MFZ:RA 0.2.1 Rules Posted by Josh

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Re: MFZ:RA 0.2.1 Rules Posted by Josh

Postby Malcolm_Craig » Thu Aug 09, 2012 4:59 am

Zero Revenge wrote:Holy ****, amputations.

Wow. Now I understand the severity.

Good God, and Soren made a nod to this? **cringe**


The Congo situation was also made infinitely more complex by virtue of it - like much of decolonising sub-Saharan Africa - becoming a battleground in the ideological conflict underpinning the Cold War. For me, decolonisation - and the reactions of the former colonial powers and superpowers to it (in most cases, the unwillingness to grant genuine agency to the newly independent African peoples) - was one of the epoch defining events of the era.

Although direct rule by Leopold ended in 1908 (and his downfall was caused almost entirely by news of the atrocities being committed in the unironically named Congo Free State*), the Belgians - like many other colonial powers - hung on until the 'Year of Africa' in 1960 and then slightly after.** A very worthwhile text on decolonisation in a Cold War context is Cold War and Black Liberation: The United States and White Rule in Africa, 1948-1968 by Thomas Noer. For a wider context, The Global Cold War: Third World Interventions and the Making of Our Times by Odd Arne Westad is an excellent piece of scholarship.

Cheers,
Malcolm



* The Belgian Congo is the setting for Conrad's Heart of Darkness, which offers some powerful depictions of Leopoldine brutality.
**Although it was the Portugese who hung on to their African colonies the longest, finally giving up the ghost in 1975, mainly due to the massive political upheavals at home that began in 1974. If you want to see frightening factional complexity in action, take a look at the Angolan war for independence and the subsequent civil war.
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Re: MFZ:RA 0.2.1 Rules Posted by Josh

Postby Soren » Thu Aug 09, 2012 6:26 am

Yeah, I was referring to the later, 1960- situation, which was a clusterf--k in the same way that a grenade will kind of spoil the mood during afternoon tea. Belgium never developed the country beyond the bare minimum of infrastructure required to exploit local resources, and they screwed up the post-colonial transition so badly that just packing up and leaving overnight would have been an improvement. The various strongmen who controlled the country afterwards were awful, but their awfulness was a pretty direct continuation of that tradition, albeit with less of the First World polish that somehow makes evil a little more palatable to the press.

But to me, the most disgusting thing about the Congo situation is that, over a hundred years after those photos were taken... you can still find monuments to Leopold in Belgium. Unapologetic pro-colonial ones.

So yeah, I'm sure there are colonies out there that are close to that level of brutality, poverty and chaos, but we're kind of reluctant to provide them as examples.
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Re: MFZ:RA 0.2.1 Rules Posted by Josh

Postby Zero Revenge » Thu Aug 09, 2012 10:47 am

Thanks Malcolm & Soren, looks like I have a weekend research project to do now. ;)

Jeez, now I see why the S.U. have the Special Prosecutors. If Corporations can treat colonies like this? In a Future Age? Sheesh. They need it.

Atleast by the Solar Calender, Humanity no longer discriminates on race, sex, ethnicity.
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Re: MFZ:RA 0.2.1 Rules Posted by Josh

Postby Malcolm_Craig » Thu Aug 09, 2012 12:27 pm

Zero Revenge wrote:Thanks Malcolm & Soren, looks like I have a weekend research project to do now. ;)

Jeez, now I see why the S.U. have the Special Prosecutors. If Corporations can treat colonies like this? In a Future Age? Sheesh. They need it.

Atleast by the Solar Calender, Humanity no longer discriminates on race, sex, ethnicity.


The period of decolonisation in Africa (and, indeed, the wider world) is a fascinating. Angola - clusterf--k*; UDI-era Rhodesia - clusterf--k*; South Africa - well, you get the picture by now. If you're genuinely interested in finding out more about this stuff, I have a vast PDF library of academic articles on all of this that I'm happy to email a selection of to you.

Edit: Forgot to say that UDI stands for Unilateral Declaration of Independence. Privileged white guys saying to the world they want to continue to do privileged white guy stuff, like oppressing the majority population of the country due to their racist ideology.

Cheers,
Malcolm

*Angola is a tough one. There are many parallels with the struggles being portrayed in MFZ. Not least, the multiplicity of different factions with varying ideologies, all of whom are gunning for Angolan independence (pre-1975) or political primacy (post-1975), but who are all also doing really bad stuff. Then there's the post-independence involvement of Cuban military forces and the military of Apartheid South Africa (yes, really). It's a nightmare to just remember who is doing what to whom and why. UNITA, FNLA, MPLA, it's an acronym soup. But, when you get down to it, if anyone wants to play an Apartheid South Africa analogue, they are sure as hell not doing it at a table with me.
**Racist morons led by moron-in-chief Ian Smith declare independence from Britain because, in the simplest terms, they want to hang on to white minority rule. That's another one of those situations that is not particularly MFZ-appropriate. There is no way in hell you can sympathise with the post-UDI Smith regime.
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Re: MFZ:RA 0.2.1 Rules Posted by Josh

Postby Soren » Fri Aug 10, 2012 1:49 am

I can definitely see Free Colonial movements that resemble UDI Rhodesia or even the Rand Rebellion (in the sense of 'we want X in order to benefit from doing very bad things', not necessarily in the specifics).

The way I envision colonial social stratification is a sort of feudal birthright issue - the earlier you emigrated, the higher your social status, the more secure your position, etc (and the more likely you are to decide you'd rather be the biggest fish in a smaller pond). And while officially discrimination by gender, ethnicity, etc. are illegal and well contained - some member states have done a much better job of enforcing the laws than others. Some people are also inevitably going see moving off Earth as a fine and dandy time to start asserting their traditional prejudices again.

And of course, the system works a lot better on a heavily-populated, highly educated planet like Earth, where interdependence and cooperation is a basic fact and necessity, than on a fresh colony planet where you can strike off into the bush and do whatever you want.

I'm not sure I'd actually want to play any of those factions, even ironically, but having them lurking in the wings seems like a basic concession to realism. If I were actually going to do something like that, I'd play them as backdrop to an off-planet military unit that unfortunately finds itself on the same side for different reasons and doesn't like them.

Part of the reason it's hard to talk about this stuff in a fictional context is that it's still very much an unfinished conversation in the real world, and so you can't make fun of it with a clear conscience - like you can with, say, monarchists.
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