The Co-Operative

Co-Operative Explorer and Mechanic

The real tyranny we escaped, in the final analysis, is the tyranny of the oxymoron. There's no such thing as a noble ruler, no such thing as a free market. What they resent, more than anything, is that we saw through their mendacity.

- Tormund, from Xanthis

The Second Revolution was an uprising from within the Federation aimed at preventing its slide into corporate fascism. It failed. The surviving rebels fled to a cluster of systems that had been surveyed but not occupied, or terraformed, to live free: free from oppression; free from rules; and free, sadly, from resources. Those who live on these frontier worlds have turned their backs on the power structures of the other two Human societies and live as pure Anarchists, utterly rejecting the notion of any but the loosest and most temporary of leadership in favour of a complex web of social obligation, mutual support, and competition for personal glory. A few groups within the Co-Operative form themselves into Workers Collectives, self managing their work and private lives as part of a survival effort.

All members of the Co-Operative are free to trade with anyone within, or outside of, their systems, although the vast majority of property is held on a communal -rather than individual- basis. A sensible exchange of values is expected, certainly within house, and it would be odd to see a member of the Co-Operative desperately grasping for more than an item is worth. They will however fight to avoid trading it for less than it is worth, unless doing so would advantage another member of the Co-Operative who needs their help. It is strongly frowned upon to trade away items which hold true sentimental meaning, generally the only things an individual would keep as their own; other members in a group would be expected to step in and protect down-on-their-luck members before such a thing happened. To allow one of your own to do something so upsetting to them is a sign that as a group you have failed.

The Co-Operative are generally more concerned with competence and attitude towards others, rather than such petty things as what gender a person is. What’s important is how they treat their group members, and what they are able to do. Of course, there are small groups that exist within the Co-Operative that have either matriarchal or patriarchal leanings. These are the minority however. This openness within the Co-Operative extends to almost everything, including things which are considered in other cultures to be dangerous or obscene.

Small scale religion of all varieties flourishes within the Co-Operative, specifically the non-hierarchical religions. Most enclaves have members who are buddhists or pagans, but many other religions exist alongside them. Most prominent (after the big two) are Zoroastrianism, Baha’i, Shinto and Jainism. The spirit of doing what you need to for yourself and your neighbour means that those who exhibit neuro-external talents are welcomed as useful parts of the community. However no great status is granted to them, they simply have different skills to the rest of their enclave, and are expected to use them, in the same way a farmer, or a healer would use their skills.

While they might seem like a calm and tolerant society, it is worth noting that the Co-Operative has not escaped the web of disappointments and grudges that pervade the established people of the Universe. They still have ongoing issues with the Federation, as they heartily disapprove of their attitudes towards trade and personal freedom. Likewise the feeling of betrayal towards CORE, and therefore its descendants, the Distributed Process, have not lessened over the years. When the Co-Operative saved CORE from the Federation, it was with the hope that it would join them and together they could build a better life for both humanity and AI alike. But CORE abandoned them and went its own way. Strangely, of all the known races and civilisations, the Co-Operative as a whole have the easiest time getting on with the Zebulons. The Zebulons view their struggles to survive and support each other by using their natural wits as an excellent form of University.

Oi oi! what’s with all the fluff and fuss? Ain’t no point in being la de dah round here. Dress like you want to survive, dress like you want to live.

- Sal, from Scoria

Co-operative fashions are….. well, they aren’t.

When you live out on the edge of nowhere, with limited resources and dangerous surroundings it’s hard to care too much about how you look. Likewise, when part of your basic daily reason for being is to support those around you and yourself, why would you waste time and resources on unnecessary fripperies?

However, while the Co-Operative may not have ‘fashion’ as most civilisations know it, they do have a striking style. The overriding concern is Co-Operative clothing is practicality; sturdy clothes that last a long time. While they may look scrappy, they use everything they can get their hands on. Most people wear outfits made up of hand-me-down, mended or repurposed clothing. It’s not uncommon to see a Co-Operative person wearing an old quilt they’ve turned into a jacket, or what is clearly two ragged skirts sewn together into a shirt. All of this is held together with practical accessories; bags, solid boots, scraped together armour, waterproofing and face coverings. The majority of the Co-Operative favour trousers over skirts, simply on a matter of practicality, but there are no gender associations put on clothes. Men and women alike wear the same shapes and structures of clothes, be that trousers, aprons or cardigans. The tendency towards more extreme self expression that other cultures put in to clothing emerges more strongly within the Co-Operative in the form of elaborate face paint and, more rarely, facial tattoos.

Hit him! HIT HIM!! Bloody hell lad, you’re going to have a hell of a time ahead of you if you won’t bloody hit the man who’s trying to kill you!

- M’Bala, from Traya

The Co-Operative military structure varies from place to place. Some enclaves favour an old Earth Empire style structure, reasoning that while you can be more fluid in everyday life, in war you require a hierarchical structure. After all, there’s no time for everyone to reach a consensus if you’re under attack. However, unlike the old Earth Empire, there is no favouritism based on birth, this is pure meritocracy. The best at leading, lead. The best at fighting, fight. Other enclaves lean towards a looser guerilla cell structure. Others draw their inspiration from the alien structures seen after first contact. Whatever the structure, it is decided on by consensus of the enclave, and taking into account the most likely military needs of the enclave.

What they are: Anarchist, Poor, Tough, Committed, Inventive and creative

What they are not: Libertarian, Communist

Inspiration: Firefly, Doomsday, Mad Max Trilogy

co-operative.txt · Last modified: 2013/01/02 00:47 by mejoff
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