Published: March 28, 2017
FYS Nations and Factions
Good afternoon. I’m Maureen al Jabar and it’s Election Day, Tuesday, November 10th, Three Thousand Five Hundred and Fifty-Seven. While the polls are still open, today’s United States in Exile presidential election, the third since the Awakening fourteen years ago, is shaping up to have a historically low turnout. Despite the recently mandated six month early voting period, and massive Get Out the Vote efforts, Regional election commissions are all reporting that only between ten and fifteen percent of eligible voters are expected to vote by the time the polls close at midnight.
Combined with a severe lack of polling data, and the current four-way contest between the Democratic, New Republican, Conservative, and the recently formed Humanity First parties is too close to call….
With humanity’s subjugation under the Groupmind, nation states suffered a severe blow. Traditionally, nations existed to provide military defense, social assistance, and a general framework of laws and values. Since the Awakening on the Ring, military forces have been outlawed, and basic social needs such as healthcare and food are handled by the Groupmind directly. Laws and values are still nominally under the control of the recreated governments, but even they have taken a blow, with cash based economies no longer existing and crime reduced to social transgressions, since acts of violence are no longer possible and few illegal goods are even available to be smuggled or sold. With few threats beyond the Groupmind itself, many nations are wobbling towards dissolution as their reasons for existence disappear. In their place are emerging groups based around more up to date memes than can be offered by nations. With the large land area offered by the Ring, many are taking advantage of the space to create new communities, and new ways of life.
On the traditional end of the spectrum are nations such as the United States of America in Exile, which still claims to hold title to their section of the North American continent and refuses to recognize the legitimacy of the Groupmind’s rule (not that the GM ever bothered to ask them). Immediately post-Awakening, President Rodriguez declared that the state of emergency enacted at the start of the Groupmind Revolution would remain in place until new elections could be scheduled. After about two years of wrangling in a special constitutional convention the Electoral College was restructured, along with the Senate and House of Representatives, as the fifty states were condensed into a mere ten Regions with roughly equal population totals, based on geographic proximity of the original states.  Meanwhile the Senate was cut in half to a mere fifty, with each Region electing five senators for the traditional six year term. The House of Representatives was also cut down by eighty members, as the mandated two representative state minimum was cut from 100 members to a mere twenty for the new Regions. This pleased few people, but has resulted in a Congress that is slightly more nimble when responding to crises.  This has been a typical reaction from such “Legacy” nations.
Bear in mind that the USAiE merely represents people who choose to live together in the same general region and identify themselves as citizens of the US. Its population has been bleeding several hundred thousand people a year since the Awakening, as it became apparent that while the Groupmind will support national borders to prevent outsiders from coming in, it will do nothing to stop people from leaving if they wish. Which has lead the creation of several dozen of new, so called “Factional States,” which are based more around common ideology instead of national history.
Factional States come in a wide variety of forms, but most have a population of a few thousand at most, with the largest around four million (New Molokai) and the smallest ones perhaps five to six hundred people (The Reformed People’s Democratic Socialist Republic of Fenwick-Ruritania).  Many are genuinely trying to create a new way of life, a few are just massive full-time LARPS, and a disturbing number are havens for the intolerant and ignorant, who want to live far away from Those People (whoever they may be). Some examples include:
The Coalition of First Nations: One of the earliest of the Factional States, the First Nations is a coalition of Native American tribes from regions as diverse as the old US, Canada, Mexico and Central/South America, all of whom strongly wish to live as far away from the former colonial governments that conquered them as they can get. The loose governmental structure is designed to give the most power possible to the tribes to govern themselves, with a federal oversight system designed mostly to settle disputes between tribes, consisting of elected or appointed Representative Elders, led by a rotating Council President who serves for a one year term.
In general the Coalition tends to be somewhat insular, with attitudes towards non-Native Americans ranging from cautiously friendly to mildly hostile. Mostly however, they’d like to be left alone.
Morph Relations: They’re considered a mixed blessing. On the one hand they’re blatant examples of the Groupmind’s (and by extension the White Man’s) obnoxious paternalism. On the other hand, the morphs shield them from having to deal with Earthside governments-in-exile. Furthermore some Coalition citizens are starting to recognize that morphs are just individuals trapped as slaves serving humans and the Groupmind both, much as their own people were used and abused by White settlers.
New Saxony: The First Nations polar opposite, New Saxony’s avowed goal is to “Create a homeland for the oppressed White Peoples, free of the taint of the Mongrel Race Governments.” Or to put it more bluntly, it’s a cesspool of racism that is actively hostile towards anyone who isn’t white and a follower of a very deeply intolerant version Christianity. It’s considered a mixed blessing that it’s one of the larger Factional States (population 3.5 million) on the basis of “The more of them There, the less of them bothering Us.” Notably it’s one of the few Factional States that’s on its own island, making it difficult to either enter of leave, which makes people both in and out of the nation a lot happier,
New Saxony’s government is a parliamentary democracy… technically. Voting is restricted to males over the age of twenty who are related to or have been sponsored by one of the Founding Hundred, which means less than 20% of the adult population can actually vote. Every citizen or immigrant is required to submit to genetic testing to insure their “racial purity.” Those failing are cast out immediately, along with any atheists, Jews, Catholics, Muslims, believers in evolution, or anyone saying a good word about the Groupmind (which is obviously under the control of [INSERT FAVORITE CONSPIRACY GROUP HERE]. Fortunately with the Groupmind and its morph’s watching over them, New Saxony’s government has been stymied at trying to export its hatred.
Morph Relations: Are ugly, as can be imagined with a bunch of racists each being assigned their own personal slave. About the only good thing that can be said is that many New Saxony morphs have developed a near art form out of trolling their masters, by either deliberately misinterpreting orders or following them to the letter.
Lancaster: One of the many factional states that eschews much modern technology outside of medical, Avalon is home to much of the United State’s Amish and Mennonite population. Which means humans that rely on horse drawn plows and hand built barns are being aided by advanced robots piloted by sentient AI’s. The Avalon communities try to work around this by doing their best to shun their morphs, refusing to interact with them or allow them to provide aid in any way except in dire emergencies. This has held so far, even with a new generation of Amish being born on the Ring and never knowing life without morphs around. Though outsiders predict the shunning can’t last much longer, they rarely consider how Amish antipathy towards technology has lasted over the centuries.
Morph Relations: Given the morph’s programmed need to help their assigned humans, many of them are not happy about being deliberately ignored. As a sort of safety valve, the morphs have created what’s been dubbed the Night Village, where they go and interact together when their humans are sleeping. Over the years it’s become something increasingly odd as the morphs’ separate society has evolved, in strange contrast to the Amish’s own rejection of the modern world.
The Seven Seas: This Factional State, based around a series of large equatorial islands, is one of the largest so called “LARP Nations” in existence. Essentially it takes inspiration from the history of ahistorical swashbuckling pirate adventures made popular during the 19th through 21st centuries, and all citizens are expected to play along. Given the sheer size of the lands involved, with individual islands modeled after such places as Haiti, Jamaica, Hong Kong, and even an island version of pre-Revolution France, there’s plenty of room for players who want to play clever pirates, sneaky thieves, wily merchants, or despotic governors. While there is a so-called “OOC Council” to handle out of game disputes, for the most part what “government” that exists is a result of player actions. The one thing that keeps things from getting out of hand is the morphs, and a witnessed agreement before being allowed to come to the Seven Seas that a player must do their best to remain in character when away from Council Island. Players who fail to heed that risk being expelled. Players who are obnoxious about it are sent to the Isle of the Great Powerful Khan for an extended cool down period.
Note: Combat in this and other LARPS tend to be understandably ritualized, with the need to protect humans from actual injury, and tend to follow guidelines set by longstanding organizations such as the SCA. That said, when you add morphs to the mix it does allow for some remarkably bloody battles, as morphs “die” at the hands of invading pirates or steadfast Royal Navy Marines.
Morph Relations: Are pretty good actually. Morphs handle much of the “boring” logistics of keeping the LARP running (at least the bits that don’t have the attention of detail minded players), and serve as background characters, spear carriers, and Loyal Companions to their assigned humans. For the most they’re helping humans have fun, which is always fufilling.
 The USAiE population was awakened in an area roughly one and a half times the geographic area of the old USA, with cities more or less where they were originally, though the traditional Atlantic and Pacific oceans have been replaced by roughly Australia sized seas. On the other hand, to Mexico and Canada’s relief, they now have a five hundred kilometer border zone between themselves and the US.
 The Supreme Court has continued with the traditional nine Justices, with any suggestion of cutting down their number met with the judicial equivalent of “Don’t even think about it.”
 This is excludes several hundred of the so called “Republic of Me’s” that have popped up, which general consist of a single family group of a dozen people or less. Printing your own money and declaring yourself President For Life does not a nation make.
 And no one is happy about relocated from their homelands again.
 In terms of climate, not location. Given the Ring’s structure, technically everyone is living on the equator.
 Except for the Isle of the Great and Powerful Khan. Players do not try to disrupt the Will of the Khan, unless they enjoy RPing a slave. 
 Well, some do, but they're kept well fed and amused…