"The heavens are the gardens of the people."
Brozism is the umbrella term for a number of ideologies and schools of thought greatly influenced by and originating from the works of Leon Broz, a Therian philosopher of the first century IAE. Though Brozism contains a multitude of varying roles and attitudes, from media criticism to actual religious dogma, almost all Brozist thought is grounded in the need for a harmonious relationship with nature and the primacy of natural law over societal axioms. Brozism has had a profound effect on galactic culture, crossing interstellar boundaries since its theories were first formalized in the late 0040s IAE, and penetrating almost every field of knowledge. Its relationship to the sociopolitical order of the Commonwealth is an integral part of modern history.
The Planetist Galaxy
The later centuries of the Ex Terris Era saw the early promise of the stars coupled with a rapacious need to spread out and establish "civilization." This mandate reached far beyond previous notions of cosmic homesteading, and manifested in the desires of planetary landholders and aristocrats, usually of the nascent middle classes. Though it was fundamentally imperialist in nature, it was also borne out of the difficult conditions on many of the urbanized worlds of the Commonwealth- the spread of disease and poverty, and inefficient use of resources.
Thusly the dangerous endeavors of colonization were sold to the masses as a form of liberation, whether it was through raw economics, religion, or liberal millenarianism. No better example of the latter exists than Walcot Baldo's "One Hundred Billion Souls, One Hundred Billion Stars" speech, in which he declared that there was a planetary eden awaiting each and every brave soul willing to take it. This cosmic gospel of prosperity became known as Planetism.
At the time Planetism became an accepted school of thought, communication and travel were limited. The scope of civilization for the average person was severely delineated. Many of the initial costs associated with colonization- an endeavor which necessitated years of collective effort- barred most from realizing the true dreams of Planetism.
The Commonwealth addressed this disparity through the Charter system. Prospective settlers were given land grants on unsettled worlds and provided with the tools and transportation to reach them by wealthy patrons, provided they sign a Planetary Contract, which bound them to that planet and that patron's service. The charter system had been remarkably successful through the latter centuries of the Ex Terris Era, resulting in a population and economic boom, especially in the Pluteum, a region of space settled almost entirely by charters. But by the mid 1st century IAE, many in the Commonwealth had realized the limits to their freedom under the charter system. Often the terms of planetary contracts were predatory and ended only in the event that a colonist's labor was "concluded," definition of which was amorphous and invariably unachievable.
It was not until the discovery of multiple Uub polities, and the ensuing technological revolutions that democratized travel and communication, that the first stirrings of dissatisfaction with the charter system emerged on a wide scale.
Leon Broz & the Uub
The first of the Commonwealth perceived they stood on a grain of sand whirling in the darkness of ether. And on that single grain, like a film had formed all the eons of life, generation by generation, in toil and blindness, with transient joy and transient clarity. And all their history, with its folk-wanderings, its empires, its philosophies, its proud sciences, its social revolutions, its increasing hunger for community, was but a flicker in one day of the lives of the stars.
Leon Broz, The Pilgrims Depart
Leon Broz's origins is shrouded in mystery. It is probable that his parents were some of the millions, if not billions, of anonymous colonists contractually bound to servitude on the frontiers of the neo-feudalist Pluteum. The first record of Broz emerges in 0035 IAE, when his name occurs in the Canopic census of Trebeta, a planetary vassal of the larger Kingdom of Canopus, itself one of the most powerful, and reactionary, electors in the Holy Asterion Empire.
Broz was a curator in the employ of the Star-Dux of Trebeta himself. His lists, which still survive, are mainly concerned with pre-astran science fiction, and primary texts regarding the New Red Vulgate. As a member of the learned chartered bourgeoisie, Broz's position lent him plenty of time for study and more importantly travel. He accompanied the Star-Dux on his travels to Capricorn and Deltoton, where he was steeped in the budding intellectual cafe culture of the late Empire. This flowering of the intelligentsia would later prove the undoing of the Holy Asterion Empire.
Broz was enlisted to personally oversee the Star-Dux's library, an occupation that saw him in the Canopic retinue that toured the Uub tomb world of Aahhuu Aahshaa.
At the time, the enigmatic Uub were the toast of the Commonwealth, with Uub settlements being discovered across far-flung distances, and many joining the ranks of Commonwealth diplomats, spearheading the latest wave of migrations and colonial settlements. Peaceful and magnanimous, the early Commonwealth fetishized and co-opted the Uub for their own benefit, studying their telepathic powers and implementing them to negotiate or manipulate with newly discovered races, all the while co-opting many of their technologies and displacing them for colonial projects. Broz was aware of all of these things, though it was not in vogue or even common practice to criticize the Commonwealth's Uub policy. Broz found kinship with the Uub of Aahhuu Aahshaa, and in 0043 IAE they helped facilitate his escape from the Star-Dux's retinue.
Broz lived amongst the Uub of Shaah-drr for the next thirty years, observing their behaviors and learning their customs. He was astounded at telepathic abilities, their skill in maintaining harmony and adapting to hardship and grief. Broz became further convinced that not only was Planetism unnecessary and exploitative, it was also refusing to learn from and adapt to the challenges presented by the stars and those who dwelled amongst them, and would likely extinguish entire cultures in its wake. After years of scientific writings disseminated as popular literature through the Commonwealth, Leon Broz released his first work as a freed man- The Red Giant Treatise- in 0048 IAE.
The Red Giant Treatise
Following its publication, the Red Giant Treatise spread like wildfire through the Commonwealth, in great part thanks to the Uub world trees, which could independently broadcast data across the vast reaches of space. Poetically written but politically incisive, the Treatise found currency with the intelligentsia and the disaffected masses alike, tapping into a zeitgeist both weary of the charters and enchanted by the Uub "eukaryotes," which resembled a sort of realizable utopia.
In the Red Giant Treatise, Broz laid out that it was possible, if not inevitable, for this kind of utopia to be achieved within the Commonwealth. His evidence for this was the Uub themselves. His thesis was that the Uub were the progenitor race, supported by their prolificness and the vast distances between their communities. Broz also postulated that their telepathic abilities lay dormant within all sentient life. Since each race had this common origin, it would be possible to once again assume this harmonious state of being, through maintaining harmony with nature and emulating the Uub social structure.
Reaction and Revolution
The techno-aristocracy of the Commonwealth dismissed Broz's writings as crackpot rantings and failed to take them seriously. It was symptomatic of their neglect and complacence. Nearly fifty years into the IAE and the completion of the Golden Leyline, many Commonwealth citizens still lived in indentured servitude or poverty, or lacked economic or political agency. The Red Giant Treatise's popularity extended beyond contracted serfs to the cosmic bourgeois, who suffered from a rootlessness which Broz's contemporary, the Uub literator Eehsu, described as "Voidlust." As civilization had spread through the stars, gods and nations had been reborn, and in turn their mythologies had withered away, leaving only the power structures which propped them up. As automation too became more prominent, the dream of a citizenry of space could be freed from the shackles of labor and poverty gave way to the reality that they were considered an expendable burden. For the ultra-wealthy of the galaxy, no amount of riches or power could ever be enough.
Throughout the 0050s and 60s, multiple artificial famines on the galactic frontiers, the introduction of automation, and exploding wealth for the upper classes proved to be the perfect powder keg, and the Red Giant Treatise the spark. Localized rebellions grew in scope and organization. The oppressed of the Pluteum slowly put aside their fears and differences to work together, steeled by increasingly authoritarian measures imposed by the authorities.
In 0068, the Eukaryotic Revolution began. When the government attempted to implement mass automation, contracted serfs in Canopus known as helots
formed armed committees and declared a general strike throughout the country. Many elements of the conscripted armed forces defected to the revolutionaries and fought their aristocratic officers. First a provisional republic, in which the nobility still held voting power, was declared. Then a joint military attempt by neighboring countries to strangle the revolution in its crib resulted in further uprisings within their borders. By 0072, Canopus, Aldebaran, Capella and Farfallas had declared themselves to be the inheritors of the Brozist ideology. Broz and the other intelligentsia who followed in his wake were invited to Canopus act as the helmspeople of a new utopia.
With a central base of power and a rigid ideological platform, the Brozist ideology flourished. The revolutionary Brozist entities dubbed themselves the Eukaryotes. Wracked by helot rebellions and piracy, the old Planetist nation-states responded with increasing brutality, lest they devolve into a patchwork of ideological fiefdoms. In the 0090s, this coalesced into a massive conflict for the soul of the galaxy.
Baptism by Fire
The fresh sprigs of our hope were hardened in pink frost.
Radha Almonaster, Homage to Canopus
For a quarter-century, the nascent Brozist eukaryotes were forced to battle for survival against the Planetist powers. Wave after wave of opposition- the Fire-Breathers, the Holy Lacunal League, the Tretradecal Crowns, the Asterion Alliance- crashed against every vestige of Brozism in the Commonwealth. Often, it was armies of helots sent after their freed counterparts. Millions died in the wars. In order to survive, the Brozist eukaryotes abandoned non-hierarchical or anti-state principles, and adopted war economies and authoritarian structures. Few survived, with some entities lasting only weeks or months before being overrun.
Despite the immense cost, neither side was able to win a lasting advantage over the other. Facing less radical opposition at home, and content that they had ended the galactic ambitions of the eukaryotes, the Planetist powers within the Commonwealth conceded to a truce.
The legacy of the Brozist Wars was not to destroy Brozism, but forever divide it. While some Brozists were emboldened by their survival, it had come at an immense cost; others still grew deeply disillusioned with the cause, and lost hope in the galaxy's salvation. Broz himself had responded to the calamity of war by becoming more and more mystical in his views. He deified the Uub, canonizing many lost in the violence as saints. Introduced by his Uub followers to the excretions of the sacred xic
worm, he composed illuminated manuscripts filled with hallucinatory images of an eden beyond the veil of stars. Seeing the destruction wreaked upon Canopus in particular, Broz advocated a mass exodus to space, believing at last that civilization could not live in harmony with nature, and was in fact anathema to it.
In 0115, Broz- by then nearly a century old- left with thousands of his followers, including some of the greatest luminaries of the age, to search for the Ur-Planet. They passed through the eye of the wormhole at Rho Lock, and years later, when the quantum foam of its last junction was excavated, no trace of them were found.
Many viewed this act as a mass-suicide. Others saw it as abandonment, and others still took it as inspiration.
The Thaw, and the Two Strains of Brozism
The Eukaryotic nations that had survived the Canopic War found themselves struggling to rebuild, and moreover, they lacked the lockspace technology the Commonwealth used to support and interlink its huge network of nations and colonies. For the Eukaryotic governments, whose very existence had been a necessary contradiction of Broz's original ideology, a compromise was inevitable. Through the mid-0100s, they embarked on a political campaign of reconciliation with the Commonwealth, and all nations were eventually given member status in 0153. This even, known as the Thaw, can be seen as the first great consequence of Leon Broz's departure into unknown space. For twenty-five years, the ideological rivalries over this last act were allowed to fester and grow, and the pain of the disagreements was amplified by the tremendous destruction and loss of life in the Brozist Wars. After the Thaw, two large camps emerged- both containing multitudes within them.
Forming a war-like state to fight against the Planetists had been a traumatic abandonment of core values for many Brozists, though it was made out to be a temporary arrangement. This turned out not to be the case. The new Brozist countries adopted the official designation of "Eukaryotes," in order to differentiate themselves from traditional nation-states. Inevitably, however, they soon reified into more traditional methods of government in order to cope with crisis after crisis.
"When Broz and Roedelius spoke of evolution and consensus, it was as inevitability and not necessity. If our way of life cannot survive to reach it, what role will our descendants consign us to? Why should I be made to guard history's wastebin?"
Logs of Palmiro Volterra, Prime Minister of Capella
These compromises were justified in the name of preserving Broz's ideals and the aspects of his way of life until the species of the Commonwealth could achieve the same level of telepathic harmony- often called consensus
- as the Uub. Life in these countries, though difficult for decades after the war, took on some of the character of traditional Commonwealth market economies, but with significant cultural differences. These policies and the ideology behind them became known as "Meta-Brozism." Though the nature and scope of Meta-Brozist reform varied from place to place, it generally shared characteristics such as:
- The abolishment of charters and planetary contracts
- Protection for sentient labor against automation
- Strict limits on AI sapience
- Constitutional ecological protections of varying levels of reach and significance
- Robust public works projects and close involvement of the state in urban planning, with an emphasis on shared spaces
- Psychiatry as a staple of daily life, with emphasis placed on harmonious conformity and achieving consensus through individual and group talk therapy
Though ecology remained an important platform in the Eukaryotes- in some, such as Farfallas, more than others- the importance of the Uub to the ideology gradually declined, especially as the more mystical and pseudoscientific elements to Broz's work started to be re-evaluated and viewed as allegorical. Meta-Brozist industry and colonization took on the character of its rivals, though in a more restrained fashion; habitation and resource usage was still determined without regard for natural harmony. In government, the direct democracy of the original eukaryotes gave way to a stratified system of representative democracy, owing to the growing size and complexity of the state. These were also seen as necessary compromises in order to compete with the rapacious energies of the Planetist powers.
In order to better defend themselves and present a united front in both the Commonwealth Diet and against their enemies, the eukaryotes formed economic and military alliances called Unikonts
. There have been 4 Unikonts throughout history, the current being the Magellanic Unikont
The other primary school of Brozist thought also emerged in reaction to Broz's voyage into space. With its name in reference to Broz's "Ur-" concepts of ancient and essential life, and stressing its orthodoxy and dedication to original intent, Ur-Brozism stood in total opposition to the compromising tendencies of Meta-Brozism, with some contending that the Meta-Brozists have no claim to his legacy.
The most clear examples of Ur-Brozism are the migratory fleets. Following the Thaw, many who disagreed with the political direction of the Eukaryotes fled those countries en masse. Their numbers were bolstered by Uub converts and refugees, and whoever else would seek to join them in their travels. The stated aim was to continue Leon Broz's search for the Ur-Planet, and "shirk gravity's yoke." Some migratory fleets were entirely pacifistic in nature, and it is these whose names have generally been forgotten, except as tragic tales. Others, such as the Rosarum Fleet, existed in a state of constant war.
"You buffalo those fleetniks you may's well be pissin' on a wasp's nest."
Boss Goodhue, Physiocrat Senator from Terlingua
Since many of the migratory fleets refuse to use Commonwealth locks, they tend to shunpike throughout the galaxy at an immensely slow pace, siphoning fuel from planetary bodies or bunkering illegally. Those that survive take on the character of heavily-armed and self-sufficient communes, or vast mobile shrines and pilgrimages, or both simultaneously. Fleet life can be mutually deeply isolating while also offering exposure to undiscovered worlds and diverse cultures. For these reasons, combined with the deep animosity held towards Ur-Brozists as radical armed fanatics, it can also be very dangerous. The departure of the fleets was not always welcomed in the Eukaryotic nations, and they have a frosty relationship to this day. Each successive Unikont has denied the use of lethal force against the fleets, though this has been questioned by numerous reputable sources.
Ur-Brozism tacitly rejects hierarchy, the use of complex artificial intelligence, the recreational consumption of drugs, the commodification of the body and the destruction of the natural environment. Despite advocating pacifism against creatures great and small, many migratory fleets have been known to fight bitterly against their enemies. The Rosarum Fleet, one of the largest and longest-lasting in service, conducted a multi-year voyage through hostile territories in the late 0250s which came to be known as the Death Crawl. Over the course of the Death Crawl, the Rosarum Fleet was responsible for the destruction of untold enemy vessels, changes in government and local power structures, and reigniting the stagnant Canopic War.
In the Commonwealth, as Brozist ideology has come to influence or be shut out of policy, multiple attempts have been made to deal with the question of the fleets. Numerous solutions have been proposed, ranging from subsidies to forced repatriation to military action, depending on where the political winds are blowing at the time. In 0266, the fleets have taken on a semi-mythological quality as anti-authoritarian warrior pilgrims. To be associated with them, however, is widely considered an act of social or physical suicide. In 0262, Legionary death squads in Deltoton publicly burned 150 captured or deserting fleetniks on the Palatine Hill of Suur Elva.
In many senses Ur-Brozism resembles a religion more than a political ideology. With its pantheon of sainted Uub martyrs, its consensus rituals that make use of hallucinogens, and its insistence on ecological purity, its stresses lie on the mind of the individual and the importance of shared practice and custom. Ur-Brozism rests on a careful equilibrium that involves the nuturing of the individual, and the death of the ego, in order to form a more perfect and unified whole.
"It was in the waning typhoon days of the Hanamatsuri Offensive, and I was in retreat with the Sultan's Rangers, who lined the road like ants in their tiger-striped camouflage... when I came across a sight I would never forget. At a crossroads sat a stone foot of the Buddha, freshly washed by parishioners, and enthroned upon the ankle, an image of Leon Broz... I scaled the foot for a closer view, slipping on tea-stained rock, and saw that its face had been obliterated."
2nd Lt. Vong si Dau
In the 0220s and 30s, new schools of Ur-Brozism emerged in the aftermath of the Thuban Empire's partitioning. Though the Empire's borders had long been closed, Uub communities were now accessible to young pilgrims hoping to learn from their customs. Gurus like the vajra
Uesugi Kodai syncretized their Ur-Brozist beliefs with Uub and Shinsufist customs, believing that perhaps the technological advances of the Boltzmann Strip could in fact bring about the telepathic consensus
Broz had written about. These ensuing schools of thought, which range from heterodox Ur-Brozism to Kodai's own Fifth Path and all in between, might be seen more as mutations and offshoots of Ur-Brozism than an evolution of the ideology itself, with many lacking a distinct political consciousness.
Brozism and Robotics
Brozism in the 0260s
The iconography of Brozism is vast and influential as befitting an ideology of its scope and longevity. The color most closely associated with Brozism is rose red, or other pale pinkish red hues. The prominent use of this color is common throughout all groups on the Brozist ideological spectrum.
The primary symbol of Brozism is the urpflanze,
often translated as "Ur-Plant" or "Ur-Flower," the archetypal plant that contains the seeds of all other plants. First conceived by Goethe as a sort of allegorical origin of all life, this striking image found currency with Brozist dialectic that postulates a similar physical condition. Though highly complex in its initial renderings, the Ur-Plant as used in Brozist iconography is often stylized and simplified in various ways. It almost always takes the form of a plant standing upright with a bulbous bloom at the top, and four or more asymmetrical branches arching outwards from its stem below, each bearing a unique foliage, symbolizing "equally connected disparities."
Natural motifs are common in Brozism, with an emphasis placed on "chaotic unity," and the natural structure that bears out from plant life. In recent years there has been a strong tendency towards minimalism and understatement, driven by abstract art movements in Aldebaran and the naive art of fleetnik craftspeople. Overall in Brozist art, semiotics and technology, there is an opposition to physical representation that denies or obscures its own function.