Embrea

When I hear the word culture, I reach for my gun.
Preston
Patriotic SMSian
Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2016 11:23 pm

Embrea

Postby Preston » Mon Oct 17, 2016 3:56 am

(if this is better in the NPC thread you can merge it but as I'm playing it, may as well go here)

As Leistung pointed out the other day, Embrea remains on the map and as active human players in Wallasea are minimal I was induced to take up playing it again in addition to Qarabid. Since then I've gotten several suggestions and feedback into what Embrea could look like in this iteration and begun a wiki, much of which will probably be redone in the coming days. After taking into consideration everything that's been suggested, and because this is more likely to be seen by everyone than an IRC post, here's what I've decided for it so far.

The modern-day Commonwealth of Embrea will be a fairly normal-by-IRL-standard social democracy with a constitutional monarchy as its government. I intend to have a large (~50%) Francophone population in those areas that border Quiberon and the other half composed of another linguistic/national group (Italian? Dutch?). Regionalism/sub-nationalism will be a long-simmering background issue (less Yugoslavia, more Belgium) and some groups within the sub-national groups may be sympathetic to Common Law akin to Quib's Western Frontier people.

From the 14th-17th centuries Embrea will have consisted of a number of small principalities that were primarily mercantile in nature akin to the Dutch principalities; probably a few of them became elective principalities/republics akin to Venice. Small, rich, probably backed militarily by a lot of mercenaries, but unable to project power beyond a certain point owing to their size. At some point (mid-17th century?) these get swallowed by Quiberon (war probably, maybe integrated through royal ties) and Embrea gets incorporated into the Quiberonnais state.

Sometime in the late-17th or early-18th century (I prefer the latter personally but dates make little difference to me) the mostly-Protestant Embrean provinces secede from Quiberon and rebel. Possibly there's some CL sentiments in the mix or some other reason for prominent Praetonian associations to provide financial assistance. If Prae-Quib rivalry is strong in Wallasea it may make sense to back the Embreans just for the sake of undermining Quib, ideologies aside. At any rate the revolution succeeds, Embrea gains its independence and one of the revolutionary leaders is offered the throne as King of the Embreans, which he accepts (this almost certainly pisses off his CL backers, if he had any).

Thoughts?

Preston
Patriotic SMSian
Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2016 11:23 pm

Re: Embrea

Postby Preston » Mon Oct 17, 2016 6:22 am

Modern stuff
Embrea wins its independence in 1829 (possibly on a treaty negotiated by whoever the great powers are) and is declared a "commonwealth of the people" in its new constitution. Willem van Amber (war hero and minor nobility) is elected Stadtholder and offered the throne in 1834, becoming King of the Embreans.

Industrialization occurs in the 1850s with the industrial revolution and brings syndicalism and labor reform movements with it. I actually envision Embrea being the start of syndicalism in SMSWorld with the establishment of the International Workers' Union in 1851. Out-and-out syndicalism is suppressed but through the 1860s-80s rudimentary labor laws are passed and the Workers' Party gains seats in the Council of State. Obviously the state will try to prevent the spread of syndicalism beyond its borders but probably be unsuccessful in that endeavor.

In the Great War Embrea was either neutral or loosely-aligned to CL after Quiberon and Praetonia go to war; in any case the contribution is minimal.

Postwar Embrea becomes a founding signatory of the Reims Agreement and probably tries to normalize relations with Quiberon.

1930s-60s is when social democrazy starts to take hold with welfare st8 programs becoming more prominent. Possibly Embrean troops take part in whatever goes on in Motappaland in the 60s.

1960s-present nothing much of note happens unless we have some major events in SMSWorld that Embrea can weigh in on.

Preston
Patriotic SMSian
Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2016 11:23 pm

Re: Embrea

Postby Preston » Tue Oct 18, 2016 3:05 am

Expanded Stuff Based on Conversations From Today

During the war of independence and for a short time thereafter the Embrean cause will be strongly influenced by Common Law. I'm imagining that in SMSWorld CL is the equivalent of classical liberalism as the driving force of our Enlightenment era, so all the upper-class radical philosophers/thinkers/statesmen will be really into it. The Embrean background of being formerly composed of small trade-focused polities also plays in well here with these forming their own associations that throw in with the cause of independence etc. As the war heats up there will probably be some support from Praetonian associations as well as the Western Frontier (if that's a thing in the early 19th century).

When the war ends, the Embreans are victorious and form an association (the Council of State) comprised of the smaller associations that'd taken part in the conflict. As mentioned before, General Willem van Amber is elected Stadtholder, basically a presiding official over the Council without any substantial power at this point. This lasts for five years, but fractures begin to appear in the framework of the Council of State particularly with regard to funding military and infrastructure expenditures - possibly also some disputes between associations and the Council over war bonds being paid off.

At any rate by 1834 the whole thing is held together basically by the force of Willem's charisma and universal prestige among the Embrean patriots. His term as Stadtholder is expiring, though, and nobody else is seen to have the same ability to hold the Commonwealth together. In a contentious decision, the Council of State comes to the compromise of offering Willem the title King of the Embreans but maintaining Common Law as the legal framework. Willem reluctantly accepts - this displeases a significant subset of the country who are Common Law true-believers and regard this as a sellout to tyranny. Rebellions occur in the 1840s and 50s but get put down by the Council's/King's forces who by now have more or less fallen away from CL in favor of having a stable national polity that's not subject to Quiberon.

From 1850s through to the Great War syndicalism starts to become a major force in politics, as covered previously. There's probably some Haymarket type actions but nothing as severe as the earlier decades. By this point the last vestiges of Common Law in government are gone - a constitution written in the late-1840s will have seen to the state's transformation into a proper constitutional monarchy and the increasingly powerful central government will have put down the major bastions of CL opposition.

Embrea is sympathetic to the Songian cause during the early Great War but doesn't get involved initially. The Century Revolts that occur in Questers and elsewhere hit Embrean shores by 1904 and bring a mix of CL-sympathizing and syndicalist rebellion back to the forefront - Embrea blames CL polities for the agitation and joins the anti-CL powers in 1905. Ironically this puts them on the same side as Quiberon; though the Embreans don't take much of a major role in the conflict this alliance of convenience leads to Commonwealth becoming a founding member of the Reims Agreement and a general rapprochement with Quiberon.

1930s-50s sees social democrazy take off and probably a flair-up of troubles between CL loyalists and the government from around the mid-50s. Embrean military and CL veterans alike end up taking part in the Motappaland Crisis as mercenaries.

The present state of Embrean domestic politics is one of stability masking an uneasy peace. CL associations last engaged in armed conflict with the state in the late 80s and early 90s before signing a truce that granted them certain rights including the right to form courts of arbitration to try civil matters within the Common Law framework, by mutual consent of plaintiff and defendant. At present the truce holds, but allegations of weapons smuggling and monetary assistance from Praetonia to the Embrean associations have many wondering if the CL camp intends to keep the truce or is merely biding its time.

User avatar
Praetonia
Patriotic SMSian
Posts: 31
Joined: Sat Oct 01, 2016 1:40 pm

Re: Embrea

Postby Praetonia » Tue Oct 18, 2016 11:06 am

I appreciate the thought and effort that has gone in to this. I hope you do not mind if I sperg a little about CL, offering some objections and suggestions.

- If the country is really trying to embrace CL (and it should be sincere at least at the very beginning) it is unlikely it would use titles like "Council of State" or "Stadtholder". Imagine you have just established a stateless society, that being the whole purpose of a long and bloody war that you have just finished fighting. Would you then go out of your way to make references to establishing a new state in all your official titles and documents? Praetonia has weird names like "association" and "protector" precisely to make the institutions they describe sound less like states and kings - perhaps less like states and kings than they are.

- You should add some more detail on why the thing fractures, because that would give you a much clearer idea of what follows and why. To abandon CL (as you later seem to), CL has to break down in some way. You wouldn't abandon a system everyone liked and that was working well. Presumably some group has to start doing things that are illegal in CL, while being too powerful for the CL loyalists to stop, making CL de-facto inoperative. What is that and why? Does someone start taxing to fund the army? Plausible, but why do they do that just after the war ended rather than during the war? Other reasons are possible. You should make clear what they are here.

- A "council of state" offering the title "king" to the "stadtholder" is difficult to square with anyone even paying lip service to believing in CL. That is not just a mild breakdown but a catastrophic failure of CL in a very short time that really need to be explained (see above). It suggests that not only has the political system totally failed, but the people who established the political system just a handful of years ago don't believe in the principles on which it was founded; they aren't trying to save it or even pretend they didn't make a mistake in establishing it.

What I consider more likely is that you would go the route of tyre, paying lip service to nothing having changed, while in reality a point authority has started usurping extra-legal powers. Even then, because they want to pay lip service to nothing having changed (and probably because they do to a great extent actually believe in CL, even if they're not purists) this point authority probably wouldn't claim and exercise very general extra-legal powers, just a few in the areas most important for it to survive and achieve its goals. This way it can spin some justifications why those handful of exceptions are somehow "really" permitted under CL, which would damp opposition to them. Again, tyre is a good example of this.

Now that doesn't have to happen of course and I find the idea of failed CL states of various types (and ideally of various different types) interesting, but the story "...and then it became a social democracy for some reason" I find firstly unconvincing, and second a little dismissive. Creating a system that robustly would not be inclined to drift toward social democracy in normal operation was one of my main design goals in creating CL. If you can show me how it would happen then great (a military coup by people who don't believe in it is easy of course, but apparently not what happened here), but there is a lot of handwaving here which I find unconvincing.

- I don't have too much to say to the later chapters. Given what has gone before they are reasonable but of course CL influence is relatively small at this point. Embrea as the origin of syndicalism might be more interesting, and it is clearer to me how syndicalism would drift into regular statism (again, more interesting if rhetorically cloaked than openly admitted, but in practice much more like regular statism than Praetonia or even tyre) than conventional CL.
<leis2> Otoh i am also an antiquarian so im legitimately interested in how purple dye was made in sidon
<leis2> (using mollusks)

Preston
Patriotic SMSian
Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2016 11:23 pm

Re: Embrea

Postby Preston » Tue Oct 18, 2016 5:12 pm

- If the country is really trying to embrace CL (and it should be sincere at least at the very beginning) it is unlikely it would use titles like "Council of State" or "Stadtholder". Imagine you have just established a stateless society, that being the whole purpose of a long and bloody war that you have just finished fighting. Would you then go out of your way to make references to establishing a new state in all your official titles and documents? Praetonia has weird names like "association" and "protector" precisely to make the institutions they describe sound less like states and kings - perhaps less like states and kings than they are.

A valid point - I am not particularly attached to the names/titles but Stadtholder literally (initially) meant similar to "steward" or "Lord Protector" IRL. So I do think that title can fit within a CL framework.

- You should add some more detail on why the thing fractures, because that would give you a much clearer idea of what follows and why. To abandon CL (as you later seem to), CL has to break down in some way. You wouldn't abandon a system everyone liked and that was working well. Presumably some group has to start doing things that are illegal in CL, while being too powerful for the CL loyalists to stop, making CL de-facto inoperative. What is that and why? Does someone start taxing to fund the army? Plausible, but why do they do that just after the war ended rather than during the war? Other reasons are possible. You should make clear what they are here.

There are a number of things that go into the fracture of CL. During the war, the various associations banded together because they were united in common cause, i.e. being independent from Quiberon. Presumably this war heavily indebts some of them as troops etc have to be paid for. Possibly you see cases where a smaller association takes out loans from a larger one to pay its troops and defaults on them postwar - the larger association may then use force to try and recoup its debts (which, to my understanding, is legal under CL but would obviously be frowned upon by other associations). A major conflict between associations will be what to do with the army and how much of a standing army the independent Embrea needs - on one side of the spectrum you have true-believers who view *any* large standing army as an instrument of tyranny incompatible with the Law, on the other end you have pragmatists who view a large standing army as a necessity to securing independence, and aren't above levying a tax to bring this about if needs-be.

- A "council of state" offering the title "king" to the "stadtholder" is difficult to square with anyone even paying lip service to believing in CL. That is not just a mild breakdown but a catastrophic failure of CL in a very short time that really need to be explained (see above). It suggests that not only has the political system totally failed, but the people who established the political system just a handful of years ago don't believe in the principles on which it was founded; they aren't trying to save it or even pretend they didn't make a mistake in establishing it.

This is true - but I drew inspiration partially from the early experiences of the post-revolutionary United States. The idea the Founders had worked out, of a loose federation of separate states, didn't square with the reality of their situation and didn't adequately address the issues of running a sovereign country, so a more centralized model was adopted that kept some of the basic ideals of the revolution in place in theory but was in actuality far removed from what had existed prior (13 wholly separate colonial states).

Preston
Patriotic SMSian
Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2016 11:23 pm

Re: Embrea

Postby Preston » Thu Oct 20, 2016 7:30 am

How about this as a revision

Embrea as a polity has your usual CL mix of associations ranging in size and scope from HOAs and neighborhood watches to the largest (in scope, wealth and population served) which is akin to the Estates-General in its function (though I still have not decided on a name I particularly like that fits CL nomenclature - Committee for Public Defence perhaps). This is the body that declares independence from Quiberon; while it directly funds troops for the security of its interests, it also accepts voluntary contributions from smaller associations and individuals to raise troops to protect them as well (you might ask why these associations don't simply raise their own forces rather than paying someone to do it for them - my answer is that given a bloody war of independence against a well-organised professional military force, having one body that coordinates the military makes more sense than several small militias).

The friction with CL starts after the war. The financals involved in organizing a 3 year long, bloody war against a major power will have bankrupted some smaller associations and severely strained the finances of the CPD - those associations that can no longer afford to stop paying the CPD and the military is reduced in strength as a result. This doesn't sit well with the CPD who view the maintenance of a large peacetime standing army as a necessity to ensure continued independence and protection of property from a resurgent Quiberon. Some backroom coercing occurs and eventually the recalcitrant associations and others are convinced of the need to continue paying their dues - this is presented publicly as a voluntary contribution to the common cause but is basically using the threat of Quiberonnais invasion as a cudgel to extract a tax.

Essentially, faced with the choice of dealing with the Quiberonnais threat themselves or paying tribute to the CPD, the smaller associations choose tribute. In exchange delegates from their associations are seated on the Committee itself, and get some say in how the monies are managed.

How we get to de-facto monarchy/modern-day
The Committee is headed by a Chairman who gets elected for a life term (subject to certain provisions for death, incapacitation or recall for gross violations of the Law). Voting occurs in FPTP among all Committee delegates; delegations are apportioned based on monetary contribution to the Committee. Since the Committee by default contributes more to itself than any member Association it retains a majority of the delegate seats. Willem van Amber is elected the first Chairman in 1829, with his son succeeding him; with few interruptions, a van Amber has always been elected, and they've adopted the practice (widely frowned upon by CL purists) of using ordinals to differentiate themselves, as monarchs would.

In modernity the Committee encompasses, in addition to purely military/police associations, various corporations with other avocations - religion, education, infrastructure, healthcare, etc. These societies (I believe the Prae CL term is "friendly societies") pay into the Committee's budget and naturally have some opinions about what their contributions should go to (of course, they pay for these things themselves as well, but on a smaller scale than a large body like the Committee could). And of course, anything the Committee pays for is available for the use of any member-association and that association's members.

So what you end up with is a country that, from the outside, looks for all the world like a conventional state, with a de-facto monarch, national assembly, and social welfare programs, but operates (in theory) on a Common Law framework.

Thoughts?


Return to “The Library”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest