Provost Hapburn here..
I've been elected from within the Upper House to replace Cyrus Grey as Chairman of the Upper House, as the Lower House has opted to censure him over some very offensive things and support for a double standard between straight and homosexual people with regards to public displays of affection. Although the Upper House has no, constitutionally speaking, obligation to honour actions or requests from the Lower House, the public censure, the condemnation of the provost of UPalia, and the feeling of most of the Upper House on the matter led to a vote of no confidence and the election of a new head, namely me. Before the revolution, I was Provost of UClara. During the revolution, I was responsible for mobilising the students and resources of the University to support the Red Army.
I've been active in the Security Comittee conferring with Leninovich and Maria on inviting members of the Sandanista government to visit our country next year. I am relatively confident something will be worked out.
From how it looks, the Lower House is stabilising again after a period of rapid turnover. I understand that a number of people wanted to take a try at government, and after being elected, most of them found it quite dull. This is to be expected -- while it was fairly disruptive when it comes to getting work done because the turnover happened all at once (prompted by a comment on former Lower Councilman Sandra's blog article on governance two months ago), it was probably a good thing because it fosters trust and understanding by people of what the Houses do. Hapburn's School of Public Policy is near approval, and will in the future serve to help prepare interested people for involvement in Larnesian Parliament or City/Regional councils.
Note that next month, the Public Network stations will be attached into the new Goods Request System (GRS), which will help us update allocations of production for society. Two weeks from next friday, you will all be released from work at noon to spend the second half of the day for training on GRS as well as the updated phone system, EsTel, which we'll be rolling out over the next six months. We anticipate setting aside half of every other friday as some kind of a public or individual training time.
The issue with regards to the outside world continues to be a constant pressure -- recently a number of rafts, purporting to be refugees, have approached our island, only to be warned off with canon fire. They withdrew, but the people are not happy about it. Until a consensus can be reached in the upper house on if and how to permit contact with outside nations, we'll be operating under the Red Army's provisional bar of contact with the outside world. It is, at the least, disenheartening to be going so directly against the will of the people. We have been discussing opening up a strictly governmental-level exchange with Venezuela and East Nicaragua which may eventually lead to trade of goods.
Recently, along with the pro-environmental laws that have been enacted by our transitional government, our basic law has rapidly taken form. Our courts now have judges, and are set to be phased in over the next few months, replacing the mix of legal options that have been applied since the revolution was completed. I would like to note, comrades, that you should not delay your current legal cases in anticipation of the new courts, as the new courts will not accept most cases over matters regarding things within a small window of when they start, in order to avoid backlog. Note also that, as our legal traditions are changing, there is no guarantee that the matters you are involved in will retain the same legal status in the new way.
One unfortunate issue that has been affecting me politically is the issue of certain civil liberties that the lower house has taken to grant people that I think are destructive to society as a whole. Several months ago, a number of sexual deviants prevailed on the Lower House to remove public decency laws from our transitional system, making it likely that the people will never include such protections for society in our legal system. I made a speech in Palia on Wednesday and in Ha'Vira last Monday speaking about the dangers that this, and several other distractions have in producing a healthy society. Comrades, if interested please come to the forum scheduled next Tuesday in Albria (18:50, Hamber University, Tulson Auditorium). Some of my critics have accused me of holding my position as a result of my Greek Orthodox upbringing, but I intend to show that my reasoning is sound and unrelated to religion, which I feel I have adequately shown that I am untained by.
On a more personal note, I will be playing at the Jazz festival tomorrow night in Palia. May everyone have a happy festival.
Comrade Holoii impressed on the Lower House the importance of establishing a new basic law, and they dissolved the old comittee and formed a new, very large, committee to do that. The general shape of the judicial system is set, and a number of professional mediators from outside the government have expressed an interest in shaping the process and are working with a subcomittee to work out the fine details. It looks like our courts will follow, in separate stages, the following steps in cases.
Our committee on information has decided to digitise all library material and provide it electronically to people, replacing all current libraries with public network terminals. To that end, over the next year, we'll be maintaining a 50% library openness rate, closing each library, shipping all their materials to a scanning centre and digitising them, and repurposing the old building with terminals, using the additional space to start communal multipurpose areas.
In a sense, we've kept our market economy so far. It has been too busy of a transition to consider moving from the Tam to a new arrangement of systems of value. It is, however, clearly a postconsumerist market, and possibly a postcapitalist one as well. We've put an end to advertisement, implemented a central computerised product catalogue, nationalised every business, and are in the progress of implementing the three rules therein. Wages have shifted a lot, as it turned out in the old system, managers and business owners exploited workers to a different degree. Without advertising, and with a reworked emphasis in the school about living with sufficient means to be happy, we anticipate interesting transformations in our economy as demand shrinks. I'm hoping that we can reach full employment and reduce the work week.
I managed to gather consensus for Toshov to be tried by a special court in the Red Army. In the meantime, she's recovered and is now held in a prison (whose location I cannot reveal for reasons of national security). Actually, that is bothersome -- we begin the revolution with a determination to build a more open society, and we need to ensure that this goal is not forgotten in the morass of other concerns. At next session, I'll form a committee to discuss the issue and determine a framework by which the ability to have nonpublic information can be monitored. In the end, information handled by the lower house is all eventually likely to become public, as people rotate in and out of positions. For the upper house, the hope is that eventually little or no private information will be needed, especially as we work to remove capitalist brainwashing and build an educated citizenry.
On to the topic, there's a remote town on the eastern part of the island which is having a problem with "wild" Chipas. According to Federation records, Chipas were introduced to our country by travelling circuses, and about 20 years ago, some of them managed to pick the locks on their cages and escape. During the chaos of the revolution, efforts to track them fell astray, and they have built a small colony in the forests. About a month ago, they have started to wander into town, causing mischief, stealing things, and causing disruption. According to some reports, they've managed to keep some of their circus training into the next generation, playing musical instruments and dancing. The Lower House has declined to move the matter to a committee, instead handling it using the entire house, having recently been controlled by pro-ecological ideologies that feed off of the anger of the people at the ecological destruction the Federation brought. They have delayed their work on basic law recently by focusing instead on a wide variety of such issues, which is frustrating because it effectively cripples the government. Some Upper House members are beginning to call for us to write the basic law rather than leaving it to the Lower House. I feel this is a bad idea, because the people are more likely to be willing to suffer laws that they write than ones that we do, as there is the feeling that everything we do, as an unelected body, is imposed.
A fellow academic, Hapburn, is putting together a package for reform of primary schools. I haven't had time to look at it, but she promises that it provides a way to deal with apathy of schoolteachers. It sounds interesting, although I sometimes wonder if Comrade Leninovich (currently in the Red Army executive council) is correct in his criticism that most of the academics in the government have little interest in affairs outside of Academia.
Some researchers from the University of East Albria have reportedly determined that Chipas are capable of and practicing written and spoken language when they believe people are not around. It remains to be seen if this is a trick that the circus folk taught them or meaningful communication -- if it is, it may have interesting ramifications for us as a species, even if the Chipas arn't entirely natural.
Yesterday, White Army Fleet Admiral Toshov was discovered by our secret police, attempting to recruit a militia. Toshov was apprehended with moderate injuries, and is presently in a high-security hospital in Larnapolous. Already, pending her recovery, the factions behind our new government are squabbling about her fate, as our judicial system is still too much under construction for a case of this importance. Today, the upper house came to a consensus that we don't want to try her under our legislature, and the lower house, from what I understand, is moving the same way. Other options open remain military court courtesy of the Red Army, holding her until judicial procedure is more certain, using a Chinese-style court, or (perhaps most ludicrously) placing her under a University Disciplinary hearing. The Chinese-style court seems most practical, but our reliance on Chinese governmental measures is becoming increasingly ideologically difficult as time goes on, as well as practically difficult without access to Chinese legal scholars. It is becoming increasingly urgent for us to bring our institutions to the extent that we can implement them enough to have a functioning state. The extent to which our government reached normal operations a year ago is largely the transfer of theoretical authority from the factions to our new legislature, plus the initial steps we have made so far. Fortunately, the procedural committee for the Upper House, according to Comrade Jurin, is very near introducing solid rules for how we conduct our business internally. I am going to call on the Committee for Judicial Practice to report on their progress when we convene again on Wednesday. In the meantime, I might push for a Red Army court when I next meet with the University provosts and military heads - it's too risky applying a Chinese court that might concievably release Toshov due to technicalities or misunderstandings of their legal system, and would be bad for the revolution if later when we reopen ties with China, we find that due to misinterpretation of their law, we legally should release her.
I'm going to watch over a session on the basic law that the lower house is holding on TV in a few minutes -- it should be interesting. Chinese law will likely be a de facto but not de jure law (similar to English Common law in the early days of America, or so I've heard), with the intent being to replace their legal system with a comprehensive one of our own over the next 5 years, at the end of which Chinese law will no longer be in place in any sense. The degree of compatibility of the old and new legal traditions will likely determine how practical that is.
The People's Republic of Larnesia is a young nation, declared 16 years ago in opposition to the Federation of Larnesia, with victory over Federal Larnesia ten years ago and the establishment of normal government practice having concluded earlier this year. Ours is a transitional government, to manage the nation and the establishment of socialist society, chartered for 40 years. Our tasks are enormous -- the war and defeat of the bourgeois has left us with much destroyed industry and the flight of over 40 percent of our citizens. Those that remain have a lot to learn, as do we, as we attempt to fall neither to the tragic fate of Stalinism nor the folly of Gorbechov. For now, we have sealed the borders to our country to keep capitalist-funded insurgents from destabilising our new government.
==Government== Our lower house is responsible for legislation regarding aspects of government that are not related to the socialist programme, e.g. interpersonal disputes. Our upper house is responsible for the programme itself, handling economic, labour relations, and similar laws. The lower house is already operating in accordance to the three rules of communism -- members are elected by the people, are recallable at a moment's notice by the people, and members gain no special privileges for being in parliament. Laws passed by the lower house need the approval of the upper house to be enacted. Members presently are faced with the task of politically educating themselves, with the end goal being the education of all interested members of society so they may, with more ease, be effective in parliament. Presently, the lower house is working on a new basic law to replace the transitional basic law that we adopted from China. The upper house operates according to the last rule of communism, with the hope that as the next generation comes into maturity, they will be willing and ready to shoulder the task of steering the revolution. At that point, the upper and lower houses are expected to merge. For now, the upper house is composed of a body of people that are the result of many compromises between the heads of the Red Army (who are tied to the government through the Upper House), the labour unions, and the cooperating universities, all of whom made the revolution happen. The upper house is, unfortunately for what is by some accounts the heart of our government, not well organised, with rules to admit new members not yet in place, and even rules for new legislature not clear.
==Military== The Red Army suffered terrible losses against the White Army (a nickname we gave them as much a nod to history as for their support of the suits), but with their utter defeat (and perhaps overzealous extermination), the country is safe. Being on an island, we need not fear much for a land-based invasion, and so to a large extent our need for a standing military is small. While a number of Trotskyists within our society feel that the army still must serve a very active role in bringing about revolution in our neighbours, the time for that seems to be, by general consensus, to be a ways off, as our nation cannot presently afford an invasion of our larger neighbours.
==As for me== I am Cyrus Grey, acting Chairman of the Upper House of the People's Republic of Larnesia. Until a year before the revolution, I was a professor of economics and political philosophy at the University of Palia. I am 38 years old, I live alone with my dog (my wife Nancy having died 6 years ago) in the capitol city of Larnapolous. I decided to publish this BLOG as our (initially sole) communication with the outside world, to document our successes (and failures) as we attempt to build our new society. If we succeed, we will aid in the liberation of the peoples of the world, exchange people, and send advisors all over the world. If we fail, perhaps the information I and my successors pass along will let others know what not to do.
This BLOG is part of an experimental amusement -- firstly, to explore the creative potentials within the Nationstates game, and secondly to help me develop my BLOG software, POUND. Nationstates, in case you haven't checked it out, lets you name a government and fill in trivial information about it. You then are fed a stream of issues (up to two a day), where you choose what direction your government will go, and it tweaks the UN and general description of your government to suit (e.g. you may become classified as a Scandanavian Liberal Paradise instead of a Capitalizt if you answer questions in a way that leans you towards a particular flavour of democratic socialism). It does more -- it has forums, UN programmes, and the like, but I don't tend to get involved with that. Instead, I'm going to use this as a career BLOG from the current head of state for my government, Larnesia. Larnesia is presently ruled by a government styling itself the People's Republic of Larnesia. The head of state will likely change every so often, and the style might change too. Note that most of this will only be somewhat inspired by nationstates.