|Flag of Constantinopolis|
|Motto: Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile. (-- Albert Einstein)|
|Map of Constantinopolis|
|Region||The Christian Communist Union|
|Leader||Chairman Alexander Nikolaev|
|NS Sunset XML|
The Holy Socialist Republic of Constantinopolis is a massive, economically powerful nation, proud of its prosperous socialist system and strong democratic tradition. Constantinopolis also has a rich history, and, in modern times, it was one of the founding members of the Coalition of Anti-Capitalist Economies.
Readers who wish to find out more about Socialism as practiced in Constantinopolis will find the following two sections of this article to be of particular interest:
- 1 History
- 2 Politics and elections
- 3 Economy
- 4 Religion
- 5 Society, culture and related issues
- 6 Foreign Policy
- 7 Space Program
- 8 National Anthem
- 9 See also
Ancient times and the Middle Ages
The first archaeological evidence of human presence in the territory of present-day Constantinopolis dates from the 5th century B.C. It appears that hunter-gatherer nomads began practicing rudimentary agriculture around that time. However, since no written records have been found, very little is known about these early inhabitants.
The true history of Constantinopolis can be said to begin in the 8th century A.D., when East Slavic tribes settled the area. From that point onwards, the archaeological record provides a wealth of data. The East Slavic tribes brought new methods of agriculture with them, and a feudal political structure was soon formed. It is this structure that was encountered by Greek missionnaries in the 11th century, who provided us with the first written account of life in the lands of Constantinopolis. The missionnaries also brought Orthodox Christianity to the Slavic population, as well as written language - in the form of the cyrillic alphabet. While the majority of the population continued to speak a variant of proto-Russian, Greek became the lingua franca among the wealthy ruling elite.
Constantinopolis first achieved political unity in the 15th century, when the voivod Vladimir Ivanov defeated 8 rival warlords in quick succession and conquered what was then considered an immense territory. Despite a few minor rebellions by disgruntled local nobility in the early years of his rule, Vladimir Ivanov managed to preserve his grip over the lands he had conquered, and assumed the title of Basileus (in honour of the rulers of the Byzantine Empire, whom he greatly admired). Also in honour of the Byzantines, he named his new state Constantinopolis. It appears his knowledge of Greek was shallow at best, since there is no indication of him realizing that the suffix -polis normally defines a city. In any case, the name of Constantinopolis stuck, and that is how the nation was known from that point onwards.
Vladimir Ivanov set up a hereditary monarchy, which was to last for the next 500 years - although there were quite a few periods of strife and dynastic change.
Imperial expansion and industrialization
Constantinopolis was surrounded by hostile but primitive enemies, which were more of a nuisance along the borders than a real threat. However, a persistent nuisance can cause severe problems, so the rulers of Constantinopolis launched increasingly violent punitive expeditions outside the nation's borders in the 16th and 17th centuries. By the late 17th century, these had turned into an all-out campaign of conquest. In 1699, Constantinopolis officially declared itself a Holy Empire, and set out to conquer - and Christianize - the lands to its north and east.
Within 150 years (that is, by the mid-19th century), Constantinopolis had swollen to 3 times its original size, and contained many conquered populations which were being oppressed to various degrees. Some nationalist feeling began to stir up in the conquered provinces, but Constantinopolis was at the height of its imperial power, and any attempted dissent was quickly silenced.
At the same time, two new trends began to manifest themselves in Constantinopolis. The first was capitalism. The Industrial Revolution progressed in Constantinopolis at much the same pace as it did in the otherwise unrelated nation of France. The cities became increasingly crowded and blackened by soot and smoke. The power of the feudal aristocracy was eroded, and the capitalist bourgeoisie rose in its place. Business interests soon came to dominate the country entirely, and the Basileus was reduced to the role of figurehead. Even so, the bourgeoisie felt the need to restrict the official power of the Basileus. No Constitution was ever adopted, but written laws were introduced as early as the 1810's, and a bicameral Parliament was established in 1831, as a compromise meant to defuse a near-revolutionary situation. This Parliament was modeled after its British counterpart, at least in theory. Its two chambers were the House of Lords (unelected; containing the representatives of the aristocracy) and the House of Commons (elected, but in the conditions of a very limited form of democracy - the franchise was restricted to wealthy males over the age of 21). In practice, the House of Commons was the dominant chamber of Parliament, and it served to advance the interests of the bourgeoisie. Two rival parties - the Conservatives and the Liberals - stood in elections, and they were in fact the only legal political parties in Constantinopolis.
The second trend that began to manifest itself in the 19th century was the workers' movement. It consisted of the trade unions on the one hand and a number of socialist political groups on the other. All were illegal (and heavily persecuted) up to 1862, but they continued to grow despite all the adversity. The situation of the working class of Constantinopolis, living in overcrowded slums, being paid barely enough money to survive from one day to the next, and having to work in utterly inhumane conditions, was enough to drive many workers to give their lives for the socialist cause. "Better to die on your feet than to live on your knees" was a popular slogan among the workers.
In 1862, as a result of an unprecedented wave of riots and full-scale rebellions in working-class neighborhoods, the government (which was by now firmly in the grasp of a Big Business oligarchy) finally agreed to make one concession: the activity of trade unions was legalized. Socialist political movements and parties, however, were as strictly outlawed as ever. They continued to function illegally and grow as before, while the trade unions managed to make some headway in the direction of workers' rights.
It should be noted at this point that Marxism had a very strong influence over the socialist movement in Constantinopolis. This gave the movement a highly revolutionary character and was crucial in the events that were to unfold later, during the 20th century.
The turn of the century
Near the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, Constantinopolis joined in the fever of colonialism. Although it could by no means compare with great colonial powers like Britain and France, it carved out a sizable colonial empire of its own, mostly in Africa. The Constantian Navy had been the dominant branch of the military of Constantinopolis for some 100 years, ever since the last of Constantinopolis's land enemies had been conquered.
In terms of culture, the ascension of the predominantly Russian-speaking bourgeoisie and the fall of the predominantly Greek-speaking aristocracy over the course of the 19th century resulted in the elimination of the language barrier between the ruling class and the common people that had stood for hundreds of years. By the turn of the century, nearly all the ruling class could speak Russian at least as well as Greek, and large numbers of ordinary people could speak Greek in addition to Russian.
In the early 1900's, capitalism in Constantinopolis was at the height of its power and development. Few would have guessed that it had less than 20 years left to live.
World War One and its aftermath
Constantinopolis was a major military power by the time World War One broke out. However, unlike most other great powers, it had no historical conflicts with any of its neighbors. The only land enemies Constantinopolis ever had were primitive tribes and small feudal kingdoms, which had been defeated and conquered centuries earlier. Overseas, Constantinopolis had successfully avoided making any enemies among the other great powers, preferring instead to trade with all of them and occasionally try to play some of them against the others. As such, there was no reason for Constantinopolis to join any side in WW1 when it broke out. From 1914 to 1916, Constantinopolis remained neutral and had more or less friendly relations with both the Entente and the Central Powers. Constantian companies made huge profits from the war, benefitting from their ability to trade with both sides. However, as early as 1915, it was clear that this situation could not last forever. The governments of all warring nations began to express their disapproval of Constantinopolis's policy of trading with their enemies. In 1916, both sides issued an ultimatum: Constantinopolis was to cease trading with the opposite side, or "face the consequences". While the capitalist oligarchy of Constantinopolis and their puppets in government discussed what their next move should be, the Entente countries announced that their patience had run out, and expelled all Constantian diplomatic missions from their territories. At the same time, they banned all Constantian companies from doing business on their soil. Outraged, Constantinopolis declared war on the Entente, and formally joined the Central Powers - Germany, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire.
Constantinopolis's involvement in the war consisted mainly of using its powerful navy against the even more powerful naval forces of the British Empire, in an attempt to open up the North Sea for Germany. The attempt failed. However, Constantinopolis also committed a significant number of ground troops in the war against Russia. These troops were present on the Russian front during the events of the year 1917, and many of them carried the ideals of the Russian Revolution back home after the war.
World War One ended in 1918 with the defeat of the Central Powers. Constantinopolis was forced to pay some light war reparations to the Entente, but, most importantly, it was stripped of all its overseas colonies (which were turned into mandates of the League of Nations). This dealt a heavy blow to the Constantian ruling class, although it was by no means fatal at that point in time.
Also in 1918, the Communist Party of Constantinopolis was founded. It was founded in secret and functioned illegally, of course - just like all other left-wing organizations - since the Conservatives and the Liberals were the only legal political parties in Constantinopolis (and left-wing parties were specifically banned). The Communist Party was based on the principles of Leninism and joined the Communist International (Comintern) in 1919 as a founding member. Beginning in late 1919, the General Secretary of the Communist Party was Rosa Krupskaya, who would later become the leader of the Great September Revolution.
From 1919 to 1921, Constantinopolis was marked by economic recession and increasing political instability. The ruling oligarchy tried to pick up the pieces following the defeat in WW1 and the loss of the overseas colonies, while social unrest was growing in the cities and socialist and communist ideas gained more and more popularity (despite frequent brutal crackdowns by the imperial secret police). Also, in the provinces (territories that had been conquered by Constantinopolis in the 18th and 19th centuries), the calls for independence were growing louder.
The Great September Revolution
In May 1921, a stock market crash devastated the already fragile Constantian economy. Unemployment and inflation soared, bringing with them extreme poverty for huge numbers of people. Workers' protests and riots became commonplace, and socialist groups (especially the Communist Party) intensified their activity.
Attempts by the capitalist oligarchy to defuse the explosive situation in the summer of 1921 failed. They made many concessions to the working class, including more freedom of speech (but without going as far as legalizing socialist parties), a minimum wage and laws to regulate work conditions (greatly reducing the brutality of sweatshops). But these reforms proved to be far too little far too late.
On September 3, partly due to the work of the Communist Party, crowds gathered for the largest protest marches Constantinopolis had ever seen. The protests were peaceful and the police kept a respectful distance. But the government was shocked when, in the evening, the protesters did not go home.
The massive protests continued through September 4, and the entire Constantian ruling class - the government, parliament, and big business representatives - gathered for an emergency meeting. They resolved to call in the army for the purpose of intimidating the crowds, but did not authorize military commanders to use force against the protesters. It was hoped that military presence alone would be enough to calm the situation. However, as the day came to an end, the protests showed no sign of losing strength. In fact, people were growing increasingly restless.
|The communist flag being planted on the roof of the Imperial Palace|
On September 5, the third consecutive day of street protests, the government ordered the army to open fire on the protesters in the capital city of Byzantium (where the largest protests were taking place). Some commanders refused to follow the order, but others did not. Hundreds of people were slaughtered. But far from dispersing the crowds and terrorizing the people into submission, as the government had hoped, this action had the effect of a spark touching a lake of gasoline. The crowds were inflamed with anger, and thousands more people poured onto the streets. They weren't just asking for higher wages, decent working conditions or freedom of speech any more. Now they were determined to bring down the government, big business, and the entire capitalist system. The Communist Party, who was already very involved in the protests, saw the revolutionary potential of the situation and decided to live up to its role as the vanguard of the proletariat. The communists had been stockpiling weapons at various secret locations around the city of Byzantium for years. Now they opened those stockpiles and armed the people. They also tried to organize the crowds, with varying degrees of success. Rosa Krupskaya led one group of a few thousand revolutionaries in a massive assault of the Imperial Palace. It was heavily defended, but the revolutionaries overwhelmed the defences and stormed the palace after several hours of bitter fighting. Basileus Andronicus II and most of his advisors - as well as the majority of government ministers - were captured. Once the palace had been secured and red flags were flying from all its towers, Rosa Krupskaya came out on the balcony that was usually reserved for the Basileus and the highest aristocracy, and began to speak to the people assembled outside. This speech, held in the evening of September 5, 1921, quickly grew famous as the "Socialism shines in our future" speech (named after its most memorable phrase).
The following night was a restless one for the people of Byzantium. Many gathered in the halls of the Imperial Palace - or on the streets outside it - to debate what to do next. Elsewhere in the city, the newly formed People's Militia was still fighting against what remained of the army and police (most of the army and police had evacuated the city after the fall of the Imperial Palace; royalist army commanders were now debating their next move). The People's Militia included many soldiers who had deserted from the army in order to fight for the revolution. They assumed to role of instructors and began to train their comrades in the art of warfare.
By the morning of September 6, both the revolutionaries and the royalists had decided on a plan of action. The royalists resolved to lay siege on the city of Byzantium and starve it into submission. The revolutionaries came to the conclusion that their only hope for victory was to contact their comrades in other cities across the country, and act as a spark for a wider revolution. And that was exactly what they did. Most of the other large population centers were already on the brink of an armed uprising, and the news of the events in Byzantium was all that was needed to trigger such uprisings all across Constantinopolis. Within one week, the royalist army commanders had a nationwide revolution on their hands, and their soldiers deserted in droves. To avoid immediate defeat, they had to call upon the considerable military forces that were stationed in the outlying provinces of the Holy Empire of Constantinopolis. However, once those provinces no longer had large army units stationed on their soil, their native populations rose up in revolutions of their own - revolutions directed not just against capitalist oppression in general, but against the imperial oppression of Constantinopolis in particular. The royalists now found themselves sandwiched between the communist revolution in the Constantian heartland and the revolutions of national liberation (which were also very socialist in nature) in the outlying provinces. The revolutionaries wasted no time in declaring their full support for each other, and the royalists responded to this growing threat by organizing themselves into a single, unified military hierarchy. The stage was set for a civil war.
The Civil War
|War flag of the communists|
By early November 1921, both the revolutionaries and the royalists had become well organized fighting forces, with a coherent leadership. The communist revolutionaries created the Workers' and Peasants' Red Army, following the successful model of the Russian red army. The royalist generals united their various armies into the Legion for the Defense of the Throne. There is no clear date that can be considered the beginning of the Constantian Civil War, but most historians consider the civil war to have begun in mid-November, when the fighting moved away from the big cities (which had experienced uprisings and revolutions throughout the autumn of 1921), and turned into more conventional warfare.
|War flag of the royalists|
The last months of 1921 saw a number of important victories for the communists. The revolution had triumphed across the central and southern regions of Constantinopolis, leaving the communists in charge of the entire coastline of the Hellenic Sea, including the strategic ports of Athenaegrad and Krossos (today Marxgrad and Engelsgrad), which were (and are) the second and third largest cities in Constantinopolis, respectively. Meanwhile, the royalists controlled most of the country's northern and eastern regions, especially around the borders between Constantinopolis proper and the conquered provinces (which had achieved de facto independence by this time). In mid-November, the communists launched an offensive in the East, where royalist forces were weaker than in the north, hoping to push the royalists into the Andurodan river - and thereby force them to either surrender or cross the river into the jungles of Watfordshire, where they would not survive for long. The offensive began well, and royalist forces were soon in full retreat, but the communists were not making as much progress as they had initially hoped.
On December 16, after a month-long trial, the former Basileus, Andronicus II, who had been captured by the communists during the Great September Revolution, was found guilty on 8,952 counts of first degree murder (innocent people whose executions he had personally ordered), as well as a number of other crimes against humanity, and high treason. He was sentenced to death and executed the next day (December 17, 1921). Former imperial ministers and other members of the old Constantian ruling class received life sentences. This was a massive blow to the morale of royalist forces, and the communist offensive in the east gained much ground during the following weeks and months.
More info coming soon
Politics and elections
The current Constitution of Constantinopolis (generally known as the Republican Constitution) was adopted in 1986, and it replaced the Imperial Constitution of 1925. Article 1 of the present Constitution declares Constantinopolis a Democratic Socialist Republic.
|The People's Assembly|
The Legislature is a bicameral parliament. The upper chamber of this parliament is the People's Assembly, with 800 members elected every 4 years by universal suffrage. The lower chamber is known as the Agora, and it consists of the entire adult population. Upon reaching 18 years of age, every person is issued with a MVD (Mobile Voting Device), which is a device similar to a mobile phone, used exclusively for voting. The MVD network is kept extremely secure, and each MVD unit can be used only by the person it was built for (the MVD identifies its owner through a retina scan, and it can only be activated by its owner's voice command). Using their MVD's, the people of Constantinopolis participate directly in the law-making process. Not every law passes through the Agora, however - since that would be impractical. The Constitution contains a list of issues which can only be legislated by the Agora (these are generally the issues of the highest importance, including any changes to the Constitution itself); in addition, the Agora can be consulted on any other matter, if at least 1/4 of the Assembly wishes it. To be more exact, the law-making process goes as follows: a proposal for a new law is submitted to the Assembly. The members of the Assembly discuss the issue, and vote on the law. If at least 25% of them are dissatisfied with the result of the vote, they can demand a vote in the Agora. In that case, the proposed law is presented to the people on their MVD's, and they are asked to vote on it (For or Against). The decision taken by the majority of the people becomes final and binding (the law is either passed or rejected).
The Executive is known as the Council of People's Commissars. It consists of 15 Commissars and a Chairman, each of whom are elected individually for 4-year terms. The elections for the Council of People's Commissars take place in the same years as the elections for the People's Assembly, but they are entirely separate events. The Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars (usually referred to simply as the Chairman) is both the head of government and the head of state. Even though political parties play no role in the election process for the Council, the Chairman and most Commissars are usually the members of the most popular party at the time when they were elected. For example, the current Chairman, Alexander Nikolaev, is also a leading figure in the Communist Party (see below).
The Judiciary is based on civil and criminal law codes, very similar to the ones used in most of the modern nations of the world.
For over 60 years, the major political parties in Constantinopolis have been the Communist Party, the Socialist Party and the Christian Socialist Party. The Communist and Socialist parties are the two main contenders in national elections, with the Christian Socialist Party being a third force that often enters coalition governments with either one of the two main parties.
Constantinopolis also has a significant number of minor parties. The largest of these are the Green Movement, the Anarchist League and the Social Democrat Party. The Anarchist League is widely seen as representing the "extreme left", while the Social Democrats are the "extreme right".
The results of the most recent national legislative elections (held in 2002) are as follows:
|Party||Leader(s)||Description||Percentage of the vote||Seats in the Assembly|
|Communist Party||Nikita Sokoll||The Communist Party of Constantinopolis is the oldest political party in the country. It was formed in 1918 (through the fusion of several communist, socialist and trade unionist revolutionary groups), and it was the main driving force behind the 1921 revolution. The stated aim of the Communist Party is to build a communist society. It supports the current socialist system, but also wishes to implement the slow "withering away" of the state. The communists represent the "left-wing" of politics in Constantinopolis, and they have won the elections of 2002. They formed a coalition with the Green Movement to secure a parliamentary majority.||46%||370|
|Socialist Party||Selene Isidor||The Socialist Party has been in power for most of the 20th century. While the communists have been responsible for the majority of changes and reforms, the socialists have maintained stability and prosperity in between the periods of change. The Socialist Party supports the current system and has no desire to move beyond socialism; it sees the goals of the communists as unnecessary at best and unrealistic at worst. The socialists represent the "right-wing" of politics in Constantinopolis, and they are currently the main opposition party to the Communist-Green majority coalition.||27%||220|
|Christian Socialist Party||Stavros Petrov||The Christian Socialists have basically the same economic platform as the Socialist Party. However, they distinguish themselves from both the socialists and the communists through their policy on social issues. The Christian Socialists propose the abolition of same-sex marriage, the re-criminalization of soft drugs, and more state support for established religion and family values. They are currently the second-largest opposition party, after the Socialists.||12%||100|
|Green Movement||Arkady Xylander||The Green Movement defines itself as an environmentalist socialist party. Its economic policy is roughly centrist (in between the socialists and the communists), but it distinguishes itself through its advocacy for much stronger environmental protection and the full implementation of clean energy sources. The greens are currently the coalition partners of the communists.||8%||65|
|Anarchist League||Bogdan Kirillov||The Anarchist League is probably best defined by its slogan, "Communism Now!". The anarchists share the same goals as the communists, but want to see them achieved immediately, as opposed to some indefinite point in the future. Therefore, they advocate the complete abolition of the government - as well as personal property - as soon as possible. They represent the extreme left of politics in Constantinopolis.||3.1%||25|
|Social Democrat Party||Iason Kazimir||The Social Democrat Party is the last remnant of the old pro-capitalist parties that existed in the years following the 1921 revolution. The Social Democrats advocate the re-introduction of (limited) private property over the means of production, which they hope to moderate with a strong welfare state. They obviously represent the extreme right of politics in Constantinopolis.||2.5%||20|
The remaining 1.4% was divided between many other smaller parties. In order to be represented in the People's Assembly, a political party must gather at least 1% of the vote.
Constantinopolis has a powerful socialist economy, whose purpose is to serve the needs of the people and achieve the highest possible standard of living. It is also among the world's largest and most robust economies, particularly remarkable for its stability (largely due to the fact that it is a planned economy) and steady growth over very large time periods. The Constantian economy encourages innovation, and, as a result, Constantinopolis benefits from highly advanced technologies.
Due to its large size and rich natural resources, Constantinopolis has achieved a higher degree of self-sufficiency than most other nations in the world today. However, it is involved in significant international trade with its allies in the Coalition of Anti-Capitalist Economies.
The following paragraphs describe the features of the Constantian economic system in greater detail.
Forms of property
Being a socialist economy, Constantinopolis has established public property over the means of production (the "means of production" are natural resources and tools that can be used for the purpose of economic production - things such as factories, cultivated land, etc). There are two forms of such "public property": Collective property and state property. Besides public property, there is also personal property, which applies to all objects that are not means of production. All three forms of property are discussed below.
As stated above, personal property applies to all objects that are not means of production. In other words, it applies to all items for personal use. For example, everything found in a typical person's home is usually personal property. Personal property rights in a socialist system (such as the one in Constantinopolis) are quite similar to private property rights in a capitalist system, with one important exception: Personal property may not be used for commercial purposes.
Collective property is a form of property over means of production. It applies to almost a third of all cultivated land, in addition to all small enterprises (those with fewer than 40 workers). An enterprise under collective property is an enterprise owned by its workers. Roughly speaking, the workers are "shareholders" in such an enterprise, all with an equal number of "shares". They may organize themselves however they wish, and vote to elect the management. Cultivated land under collective property usually consists of small farmsteads, owned by one or several families. If a farmstead or enterprise under collective property wishes to hire new workers, those workers become additional co-owners of the enterprise or farmstead.
Enterprises that have between 40 and 200 workers are owned in part by their workers and in part by the state. These are usually called "mixed property" (part collective property, part state property). The bigger the enterprise, the bigger the share owned by the state. The state owns a share of 20% in enterprises with 40-80 workers, 40% in enterprises with 80-120 workers, 60% in enterprises with 120-160 workers, and 80% in enterprises with 160-200 workers.
Enterprises with over 200 workers, as well as around two thirds of all cultivated land, are under full state property. Thus, the state owns the vast majority of the means of production. It also owns all other land (including roads, urban land, forests, and wildlife sanctuaries), the country's infrastructure and public transportation system, and, of course, government buildings and other items necessary for the functioning of the state.
A special case of state property is Constantinopolis's media (TV channels, radio, and printed newspapers). These are funded and technically owned by the state, but they are run and managed by their own workers. State employees are strictly forbidden to interfere in the media, and the penalties for breaking this law are very high. Also, since the advent of the internet, the government of Constantinopolis has enthusiastically supported this new form of communication as the end of all restrictions on free speech. The state embarked on an ambitious program to ensure that every household in Constantinopolis owns a computer with an internet connection by the year 2000, and the program was a success. Today, all citizens of Constantinopolis have access to the internet, and over 60% of them have personal websites. This has removed any doubts regarding the freedom of information in Constantinopolis.
The Constantian economy is managed through three main agencies: the Central Planning Commission, the State Bank, and the Commission for Resource Management. From 1935 onwards, the economy has been directed by a series of four-year plans (previous to that, there had been a transition period from 1925 to 1930 and a five-year plan from 1930 to 1935). For every enterprise, the planning agencies define the quantity and ratio of economic inputs (e.g., labour and raw materials), a schedule for completion, all wholesale prices and nearly all retail prices.
The process of drafting a four-year plan begins roughly six months before the plan is scheduled to be implemented. This means that the process begins in the month of February of the year immediately following an election year; it is therefore the first major task of any newly-elected government (and, often, a certain direction in economic planning is a key feature of a political party's electoral platform).
The Central Planning Commission sets basic guidelines for economic planning. It drafts at least four different plan proposals that specify the general direction of the economy and general economic policies. These proposals are then submitted to the Agora (the lower house of parliament, consisting of all adult citizens of Constantinopolis). The Agora votes and chooses which proposal should be implemented (this vote is essentially a referendum on general economic policy). A "none of the above" option exists, in order to enable the people to reject all proposals if they believe the Central Planning Commission did not give them a real choice (by making the proposals too similar), or if they believe all of the proposals are too far removed from their needs and wishes. If the "none of the above" option wins, the Central Planning Commission must draft new proposals.
After the approval of a proposal by the Agora, that proposal becomes the basis on which the new economic plan will be built. Combining the broad goals laid out by the approved proposal with data supplied by lower administrative levels regarding the current state of the economy, the Central Planning Commission works out a set of preliminary plan targets. The task of planners is to balance resources and requirements to ensure that the necessary inputs are provided for the planned output.
Economic planning is done on a sectoral basis. In other words, the main plan contains sub-plans for each sector of the economy. The Central Planning Commission sends the preliminary plan targets and figures downwards through a planning hierarchy that has a pyramidal structure. Each agency in this hierarchy receives the data required for its own activity, takes it through a process of detailed elaboration, and then breaks up the resulting sub-plan into different chunks that are sent down to different branches of the agency. Those branches follow a similar process and send their even more detailed data to lower units, until it eventually reaches the level of individual enterprises.
Enterprises are called upon to develop the most detailed plans covering all aspects of their operations so that they can assess the feasibility of targets, thus opening up the most intense bargaining phase in the planning process. As the individual enterprise drafts its detailed production plans, the flow of information is reversed: enterprise managers and even rank-and-file workers often participate in the planning process at this level. According to poll data, roughly 70% of all workers took part in discussions on the drafting of the most recent economic plan (adopted in 2003). Also at the enterprise level, labour unions often get involved in the planning process, bargaining with managers in order to advance the interests of the workers.
Once they are completed, the enterprises' draft plans are sent back up through the planning hierarchy for review. This process also entails bargaining, with all parties seeking the target levels and input figures that best suit their interests.
After this bargaining process, the Central Planning Commission receives the revised estimates and compiles them into one nationwide economic plan. Then, the redrafted plan is sent to the People's Assembly (the upper house of parliament) for approval. If the plan fails to receive the approval of a simple majority, it is sent back to the Central Planning Commission together with a list of issues that the Assembly wishes to be fixed. This has only happened four times in the history of Constantinopolis. If the revised and re-revised plan fails to gain the approval of the Assembly three times in a row, it is abandoned (and a new plan must be drafted from scratch, going through the entire drafting process described above). So far, this has never been necessary.
The review, revision, and approval of the four-year plan are followed by another downward flow of information, this time with the ammended and final plan containing the specific targets for each sector of the economy. At this point, implementation begins and is largely the responsibility of enterprise managers.
General economic statistics
Currency: socialist credit (currency code: SC); 1 SC = 100 CC (centicredits)
Exchange rate: 1 SC = $1.7891
Gross Domestic Product: purchasing power parity - $15,536,200,000,000 (8,683,800,000,000 SC)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $36,947 (20,651 SC)
Distribution of wealth - Gini index: 8% (an index of 0% would represent perfect equality and one of 100% would represent perfect inequality)
Population Below Poverty Line: none; the right to a decent standard of living is guaranteed by the Constitution and upheld by an extensive system of welfare and state pensions
Unemployment Rate: 0% (the right to work is guaranteed by the Constitution, and upheld by means of economic planning)
Labor Force: 295,700,000
The Constitution of Constantinopolis recognizes the separation of church and state, and stipulates that the free exercise of religion (or the lack thereof) is a basic human right guaranteed to all persons living within the borders of Constantinopolis.
As a result, a great number of different religions have adherents in Constantinopolis, and relations between them have been peaceful and friendly for many decades. According to the most recent census (held in 2003), the religious composition of the population is the following:
Constantian society is very open and egalitarian. Inequalities of wealth and social status, while they do exist, are tiny. This, along with the fact that the bourgeoisie dissappeared a long time ago with the abolition of capitalism, gives Constantinopolis the qualities of an almost classless society. There is a strong sense of community and solidarity among people, fostered by Constantian culture and education. Education, in fact, accounts for a larger share of social spending than any other social program.
The Constantian education system is entirely free and public, including all the universities. Most Constantians consider the notion of charging money for education to be repugnant and immoral. Discrimination based on wealth (particularly the wealth of one's parents, not one's own wealth) is regarded with the same disgust as discrimination based on gender or skin colour.
Also thanks to the egalitarian nature of Constantian society, the crime rate is extremely low. Theft is unheard of, because the possible benefits of stealing too small to be worth the risk (in other words, why take the risk of stealing from your neighbor when he is not much richer than you are? You have very little to gain, and a lot to lose). The occasional murder does still happen, but it's almost always a crime of passion.
More info coming soon.
By all economic and military standards, Constantinopolis is a world-class superpower. Therefore, its foreign policy is of significant importance. This foreign policy is officially defined as revolutionary interventionism. In brief, it comes down to the following principle:
- "Constantinopolis seeks alliances with all socialist, communist or anarchist political movements and nations. Constantinopolis will intervene militarily on the behalf of any socialist, communist or anarchist political movement or nation when that political movement or nation calls for assistance."
This policy was largely the result of a combination between the desire to foster World Revolution and the acceptance of the fact that global capitalism will have to be defeated one step at a time.
Constantinopolis is a member of the Coalition of Anti-Capitalist Economies, and therefore it shares the CACE's mutual defense policy. However, the other CACE member states generally do not share Constantinopolis's interventionist foreign policy, a fact that has been a constant source of frustration for Constantinopolis. Many successive governments of Constantinopolis have tried persuading the CACE to create a unified military force and take a more aggressive stance against global capitalism, but to no avail. This major difference of opinion has resulted in occasional clashes between the Constantinopolis delegate and the delegates of other CACE nations. At one time, when the CACE refused to take decisive action to support a certain leftist revolution against an oppressive corporate police state, the Constantinopolis delegate stormed out of the conference room, calling the other CACE representatives "a bunch of naive, starry-eyed, cowardly hippie peaceniks". He officially apologised and resigned the next day, thus defusing the diplomatic crisis - but Constantinopolis went ahead and supported the revolution unilaterally.
In general, Constantinopolis does not maintain diplomatic relations with capitalist nations, but it does recognize their governments as long as they are democratic. Constantinopolis does not recognize the legitimacy of any undemocratic governments, and in many cases the official policy of Constantinopolis towards the members of those governments is to consider them equal to - or worse than - common criminals.
On certain rare occasions, Constantinopolis may form alliances with some capitalist nations, if they are democratic and highly progressive welfare states. For the moment, there is only one such ally of Constantinopolis: The Republic of Syskeyia
A specific note should be made of the relationship between Constantinopolis and The Eternal Noldorin Empire of Menelmacar. According to a poll taken in June 2004, the people of Constantinopolis - as well as those of a number of allied nations - overwhelmingly see Menelmacar as "a long-standing bastion of oppression in every shape and form, from its dictatorial government to its ultra-capitalist economic system". This has caused immense tensions between Constantinopolis and Menelmacar. While the two nations have never been formally at war, they have had numerous skirmishes over the years. Justinian Tiberius famously described the government of Menelmacar as "a band of arrogant, greedy and murderous oligarchs who have grown so accustomed to their priviledged positions of wealth and power that they've started to believe their own elitist delusions of grandeur". According to a recently-passed law, any member of the Menelmacari government who sets foot on the territory of Constantinopolis is to be shot on sight. Diplomatic relations between the two countries are quite naturally out of the question.
Constantinopolis first began considering the possibility of beginning its own space program in the late 1960's. During the 1970 election campaign, the Socialist Party made the establishment of a space agency a key point of its electoral platform - partly in order to show that they were not any less progressive than the Communists. After winning the elections, the Socialists delivered on their promise and established the United People's Space Agency (UPSA) in 1971.
The UPSA spent the 1970's taking the same first steps that had previously been completed by other nations' space programs. Sattelites were launched, then manned spaceflights began to be made, and a space station was built. Later, in 1983, the UPSA put a man on the Moon. But much greater leaps in technology were soon to be made.
The Communists had won the elections of 1982, and a communist Basileus (the now-famous Justinian Tiberius) had also been elected the same year. Constantinopolis began working more closely with other socialist countries, as well as the rare few who had established communist societies already. One of these was the high-tech space-faring nation of Freebodnik IV. Technological exchanges with Freebodnik IV greatly boosted the space program of Constantinopolis. The UPSA put a man on Mars in 1993 - only a decade after its first Moon landing - but, before that, it had already launched its first Ion Cannon Sattelite in 1988.
|A space view of the first ion cannon test.|
Constantinopolis never had a nuclear program, and it never sought one. Thus, it never constructed any nuclear weapons. Many of its enemies did have nuclear weapons, however, and top military officials in Constantinopolis had been trying to find an adequate response for over a decade. In the late 1980's, a solution was finally found: orbiting ion cannons. An ion cannon strike from low Earth orbit has almost the same destructive power as a nuclear detonation, with two distinct advantages: First, there are no side effects (like the radioactive fallout from a nuclear weapon). An ion cannon can pulverize an army with no damage to the nearby civilian population. Second, unlike missiles, ion cannon blasts cannot be intercepted or destroyed in mid-air.
As of 2005, Constantinopolis has put a classified number of Ion Cannon Sattelites in low Earth orbit. It is known, however, that their number is above 16.
The UPSA continued to advance by leaps and bounds in the 1990's, even establishing a human colony (Constantine Europa) on Jupiter's moon Europa. Also, military space ships were built and launched for the first time in the late 1990's and early 2000's, giving Constantinopolis a sizable space-faring war fleet.
Milestones of space exploration by the UPSA:
- 1972 - First artificial sattelite launched
- 1975 - First manned spaceflight
- 1980 - First space station completed in Earth orbit
- 1983 - First man on the Moon
- 1988 - First Ion Cannon Sattelite enters operation
- 1993 - First man on Mars
- 1997 - In collaboration with a number of other nations, including Freebodnik IV, the colony of Constantine Europa is established on Jupiter's moon Europa
- 1998 - First military space ship launched
- 2000 - First battleship commissioned
- 2001 - The UPSA joins the Coalition of Anti-Capitalist Economies Space Agency.
- 2003 - Unmanned probe successfully lands on Pluto
As of 2005, the main objective of the UPSA is to complete the exploration of the Solar System and establish more human colonies. The idea of sending a probe to Alpha Centauri has also been discussed, but so far no efforts have been made in that direction.
The national anthem of Constantinopolis, since 1925, is 'The Red Flag' (written by Jim Connell in 1889). Its lyrics are as follows:
The people's flag is deepest red,
It shrouded oft our martyred dead,
And ere their limbs grew stiff and cold,
Their hearts' blood dyed its every fold.
- Then raise the scarlet standard high.
- Within its shade we'll live and die,
- Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer,
- We'll keep the red flag flying here.
Look round, the Frenchman loves its blaze,
The sturdy German chants its praise,
In Moscow's vaults its hymns are sung
Chicago swells the surging throng.
It waved above our infant might,
When all ahead seemed dark as night;
It witnessed many a deed and vow,
We must not change its colour now.
It well recalls the triumphs past,
It gives the hope of peace at last;
The banner bright, the symbol plain,
Of human right and human gain.
It suits today the weak and base,
Whose minds are fixed on pelf and place
To cringe before the rich man's frown,
And haul the sacred emblem down.
With heads uncovered swear we all
To bear it onward till we fall;
Come dungeons dark or gallows grim,
This song shall be our parting hymn.