|Flag of New Paristan|
|Motto: Liberté, Egalité, Communauté|
|Leader||Prime Minister Max Chartres|
|NS Sunset XML|
- 1 History
- 2 Geography and Political Boundaries
- 3 Government and Politics
The Colonial Period
New Paristan was discovered in the late 15th century by explorers from Francestan. These explorers, as is often the case, were seeking new colonial territory, which came as a big surprise to its native population, who were subsequently driven to near extinction by their new colonial masters.
New Paristan quickly became a cultural hub, a magnet for artists, intellectuals, thinkers, poets, malcontents and anyone who wanted to get away from the oppressive atmosphere of religious intolerance and social inequality that was prevalent in Francestan. Because of its rebellious, independent spirit, the Paristani citizenry quickly developed a deep desire for independence. This desire was crushed brutally and repeatedly by the Francestani colonial leadership. The 17th and 18th centuries were characterized by isolation and repression.
In 1789, Francestan became embroiled in a brutal revolution. The middle class, fed up with the arbitrary and oppressive rule of King Jean Louis VII, began a bloody campaign to overthrow the monarchy and the aristocracy which supported it. The peasants soon joined and within two years the King and most of the nobility had lost their heads to the guillotine.
The Paristani citizens, inspired by the courageous actions of the Francestani bourgeoisie, soon took up arms and fought their own war for independence. Since much of the Francestani army stationed in New Paristan had been called back to Francestan to defend the monarchy, the Paristanis won a relatively easy victory. Independence was declared on July 14, 1790.
By the early 1800s, both Francestan and New Paristan had developed stable democratic governments. Because their affinity for the Francestani revolutionaries had led to their own successful fight for independence, the Paristanis remained close to their former colonial rulers. New Paristan adopted the motto of the Francestani revolution, "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity." In 1810, the Paristanis held a national referendum to choose a new flag. Several unique designs were submitted, but a hugely popular grassroots campaign had also put the flag of the Francestani revolutionaries, the tricolor, on the ballot. The tricolor won by a large margin. It flew as New Paristan's flag until the Revolution.
The Industrial Age
The Industrial Revolution brought the usual kinds of upheaval to New Paristan. New Paristan's cities began to develop rapidly. Its capital, Montmartre, tripled in size, and in short order it was a burgeoning urban center. Its other regional capitals soon followed.
The growth of the cities did not decimate New Paristan's agricultural sector, which flourished in the southern part of the country. It remained strong throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, producing wine, cheese and all manner of fruits and vegetables for export to its neighbors. The Paristani wine industry retains its prestige to this day.
Nationalism and Capitalist Decay
For much of the 20th century, New Paristan was a stable bourgeoise democracy. Governments came and went through relatively fair and regular elections, and overall the populace was happy. By 1980, however, something had begun to change. The economy had taken a nosedive. Companies were laying off workers right and left. Unemployment kept rising. Discontent was rampant.
The 1980 elections saw Jean Marie LaPlume elected as Prime Minister, a charismatic far-right leader who blamed illegal immigration and "corrupt communist union bosses" for New Paristan's economic problems. His first act was to seal New Paristan's borders and impose hefty tariffs on imported goods. He forced harsh union-busting legislation through the National Assembly. He cut social spending down to nothing and slashed corporate taxes and regulations. He couched his ultra-capitalist economic agenda in nationalistic language and riled his supporters to action with great speeches that encouraged a sense of cultural superiority.
Unfortunately, all of that jingoistic bluster didn't solve any of New Paristan's economic problems. The stock market continued to slide. Unemployment rose to record levels. The abolition of New Paristan's social safety net caused a huge increase in the homeless population. The agricultural sector was nearly obliterated because nobody could afford to buy anything.
The Rise of Bruno Leclerc and the Militant Union
Prime Minister La Plume's grip on power was solidified by the national media, by now almost completely controlled by three giant corporations, all of whom were major contributors to La Plume's campaigns. The television stations and newspapers championed La Plume's positions through biased reporting that deceptively purported to be "fair and balanced." By and large, the Paristani populace bought into the media lies. Prime Minister La Plume seemed indestructible.
But not for one man. Bruno Leclerc was a frustrated assembly line worker at an electronics plant. Over the years he had seen his pay slashed, his benefits disappear, and the union at his factory torn apart by internal dissent, beaurocritization and, ultimately, the harsh anti-union legislation of the La Plume government. Finally, he decided that enough was enough. He talked some of his coworkers into coming to a secret meeting at his small apartment in the industrial city of Lille (now called Leclerc). That small meeting saw the creation of the Militant Union, the revolutionary force that would lead New Paristan into a new era of socialist prosperity.
Leclerc was quickly fired from his job once word leaked out about his Militant Union. Legend has it that when he was fired, Bruno said to his boss, "Sir, it is not I who am fired today. It is you." He then walked out of the factory and into history.
Two years of very careful, very secretive organizing later, the Militant Union had members in every major industry in New Paristan. Hearing of this threat, Prime Minister La Plume began to crack down. He outlawed "meetings of more than 10 people in one place at one time." He gave the police broad new surveillance powers. But when it became clear that the Militant Union had become too powerful for such measures, La Plume became desperate. He imposed a nationwide curfew. People were arrested and put in prison merely for "suspicious behavior." Many Militant Union members were executed for treason. But Leclerc was not stupid. He kept a low profile, only going out when necessary to attend to some matter of urgency. The MU began to have a life of its own.
La Plume's crackdowns on dissent and ironclad grip on the media could not quell the growing tide of discontent. People began talking in hushed tones about a revolution. Bruno Leclerc sensed an opportunity approaching.
Revolution and Renewal
Finally, the bubble burst. The stock market crashed. The economy ground to a halt. La Plume declared martial law.
The Militant Union responded. Bruno Leclerc called a general strike. Millions of workers marched on the National Assembly building in Montmartre, demanding the resignation of Prime Minister La Plume.
La Plume called in the army to disperse the protesters. But many of the soldiers did just the opposite, and joined the protesters.
Bruno Leclec made an impassioned speech, calling for massive social change. He exclaimed, "We must not fear the future, for it is our task as workers to lead it!"
Meanwhile, the National Assembly was feverishly debating a course of action. The pro-La Plume majority government was calling for Leclerc's head, while the opposition minority was calling for La Plume's head. A no confidence vote was held. The result shocked everyone. Almost half of the La Plume government ministers broke with their party and voted against the Prime Minister. Every other member of the National Assembly voted against the Prime Minister.
There then followed a moment of extreme tension. La Plume had to know he was beaten, but he was tenacious. In the end, however, La Plume made a brief speech, emphasizing that he "was confident that one day he would be vindicated," and stepped down from power. He left the country amid great secrecy.
At first, the National Assembly only wanted new elections to replace La Plume. It was clear, however, that the populace demanded more. Elections were called for all seats in the National Assembly to be held six months from the day La Plume stepped down from power.
The Militant Union quickly organized itself into a political force. Ideological disagreements caused a split within the MU, leading to the creation of the Socialist Unity Party and the Communist Party. The Socialist Unity Party claimed the larger number of supporters and was led by Bruno Leclerc himself. The Communist Party was made up of hardliners, militants and intellectuals and wanted to pursue a revolution according to orthodox Marxist-Leninist ideals.
The capitalist forces also organized themselves. Former supporters of La Plume allied themselves with a large segment of the business owners and stockbrokers to form the National Freedom Party. A smaller segment of pro-capitalist moderates formed the Sensible Progress Party. A group of center-left small business owners and their allies formed the Democratic Left Party.
Not surprisingly, the election saw a landslide victory for the Militant Union. The Socialist Unity Party won an outright majority in the National Assembly, and the Communist Party won a sizeable chunk of seats as well. The pro-capitalist forces together won less than a quarter of the seats. Bruno Leclerc was named Prime Minister.
Over the next few years, Bruno Leclerc's government set about dismantling the institutions of capitalism and establishing a vibrant, dynamic socialist democracy. Essential industries and utilities were all put under the jurisdiction of the newly created Ministry for Economic Democracy. This government agency, made up of Militant Union leaders, economists and intellectuals, drew up New Paristan's strategy for giving control of the economy directly to the workers.
Within a few years, workers' councils had been established throughout the country to coordinate production and management of goods and services. The Militant Union's role changed from political body to training and support. Every year the Ministry for Economic Democracy gave more control to local and regional councils in an effort to give workers more and more direct control over the economy.
New Paristan Today
Today, 20 years after the Revolution, New Paristan is a thriving socialist democracy. Political dynamics have shifted somewhat as the Revolution has progressed. The Militant Union remains a crucial support mechanism for workers throughout the country. The most significant change recently has been the abolition of the Ministry for Economic Democracy, which had given up so much of its control to local workers' councils that it no longer had a function.
New Paristan also recently voted to replace its flag with one that "better reflects our kinship with socialist revolutionaries worldwide." The tricolor remains symbolically, but is moved to the side of the flag to make room for a large field of red, "the color of the blood of the working class." A yellow star protrudes into all areas of the flag and evokes the flag of socialist Yugoslavia, "one of socialism's success stories," according to Prime Minister Max Chartres.
New Paristan has also reached out to its neighbors. It has joined CACE, and with it, the International Fair Trade Agreement, IFTA. In doing so, it has engaged itself as an active member of the international anti-capitalist community. Current Minister for International Affairs Amelie Poulain has been instrumental in helping to promote New Paristan's interests to CACE and IFTA members.
Geography and Political Boundaries
The Montagnes de la Paix (Peace Mountains) define much of New Paristan's coastline, ending in majestic cliffs that drop down into the ocean. Further inland, most of the country is subtropical to temperate in climate and topology. New Paristan's agricultural sector is concentrated in the southern part of the country, where the climate is almost perfect for the winemaking industry for which New Paristan is renowned.
New Paristan's capital is Montmartre, located in the north central part of the country on the Debs River. It is a bustling metropolis whose design was inspired by Paris, the capital city of Francestan, after which New Paristan is named. It is known for its Art Nouveau architecture, wide boulevards, extensive subway system, gourmet food, and its vibrant artistic and cultural life.
New Paristan is divided into 8 Regions: 5 on the mainland and 3 islands, each with its own capital city. Each Region is further subdivided into Departments.
This region was named after famed Francestani symphony composer Claude Debussy. It is home to New Paristan's capital city, Montmartre, which was named after a famous artists' commune in the Francestani capital city of Paris and serves as Regional Capital. Debussy is bisected by the Debs river and contains several medium-sized towns. Its terrain is heavily forested, with rolling hills and long, shallow valleys.
Named after Andre Breton, the leader of the Surrealist movement in Francestan, this region is home to a bustling and diverse community of artists, poets, writers and philosophers. Breton's Regional Capital, Jospin, named after former Socialist Prime Minister of Francestan Lionel Jospin, resembles the seaside resorts of Francestan's southern coast. Paristanis claim that the beaches of Jospin are "the most beautiful in the world," and feature a "spectacular view" of the Montagnes de la Paix to the west. It is a city of Mediterranean architecture and palm trees. The rest of the region features clusters of small towns and artists' communes. The eastern half of the region is defined by the Montagnes de la Paix, with rocky peaks and steep cliffs dropping down into the ocean.
Named after famous Francestani "Bohemian" artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, the majority of this region is defined by the tallest peaks of the Montagnes de la Paix. Its Regional Capital, Jaures, named after famous Francestani Socialist leader Jean Jaures, is a dramatic statement in experimental architecture inspired by the likes of Frank Lloyd Wright. Perched on cliffs on either side of the Blum river, Jospin's buildings were designed to blend harmoniously with the surrounding terrain, both in form and function. Much of the rest of the region is emcompassed within Peace Stone National Park, New Paristan's biggest area of protected land, whose goal is the "preservation of the beauty and majesty of the Montagnes de la Paix."
New Paristan's southernmost region, Baudelaire is also its agricultural center. Named after Francestani poet Charles Baudelaire, the region is also known for its poetry festivals and folk music. Its Regional Capital, Boulogne, named after a forest just outside the Francestani capital of Paris, is nestled in a wooded area near the southern coast. Baudelaire is New Paristan's winemaking country, famed for its spicy reds and frutiy whites. There is also a vibrant cheese industry. Baudelaire's southeastern border is defined by Lake Spiffing, whose waters New Paristan shares with neighbors Tavast-Carelia and CADs.
Named after Francestani Surrealist artist René Magritte, this region is New Paristan's industrial center. Its capital, Leclerc, was the birthplace of Bruno Leclerc and his Militant Union. Before the Revolution, the city was called Lille. Its name was changed to honor Bruno Leclerc after his death. Leclerc is a city of factories, home to New Paristan's bustling book publishing and electronics industries. The rest of the region is made up of smaller industrial towns.
Ile de Paris
New Paristan's northernmost island, Ile de Paris lies across a narrow channel from the city of Jospin. Its Regional Capital, Nouvelle France, was one of the first cities founded by Francestani explorers. Nouvelle France is a small city famed for its colonial architecture and historical museums. Ile de Paris is connected to the mainland by a suspension bridge linking Nouvelle France and Jospin.
Ile de la Solidarité
This island, previously called "Ile St. Jacques," was renamed to honor the unity of workers, farmers, students and artists who led New Paristan's socialist revolution. Its capital, Union, is a city where activists of all stripes travel to study and debate the ideas that shape Paristani politics. It is home to many "think tanks," including the prestigious Breton Institute, considered by many to be an authority in the area of revolutionary psycho-sociology.
Travel to and from the island is only possible via hovercraft ferries. Cars are not allowed on the island, but a comprehensive light rail system allows easy travel in and around the capital city. The Mitterrand National Park defines the northern half of the island. It is a protected area of lush and impenetrable jungle.
Ile de Bruno
Called "Ile de Bordeaux" before the Revolution, this island was renamed to honor Bruno Leclerc. Its capital, Marius, is named after a student revolutionary in the famous Francestani novel "Les Miserables." It is a center for student activism, home to the prestigious University of Arts and Sciences.
The island is connected to the mainland by a car and rail tunnel that links Marius to the city of Boulogne.
Government and Politics
New Paristan is a unicameral parliamentary socialist democracy. Its legislative body, the People's Congress, is made up of 400 directly elected Members (MPCs.) Any citizen of New Paristan over 16 years of age can run for MPC. MPCs serve three year terms, and no MPC can serve more than three terms (nine years) consecutively. Members who have served three terms consecutively must step down for at least two terms before running for election again. Special elections can be called by the Prime Minister, by a national referendum, or if a census shows significant population shifts.
The head of the People's Congress is the Prime Minister, who is also the head of government. The Prime Minister is elected by the members of the political party with the majority of seats in the People's Congress. The Prime Minister appoints a Cabinet of Ministers, whose appointments are approved by the People's Congress. In cases where the governing party does not command an outright majority in the People's Congress, but instead governs in coalition with other parties, the Prime Minister must appoint a Cabinet made up of representatives of all coalition parties. The Prime Minister can be removed from office by a 2/3 majority vote of "no confidence" in the People's Congress. A successor to the removed Prime Minister is then elected by a simple majority vote of the MPCs.
The Prime Minister also has the power to dissolve the People's Congress and call for new elections, but he/she must have the support of at least 2/3 of the Cabinet to do so.
Regional Congresses serve as the legislative body for each of New Paristan's eight Regions. Members are directly elected from each of the Region's Departments. A Regional Governor is also directly elected and controls the executive branch.
The Judicial branch is comprised of both civil and criminal court systems. It is divided between Departmental Courts, with jurisdiction over purely local affairs, Regional Courts, with jurisdiction over matters that cross Departmental lines within a particular region, and National Courts, with jurisdiction over cases with national implications and cases which cross regional boundaries. There are also Appellate Courts on all levels, and the highest Appellate Court in the nation is the National Supreme Court, which handles major Constitutional challenges and cases with significant national import.
Judges of the various courts are elected by the people in non-partisan races. To qualify, a candidate for judge must be of Paristani citizenship, possess a law degree, have passed the BAR exam, be at least 30 years of age, and have practiced law for a minimum of five years.
The Communist Party
The current ruling party in the People's Congress, with 216 seats (out of 400). The Communists are an orthodox Marxist-Leninist party. The party sees New Paristan in the first stages of socialism in which the State and the Communist Party will help empower the proletariat to begin the road toward self-governance. The CP has recently had a major ideological shift, however, and come out strongly against centralization of control. It has abolished the Ministry of Economic Democracy, which had been the central body controlling the transition from market capitalism to socialist economic democracy, in favor of ceding control to local workers' councils. Its overall goal is to help guide the revolution toward the ultimate "withering of the state" and establishment of true communism. It is a very popular party in New Paristan and is seen as more decisive and revolutionary than its former coalition partner and now rival, the Socialist Unity Party.
The most recent elections, called because a national census required the creation of 100 new seats, gave the Communists an outright majority in the People's Congress for the first time since the Revolution. Before this election, the CP had been in a coalition with the Democratic Left Party. However, supporters of the DLP were deeply divided over their party's collaboration with what they saw as the CP's "dangerously radical" ideas. As a result, many DLP members bolted from the party in the recent elections, joining the newly formed Radical Party and propelling it to a strong third place finish.
The Socialist Unity Party
The SUP ruled New Paristan almost unopposed for the first 10 years of the Revolution, and in coalition with the Communist Party for the last 10. It was driven from power by a surge in support for the CP, seen as a more decisive, revolutionary party by many citizens. It now stands as the largest minority party in the People's Congress, with 99 seats. The Socialist Unity Party believes largely in keeping New Paristan's revolution where it is. It has always argued that socialism could be an end in itself and not necessarily a means to the greater end of communism. It is this assertion that has cost it the most support, as many people seek greater control and self-governance and look forward to the day of the "withering of the state."
The Democratic Left Party
The DLP was a small minority party in the People's Congress until last year's elections, when it jumped to 71 seats and became part of the governing coalition with the Communists. This new coalition arrangement marked a significant shift for the DLP, which until then had been a European style center left party along the lines of Gerhard Schroeder's SDP or Tony Blair's New Labour. It had always argued passionately for a reduction in taxes and beaurocracy and a return to limited private enterprise. Its message resonated with former small business owners who have been forced to turn their businesses into cooperatives and share ownership equally with all of their workers. The DLP was also popular with those who felt that the revolution had gone "too far" and that the dreams of true socialism and communism were impossible.
Unfortunately, due to its collaboration with the Communists, the DLP was ripped apart by internal conflict in the most recent election. It now stands as the smallest party in the People's Congress, with just 13 seats.
The Radical Party
The Radical Party is very new. It was founded two years ago by DLP dissidents unhappy with what they saw as the DLP's "lack of direction." When the DLP entered coalition government with the Communists, the Radical Party shifted tactics. It hammered at the DLP's "radical shift away from its core values" and urged members to abandon "the naive and dangerous collaboration with the Communists." As a result of this strategy, the RP was able to attract a lot of support in the most recent election, and now stands as the party with the third highest number of seats in the People's Congress, at 55 seats.
Ideologically, the Radical Party positions itself between the DLP and the SUP. It argues that New Paristan's progress in forging a socialist state has been hampered by too much beaurocratic control and not enough "innovative thinking." Its platform does not call for any return to private enterprise, but it does call for reductions in administrative staff, tax cuts and giving more control and flexibility to local and regional bodies.
Union for a Popular Majority
The UPM is an attempt by many on the right to regain a foothold on power. It is a merger between the Sensible Progress Party and the National Freedom Party, and it has also attracted members of the DLP into its ranks. The UPM has managed to increase the influence and drawing power of the counter-revolutionaries in New Paristan, but it still remains a small political force. Its main purpose is to "unite the forces of freedom against the forces of economic tyranny." It calls for an immediate return to private enterprise, massive tax cuts, and massive cuts in all government sectors. It also calls for curbs on immigration and civil rights, such as tighter regulations on abortions, the prohibition of marijuana and other recreational drugs, and the abolition of gay marriage rights.
The most recent election was the first in which this coalition ran under the UPM banner. It managed to hold onto just 17 seats in the People's Congress.
more information to come...