Political Defending: Why Defenderdom Needs A Fourth Defender Group

Political Defending: Why Defenderdom Needs A Fourth Defender Group
Posted by Oratio. May 14, 2013

Political Defending:
Why Defenderdom Needs A Fourth Defender Group

At its root, NationStates is a political game. I found this game while Google searching for “create your own country” on a boring afternoon. I am sure many others have similar stories. What originally drew me to NationStates was the politics. So, as I reviewed the current state of military gameplay affairs, something struck me. Why do defender organizations want to be less political?

It seems as if many feel that “true defending” is something that should be above the chaos and manipulation of realpolitik. In the eyes of these idealists, defending is pure, moral, and right. While I disagree to some form on the exact morality of defending, at least in the current way of thinking, that is something for another essay. The purity of defending, while trumpeted by many as its best aspect, has actually contributed to its downfall.

During the Golden Age of Defending, defenders were very much involved in politics. Regions like The Meritocracy, regarded as one of the best political regions ever created, were home to many prominent defenders. The RLA and the ADN were both engaged in political and propaganda battles with raiders, and in the ADN’s case, the New Pacific Order.

This gave defenders political leverage to use in their battles with invaders and the political superiority of defenders over raider organizations was a key aspect of defender dominance. However, more recently, defenders have rebelled against the politics of the ADN age, wanting to preserve the uncorrupted vision of defending, a vision that is impractical and may not exist. This in turn, has allowed for the rise of political raiders like Great Britain & Ireland and Empires of Earth, and currently, Ainur and Kantrias.

Today, defenderdom is on its heels and retreating. The UDL is in a transition, a change that many hoped would bring reform, but seems to be an endless monotony of black smoke. 10KI and TITO’s population are declining (although it is still well above 2,000), but little activity has been seen from them. The FRA, back from the grave, still cannot bring in new blood as quick as it is bleeding.

All of these organizations fail to use their political leverage correctly, and some even disown the basic idea of politics, thereby destroying their chance to challenge raider superiority… The whole point of the UDL is that it is (supposedly) not political since it’s membership is players, not regions. As the biggest defender organization, the UDL leadership has the opportunity to create meaningful change, and they have a philosophy that many would find appealing. However, they instead draw into their own shell, allowing themselves to be dominated in the political arena and losing public relations battles left and right. 10000 Islands is too isolationist to really be involved in politics. Outside of WA votes, they don’t affect the rest of the world that much, not as much as they could and should. The FRA, the organization with the biggest opportunity to be political based on its past, lacks the membership to store massive amounts of political capital, and is relegated to third-wheel status these days.

So, what is the problem of being less political? Well, politics leads to a region gaining a better reputation, leading to the region gaining more members.[sup]1[/sup] New members are the lifeblood of any region. These members spur activity and over time, become the “old guard” that brings in new players. Since these defender organizations are so apolitical, they lose the opportunity to recruit many new members. While the apolitical nature of the UDL has probably helped them in recruiting members from outside of the traditional gameplay areas (i.e. II, NSSport), it has shrunk their recruiting pool on the whole. Since defender organizations aren’t going to get these members, imperialist regions, which are often “broker regions”[sup]2[/sup], are able to step in and recruit these members, leading to a perpetuating cycle that leads to more and more raider dominance.

Now, it is possible to have a successful organization without politics. The Black Riders have built a large raider organization without any political structure whatsoever (albeit with the help of an illegal script[sup]3[/sup]). But organizations like these typically fall quickly, as is the case with most “noob” raider and defender regions. The Black Riders are an exception to the general rule.

All of this has led me to believe in the need for a fourth major defender group. This group will be an alliance of regions, or one region, who combines politics with defending to revitalize the defender cause. This group will also eventually lead to the downfall of the FRA, as two regional defender alliances that are not themed (i.e. the RLA) cannot coexist for a long period of time in the current state of affairs. And most importantly, this region will not back down from its defender nature, and will not allow propaganda to sway their mission.

This group will also be able to challenge imperialist regions in recruiting, because of their political nature. They will be able to carry diplomatic weight, something military organizations (i.e. TBR), usually lack. And they will be able to revitalize the defender cause by providing a model for how “defenderism” can be a success, leading to the creation of more and more defender regions in the future.

Who will rise to the challenge? Possibly Mordor, if they can separate themselves from the FRA. Possibly Spiritus, who I think is the most viable current region to lead the creation of a new defender alliance due to it being a fairly generic region. The democratic aspect will also help, as a strong political structure is already set there. Or maybe it will be a new region. A region founded out of the blue that rises to the top of the defender world to take its place beside Belgium, Nasicournia, and The Proletariat Coalition as the heir to the defender throne. But whoever it is, they better hurry up. Natives are counting on you.


1: http://w11.zetaboards.com/2012_NS_World_Fair/topic/8242443/1/
2: http://w11.zetaboards.com/2012_NS_World_Fair/topic/8242443/1/
3: NationStates • View topic - New script rules for sending TGs