Ideology of the Continentalist Party of the United Commonwealth

From Constructed Worlds
Jump to navigation Jump to search
 This article is a B+ class article. It is written to a great standard. This article is part of Altverse II.

The ideology of the Continentalist Party of the United Commonwealth, refers to the progressive system of economic, social, and political ideals espoused by the Continentalist Party in the operation of the United Commonwealth of Continentalist States. As the ruling party in the nation since 1921, the ideology of the Continentalist Party also largely correlates to the prevailing political sentiment in the country. The chief position of the Continentalist Party is known as Marxism–Landonism, an ideology characterized by the importance of a vanguardist one-party state to realize the dictatorship of the proletariat, in the ideological commitment to achieving communism. Additionally, an important aspect of Continental ideology is the idea of uniting the continent of North America and building socialism there first, a belief known as Continentalism. The Continentalist Party has also historically supported anti-imperialist activities around the world to defend the international proletariat, combat capitalism, and to promote the future establishment of world communism.

Marxism–Landonism has been described by foreign observers and critics as a non descript ideology, instead being defined by its pragmatism. As such, the official doctrine of the Continentalist Party has shifted throughout generations of Continental leadership, who adopted and shaped Marxism–Landonism to the needs of their present era.

Marxism–Landonism[edit | edit source]

The official ideology of the Continentalist Party is Marxism–Landonism, which formed from a combination of classical Marxism (as formulated by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels) and Landonism (the political theory of Isaiah Landon). Among Landon’s contribution to theory was the postulation of a vanguard party, an organization of the most class-conscious sections of the proletariat tasked with leading and directing the revolution. Chiefly responsible for coining the “Marxism–Landonism” label in popular use, Gregory Dahl (1835–1920) is considered the “Father of Continental Marxism”; Dahl was a leader among the first generation of Continental socialists, and published numerous works adopting Landonist theory to the United Commonwealth.

Landonism forms the ideological basis for the Continentalist Party, as it legitimizes the party’s claim as the role of the vanguard. While Marx and Engels laid the foundation for communist party building, the modern implementation of Marxism–Landonism – the function of the vanguard party through democratic centralism – developed through the lived experience of the Continental Revolution, and the unique contributions of Landon, Dahl, Russian theoretician Vladimir Lenin, and Aeneas Warren. Continentalism has therefore been described as “Marxism-Landonism applied and developed in the Continental States” by the Daily Worker. The 1982 Constitution of the United Commonwealth lists Marxism–Landonism as the foremost guide for Continental society.

The characteristics of Marxism–Landonism have evolved over the course of the Continentalist Party’s tenure. In 1953 Winston Ashtabula stated that “[Marxism–Landonism] is defined by its dynamism based on the present material conditions of a given nation. It is open to redefinition and experimentation, being both fixed and unfixed. It is a firm adherent to the scientific method in the pursuit of truth, holding that we use the ever expanding breadth of data we are generating to create an ever more accurate theory.” Among the key tenets of Marxism–Landonism is the superiority of the Continentalist Party as a vanguard, with the constitution describing the party as the “leading and guiding force of Continental society”, however, subsequent political developments have led to this “superiority” not necessarily meaning exclusivity. Likewise, the importance of each person as a member of the collective, rather than as an individual foremost, such as in liberalism, led to the development of defensive politics in Marxism–Landonism; freedoms are safeguarded insofar as they are not a detriment to the “general interests of Continental society”. The right to express a dissenting opinion in politics adheres to democratic centralism, whereby party members are expected to support a consensus and present unified action, even if one was initially a dissenter.

A monument dedicated to Karl Marx (left) and Friedrich Engels(right) in Chicago.

Other key aspects of Marxism–Landonism include support for proletarian internationalism, and the view that there is a global class struggle eventually culminating in world revolution, however, the Continentalist Party has historically not been adverse to domestic or regional buildup of socialism prior to this occurrence. This theory has led to the United Commonwealth seeking to cultivate a “Continental nationalism”, in which people are not separated by traditional divisions such as race, ethnicity, or religion—collectively considered examples of bourgeois nationalism for the purpose of dividing the working classes. As such, Marxist–Landonist governments seek to accommodate minority groups and disavow chauvinism. In practice, the movement of Continental nationalism from one largely shaped by the majority, to one fully representative of the Continental people, was called “a thus far imperfect, but progressively improving endeavor” by Rupert Gardner. Marxism–Landonism is staunchly opposed to acts of imperialism and colonialism, and advocates for decolonization as part of the worldwide conflict between capitalism and socialism.

Conversely, the fluidity of Marxism–Landonism has led to criticism of it being an empty term, loosely defined as whichever policies the United Commonwealth pursues. This sentiment was popularized by Hugo Lambert, writing in 1960 that, “while we admire many of the contributions of Landon and Warren, both men governed in a way that was at times contradictory to the values they espoused. Additionally, Marxism–Landonism is not an ideology, but a bastardization of two separate ideologies by Callahan and Callahanists, for the purpose of forming some cohesive Continental movement for political engagement.” In 2020 anti-Landonist activist and Continental defector Michael Yang called Marxism–Landonism “incompatible with liberty or democracy” and “spiritually devoid”. Past interpretations of Marxism–Landonism have been critiqued within the party itself as too susceptible to incontrovertibly, with Robert Brovkin noting that “any conviction that the Party is enlightened, or that the United Commonwealth is more advanced than its rivals, by virtue of its socialization ipso facto, commits a potential error of ambivalence to the material realities or the will of the people.” Historically, members of the Labor Front of the United Commonwealth, such as William Z. Foster in the 1920s and Raymond Beshear in the 1960s, have pushed back against over-adaptation of Marxism–Landonism.

Warrenism[edit | edit source]

Aeneas Warren (1871–1922) is regarded as the principal founder of the modern United Commonwealth.

Warrenism, sometimes also known as Marxism–Landonism–Warrenism, refers to the political ideology developed by first paramount leader of the Continentalist States, Aeneas Warren (1871–1922). During Warren’s lifetime the official guiding ideology of the Continentalist Party was Landonism, with the term “Warrenism” only taking shape after his death. However, Warrenism differs from orthodox Landonism in numerous ways, and underwent an evolution during and after Warren’s lifetime.

Warren’s political leanings solidified while he attended The Presidio, The Military College of San Francisco. There he met fellow revolutionary Zhou Xinyue, and joined the local Landonist group known as the Seventy-Seven Society. In 1901 Warren was one of 37 delegates to the 1st Congress of the Revolutionary Socialist Party in St. Louis. Initially a junior member of the congress, Warren favored forming a broad coalition of labor leaders, socialists, unions, and general anti-federalists, and was agreeable to reform from within the country’s political system. In 1901 he wrote, "We are here to confederate the workers of this country into a working-class movement, that shall have for its purpose the emancipation of the working class". However, Warren also fully argued in favor of proletarian revolution, not reform, as a necessary prerequisite for a future socialist state. This issue caused Warren to have a falling out with several leading socialists of the party, but in 1904 he nonetheless supported the coalition known as the United Labor Front, and its motto, "An injury to one is an injury to all”.

Zhou Xinyue was one of Warren's main confidants in the development of his ideology.

Warren’s disillusion with reformism evolved out of the increasingly violent backlash the labor movement received by the Federalist government, including such violent acts as the Paint Creek massacre. Instead Warren argued that capitalism would withstand gradual reforms because of the bourgeoisie’s control over political power and information dissemination in North America. Warren likewise latched onto the idea of imperialism as the highest stage of capitalism, arguing that capitalism would transform into a global financial system, in which the industrialized economies engage in geopolitical conflict over the exploitation of labor and natural resources in the rest of the world. The prevailing interpretation among most theoreticians was that imperialism was preventing a proletarian revolution in the industrialized countries, due to such superexploitation allowing wealthy countries to maintain a higher standard of living. Warren argued that the global climate was changing away from colonialism, and that the priority of socialist candidates within the electoral system should be toward opposing colonialism, rather than passing piecemeal social reforms, as the former crippled the financial elite. Furthermore, Warren argued that the United Commonwealth was approaching a level of division and income equality that outpaced the concessions made by bourgeois elites.

Early Warrenism has been described as platformist, as in 1902 he wrote, “sectarianism has historically been a poison upon the labor movement”. However, by the 1910s he adopted a vanguardist position. However, although he recognized the importance of a vanguard to lead to the revolution, prior to the formation of the Continentalist Party, Warren was apprehensive of democratic centralism as too dictatorial. As such, after the formation of the Continentalist States, Warren authorized the creation of registered sections, which eventually evolved into minor parties. Paramount to Warren’s beliefs was that democracy should be at the center of the Continental state, and that a majority would need to be achieved in both the workplace and via election. Writing in 1910, Warren described a Continental state as being decentralized and minimal in size, for the purpose only of safeguarding the revolution, but that decision making and the means of production would be gradually ceded to worker control. He often differed on policy from Zhou in his syndicalist leanings, arguing for the management of workplaces through unions.

Zhou and Warren established the Five Virtues of the People, which were “ brotherhood, temperance, service, diligence and prosperity”, based on Sun Yat-sen’s Three Principles of the People. Core to these virtues was the idea of “Peace, order, and good government” as guiding principles at the heart of the United Commonwealth. As such, Warren believed that the chief task of the Continentalist Party was the improvement of life for the average citizen, and in office advocated for universal suffrage, education, and housing. He was an advocate for clemency for the average people who were part of the Federalist regime, arguing in favor of rehabilitation rather than vengeance. Warrenism’s key tenet is often summed up as “Our goal is the happiness of all mankind”.

Nationalism and race policy[edit | edit source]

Although not a strong initial focus of his, Warren was a committed opponent of racial segregation. Warren subscribed to the belief of proletarian internationalism, which transcended national, ethnic, and religious identity, and viewed these divisions as a means by the capitalist ruling class to manipulate and divide the working classes politically. However, Warren also argued uniquely for national self-determination, as influenced by the United Commonwealth’s material conditions. In his 1914 work The Right to Liberation, Warren differentiated between the nationalism of “oppressor nations”, and that of “oppressed nations”, vehemently opposing the former as a type of chauvinism that would serve as an obstacle in establishing the dictatorship of the proletariat. He stated:

“We fight against the violence and privilege of the oppressor nation, and do not in any way condone strivings for privileges on the part of the oppressed nation. The oppressed nation has a general democratic content that is directed against oppression, and it is this content that we unconditionally support….Nothing prevents the development and strengthening of proletarian class solidarity as much as national injustice.”

To this end, Warren supported autonomy for minorities in the United Commonwealth and a people’s right to self determination, believing that this acknowledgement would allow different groups to move past the limitations of nationalism. This idea materialized in the creation of Okaloosa; although also a consequence of the material realities post-revolution, Warren supported the creation of such a republic. However, the idea of Okaloosa as a “black republic” was highly controversial and considered demeaning by some civil rights activities, such as W. E. B. Du Bois, who criticized Okaloosa as inevitably creating a “separate but equal” situation on a national scale, as codifying separatism over integration, and as leading to otherization that would only deteriorate race relations. After the fall of the inaugural Okaloosan leaders such as Harry Haywood and the rise of the mid-century civil rights movement, any framing of Okaloosa as an ethnostate or race-centric was vehemently rejected by the Continentalist Party.

Continentalism[edit | edit source]

Festival of the Landonist International (1920) depicts groups of people from across North America being joined in common cause.

Continentalism is a syncretic ideology based on Marxism–Landonism, which was adopted as the official ideology of the Continentalist Party at the dawn of the Continental Revolution. Continentalism is most often defined as the advocation for the unification of North America under a socialist system. Continentalism was first adopted by Aeneas Warren and Zhou Xinyue after the Boxcar Affair; the term was chosen to harken to a united, transcontinental identity as opposed to individual national identities such as Sierran. The implementation of continentalism has gradually evolved throughout the history of the Continentalist Party.

At the time of the Continental Revolution, it was the belief of the Continental government that world revolution was imminent. Upon establishing control over the United Commonwealth, the Continentalists sought to export the revolution by supporting similar uprisings in neighboring countries like Superior and Sierra, and launching invasions to assist these movements. However, a lack of Continental success in many of these operations and the crushing of uprisings led to the Treaty of Bernheim, and the gradual abandonment of a proletarian revolution taking place globally in the immediate future. The Continentalist States was incorporated in 1921 as a union of several individual republics; Warren regarded this as a model to the unification of North America, with each of the present North American nations establishing individual republics, which would later unify. Under Seamus Callahan, the United Commonwealth pursued an internal focus of self-sufficiency, officially pausing the nation’s pursuit of continental unification. During Great War I, Callahan deemed the situation opportune to fulfill the goal of unification, beginning with the invasion of Brazoria. Although the United Commonwealth failed to directly conquer the entirety of the continent, it successfully established socialist republics in a number of neighboring nations. These nations effectively served as Continentalist puppets and buffer states from future invasion, with the assumption being that upon the completion of the conquest of the continent these republics would form future republics of the United Commonwealth.

The debate regarding the nature of the unification of North America – whether the opposing states should be forcefully conquered or peacefully coexisted with – has persisted since the days of Aeneas Warren as the Cohabitatio uel annihilatio? question. Since the mid 20th century, the United Commonwealth has gradually adopted a policy of coexistence with the rest of the continent. In the wake of Continentalism turning away from the immediate unification of the continent, modern theorists sometimes describe Continentalism as simply the unique form of socialism in the continent, as opposed to European-style socialism promoted in countries such as Italy, often using the term “Socialism with American characteristics”.

Callahanism[edit | edit source]

Aeneas Warren and Seamus Callahan in 1922. Callahan framed his ideology as a continuation of Warren's policy.

After the death of Aeneas Warren in 1922, leadership in the United Commonwealth gradually coalesced around Seamus Callahan (1875–1947), whose thoughts and policies regarding the government of the United Commonwealth from about 1922 to 1947 are referred to as Callahanism. Although Callahan described himself as a continuation of Warren’s policies, in many respects Callahanism is seen as a rejection of decentralized and collective leadership in favor of autocratization. Callahan consolidated rule around himself and streamlined government functions, which also removed participation in government and a separation of powers, and as such Callahanism is often described as authoritarian, or Callahan as overseeing democratic backsliding. The position of the Continentalist Party during this period was that centralization should be undertaken to make government less burdensome, inefficient, and bureaucratic, as such characteristics opened the possibility for mismanagement and abuse. Additionally, such positions were argued to be out of necessity as a result of weak turnout in the Election of 1924 and crises such as the Southern Insurrection. Callahan effectively undid Warren’s registered sections by banning internal factions, and while he did legalize the creation of other political parties, these organizations were neutered into puppet organizations of the Continentalist Party.

A key development by Callahan was the growth of “national communism”, or the belief that the United Commonwealth should look internally, build socialism domestically, and only then export socialism to the rest of the world through its positive example and adequately built-up conditions. This idea was not in opposition to the Marxist–Landonist idea of world revolution according to Callahan, but rather a necessary step to defend Landonist ideas prior to it. As such, an important part of Callahanist ideology became the creation of self-sufficiency and economic success in the country, via a highly hands-on approach by the government, in order to shield the country from capitalist manipulation.

Callahan’s national communist approach was criticized by figures such as Zhou Xinyue, who viewed the adoption of a nationalist character in Continental socialism as contributing to isolation, which would in turn lead to increased bureaucratization instead of less. Callahan’s “degeneration” toward bureaucracy became a rallying cry of the “Left Opposition” and the Labor Front led by William Z. Foster. Zhou and Harry Haywood also criticized Callahan for embracing a white American-centric nationalism as a consequence of his non-internationalism; the status of Okaloosa and the extent of its autonomy became a frequent battle between Callahan and Haywood.

Callahan deemphasized Warren’s proclivity for unions in the Continental economy and sought to undermine the power of the trade unions, which conversely was the powerbase of Zhou and Foster. Instead, Callahan sought to incorporate the trade unions directly into the state apparatus to create a militarized “production atmosphere”. While firmly in power, Callahan dismantled the power of the unions and limited their ability to strike or threaten the decrees of the central government. As Callahan would argue in front of the 12th Party Congress:

"....a regime in which every worker feels himself a soldier of labor, who cannot dispose of himself freely; if the order is given to transfer him, he must carry it out; if he does not carry it out, he will be a deserter who is punished. Who looks after this? The trade unions. It creates the new regime. This is the militarization of the working class."

As part of his efforts to promote self-sufficiency, Callahan prioritized agricultural policy in the United Commonwealth. He instituted collectivization as a means of increasing efficiency and breaking the power of individual Southern farmers. He instituted scientific research and mass education to improve farm yields, as well as providing financial relief and security for impoverished farmers. Callahan hoped to “show the greatness of the Continental system” to the rest of the world by solving hunger in the country, and then turning to global hunger. Eliminating world hunger was seen as a long term goal of the administration, to show just how far the country had bounced back under Landonist policies, and to set an example for the rest of the world. At the 14th Congress of the Continentalist Party in 1928, Callahan would declare, "Food is strength, and food is peace, and food is freedom, and food is a helping hand to people around the world whose goodwill and friendship we want." The Food for Peace initiative was established to provide food assistance around the world, later laying the foundation for the Green Revolution. Likewise, Callahan pursued mass industrialization and urbanization.

Decallahanization[edit | edit source]

After the death of Seamus Callahan in 1947, many of the elements of Callahanism were walked back by the Continentalist Party, in what became known as Decallahanization. Callahanism was criticized as fostering a cult of personality within the Party, and for its system of centralized and autocratized government, which was gradually reversed. The uncertainty following Callahan’s death caused a whirlwind of activity in reaction. A faction within the Continentalist Party immediately sought to reinstate a dedication to decentralized leadership by separating the highest offices of Continental government, in what became known as the Second Triumvirate. Likewise, a Southern-led insurrection in the wake of the lifting or restrictions, known as the Dixiecrat Revolution, broke out in 1948 and galvanized the post-Callahan leadership of the party. Amelia Fowler Crawford represented a hardline faction that sought to preserve Callahanist principles. Crawford also represented a worldview within the Continentalist Party that the United Commonwealth was inherently ahead of the west by virtue of its socialist character, based on a literal interpretation of historical materialism, with Crawford publicly stating in 1950 that the nation would transition to communism within two decades. However, this position was ultimately rejected as breeding complacency in the Continentalist Party.

Failing to rally public and intraparty support for the continuation of Callahanist measures, Crawford resigned in 1953 and was succeeded by Lysander Hughes. Although western observers characterized post-Callahan reforms as a rejection of the party’s heritage and previous ideology, the Continentalist Party did not officially renounce Callahan, nor do they view their reforms as incompatible. Elements of the economy were decentralized gradually after 1947, which Jack Spruance called “the integration of the fundamental tenets of Marxism with the conditions of the present.” The United Commonwealth was described to be in a “primary stage of socialism”, in which the economy was still being developed, albeit with a strong emphasis on the public sector and with input from the government. A right-left divide materialized within the Party throughout the 1950s regarding the role of the state in regulating or planning the economy. Spruance became a leading voice in the reformist camp, however, he stressed that central planning and market economics did not have to be contradictory in regulating economic activity.

New Frontier[edit | edit source]

Propaganda poster promoting the Space Race, 1963

In the early 1950s the leadership of the Continentalist Party began to stabilize around Lysander Hughes (1897–1958), who successfully garnered public support for his political and economic reforms. Under his leadership the United Commonwealth would promote the outlook of the New Frontier, or the belief that the United Commonwealth should be guided by socialism through science, reason rather than sheer will, and technological innovation. Scientific discovery and innovation were prioritized as the most important tools toward building the future communist society, creating a sense of optimism and futurism in Continental society. Exemplifying this initiative were the number of science-based public projects the Continentalist Party pushed for, such as the Atoms for Peace program to promote nuclear energy, the Arsenal of Democracy to equip and defend Landonist allies, and the Space Race to promote space exploration. Hughes personally motivated the public’s interest in the space race and promoted a manned mission to the moon, such as in the famed “We choose to go to the Moon” speech he delivered opening the 22nd Congress of the Continentalist Party in 1958. Hughes defined the New Frontier as the fight to “fulfill the American Dream” and the fight for “Freedom from Want and Fear”, by making healthcare, education, and employment the tenets of a “new Bill of Rights for mankind”.

Gardner Thaw[edit | edit source]

Under Rupert Gardner (1908–1968), the leading political theory of the day became known as Gardnerism or the “Gardner Thaw”, characterized by a rejection of Callahanism, an embrace of more traditional Landonist-republican views, the expansion of democratic socialism and democratic involvement in society, and greater coexistence with outside powers. Although the perspective by many among the West was that Gardner represented a rejection of the Party’s roots and core ideology, the Continentalist Party did not outright reject the past paramount leaders nor their ideology. Instead, Gardner framed his policies as a strengthening and return to Landonist values. As part of his reforms he lifted restrictions on the media and party control in cultural affairs, allowing for a diversity of leftist tendencies within the Continentalist Party, and an outlook known as the Harmonious Society. He supported electoralism across the world, condemned sectarianism especially on racial grounds, seeking to fulfill the nation’s commitment to racial equality. Gardner’s reign corresponded with the rise of the New Left and the Continental democracy movement, the latter calling for increased democratization, even to the point of the removal of Continentalist control over government. Gardner sought to compromise with democrats and promoted organizations such as the Continental Democratic Party as a legalized democratic socialist voice in politics. Throughout much of his tenure Gardner received broad popular support allowing political experimentation, in what is known as the “Era of Good Toil”.

Gardner promoted a “peaceful coexistence” with the western powers, in an effort to lower tensions throughout the Cold War, which included opening up to western markets and culture in some respects. While Gardner limited military confrontation, he saw continuation of conflict in other respects inevitable, due to the two systems developing by “diametrically opposite laws”. The Gardner Thaw arose out of necessity to avoid nuclear confrontation with the west, with Gardner instead believing that the battle fought between the blocs would primarily be economic. Rather than viewing the global struggle against capitalism as a dichotomy between capitalism and socialism, Gardner based his outlook on the rise of the non-alignment movement and national liberation movements being carried out globally, believing that the overlap between the two systems would become the battleground. His series of bouts with the west would become known as the “Rocky Road” phase of the Cold War, ultimately resulting in the signing of the Helsinki Accords.

Neoconservatism and Era of Stagnation[edit | edit source]

The 1960s saw an explosion in the New Left and support for democratization, civil and political rights, feminism, drug policy reform, and a movement away from the traditional Marxist historical theory of class struggle. A counterculture developed that was openly critical of the Continental government at times, which was tentatively tolerated under Gardner. However, the end of the decade saw a number of violent clashes that diminished the decade’s sense of optimism, including the Protests of 1968, and culminating in the 1968 assassination of Gardner. Shifting public opinion, an economic downturn, and fear regarding Gardner’s rapid reforms led to the government being recaptured by conservative forces. The next decade and a half is sometimes nicknamed the Era of Stagnation, known for its more cautious approach, and the nation’s gerontocratic leadership. Having hesitantly allowed Gardner some leeway at first, General Secretary Charles Acker reversed course and cracked down on further protests. Opposition to foreign wars of intervention and authoritarianism intensified, most seriously in an anti-Landonist rebellion in Quebec, which involved an armed crackdown. Despite some government censorship, news of these events galvanized the public perception.

Under Hugh Qualter some deregulation took place, but he also launched the Moral Pollution Campaign in 1978 to denounce the aims of the democratization movement. The Qualter administration saw a decrease in the cost of industry through economic treaties with other socialist nations, hoping to achieve a “global Landonist community”, which ultimately proved controversial in the Continental labor movement. The 1970s saw the rise of neoconservatives within the Party, who among other things called for harsh “law and order” punishments for crime to squash political dissidence.

In 1979 widespread protest broke out, culminating in the Times Square Protests. Although the protests would be put down, it proved a watershed moment for the Continentalist Party, creating a commitment to reform toward increased openness, accountability, and public involvement. Under Simon Valure, the United Commonwealth reformed its constitution in 1982, seeking to limit the power of the General Secretary, and to create a separation of powers between party and government.

Malito Thought[edit | edit source]

Anthony Malito rose to prominence within the Continentalist Party in the 2000s during the tenure of Jackson Rothko. Chief among his concerns was analyzing the collapse of China and preventing such a failure in the United Commonwealth, and Malito received widespread attention for his talks warning of Continental weaknesses. In 2012 he coined the term “historical nihilism” to describe academic viewpoints that contradicted and undermined the authority of the Continentalist Party. Viewed in some respects as an outsider to upper party leadership, Malito had an unprecedented rise to the top, and his outlook was often criticized as stoking the public fear for his own gain. In response to criticism and division within the country, Malito championed opposition to the west and foreign institutions. According to critics of his tenure, Malito’s actions antagonized the west in order to instigate backlash, as this backlash helped unite the Continental people with a sense of nationalism in the face of criticism. Malito often fought with members of the Continentalist Party under the guise of uprooting corruption. Other tenets of his tenure included a strengthening of national security, and “contribution to the global ecosystem”. Although not wholly rejected, Malito’s tendencies were privately implied to be chauvinist by the Central Committee, which contributed to his removal from office.

Conversely, Daniel Muir his successor was initially characterized as a “status quo” candidate meant to moderate between the Party elites and Malito’s radicalism. In 2020 Muir described the Continentalist Party as fulfilling the mission of combating climate change through the overhaul of Continental infrastructure.

Cultural and societal views[edit | edit source]

Equality[edit | edit source]

The Continentalist Party position regarding equality is informed by Marx’s belief that absolute equality between individuals is impossible, and that the abstract goal of desiring equality, especially in matters of individual liberties, is irrelevant if the concrete goal of economic inequality is not addressed, as this informs the individual’s ability to actualize their liberties. The Party subscribes to a goal of economic egalitarianism, in that it views the social ownership of the means of production, and the distribution of surplus product to the population as a whole instead of a private owner class, as a means to reduce income inequality. The Party’s platform calls for “inequality of opportunity to be reduced to a minimum, in respect to issues on an individual basis” and for the nation to strive for the principle of “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”. The Constitution of the United Commonwealth explicitly guarantees each citizen the right to work, rest, health protection, housing, education, and privacy, among other rights.

Marx was against the advocation of abstract equality as a political goal, instead arguing that whether an increase in equality is desirable or not should be judged in each individual case. Therefore, instead of advocating the abstract goal of abolishing political inequality, Marx advocated for the concrete goal of abolishing class distinctions. According to Marx and Engels, equality is meaningless if it is not specified what type of equality is being examined; no two items, they argue, can be absolutely equal without being literally the same item, and as such a community of absolutely equal people is an impossibility. As Engels described in 1875: “...Between one country, one province and even one place and another, living conditions will always evince a certain inequality which may be reduced to a minimum but never wholly eliminated. The living conditions of Alpine dwellers will always be different from those of the plainsmen. The concept of a socialist society as a realm of equality is a one-sided French concept deriving from the old ‘liberty, equality, fraternity’, a concept which was justified in that, in its own time and place, it signified a phase of development, but which, like all the one-sided ideas of earlier socialist schools, ought not to be superceded, since they produce nothing but mental confusion, and more accurate ways of presenting the matter have been discovered.” Therefore, while equality of opportunity can be increased, people’s individual circumstances are not equalized. This is most often simplified into the famous slogan, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”, as this slogan implies neither equal opportunities nor equal outcomes, as people have different abilities and have different needs.

As Zhou Xinyue wrote in 1918: “Political discourse regarding equality must always be made in some respect, lest two partisans talk past each other due to viewing ‘equality before the law’ as meaning two entirely different outcomes. An exclusive focus on equality can lead us to ask the wrong questions: instead of asking for equal rights, why not ask for better rights?” Aeneas Warren likewise viewed it an imperative to advocate for the abolition of economic inequality, writing in 1920: “In liberalism, every individual is an independent individual, lucky to be bestowed with political rights. The Marxist critique is that this society lacks true democracy, because while an individual is in theory equal in the political society, they lack equality in civil society. That is to say, they do not have class equality. On account of this economic inequality, and the ways in which the state exploits this economic inequality, a real democracy cannot be realized, no matter how much ‘individual liberties’ are supposedly upheld.” On this subject, Angela Davis noted in Are Prisons Obsolete?, it is often the folly of liberal feminists to seek absolute equality between men and women, by demanding that women be treated as harshly as men in their respective prisons for example. By advocating for equality in this respect, the feminist has not improved society, but rather made the conditions of women worse. Davis writes: “It does not occur to her that a more productive version of feminism would also question the organization of state punishment for men as well and, in my opinion, would seriously consider the proposition that the institution as a whole – gendered as it is – calls for the kind of critique that might lead us to consider its abolition.”

Warren criticized the liberal American perspective regarding human rights, in which rights are often defined by what people cannot do to an individual, e.g. take away their firearm, rather than what society should strive to make sure everyone has. For this he cited Marx’s critique of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. In Warren’s The Right to Liberation he adds that, “the history of liberalism has been the purported emphasis of the importance of individual liberty, but this liberty can only be defined by the exclusion of people from these rights. It is a history of such contradictions: everyone from John Locke to Thomas Jefferson advocating for the equality of man, while profiting off the exploitation of slaves…[liberalism] lends itself to the rule of one over the disenfranchised and exploited, aided by the selective granting of liberties, while doing nothing to support one’s material situation.” As such, at the 2nd National People’s Congress in 1921 Warren argued the nation’s priorities should be in providing access to equalizing economic conditions through access to “healthcare, housing, education, food, water”.

Seamus Callahan emphasized an ideological difference between the concepts of freedom and liberty, condemning the pre-revolutionary, Americanized ideal of laissez-faire individualism as an example of personal freedoms encroaching on collective liberty. In Callahanism, individualism is seen as potentially cultivating opposition to the good of the many for the selfish interests of oneself, with Callahan citing the example of "housing determined by one's ability to pay" as an example of individualism deemphasizing equality. Instead Callahanism puts forward the notion that the betterment of society, the building of communism, and the good of all is more important than the personal enrichment of a single individual. If the empowerment of the single-party system was necessary to propel the goals of the state forward, Callahan therefore saw empowering the system in all avenues as crucial. However, this position has also been criticized by historians such as Robert Brovkin as contrary to Marx’s writings, who note that Marx’s notion of a communist society was radically individualistic, exemplified by the individual being able to pursue their true interests and desires rather than being subordinate to a universal interest.

Democracy[edit | edit source]

In Marxist theory, socialism is philosophically tied to democracy, with Marx and Engels historically opposed to any institution that was “conductive to superstitious authoritarianism”. As Engels writes in Principles of Communism, “Above all, [revolution] will establish a democratic constitution, and through this, the direct or indirect dominance of the proletariat.” However, Marx was also critical of liberal democracy’s inability to overcome fundamental class antagonisms rooted in the capitalist system. For Marxists, liberal democracy is often characterized as emphasizing political equality without normalizing economic equality, in the sense of ensuring the ruling class have the means to influence democracy and to sabotage the organization of the working class. The operative principle of such a democracy becomes the protection of the state and the bourgeois order. As Gregory Dahl wrote in Reform or Revolution? (1895):

“Take the fundamental laws of modern states, take their administration, take freedom of assembly, freedom of the press, or ‘equality of all citizens before the law,’ and you will see at every turn evidence of the hypocrisy of bourgeois democracy with which every honest and class-conscious worker is familiar. There is not a single state, however democratic, which has no loopholes or reservations in its constitution guaranteeing the bourgeoisie the possibility of dispatching troops against the workers, of proclaiming martial law, and so forth, in case of a “violation of public order,” and actually in case the exploited class “violates” its position of slavery…by deceiving the people and concealing from them the bourgeois character of present-day democracy, those deceivers end up doing the bidding of the ruling class. What presents itself as bourgeois legality is nothing but the violence of the ruling class.”

Isaiah Landon was a major contributor to Continental thought regarding elections.

This is a divergence from the ideology of Isaiah Landon, who considered Sierran republicanism as palatable. Landon was highly critical of the monarchy, which he called "the germ that produces the somatic toxins of bourgeois culture and values", as an archaic relic of feudalism and indicative of an imperialist society ruled by a modern aristocracy. According to Marxist thinkers of the time, such as Marx, Engels, and Dahl, Landon did not go far enough in rebuking bourgeois democracy; Warren makes the defense that Landon’s ideology was shaped by the immediate need to remove the monarchy, but that his opinion evolved after the Sierran Civil War to be unappreciative of liberal democracy.

Despite this, Landon emphasized that a socialist society should preserve and protect democracy, believing that the working class should be capable of formulating their own policies collectively through a democratic framework. In response to Marx’s Critique of the Gotha Programme, Landon elaborated that the goal of the socialist prior to and during the transitionary dictatorship of the proletariat should include the democratization of the workforce, labor, and government as concrete first steps, as these measures would guide the state toward its abolishment. He advocated for the working class to be tasked with discretionary power, while the bourgeois be excluded from participation until rehabilitation and reintegration into society can be achieved, on account of the “vestiges of capitalist elements”, in order to prevent a reactionary reversal. He defined a functioning people’s democracy as one that included full autonomy and agency for people to make their own decisions, both regarding the state and self-management of the economy, and full opportunity to make their decisions heard. Landon viewed a socialist society as one in which a bottom-to-top, organic organization occurs, exemplified by workplace democracy and collective ownership.

Later in life, Landon created one of his key contributions to Marxist theory, which was the idea of a vanguard party tasked with guiding the dictatorship of the proletariat. Landon imagined the vanguard as a class of professional revolutionaries who could best implement the desires of the working class, and as a necessary step to prevent reactionary subversion. However, he also noted the possibility of authoritarianism from vanguardism, and voiced warnings of the imperative of preventing such a thing. Landon stated that "on the contrary, it is precisely within the term itself that a dictatorship of the proletariat must expand democracy by encompassing the entire working class whereby the proletariat exercises a government of, for, and by itself and it alone”, and in Society and Statelessness that “The vanguard exists solely by derivative function from popular support for it must be held accountable by the proletariat. It shall therefore immediately and certainly cede its own existence if it shall no longer serve the proletariat. A man's head cannot live if his body turns against himself to strangle him.” Landon warned against the rise of a “neo-bourgeois” should the state own the means of production but restrict its control from that of the people. Therefore, the key responsibility of the vanguard to Landon was to safeguard and allow for the flourishing of democratic principles.

The early Continentalist Party adopted the position that representative democracy in a capitalist system only sought to maintain an illusion of democracy, with Warren describing the Federalist-era democracy as a “meaningless spectacle between two bourgeois parties, led by astute multimillionaires”. Zhou and Warren drew from Sun Yat-sen and his Three Principles of the People, which informed Warren’s national self-determinism and views of democracy. In 1921 Warren described the early Continentalist States as “a million times more democratic than the most democratic bourgeois republic, as the latter is simply a democracy for the rich”. He agreed with Landon’s ideal of rehabilitating the bourgeois before reintegrating them into the political sphere, calling for the transitional state to exclude input from the bourgeois, and later to ensure at minimum a proletariat majority in legislation. At the 1st National Congress Warren said, “A free and democratic United Commonwealth will be a country in which all levels of government up to the central government are elected by universal, equal, secret suffrage and are accountable to the people who elected them. It would realize Lincoln's principles of government of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

Under Seamus Callahan, the United Commonwealth was criticized for democratic backsliding; Callahan claimed to support democracy, but deprioritized Landon’s “bottom up” approach on the national level out of national necessity. According to Callahan, his position was not contrary to Landon’s, as during the Second California Republic Landon has dissolved the National Assembly as an emergency measure, which Callahan viewed as a tacit admittance of the flaws of democratic socialism. During the 1930s and 1940s the autonomy of the National People's Congress was undermined, with decisions being made top-down, offices were consolidated and centralized, and the government increased its involvement in economic decision-making, often to the political detriment of local councils, unions, and enterprises. However, Callahan also emphasized the right of the individual to make critique, most notably in the mass mobilization in preparation for the drafting of the new national constitution, writing in 1930 that "The development of socialist democracy on the basis of the completion of the construction of a classless, socialist society, will increasingly convert the dictatorship of the proletariat into the dictatorship of the Continental people."

Civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. voting in a local referendum, 1964

As part of Decallahanization, many of these policies were walked back in favor of increased democratization. Under Rupert Gardner, everyday participation in government was emphasized by empowering greater numbers to vote and organize. The rise of this line of thinking also coexisted with the rise of the Continental democracy movement. According to Lysander Hughes, “democracy is not just rule chosen by the people, but also for the people”, and he emphasized that demagoguery, inexperienced populism, and factionalism were all negatives of a traditional democracy that the United Commonwealth to seek to rise above, i.e. while allowing anyone to become a politician, he called for the top politicians to be those with the most qualifications and experience, rather than the most personally popular.

The United Commonwealth holds regular elections on the local, regional, and national level. Officially it seeks to equalize the election process by removing unfair advantages and barriers to candidacy, which are often problems of bourgeois democracy. For example, candidates are expected to be nominated by their communities and are prohibited from receiving explicit backing of any political party. Campaigning and lobbying are both banned, with candidates receiving equal financial backing to promote only as much as necessary, and candidate ideas are communicated through frequent town hall meetings, debates, and reporting. However, the country has been criticized as being undemocratic by the international community and many political observers, who view the nation’s status as a one-party state as incompatible with fair democracy. The official position of the Continentalist Party is that they are a guide to the nation, and that political partisanship only seeks to divide the nation and create deadlock, however, they also emphasize plurality of opinions within the party. According to Michael Yang, an outspoken critic of the Continentalist Party and a proponent of the Continental democracy movement, political repression and state influence over candidates makes the current system a sham democracy.

Religion[edit | edit source]

In the modern United Commonwealth freedom of religion is constitutionally enshrined, specifically the right to profess or not profess any religion and to conduct worship. However, the state reserves the capability to regulate what is considered normal religious practice, in a sense not granting universal free exercise. The United Commonwealth has strict separation of church and state, prohibiting the adoption or promotion of any state religion, disallowing any religious test, and prohibiting church influence in schools. As part of freedom of religion, “Incitement of hostility or hatred on religious grounds is prohibited”, and religion serves as a protected class, which can not be discriminated against in respect to economic, political, social, or cultural life. The government has sparingly regulated religious practice, primarily to prohibit proselytizing in public spaces to maintain “public order”, prevent harm to “health of citizens or the educational system”, or to examine new religious movements for ideologically subversive messages. A number of new age religions have claimed to be subject to religious repression, especially after the Commission on Religious Movements established in 2016. The Continentalist Party is officially areligious and members are implicitly encouraged to be irreligious themselves or to not make religion a public act.

In Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right, Marx stated “Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.” To Marx, religion may be false, but its function reflects a very real need of the oppressed to protect their desires and needs onto an idealized existence. In this sense, religion reduces people’s immediate suffering and Marx is sympathetic to those who trust in it, however, organized religion can therefore also be viewed as harmful to revolutionary goals, by turning people’s attention away from that of their exploitation, and instead toward a false consciousness and cultural beliefs favorable to the continued existence of the dominant ruling class.

Isaiah Landon diverged from Marx in part because of his personal Christian faith, writing extensively on the compatibility between Christianity and Marxist economics, in what is sometimes described as “partial immaterialism”. Landon stated in Society and Statelessness that “While we must place emphasis on the destruction of the capitalist mode of production and the liberation of the working class, the denouncement of any mental construct is unreasonable. Although Marx's dialectical materialism applies to our earthly existence and the laws of nature—it does not apply to the wonders and mysteries of God the immaterial.” However, he also acknowledged the rule of organized religion as a tool used often against the working class.

According to Warren and the early Continentalists, the crux of Landon’s religious policy was in strict secularism, neither pro-Christian nor pro-atheist. Warren cited the political separation of church and state as being unrealized due to the lack of separation in civil society, criticizing how the ruling class enforces religion onto American society. He wrote, “how can one claim to uphold the freedom to choose one’s religion, when the bourgeois decries that anyone who hopes to have their voice heard be a good member of the ruling sect? When religiosity is judged by ruling elders in accordance to conservative norms? All modern religions and churches, and every kind of religious organization, are always the organs of bourgeois reaction, used for the protection of the exploitation and the stupefaction of the working class.” The Continentalist Party was established as officially areligious, and many of its initial founders were explicitly atheist, however, Warren was not against Christian membership, arguing:

“But under no circumstances ought we to fall into the error of posing the religious question in an abstract, idealistic fashion, as an ‘intellectual’ question unconnected with the class struggle, as is not infrequently done by the democrats from among the bourgeoisie. It would be stupid to think that, in a society based on the endless oppression and coarsening of the worker masses, religious prejudices could be dispelled by purely propaganda methods. It would be bourgeois narrow-mindedness to forget that the yoke of religion that weighs upon mankind is merely a product and reflection of the economic yoke within society. No number of pamphlets and no amount of preaching can enlighten the proletariat, if it is not enlightened by its own struggle against the dark forces of capitalism. Unity in this really revolutionary struggle of the oppressed class for the creation of a paradise on earth is more important to us than unity of proletarian opinion on paradise in heaven.

When in government, Warren combatted the influence of organized religion, and this position was especially expanded under Seamus Callahan. In 1918 the Government of Aeneas Warren called for the removal or replacement of pre-revolutionary symbols, and in one controversial incident Warren decreed that the Ten Commandments could not be displayed in a courthouse, citing its inclusion as “a breach of the religious neutrality of the court” and “representing an inalienable contradiction if one means to imply a shared heritage between the text and modern morality.” As part of the Continental Cultural Revolution, Callahan cracked down upon organized religion more explicitly, connecting the church to pre-revolutionary values and as instruments to promote the destruction of the state, socialism, or the party's control. Callahan’s stance became that of an ostensible commitment to the annihilation of religious institutions and ideas, replacing them with that of Marxism–Landonism. However, after this bout of early persecution, individual worship remained tolerated after Callahanism, with the exception of religions seen as promoting a foreign commitment or disdain for the country. In the early 20th century the Continental god-builders movement sought to create a meta-religious framework that used religious ritual, myth, and symbolism toward pro-Landonist aims, promoting the use of Landonography in everyday society.

See also[edit | edit source]