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    Cultural imperialism in NationStates


    The Red and Black
    • Vol. 1
    • Iss. 5

    Cultural imperialism is a concept familiar to leftists as is applies to real-world politics, but an argument can be made for the application of this concept to the world of NationStates. In NationStates, cultural imperialism does not manifest as it does in real life, but this essay will use the term to describe a similar phenomenon that can be observed in-game.

    Cultural imperialism in real life is the practice of promoting a culture that is considered "superior"—that is, the culture of economically and militarily superior societies—and the suppression of cultures held by weaker societies. This can perhaps be seen in Africa, Asia, and the Americas, where Western societies displaced traditional societies during the colonial period, eliminating much of the indigenous cultures and creating centuries of problems for their peoples.

    In NationStates, we see similar attempts from those who believe themselves to be superior to promote their ideas while downplaying alternatives. Communities that successfully organize themselves in ways that are antithetical to the established "norm" of mainstream regions are criticized for lack of development and culture. Regions that do not have offsite forums or elaborately-detailed "legal" documents to provide the foundation of a regional bureaucracy are considered "undeveloped," even if they are capable of providing a robust and interesting experience for their members without them.

    As an example of a region that enjoys success without these, we can look to our own home. The Internationale does not have an offsite forum or any semblance of government bureaucracy, but this does not mean that our region is any less legitimate, active, or enjoyable for its comrades than any other region.

    Rather than closing off regional decisions to an elite group of qualified members—which can be disguised with any number of legislative names, like "senators" or "representatives"—legislation is instead carried out by direct democracy on our regional message board, with every comrade member given an equal vote. Everyone has a say in how the region is run.

    At no point in our region's over five-year history have comrades ever called for the establishment of further bureaucracy or regional administration, even as The Internationale celebrates the fastest growth it has experienced in its history, having grown by over eighty new nations since before the new year. Despite this success and regional satisfaction, we find ourselves in the crosshairs of the leadership of other regions who find us important enough to criticize while simultaneously suggesting that, due to our "lack of development," that we are not important.

    This is cultural imperialism as it manifests in NationStates. Unfortunately for these cultural imperialists, regions like The Internationale cannot be subjugated or shut down in the same way that the West was able to dominate the native peoples of the continents they "discovered." Instead, we will happily continue our "backward" ways, empowering our comrades to be a part of the regional discussion, linking in solidarity with our leftist allies, and discussing matters that we find interesting and important. Those who want another experience are free to seek it, but they will not find another community that is "superior."


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