.
To the Proletariat:
There is an important distinction between Socialist parties and Capitalist parties that I really didn’t quite understand till recently. They are inherently different movements, not just from the gaming perspective but from the relationships between the players and the game. I’ll elaborate a little.
Capitalist parties are based on the very fundamentals of the game itself. All of these parties are almost identical and thus transfer of power between those parties is basically meaningless. The player’s relationship to the game doesn’t change while being in a Capitalist party because they are in it for two things, political gains, and economic rewards. A player in a Capitalist party doesn’t expect the leadership to do anything other than give minimal welfare or some helpful advice. Their politics are generally free-market pioneering and every man is for himself.
The only time one of these Capitalist parties actually means anything is when they are in power. Then the political maneuvering each individual did during his/her stay starts to equate to economic rewards.
Socialist parties are different.
Socialist parties are based on community between players. You are in a direct anti-thesis relationship with eRepublik. Your party, your foundations, and your economic policies are completely opposite of what the original creators of this game intended. As such you don’t have the luxury of ingrained in-game rules which allow you to implement everything you want to do without conflict with the system. As a result everything you do has to be done outside of the game.
This poses a major problem. By nature of Socialism itself the party has effectively removed an entire aspect of play from the game. And in addition to that, everything that the party wants to do must be done outside of the game.
Interior bureaucracy which controls companies (if you run a commune), donation systems, leadership positions, and various other administrative tid-bits. What ties you together? What is your glue that keeps the system in constant and direct contact with each other?
For the Capitalist party it is the game itself, because the game supports everything they do. From the overly simplistic governing structure to the economic policies they don’t have to organize anything other than “who is going to be defense minister once we take over.”
For you, the Socialist there is nothing for you here. Often you have your own complicated bureaucratic structure outside of the game, likely you have your own economic system which requires active participation and attention, likely you have tons of members which require constant tending to, to ensure that people get the proper fruits from their labor. As a result of this it is a tendency for Socialist parties to lose steam very quickly.
Unless you have something else which bonds you together.
Let’s look at some history. Pakistan in beta was a Socialist style country and was a major player on the world stage until a few months after the launch of V1. How did their movement stay so strong for such a long period of time? They had an external community, something which tied them together. The communal aspect of the Socialist system was strong because they all had something else in common. There was more to lose from quitting eRepublik if that was the case. If you leave eRepublik when tied to an external community your actions in eRepublik carry over. If you know the people around you, your friends and people you’ve known for years you are more likely to stay active.
A Socialist party is about community and brotherhood.
Let’s look at more history. Russia during my stay operated on the same principles. How did our community last months before and through Norwegian take over, then after it was free, then taken over again? We had an external community and an external forum. We knew each other for a long time. And if you are thinking that your party forum which is “outside of” eRepublik counts, it doesn’t. Find something else. Find a video game, host tournaments, play Chess for all I care but do SOMETHING. A Socialist party which doesn’t have a community is a dead party; it’s only a matter of time before it technically happens.
To the Glorious Leadership:
Socialist movements tend to have a lot of power focused on the most active dedicated members. That’s just the way this game works out. Instigating direct democracy for control over communes is just asking to have a con-artist steal all your stuff. But with this inevitability it is important to recognize its implications. Leadership systems in Socialist parties follow two distinct types.
1. Council Rule
2. Traditional Rule
Council rule is when you have 3-5 very close people who have known each other for a very long time in top leadership positions. The CPSU had this between Manifesto and I, and a couple others. Council rule is easy to identify if you can take any single member of that council and put them as leader and nothing changes. This happens because that group is so close that they don’t do anything without approval of each other.
These leaders are recognized without question for their legitimacy and their devotion to the movement.
The problem with this is that it causes inactivity in the party. When you have a group of people who “just do everything,” even if they do an awesome job, it has a centralizing effect on power. Once the people in the party don’t have anything to do other than push buttons people get bored. When the CPSU had this system we recognized it and tried desperately for people to get involved and try to participate but it simply didn’t work. It was already too late. Those leaders were so widely recognized that people didn’t think they should bother doing the positions, just more work, and they would likely not rise to expectations of the current leadership.
If you have this system in your party you need to work on fixing it. Council rule has tons of benefits but this system more than any other needs some bonding social capital to keep people interested in the movement. Putting people into leadership positions and expanding that inner circle is important. If your inner circle of trusted members isn’t growing it’s die’ing.
This probably applies to everyone else. Traditional rule is when you copy capitalist party’s organizational structure. You have a party leader that has ultimate authority with a bunch of his friends as congressmen. Changes in power cause turmoil as new people with new ideas (and no connection to the previous leadership) can completely revamp the entire movement. The good thing about this is those parties are likely to have more activity because people can cut each other’s throats for political power. The bad part is that you can get people in leadership positions who definitely shouldn’t be in the leadership.
The reason the system causes constant turmoil is because you typically get one leader who has been leading the party for decades then decides to take a break or quit. Once that happens all the new kids who think they knew how shit worked realize very quickly that it isn’t as easy as it looks. Once your Stalin-esc type figure goes down all hell breaks loose. As the previous structure and organization that everyone was accustomed to shatters into pieces.
It takes a succession of insanely powerful and influential people to keep this type of thing going. Normally you don’t get that. Normally you get some moron who doesn’t know what he’s doing and the party begins to disintegrate. Members start wondering why they are in a Socialist party if it isn’t even giving them stuff and people lose interest. The party can either break up or it just stays stale for a while until another power player takes over.
Good way to get rid of this is to build a community and try to get a recognized group of established politicians who can take control if the current guy quits. More than council rule, the desire for direct democracy is in play. Give way to that demand and allow the party members to have significant control over policy decisions through votes. The less power you focus on your leader, the more likely you are to have a stable and long lasting party.
Some parties have already done this and averted eventual disaster. And others are still iffy about putting direct democracy into play for fear of getting con’ed. As with everything, it’s a risk you take.
Finally I would just like to say that politics in general is never going to be pure. There are times in my own stay here that I did… questionable things with regards to the direction of the country. Propaganda and revisionist history can say whatever they want about the situation but the only important thing is what occurred. I know a few parties which base themselves off absolute morality, truth, honor, justice, insert whatever relativistic term you want here.
I want to wish those people good luck because eventually you are going to be given a cross roads. Who do you support, your beliefs in the democratic compromise, to your nation, or your loyalty to the party? When I helped negotiate Russian freedom from Norway I choose the nation. The political shockwaves from that decision still exist through re-written history books by turncoats and bitter political rivals. It was a mistake, even if it was the logical choice.
So I plead with you to learn from my mistakes.
When I left the game, the remaining leadership choose the party and we suffer the political repercussions of that today. But that’s a choice I’m happy they made. It was the right choice, the correct choice, and beyond anything else the only choice, once you commit yourself to the Socialist movement.
Because Socialist movements aren’t about “winning,” it’s about doing something new. Being an innovator, changing the way people perceive eRepublik, and most importantly it’s about the people you meet and the friends you make.
Learn from my mistakes and from my experiences. Don’t try to repeat history, try to create it, to innovate it, and to change it. Don’t fall sway to greed or selfish desire; propel yourselves above it, beyond it, and into a new destiny that I personally was never able to accomplish. Understand that maintaining a Socialist Movement is more than just the game. It’s about the people in your movement who play the game. I never want to see parties making the same mistakes I made, so please take a moment and read these words of wisdom.