Post by Alina Rybalka on Apr 18, 2021 13:42:54 GMT -5
This message was originally posted in the Winter of 27AV and taken down within hours. Many people, however, saved the text and repost it periodically in support of the Revolutionary League's ideals. There are many fake versions of the manifesto lying around as well that hold more extreme views, which many take for the real thing. Physical copies of this are also scattered throughout Mistral with edits for clarity and grammar corrections, but this is the original version that was written in haste and the one that received the most attention.
Hello, people of Mistral.
My name is Аліна Рибалка, and in this text I will explain the purpose of the Revolutionary League and why we fight against the Council. This essay will cover what I call the three institutions of oppression. Each has contributed to the rot that has spread throughout Mistral these past few decades, and each requires the existence of the others to maintain their position in the hierarchy.
Prior to the Great War, Mistral had a strong martial tradition. We had the ideal of the citizen soldier, rising up in times of crisis to volunteer their services and expertise in service to their home and their country. There was an expectation that everyone contributes something to the defense of the community, and it was not only Mistral that was a thriving major city in those times. Kuchinashi and Wind Path were much larger and much more prosperous, too, in part because they trained each citizen in self-defense from a young age in the interest of communal defense.
After each Grimm attack, the entire community would go out and rebuild defenses and broken buildings, because living in a civilized society means that personal security is impossible when communal security needs are not met. Our forefathers understood that the security of an entire community required everyone to join hands and make that as possible and resilient as possible, to spread the load so that one broken link in the chain did not doom thousands of people to die due to lack of preparation.
The first institution of oppression is the one who removed these ideals and replaced them with an unstable mockery of the past that has claimed far too many lives already. The first institution of oppression are the huntsman academies. When our military was forcefully disbanded after Mistral lost the Great War, the conqueror King of Mistral forced this concept on us through threats of force. Battered and defeated, we had no choice in the matter.
Self-defense training to the general public was completely defunded in favor of reallocating those funds to a pipeline guiding children as young as fourteen into the best equipped combat schools possible. What was once the responsibility of an entire community, resilient in the face of hardship was now changed to a small number of children being groomed to take responsibility for the nation’s national security. Not enough for every city, of course, but the idea was that they would go around helping villages in turn because nobody truly needed a militia strong enough to completely defend their city because the new huntsman would take care of everything!
We’ve seen how that has worked out. The resilient system of the past gave way to a brittle system that shattered to pieces the moment The Fall happened and the denial of that fact coupled with the policies that gutted all alternatives to huntsman in the decades prior has led to countless death all across the kingdom. Kerch, when invaded by a former trainee of the huntsman academy who was inexplicably expelled and deported to his native Atlas instead of executed on the spot, was sent less than half a dozen trainees as the city burned and I saved all that remained of its citizens while those very same trainees sought glory in killing the invasion’s leader. Rochdale begged for months for support from the Council, who ignored them up until the last moment, bringing in only enough airships for a photo op and leaving hundreds if not thousands to get ripped apart by Grimm in the frigid winter.
What was once one of the most sacred and solemn duties an individual one could do, taking up arms in defense of one’s home, was turned into a commercial enterprise. Glamorized in order to draw in starry eyed pre-teens into the pipeline that would spit them out at 21 with little to no support, little to no structure, and no obligation whatsoever to actually help the Kingdom… those that actually pursued the line of work they trained their entire lives for would almost all die by the age of thirty. For their sacrifice, they got a giant memorial wall in the park, solemn memorials on television given by prominent politician, and our hopes and prayers.
Those who survived the tragedy at Rochdale got six months of support and then fell off the map, so much so that nobody can even tell you where they are. Those who survived the tragedy of Kerch got nothing, because they weren’t brought back by the huntsman trainees. Stop asking for handouts, they said, because there was no way to identify them on account of all the census records being in a Grimm-infested city that was bombed to hell by invaders prior to the Grimm infestation. The huntsmen who killed the invasion’s leader, though? Talk show spots, awards, and dedications on TV by teary eyed politicians talking about glory and honor and duty.
The first institution of oppression is the main source of power for the second, the Council itself. Gutting the self-defense capabilities of cities throughout Mistral served the purpose of consolidating the strength and as close to one hundred percent as possible of the trained, aura unlocked combatants in the entire country to the Council and to the capital. The hetmanates of Wind Path and Kuchinashi were always autonomous, for the Emperor had to respect the fact that they had the power to effectively fight back in case of war. They were able to push back because they were able to provide for their own security and defend themselves against military advances by the capital, but those days are long past.
Nobody can challenge the might of Haven Academy, for even the weakest trainees present in the institution could go into the average village and kill everyone there without breaking a sweat. Wind Path and Kuchinashi are stronger than most, yes, but if the entire Academy were pit against either of they would be obliterated and they know it. For as long as Haven exists, it will be right beside the Council and be the personal army of a nation that by law got rid of its army.
Those of us who joined the military even in the Faunus War swore oaths to defend our country and its people. Those in the infantry swore on their lives that they would not hesitate to deploy, engage, and destroy the enemies of their nation in close combat. We served our communities and the people that inhabited them, but huntsmen make no such oaths. They have no oversight, and no system akin to the military courts. If a powerful huntsman kills half of a village, they have no recourse other than begging the Council to send a more powerful huntsman to hunt down the first.
When a crime is committed by one, even in the capital the police will shrug their shoulders and decide that their life is not worth risking for an arrest attempt that has a zero percent chance of success. Murders of community figures by semblances go unsolved due to fear of retribution, and that’s just the way the Council likes it.
We have a government that has proclaimed itself legitimate to make decisions. It recognizes no limit on its decision-making power, though in practice it does devolve some limited decision making to individuals (so-called discretion of the patrol officer, or the benefit of the doubt that a judge might give on a good day). However, the state reserves the right to, at any time, assume complete control over any and all devolved decision making. That might happen when a direct decree from some Council toady descends and overrides any discretion the Mistral police officers might usually have. That might also happen when the Council orders one of their huntsmen to kill or capture a dissident, which comes with the added benefit of plausible deniability later if things go badly because the huntsman never swore an oath to Mistral and has no legal obligation to obey the orders of the Council… so they pay them under the table and tell the huntsman to pretend they did it for justice or glory or whatever to absolve the Council of all involvement. The huntsman just chose on their own accord to kill that dissident, and anyone who questions it may in fact be next.
The government's self-declared rule that the state itself is the only legitimate user of violence is absurd, but the super soldier factory next door to the Council chambers shows that it has a bite to enforce its bark. The Council denies people the right to use violence except by its sanction, and of course, it never sanctions the use of violence against itself -- this it calls treason. Speaking out against the state is also outlawed and called sedition, a high crime in the same manner that armed robbery or murder or any number of violent crimes are categorized in a complete and utter mockery of justice.
To ensure that nobody else gets access to this mass produced army, the Council has enacted laws and manipulated public opinion for decades to ensure that it remained a private club of the rich aristocracy. They conveniently lost ballot boxes by the dozen if elections were closer than expected to rig elections like in 16AV, and of course from the start only citizens physically present in the capital the day of the election can vote due to “technology limitations”. It is also completely natural in their eyes for the Cloud District to have a voting location every block while the Ground District had less than two dozen total for hundreds of thousands of people.
Voting time also, naturally, starts right as the majority of the working class start their work day and end soon after most of those urban blue collar workers get off of work. Even if they make it to one of the laughable deficient number of voting locations in the Ground District, however, the chances of them reaching the end of that line are slim to none. Any who leave the building after it closes forfeit their right to vote, and there are many ways to abuse this quirk of the law. First of all, those who are outside the door at time of closing get said door slammed in their faces and thrown off the property by police for trespassing, because of course if they wanted to vote they’d be inside that tiny building. The bathrooms are all outside of it too, of course, so if you need to use it after potentially an entire day of standing in line you forfeit your right to vote. You are also allowed no belongings inside the building for “security” reasons, so if you want to grab a bite to eat in the hours-long wait or a drink of water you’re out of luck too unless you want to buy from the politically affiliated vending machines inside that sell products at twenty times market prices.
We as a society have become terrified of our government, or more specifically running afoul of our government. In the golden age of this nation, it was the other way around. We had actual votes with actual democracy that ensured that public representatives represented the will of the people. The bad hetmans were chased out, by force if needed, by the citizens rising up and forcing their hand into giving the power back where it rightfully belonged – the people of Mistral.
The Council would have you believe that without its influence, its guiding hand, Mistral would fall into ruin and be no more. The truth is that Mistral has survived in one shape or form for nearly a thousand years, and the Council has only existed for 27 of them. They would have you believe that the Grimm would overrun the country and everyone would die if it were not the heroism of the huntsmen, but the truth is that huntsmen have only existed for 27 years. In those 27 short years, we have allowed these institutions once imposed on us by a now dead foreign king to not only rule our country, but to rule its people and deprive us of all of the tools and systems we used for centuries to be ruggedly self-sufficient in the face of the great dangers posed by the environment and the Grimm.
Instead of focusing our attention on the real threats to our communities from without, these two institutions of oppression have worked together with the third to distract the citizens of Mistral from having their liberties and dignity deprived. The third institution of oppression is the aristocracy, which even with the abolition of nobility as an idea still very much control a very outsized portion of day-to-day life in the country. Looking at the names of the nobilities in charge of various government ministries and economic industries from before and after the war, it is the same list.
The same group of oligarchs that ruled you then as gods rule you now as 'legitimate businessmen', with only a few deviations when one of the weaker families falls out of favor and gets destroyed. They do this and maintain public support by focusing the anger and fear of the population downward rather than upward. The thief in the Ground District who steals purses and wallets may make off with a few hundred lien, and crowds will cheer as police brutalize and cripple him for his crimes. The aristocracy who steals hundreds of thousands of lien within the same time span, however, are adored and treated as celebrities because what they do is legal – and the parts of it that aren’t are done behind closed doors without any witnesses. The legal monopolies that jack up prices for life-saving medication and vital supplies like electricity, internet, and water are all acceptable because the law says it is acceptable and the law is assumed to be good.
The law is as corrupt as the individuals making the laws, and since the Great War ended those individuals have served to prop up perhaps the most dangerous relic of the prewar era in the aristocracy. There is no oversight, no independent board that has any authority, and no checks in place to balance the state-appointed judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys. The legislating work of the country is done by five people and their aides, which is a sure recipe that the laws reflect the interests of those who write it. Geriatric, reactionary, and rich would be three words I’d use to describe the Council, and it’s funny how many laws that are passed only benefit the elderly, the status quo, or those who are already wealthy.
Let me address perhaps the most common smear and the elephant in the room many of you may be reading this to verify. The Council has claimed over and over that I am a faunus supremacist, one who wants to exterminate all humans. This completely misses the point of the issues that I have with the third institution of oppression and misses the point of the steps needed to rectify it. Our goal is to eradicate the nobility, the aristocracy, whatever you want to call it. Racial divisions are and have never been the main factor at play, it has been economic divisions. The aristocracy has the lower classes fighting amongst themselves in racial squabbles to deflect the attention and the blame for policies they enact to the faunus in some communities and the humans in others. You either are in support of three institutions of oppression and thus are willing to see blood continue to be spilled in the name of money and preserving the privileges of a class who have made themselves the masters of the state and its people… or you are against them and want to see power returned to the hands of the people, which should have happened more than a quarter century ago after the war.
When Mistral stands together and people reach out for each other, there is no need for gods or masters. The aristocracy share a past and seek to hold on to the status of their nobility. The Council share a present and the current system that allows them to rise above the rest and together act as the Emperor to a nation long since removed from one in name. The Kozaks, in contrast, share a future in which power is moved from the Council and the aristocracy to the people where it belongs, and we give the populace the tools to shape their own destiny with their own hands so that they can rise and fall on their own merits and their own merits alone.