Military Story -- Terms and Concepts


Concepts, ideas and basic world info from the setting spawned by Tess and Jenn's dreaming...

Reincorporated States (RINCS): A society descended from the largest continuous fragment of the old North American nation-states, reorganized and rebranded in the wake of significant climate and social disruption. The Union is situated around the Great Lakes and Hudson Bay, occupying portions of the former US and Canada. It is a weird blend of repressive and pluralistic, simultaneously authoritarian and permissive. Its economy is industrialized and requires a large land area with room to grow and restructure as needed. Much of the land it uses must be left fallow, or used only carefully. Pejorative: "rinks"; used dismissively by outsiders and self-amusedly by citizens.

Zakiri Pantropist Collectives: A catch-all designation for the many independent and allied Zakiri societies throughout North America. Very large, regionally-aligned groups of collectives are known as Conferences. There are six major Conferences in North America, each relatively isolated from the others. Apart from the big six, there are thousands of smaller, non-aligned Zakiri collectives, ranging in size from bands or small villages to a few entire cities or ecozones. Most of those which are not aligned with the local Conference do so for ideological reasons, or because they are too remote for anything but a symbolic relationship. The economies and social institutions throughout the ZPC vary tremendously, but all are dependent upon advanced, open-source biotechnology and could be characterized as loosely anarcho-socialist. Pejorative: Zeeks for anyone perceived as Zakiri, used only in an insulting fashion by URS citizens. 

Zoners: Pejorative term for the inhabitants of any of the independent Metroplexes dotting the map (thusly-named for the "Exclusion Zone" surrounding each city). During the Collapse, the Regional Authorities preserved small pockets of order, using the crisis to spur increasing independence and over time creating a loose network of high-tech city-states, each run by a relatively distant oligarchy of government and corporate networks. They could be thought of as Walled Garden civilizations; most are self-sufficient for basic survival needs but their high-tech infrastructure requires frequent access to relatively scarce materials.

Collapse, the: A period of tremendous social upheaval and natural disaster, culminating in armed conflict that devastated the global economy and most large nation-states about thirty years ago. 

Regional Authority: In the time leading up to and during the Collapse, many of the old great power countries found that their national governments were simply unable to cope with the strain -- tightening the reigns of central power frequently proved ineffective, or spurred backlash inflicting greater cumulative damage than the initial crisis itself. In other cases, even the unified and well-directed force of the state apparatus was simply unwilling or unable to meaningfully understand and respond to the problems facing the country. The Regional Authorities came into existence around this time, delegated by trade organizations and international regulatory bodies or even just outright handoffs of power to private or semi-private organizations. The Regional Authorities, tasked initially with assisting in local stability, in practice wound up isolating "fortress cities" and "zones of interest" from the chaos around them, then didn't bother devoting resources to solving the problems themselves. Many themselves collapsed or gave way to social disorder within their jurisdiction, but even so many survived. While they maintained high standards of living and positively bountiful technology for those living under their control, in most cases there was not even a pretense of democracy or eventual transition to a more open system. Today the Regional Authorities have mostly disappeared, their members settling down to run the Metroplexes. 

Zakiriyyah: A social, cultural and political movement based around the theories and writings of Zakir Khalid Hassani, a Pakistani-American ecologist and radical. The adjective form is Zakiri; this term may be used for anyone who lives by such theories or supports them philosophically. Zakiriyyah is primarily a secular philosophy, although it is not antagonistic to religion, and concerns itself more with political and social philosophy, as well as economics and technology. Zakiri philosophy shares elements with both Communism and Anarchism (in that it considers class struggle a significant historical force and specifies a classless, stateless, non-hierarchical voluntary society as the most desireable outcome of history for those in the lower classes) but avoids using their language or explicit references to Marx, Bakunin or other significant figures of those movements. It does not call directly to violent revolution; instead, it advocates the development of seperate lifeways, cultures, and peoples independent of state or corporate patronage. Much of the language of Hassani's writing references biological systems and evolution; it is very explicitly pro-biotechnology and open-source, and strongly advocates "morphological freedom" and pantropy (adaptation to a hostile environment) as a response to the capitalist system. Over time, it has caught on with those groups most-excluded or exploited by their societies, and created a degree of solidarity between Zakiri movements that have contact with one another. 

Central Conference, the: The largest (in terms of population) Zakiri Conference in North America, located in the Great Central Desert (composed of territory formerly belonging to both the US Southwest and the now-vanished Great Plains). The Central Conference is prosperous but faces considerable challenges due to both its large population, and ongoing tension with both the RINCS and the nearby Metroplexes. It is considered especially vulnerable due to the large number of settled cities or towns critical to its economy, and the difficulties coordinating such a large population without a hierarchical command base. The Central Conference gets around this problem with peer-to-peer networks for certain social institutions, which incorporate some reputation-based consensus decisionmaking. It is clumsy and somewhat difficult to coordinate, but its advantages lie in its resilience, adaptive speed and scalability. Both the military and large regional councils are administered this way. Everyone complains, but it works, and it's generally agreed to be much more fair and desirable than even a democratic non-consensual hierarchy.

Associated States: RINCS diplomatic term for any of the other neighboring industrial societies that bear more similarity to it than either the Zakiri Collectives or the Authority Metroplexes. Quite a number of these exist, and they all trade with the RINCS and with one another. Few are very big or noteworthy at a continental level, though.