4
$\begingroup$

This setting takes place in a late Victorian era world, where magic is present, creating an additional upper class alongside traditional nobles, though nobles and magicians often intertwine. Magic is determined by blood content, and is usually passed on through having magically inclined parents. In this world, due to the volatile nature of magic, all schooled and trained magicians are required to be in service to the state. Elves exist as well, and due to a series of violent wars, all elf magic users were executed, meaning modern elves are unable to use magic, and are treated as second class citizens. This means there is also a unique lower class, delegated to not only industrial workers, miners, etc. but also the majority of elves.

Given these unique circumstances, what kind of leftist populist movement, akin to early Communism, would arise from these conditions?

$\endgroup$
8
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Can you be more specific? The help center has a rule called the Book Rule that's basically a requirement that a question not be too broad. Entire books have been written about Communism and the factors that both bring it about and that support it. Also, for future reference, please be aware that asking more than one question is literally a reason to close posts. We're lenient with new users, but fair warning. Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Feb 6 at 19:34
  • $\begingroup$ Please clarify your specific problem or provide additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it's hard to tell exactly what you're asking. $\endgroup$
    – Community Bot
    Feb 6 at 19:34
  • $\begingroup$ Hi @Oberon, one more comment. The previous comment was posted by the Community BOT. It's not a human. That's Stack Exchange's automatic "did you write a good question?" software testing your post against its heuristics. That generic comment shows up when questions are too short (not a problem here) or too ambiguous (probably it's complaint, not specific enough). Cheers. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Feb 6 at 19:37
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ What is, in your opinion, the "core belief system" of Communism? Which of those core beliefs were actually present in the Communist movement before the momentuous actions of Messrs. Lenin and Stalin? This is rather important to specify in order to get a reasoned answer. (Because otherwise I cannot see in what way the presence of a class of magicians would have any impact on the fundamental principle "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs".) $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Feb 6 at 19:39
  • $\begingroup$ "magic is determined by blood content.". So ... magic junkies exist? Any how the question is incredibly open ended and subjective. Because many historical precedents of strong military potential argues for mages becoming a military hierarchy. Such as with ranks knight, baron or duke. $\endgroup$ Feb 6 at 19:40

3 Answers 3

4
$\begingroup$

Wizards will be enslaved

From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs

~ Karl Marx

One of the chief principles of Communism is that every person owes society whatever they are able to contribute. So, if you are strong, you owe it to society to perform heavy labor. If you are smart, you owe it to society to be an innovator. And in your setting, if you are magical, you owe it to society to use your magic for the collective prosperity of the people. But the reality of Communism is that most people who have more than average to give do not want to be part of a Socialist system because it means that more will be taken than they receive.

This means that Communism only works when you have a strong central authority to force those with elite skills to participate. When Russia became Communist for example, it was not just the aristocracy who got slaughtered. Many of their society's most productive and influential members including scientists, authors, small business owners, clergy, etc. were persecuted and killed alongside the aristocracy because they did not want to be part of a system that took more from them than it gave.

Your wizards will likely face a similar fate. For a Communist state to function, and not fall apart or be dominated by its neighboring Capitalist States, it will have to enslave its wizards to serve society with thier magic. Many wizards will resist and be killed or otherwise punished, and those that do comply will likely be appointed handlers to make sure that they stay compliant. Wizards will have even less privacy and freedom than the average citizen because the government recognizes both their value and the risk that they represent.

Although wizards are more likely to be spared in a takeover than the nobility because of their usefulness, the proletariat will be especially resentful of Wizards because a Wizard's power is inherited, not earned through merit. While Communist cultures tend to have a certain respect for the underdog who becomes great through personal achievement, it politically aligns itself in direct opposition of anything that would be seen as an Aristocratic ideal like inherited power.

Elves will likely face genocide, but not yet

Communism at its core values sameness much more than Capitalist Aristocracies. This means that ethnic minorities that don't "fit in" often become victims of genocide under Communist rule. Because Communism uses a strong central authority to force everyone into the same box, these sorts of regimes sooner or later tend to turn towards genocide to achieve thier ideals and cement thier support among the dominant proletariat culture.

That said, genocide may be very far from your socialist movement's short term goals. Because the elves are in a position where thier needs outweigh thier abilities, they may start off as major supporters and participants in the Communist Revolution. Socialists tend to start off by recruiting minority groups to achieve the power they need, but if the elves are not numerous enough to define the new proletariat, their contributions will be easily forgotten within a generation or two, and whatever political seats they take early on, they will soon be voted out of and replaced by anti-elf politicians who use fear mongering and racism to consolidate thier power.

So, depending on how early on in the movement you are, they may at the time of your story enjoy an elevated status within the Revolution or Transitional Government, but I would keep a strong sense of tension between the humans and the elves. Even though they are fighting on the same side for now, the values that cause them to fight for Communism will also divide them.

$\endgroup$
10
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ "Every person owes the state whatever they are able to contribute": What is this "state" thing you are speaking of? There is no state in Communism. At least not in pre-Leninist Communism. "The society which organizes production anew on the basis of free and equal association of the producers will put the whole state machinery where it will then belong—into the museum of antiquities, next to the spinning wheel and the bronze axe." (F. Engels, Origins of the Family, Private Property, and the State, 1884) (I always knew that all those courses in Scientific Socialism will come in handy.) $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Feb 7 at 0:01
  • $\begingroup$ The system you describe is more similar to socialism than communism - where there is a definite "state" for which a person must work according to their abilities (as AlexP pointed out). Additionally communism doesn't have the concept of "elites" as more capitalist- and free-market-leaning societies do; elites as they're known in many countries are determined by economic and political power, both of which are absent from Marxist communism. $\endgroup$ Feb 7 at 0:05
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @AlexP Ah, the good old "but that was not real communism" argument. To achieve communism, a strong state is required in the beginning to actually enforce the redistribution of wealth, with the promise that it will wither away once the redistribution is accomplished. "Give me unlimited power and I promise that I'll use it only to make your life better and then I'll give that power back". Yeah, sure. Like in the 419 scam, the last one was not a real Nigerian prince, but next time will be different, so if you send me all your money again, I promise that this time you'll get your share. $\endgroup$
    – vsz
    Feb 7 at 5:22
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @AlexP If your argument is that Late Victorian makes this an young communist state, then it would be during the anticipated time of needing a strong state to reorganize society before is could wither away. So even in the most idealist version of Communism, the land should still exist under a totalitarian state in order to facilitate the transition. That said, I agree with VSZ that history does not support the idea of a withering state being a realistic outcome of said transition. $\endgroup$
    – Nosajimiki
    Feb 7 at 14:23
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The problem with the withering state theory is that once you remove government from Communism, everyone is free to pursue thier own economic interests leaving you with a Pure Capitalism . Even if 99.9% of people remain all share and share alike, that 0.1% that pursues self interest will rise up and form a new aristocracy without a government to suppress them. $\endgroup$
    – Nosajimiki
    Feb 7 at 14:30
5
$\begingroup$

Completely up to you

In the real world we see many different political ideologies, each with a host of different variations. This is true for even very similar nations. More important seems to be how they get there. One popular guy with certain ideologies, a large event like an economic crisis, war or pandemic, to even small things that barely seem to matter.

With mages it'll be no different. That makes it a matter of plot, which you do not even need to explain. If you want a movement you can do what some writers do. Go shopping for something in the real world that would fit your narrative and adapt it to include wizards. You can for example use the way they treated military higher ups compared to the political elite and the rich or blue blooded elite, and replace one of them with your wizards.

$\endgroup$
2
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Replacing blue bloods or military officers with wizards may not work out quite how you think. From the communist perspective, these people have no value because their entire job is to exploit the proletariat, so just killing them off was an easy choice. If you were to go with an exact historical class, I would suggest the Kulaks since they were a class of people who were both directly productive workers and enjoyed a better quality of life under the Capitolist system more like the wizards do. $\endgroup$
    – Nosajimiki
    Feb 8 at 14:23
  • $\begingroup$ Moreover, Communism owes its origins to industrialization. Depending on the nature of an industrial revolution that includes wizards, they may more closely represent the "means of production" than a social class. In this case, they may be treated more like factories to be seized than any actual group of people. $\endgroup$
    – Nosajimiki
    Feb 8 at 14:23
1
$\begingroup$

Incredibly subjective

A true communist ideal where everyone is fully equal is hard to realize when some people are so tangibly elevated by chance of birth. I do have an (authoritarian) communist society in one of my projects, though; you would have to see what you can garner from it.

At the core and top of this society is a council of powerful Liches, supported by a cabal of Necromancers.
Most manual labor is outsourced to reanimated undead, freeing up the living to be artisans, etc.
Every citizen has a right to use this free undead labor, to an extent. There is universal basic income, healthcare, all the works.
The basic social contract at the heart of it is that every citizen will have to serve as an undead for a number of years after their death, before they are released into the afterlife.

$\endgroup$

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .