Ambassador's Life Ch. 04bySEVERUSMAX©
"Master, Eupas has returned," Prima informed the Ambassador, who had just finished shaving himself.
"Let him in," Kalitz instructed her.
Eupas entered his boss's office, apparently satisfied from a few encounters with youths. He also looked pleased for another reason. Abel instantly sensed that the meeting with the Vorindun Consul must have gone well. How well was the question whose answer he would know soon.
"Ambassador, the Consul agreed to recommend an alliance to his superiors. The Vorindun Senate will consider the Akrosian threat to the entire solar system. It's strange how much power that world gives to a body elected by common people. They even call them THE PEOPLE, as if to give commoners a group title. All of their top officials are directly elected, such as their Head of State, Supreme Executive Council, Executive Boards and Commissions, Treasurer, People's Advocates, and High Courts. They even have a People's Assembly. No other world in this system gives as much authority and influence to regular people and magistrates chosen by them. They are so... ," Eupas rambled.
"DEMOCRATIC? Well, the Vorindun Republic has ancient laws that demand respect for the sovereignty of the people. They are similar to many Earth nations in the past and several in the present, particularly ancient Rome, Carthage, and Greece. They are not as advanced as the United States of America or the Commonwealth of Australasia, perhaps, but they are light-years ahead of Red China or the Akrosian Empire.
"Sure, they have so-called 'patricians' and 'plebeians', but the distinction is social and carries no legal weight after centuries of intermarriage between the Orders. The only major difference is that they still practice debt-bondage and indentured servitude. Slavery was abolished when they realized that it created a potential 'fifth column' in interplanetary wars. Of course, being pragmatists, they emancipated their slaves gradually. They also compensated slaveholders. They replaced their appointed Senate with an elected one in stages too.
"The Vorindun Revolution was more inclusive than some revolutions in Earth history, especially that of ancient Rome. The King and titled nobility were overthrown by about half of the lesser aristocracy, including children born out of wedlock. It was nicknamed 'The Bastard Rebellion' for that reason. These second and bastard sons wanted the abolition of primogeniture and entail. They overthrew the monarchy to achieve it when the King refused to set such a 'dangerous' precedent. Since they faced a strong counterrevolutionary faction in the deposed King and lords of the realm, they appealed to the mercantile and peasant classes for support. They promised them voting rights and other concessions.
"Since that time, the confiscation of royal lands and the termination of the practice of entail have caused the line between the upper and lower classes to blur. As families split the inheritances and women began to receive property rights, the effect was the opposite of what happened in ancient Rome. Smallholders increased in number and large estates became passé. Actual titles were abolished as part of the compromise with the plebeians. There is no longer any real difference between patrician and plebeian.
"The end of discrimination against bastards and the official elimination of the use of the term 'illegitimate' to refer to them moved society in the direction of a permissive attitude toward sexuality. The Vorindun were never more than slightly prudish since the formation of the Kingdom; the Republic removed the last traces of sexual priggishness.
"Its evolution in that sense was boosted by the number of women with independent incomes from farms and professions. Not having to rely on men for financial security has caused them to welcome the push toward complete sexual freedom. The government program to eradicate STDs intensified that trend. With no fear of disease or pregnancy, the Vorindun inevitably became the most sexually liberated culture that I have ever known.
"Eventually, they repealed the laws that forbade women to hold public office, since they had a hard time keeping female smallholders and businesswomen from seeking political influence anyway. They figured that it was best to hold such powerful characters accountable to the electorate. Now they have a society that would make many liberals on Earth green with envy, aside from the debt-bondage and indentured servitude, of course," Ambassador Kalitz explained, falling back into his old pattern of lecturing people. At times, he suspected that he should have TAUGHT interstellar law instead of practicing it.
"That is a VERY different culture and history than ours, Ambassador. We have a lot of bastards here who would love to revolt and seize their fair share of their fathers' estates, but 'no such luck', as you Terrans say. In some matters, we have a more sensible society than some of your Earth nations, from what I have read. However, when it comes to legal rights and social justice, we have a lot of problems. I would love to see my world move forward. Maybe the fight against the Akrosians and their damned Occupation will be enough to achieve that. Something tells me that our civilization will be very different after the war than before it, whether for the best or the worst.
"What I find disturbing about your culture, if you'll pardon my saying so, is that your progress on certain issues has not increased your freedom. Your own nation has several member-states that still frown on my lifestyle, for instance. Why is homosexuality condemned by so many people on your planet? Is that due to a religion or something? If so, which religion?" Eupas stated.
"It is mainly two and a half religions that condemn what they call 'sodomy'. By '2 and half' I mean Christianity and Islam, plus the Orthodox branch of my own faith: Judaism. I'm more secular and was brought up Reform, however. That is the more liberal branch of a religion which is based on an ancient civilization that was destroyed by more powerful ones. The survivors dispersed to other continents for centuries and were culturally affected by other peoples. They were also persecuted for their beliefs and murdered en masse.
"The rule against homosexuality was part of the old legal and moral code of my people and was inherited by the offshoots called Christianity and Islam. The latter of those two is technically the majority faith in the Federation. Fortunately, much of West Asia is adopting a more open-minded view of sex. Only the fanatics really push for the imposition of Sharia, that is Islamic, law. The Second Iranian Revolution in 2015 greatly weakened the militant factions.
"Eventually, all of the corrupt and incompetent regimes ruled by Islamic clergy were toppled by a combination of elections and armed uprisings. There was even a military coup that ousted the Saudi King and installed a benevolent dictatorship, which instituted drastic reforms and clamped down on the extreme Wahabi sect. Leaders like that started to wink at things like homosexuality, not enforcing laws that were directed at gays and lesbians. When the Federation was formed, anti-sodomy laws were revoked by legislatures and courts as unenforceable and unconstitutional under the new charter of civil rights.
"Ultimately, social mores were relaxed and only a minority of people still adhere to a strict version of any sect. The Major is somewhat more conservative, but many of his subordinates are not. We have a couple of Maronite Christians from Lebanon too. They are part of the Eastern Rite of the Roman Catholic Church, the largest Christian sect on Earth.
"We also have another Jew on the staff, but she is more devout than myself. Anyone much more conservative than her would not have gone on this mission, as they spend their time studying Torah and Talmud instead of pursuing secular careers. Practically all of my security troops are Yemeni Arabs, all but one of whom are Muslims. The sole exception among the Yemenis is Corporal Karl Marx Hakim, an atheistic Marxist.
"Anyway, despite the official teachings of the various religions, there are plenty who do not condemn your lifestyle. I suspect you overheard some negative comments, that is all. Perhaps you heard some from the only non-Yemeni on the security team: Private Omar Sayeed from Jordan. He's from an old Bedouin family and they tend to be stricter," Abel clarified.
"That explains a few things, but what is a Marxist?" the aide asked.
"A Marxist is a person who believes in the political theories of Karl Marx, a German expatriate sociologist, who taught that the lowest class must overthrow all of the higher classes and seize control of the means of production. He wanted to abolish private property. He also denounced religion as a tool of the higher classes to distract the lower classes from their misery by focusing on a non-existent afterlife.
"His chief supporter in this cause was Friedrich Engels, another German. Marx and Engels wrote Das Kapital and The Communist Manifesto in 1848. Marxism was popular in the 20th Century, but became insignificant after the fall of Communism," Kalitz told him.
"That sounds like a rather extreme way to better oneself. That could only work if all of the higher classes were exterminated. Otherwise, there would be enough of them to resist the new system. They would do that, too, since they were being excluded from any share of wealth. I wouldn't mind a violent revolution, if it didn't mean the annihilation of half of the people. I just want more of a future. I am NOT from the very bottom level of our society. I'm a simple clerk and my father was a clerk. In fact, most of my ancestors were clerks. I would be eliminated myself in such a scheme. A more just society is all that I seek for my world," Eupas reacted.
"That's very understandable. In the meantime, we have to get those damned Akrosians off your world. Contacting the Macureans will be the next step, although a tad difficult. I still haven't heard anything about whether any of the Magnates survived the attack. As bad as they were, they might be necessary in some conservative circles to organizing resistance. Of course, they won't be able to lead it alone.
"I think that we can expect something like the situation in Nazi-occupied Europe during the Second World War. Right-wing and leftist groups will cooperate to a limited extent, but also compete with each other for the allegiance of the people. There is no guarantee of what kind of world might emerge from the destruction of the old regime. There is also some question as to WHEN the invaders will be expelled. However, that WILL happen, sooner or later. It is inevitable that the conquerors will be driven off your planet. No military conquest is permanent.
"Have you heard any news, by the way? I don't care if it is a rumor, broadcast, or something that you witnessed in person. The only privacy that I get is in my office here. Everywhere else, that damned lieutenant and his men escort me and keep ignorant of my surroundings. I haven't even seen all of the damage to the capital," the Ambassador inquired.
"From what I have heard, 4 Magnates are missing. 3 of them were captured alive. The rest are dead, including Lord Parlas. This was something that I learned from one of the youths, a peasant who had just gotten off work from cleaning up the rubble. The principal government buildings are largely intact, but the Akrosians have arrested most of the peers.
"About a dozen of the vermin swore fealty to the Empress and agreed to 'advise' the Occupational Authority. Evidently, they are going to become Akrosian puppets, in the dubious hope of ruling this world when the Empire restores our independence. They are collaborators, betraying the people. When we get our planet back, they will be punished!" the assistant announced.
"Spoken like a true freedom fighter. I guess I should have asked about that earlier, but I got sidetracked with the history of Vorindun and human religious beliefs. Then again, so did you. A rather strange pair of geeks, aren't we, talking politics and religion while the world ends?
"In any case, the death of Lord Parlas and the arrest of much of the aristocracy means that the former government no longer exists at all. I suspected as much. Whatever regime the collaborators establish will be a sham, not really benefiting the people, either. You're no longer a subject of the Dekerin Domains, because are no such 'domains'. You are still on the payroll of the Federation of West Asia, however, and I expect loyalty to me as the Ambassador.
"Naturally, I will also help you and your friends organize a progressive resistance movement, since we should at least TRY to improve the lot of your people after the war. A good place to start your guerilla force will be with your fellow homosexuals, but you should also recruit their friends and relatives as well your own. Tell them that they have the unofficial backing of the West Asian Ambassador. That is ALL that you should say about me for now.
"I also think that you should begin setting up a political wing of your faction. You need some basis on which to rival the Magnates, such as promising a more enlightened future for your world. That is something that would be believed more easily from you, given your social background. In order to do that, however, you need to set up a 'shadow government' of sorts. That way, you can possibly be ready to create a different government for your civilization after the Akrosians have been defeated. You will also embarrass the Red Chinese, who would have to explain why they are helping a monarchy suppress a populist front. You need some kind of decentralized command structure, with cells that operate independently and can strike ruthlessly without warning.
"You also require a name for your heroic liberation movement. Call it something that will appeal to the masses. You know the Dekerin people more than myself. Don't just borrow titles from similar groups in Earth history. Pick a name with a Dekerin flavor to it. Just because you want to change their customs doesn't mean that you shouldn't USE those traditions to your advantage. I guarantee you that the Magnates will not hesitate to do that themselves. With the right name, manifesto, organization, dedication, and courage, you can defeat these invaders and be in a stronger position than the more conservative elements," Kalitz declared.
"What about Prima and Secunda? Shouldn't they be inducted into my underground?" Eupas probed.
"Certainly. They have a stake in the future and should not revert to being peasants. They cannot be maidservants in the old sense forever. Their present status is little better than serfdom or slavery. The 12 peers will probably make only slight changes to the social order, mainly ones to accommodate the Occupational Authority. I'll let you recruit Prima and Secunda to spy on the lieutenant and other Akrosians here at the Embassy," Abel agreed.
"Thank you, sir. As a matter of fact, the peers HAVE announced their program: the abolition of the Council of Magnates and all distinctions between Magnate and peer, the execution of all who fail to swear fealty to the Empress, the confiscation of all estates belonging to dead or captured Magnates and peers for division among the remaining nobles, the execution of all Dekerins who seduce or attempt to seduce Akrosians, the confiscation of all estates and assets of people who resist the Occupation or aid said resistance for division among the peers, and the creation of a new Dekerin government subordinate to the Occupational Authority and consisting entirely of nobles.
"As you can see, these proposals benefit none but the peers and Akrosians themselves. It concentrates wealth further in the hands of the peers and doesn't improve the lot of second sons, daughters, or bastard children. They are behaving in a manner contrary to the warrior ethos of this world, by simply submitting to the new regime. They have dispossessed people still alive and haven't really even done the Akrosian soldiers a favor in the sexual sense. The populace will be too frightened to sleep with them. I guess that was a concession to the prudish ways of the Empire. It will hurt their morale in the long run, however. That will be worsened by the fact that Akrosians frown upon masturbation as a waste of DNA. We will take full advantage of this by getting our operatives to wear only as many clothes as necessary.
"I think that 'The Forces of the Warrior People' will work for us. The 'People' part will be the first clue that we are not trying to restore the old system. The name of our political front will be 'The Dekerin Society for Justice'.
"We will advocate the following: the execution of all collaborators and other traitors, the confiscation of the property of all collaborators and other traitors, the redistribution of all confiscated assets and estates to the middle and lower classes, no seizure of any estates belonging to patriotic nobles, the abolition of all titles of nobility and legal distinctions between the classes, revocation of laws depriving second sons and bastards of inheritances, a tax on all inherited estates, property rights for women, revocation of laws forbidding certain people to marry, revocation of laws that forbid parents to name their daughters, and compensation to be paid to all victims of the Occupation.
"Politically, we will promise: the dissolution of the puppet government, a charter of civil rights, a basic law for the organization of future government, a reformed penal code, election of the chief magistrates and a unicameral assembly by universal adult suffrage, lowering the age of majority to 16, mandatory militia service for all citizens at the age of majority, compulsory public education for all citizens from ages to 4 to 16, free college and trade school education for all who wish it, an independent judiciary, local administration by metropolitan areas with elected councils and commissions, standard weights and measures, a new currency and credit system, a central bank, independent trade unions, and a professional army and space fleet.
"Socially, we will offer: a reforestation program to improve soil fertility and undo erosion, public ownership of all forests, regulation of logging through an appointed board, universal basic health care through the State, abolition of internal tariffs and duties, an income tax, excise taxes on certain products, the right of all citizens over 16 to marry and divorce any other citizens above 16, the right of all citizens above 16 to take or become concubines, protective tariffs on Akrosian exports, old-age pensions, disability subsidies, competitive bidding for public contracts to operate mines in the wastelands of the southern continent with AI mines, and the repeal of any laws against intermarriage or mating with extraterrestrials.
"We will make it clear that we seek progress as well as liberation. We will also attempt to deal with any fears of the peasants and artisans that they will not have their lords and guilds to provide for their social welfare. That is why we MUST have a social safety net for the poor. Otherwise, without the nobles, they might not have the means to survive on their own. That is hardly an incentive to favor our side. This must be both a political and a social revolution to win the support of the masses.
"We must also not seem to impose a new religion on the people; they love the old ways of worshipping their ancestors and spirits of Nature. In fact, that can be used to our advantage, in emphasizing the difference with the Akrosians and their efforts to establish this 'cult of the Equals' and building enthusiasm for our conservation measures. I entered government service in the hope of making many of these changes somehow. I just didn't realize that I would do it as an underground resistance leader," Eupas commented.