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Negalith
I’m kind of new to Shadowrun and have been reading through several books belonging to my friends. As I read through the books, I’m seeing a lot of parallels to the Antifa movement. Character depictions (minus the fantastic elements) look similar to those you may find in any Militant Anti Fascist web page. The Shadowrun world has blurred the line between corporations and government (as is the case with Fascism), both of which the shadow runners have as their primary nemesis. The evil corporations are the clearly painted as the source of most of the worlds problems. The shadowrunners are sort of anti heroes, still the good guys though also clearly challenging the establishment and taking “justice? into their own hands. I’m just wondering if others think that Shadowrun has it it’s heart an intentional similarity to Antifa dogma or if it’s all in my head.
pbangarth
Well, I'd never heard of Antifa till now. Hope to learn more here.
Zhan Shi
My guess is that it's most likely intentional.
Kagetenshi
Originally, Shadowrun was individualist/anti-collectivist—the major "bad guys" are all collectives, from the corporations (neo-feudalism, where the individual is sacrificed for the good of the corporation) to the bugs (never mind hive-minds, we've got literal hives) to the fascist-collectivist structure of Shadowrun Japan and the Tirs. I'm not sure if the militant anti-fascism sentiment has come to the forefront, or if you're just seeing part of what's there.

It would help if you mentioned which books you were reading, of course.

~J
Ancient History
Well, the Neo-Anarchists were big in first edition for a reason, and as Loose Alliances shows SR definitely doesn't ignore Antifa.
Kyoto Kid
QUOTE (Ancient History)
Well, the Neo-Anarchists were big in first edition for a reason, and as Loose Alliances shows SR definitely doesn't ignore Antifa.

...I sometimes still miss those days. The whole NA concept along with the heavier North American Native influence was part of what originally attracted me to Shadowrun. As a matter of fact one of my other long running and fairly successful characters was a Salish Bounty Hunter simply named, Jill. (#30 - uh oh that means only one thing...Carousel...gotta run, C'ya)
Kagetenshi
It should also be added that Antifa, in particular, is absolutely not a supported viewpoint in most of the works—from the Neo-Anarchist's Manifesto to Shadowrunner culture, the "positively portrayed" viewpoint is essentially anarcho-capitalism (with the Megas also falling under the label "state"). Most of the Antifa movement's ideals, at least in books prior to the tail of SR3, are either ignored or actively worked against by the Shadowrunner community.

~J
hyzmarca
Shadowrunners fight for the right of every man woman and child, regardless of race, creed, or nationality, to shoot other men, women, and children in their faces in exchange for money.
fistandantilus4.0
QUOTE (Kyoto Kid)
(#30 - uh oh that means only one thing...Carousel...gotta run, C'ya)

I thought you were going to make it through that post without one too. biggrin.gif
JBlades
QUOTE (hyzmarca)
Shadowrunners fight for the right of every man woman and child, regardless of race, creed, or nationality, to shoot other men, women, and children in their faces in exchange for money.

That's beautiful, man! *wipes a tear from his eye* biggrin.gif
Kyoto Kid
QUOTE (fistandantilus3.0)
QUOTE (Kyoto Kid @ Oct 12 2007, 11:11 PM)
(#30 - uh oh that means only one thing...Carousel...gotta run, C'ya)

I thought you were going to make it through that post without one too. biggrin.gif

...so did I, but it is this blasted Artifact Keyboard. I think it has a life of it's own. grinbig.gif
martindv
QUOTE (Kagetenshi)
Most of the Antifa movement's ideals, at least in books prior to the tail of SR3, are either ignored or actively worked against by the Shadowrunner community.

You forgot to add "... and that is a good thing."
Kagetenshi
No, I chose not to make a judgement on the issue. Even if I were to judge Antifa as undesirable (a judgement that I simply do not have the time to do the investigation required to make), I do wholly embrace the idea of Shadowrunners pursuing ideals that are, at least to my mind, at least partly undesirable—hence why I find so much attractiveness in the anarcho-capitalist Neo-Anarchist movement.

~J
Eurotroll
Well, whatever the intentions of the American writers, the German versions were always a bit on the heavy side when it came to Antifa elements. (This, however, is merely my personal impression and may or may not be fatually warranted.) Most of the FanPro material (Berlin, to mention only the most obvious one) always stressed the negative reaction of the Shadows (and some elements of structured society) to such things as the credo of racism group like Humanis stand for, to the point were the official setting was that the Nights of Rage never happened in Germany: Anarchists, leftist and emancipatory groups banded together and effectively curbed the racist progroms in most German cities by patrolling the Metahuman ghettos.

While sometimes at odds with the more blatantly dystopian "every man for himself" outlook of SR, these fiats never struck me as particularly out of place -- but then again, being German, I share that sensibility to these issues with the people at FanPro that created and/or supported Antifa elements in ShadowRun. The Neo-Neonazis ("Neon-Nazis" as one sourcebook termed it) are still one of the more queasy element of the Sixth World to me -- but it never takes much work to motivate my players for Hooding runs when the skins enter into things.
Kagetenshi
Actually, it would be nice to see more pro-fascist Shadowrunner activity. While it fits badly with the radical individualist mainstream Shadowrunner culture, the kind of strife the Sixth World experiences is a perfect breeding ground for the idea that someone needs to step in and lead strongly from above, and policlubs should be able to provide gainful employment for at least a few 'Runners who share their ideals.

It would certainly reign in the megacorporations, which would make the philosophy even more attractive to certain members of the SINless population who might feel that the corporations are ultimately responsible for the bulk of their suffering.

~J
Zhan Shi
There have been very brief mention of such characters in previous SR products. Buzz, for example, was a Humanis 'runner who posted occaisionally on Shadowland. I hope the developers bring him back. I'd also like to see a Threats style sourcebook on groups such as Alamos 20K, National Aktion, and the Human Nation. Maybe they'll be covered in the upcoming Organized Crime book.
Kagetenshi
Very brief, and usually negative.

~J
martindv
Usually? That's a bit of an understatement.

QUOTE (Eurotroll)
to the point were the official setting was that the Nights of Rage never happened in Germany: Anarchists, leftist and emancipatory groups banded together and effectively curbed the racist progroms in most German cities by patrolling the Metahuman ghettos.

Lame.
Zhan Shi
Agreed. However, given German history, I can understand the reluctance.
Kagetenshi
I can understand where it comes from, but it's still deplorable to lack the self-control necessary to not put it into the game.

~J
hyzmarca
There is nothing particularly wrong with fascism or national socialism. They are utopia ideals which, if properly implemented, will ultimately lead to hippie kumbaya fests. The problem is that they were implemented by corrupt individuals who allowed their own prejudices and insanities to corrupt their ideals.

Antifa is essentially wrong because it exists only to oppose ideals which are grounded in peace and love. Rather, we should take back these ideals and their symbols from those who have corrupted them. Flying the Nazi flag as a banner of freedom and love, for example, would be preferable to attacking those who expresses these ideals.
Eurotroll
... I hope that was tongue in cheek, because boy, I don't want to get into that discussion here. frown.gif
Grinder
Me neither.

To the german setting and the love of its writers for Antifa-ideals: I dislike it. It doesn't fit into SR, it's poorly (or better: romantically) executed and feels wrong.
Critias
I've got several characters that could be described as fascists; mostly in a pro-Tir sort of way.

In a world as chaotic and dangerous as Shadowrun, even the largely-real-world-negative "Fourteen Traits of Fascism" could very easily be seen as strengths rather than weaknesses. Someone brought up in such a society (Tir Tairngire being my personal favorite), particularly within their military, makes a pretty viable and believable character; one who's come up within the system, reaping the benefits of it (and the skillset and access to cyber or magic that comes with it), etc, etc. That's been the core of...well...let's just say "several" of my characters' backgrounds. Only one is an obvious and sincere metaracist/elven-supremacist, but all of them have several of Tir-flavored fascism's core tenets as foundations of their overall belief system. And why not?

Powerful nationalism, the supremacy of the military, the identification of external scapegoats, an obsession with security, and obsession with crime and punishment -- these are national/societal traits that make lots of sense in the 2060s. Who can blame a country like Tir Tairngire, as small as it is, for being a little paranoid? In a game setting where there are anti-metahuman racism charts built right into the core rulebook, is it really a bad idea for them to try and balance the scales a little by disliking humans right back? What entity powerful enough to CALL itself an entity (starting, arguably, with the street gangs themselves) isn't serious about national security and military power, in Shadowrun? Where isn't corporate/industrial power protected in this setting (as opposed to, say, labor unions)?

Now, it's true such ideals invariably (in both fiction and real life) get taken to extremes, and end up with not just a pride in one's own race or nation, but outright horrible ugly violence against others, and yadda yadda yadda all kinds of other bad stuff happens.

But at it's core, looked at as simply the outline of a belief system for a large organization (be it corporation or nation), it's hard to say Fascism doesn't make sense in Shadowrun.
Grinder
QUOTE (Critias @ Oct 16 2007, 03:13 PM)
But at it's core, looked at as simply the outline of a belief system for a large organization (be it corporation or nation), it's hard to say Fascism doesn't make sense in Shadowrun.

Agreed (and for that reason still hoping a facist regime will take over the AGS, thus clearing us of the childish anarchist setting it is now), but the way hyzmarca posted it, it was a little over-the-top and hopefully in-character.
Kagetenshi
I don't agree. While I'm not going to try to divide National Socialism from its primary implementation for this discussion, fascism at least permits a very efficient unification and effective implementation of state goals. Its main problem is that shared with essentially all forms of hierarchical government, the issue of ensuring that someone who can govern effectively winds up at the top in the first place.

~J
Kyoto Kid
QUOTE (Critias)
is it really a bad idea for them to try and balance the scales a little by disliking humans right back?

...well in one character's opinion it is. But again, that is just character viewpoint.

...of course for her, the feeling is mutual.

"...sassinfrassinragginfraggin' long eared galoots..." grinbig.gif

hyzmarca
QUOTE (Eurotroll)
... I hope that was tongue in cheek, because boy, I don't want to get into that discussion here. frown.gif

Completely serious.

People are always talking about how Stalinist Communism and Maoist Communism weren't real Communism, and they were right, because Communism is rooted in the ideal of Freedom. But very few people are willing to stand up and say that Italian Fascism and German Fascism weren't real fascism, when they most certainly was not. They were totalitarian dictatorships masquerading as fascist states, just as the Soviet Union under Stalin and the People's Republic of China under Mao were dictatorships masquerading as Communist States.



And I think of all y'all as my niggers, so I hope you understand how important it is to take back symbols of hatred and make them positive - because if you don't then calling you all my niggers is going to sound damned insulting.


Just as "my nigger" has been transformed in meaning from a declaration of ownership to a declaration of friendship, so can Nazi symbols be taken away from hate groups and transformed into symbols of love and friendship. And when such powerful symbols are taken back and made positive, it really leaves the hate groups with nothing.
Kagetenshi
Out of interest, what core tenets of fascism did Italian and German fascism fail to uphold? It's pretty obvious in the case of Stalinist and, especially, Maoist government why they weren't Communism, but I don't see it as clearly for fascism.

~J
Penta
Until they appropriate something else.

And I don't think the most famous Nazi symbols can ever, really, be reclaimed.

The societal conditioning is too strong.
nezumi
The funny thing is, the swastika had a meaning for thousands of years before the Nazis came along, and continues to hold that meaning. Granted, for the next two or three generations of Europeans and Americans it'll be hidden by what happened in the 20th century. However, as people continue to educate themselves beyond their immediate surroundings, they'll have a greater appreciation for the symbol and what it really means.
hyzmarca
QUOTE (Kagetenshi)
Out of interest, what core tenets of fascism did Italian and German fascism fail to uphold? It's pretty obvious in the case of Stalinist and, especially, Maoist government why they weren't Communism, but I don't see it as clearly for fascism.

~J

National unity, anti-majoritatianism, equality of social and economic opportunity, adherence to morality in the face of adversity, anti-materialism, anti-racism.

Of course, National Socialism's blatant racist ideology is one of the things that makes it distinct from Mussolini's Fascism so we can't rightly say that National Socialist ideals were corrupted in that regard, though we can say that National Socialism was, if not distinct from Fascism, a corrupted version of it due to its racist ideology.

Both failed in regards to anti-materialism because they had corrupt materialist leaders who used state funds for their own private pleasures. They failed in regards to majoritarism because they cultivated the support of the majority without concern for minorities. Both failed in creating equality of opportunity by instead instituting systematic oppression, both failed to create national unity by dividing and classifying people in a way that can only breed conflict, and both failed to retain their moral convictions no matter how difficult the road was, instead favoring quick and easy but immoral solutions to their "problems".
Eurotroll
QUOTE (nezumi)
The funny thing is, the swastika had a meaning for thousands of years before the Nazis came along, and continues to hold that meaning. Granted, for the next two or three generations of Europeans and Americans it'll be hidden by what happened in the 20th century. However, as people continue to educate themselves beyond their immediate surroundings, they'll have a greater appreciation for the symbol and what it really means.

I'm not fussing over pre-Nazi use of the swastika -- considering that I am currently working on my master in Japanese Studies with a focus especially on Buddhist philosophy, that would be the height of irony. But I sincerely hope that "as people continue to educate themselves beyond their immediate surroundings" they'll always remember the atrocities committed (by the leaders of Nazi Germany and its eagerly lockstepping populace alike) under this symbol.

Note, please: I'm not saying fascism has no place in SR. On the contrary, I agree with much of what Critias has said on that subject. But I was raised to see fascism for what it actually was, not what it could have utopically been. Talk of reclaiming it strikes me as the same sort of folly as wanting to reclaim the titles of dictator and tyrant from the <airquote> clutches of present-day political vocabulary </airquote>. Whatever the utilitarian value of the system, I doubt anyone of sufficient education (the operative element) in the Sixth World would mistake fascism for something desireable.
Kagetenshi
Not even addressing the rest of your post, you think the Sixth World is big on "sufficient education", particularly in the Shadows?

~J
Eurotroll
Oh no, not at all -- that's why I said it's the operative element. wink.gif I'm sure the number of people goaded into thinking fascism is the non-plus-ultra in governmental systems is even larger than it was during the 1930s. I'm just saying that those who do have an inkling of what's going on (say, FastJack) wouldn't think it's a positive thing.
Kagetenshi
Why would FastJack necessarily think it wasn't positive? Actually, I'm even going to take issue with your "sufficient education" premise—there were individuals of considerable education present in the highest ranks of the National Socialist party, including a good many lawyers and several other advanced degrees. It's also not a matter of intelligence, which was also quite present in the party (though the good Doctor Morell appears to have done what he could to destroy it in its leader).

~J
nezumi
I was speaking of the real world when referring to education. I suspect in Shadowrun it'll go the other way; that piece of history is more likely to be conveniently forgotten or altered. Having people remember fascism in such a negative light would have a negative impact given how controlling most megacorps are over their employees. Better to make that bit of history into forgotten history.
pbangarth
I don't understand something.

If the earlier post's linked definitions of Fascism are correct, then I don't see how one can 'take back' the idea of fascism from the implementations in the 20th century we scorn in any way that rescues it.

Can someone please characterize 'real fascism' for me in a way that divorces it from those examples?
Eurotroll
Kagetenshi, I was referring to education from a 2053 ('63, '70) point of view (as in, knowledge of historical facts) rather than that of the populace during the 1930s. That'd be rather stupid for me to say -- it was pretty obvious that although it should, but higher education doesn't necessarily preclude antisemitic (or in fact anti-whatever) schools of thought.

But I agree with nezumi -- given most corps fascistoid nature, they'd not want the first half of the 20th century to feature prominently in their corp school's schedule.
hyzmarca
QUOTE (pbangarth)
I don't understand something.

If the earlier post's linked definitions of Fascism are correct, then I don't see how one can 'take back' the idea of fascism from the implementations in the 20th century we scorn in any way that rescues it.

Can someone please characterize 'real fascism' for me in a way that divorces it from those examples?

QUOTE (The Doctrine of Fascism)
Thus many of the practical expressions of Fascism such as party organization, system of education, and discipline can only be understood when considered in relation to its general attitude toward life. A spiritual attitude. Fascism sees in the world not only those superficial, material aspects in which man appears as an individual, standing by himself, self-centered, subject to natural law, which instinctively urges him toward a life of selfish momentary pleasure; it sees not only the individual but the nation and the country; individuals and generations bound together by a moral law, with common traditions and a mission which suppressing the instinct for life closed in a brief circle of pleasure, builds up a higher life, founded on duty, a life free from the limitations of time and space, in which the individual, by self-sacrifice, the renunciation of self-interest, by death itself, can achieve that purely spiritual existence in which his value as a man consists.

The conception is therefore a spiritual one, arising from the general reaction of the century against the materialistic positivism of the XIXth century. Anti-positivistic but positive; neither skeptical nor agnostic; neither pessimistic nor supinely optimistic as are, generally speaking, the doctrines (all negative) which place the center of life outside man; whereas, by the exercise of his free will, man can and must create his own world.

  Fascism wants man to be active and to engage in action with all his energies; it wants him to be manfully aware of the difficulties besetting him and ready to face them. It conceives of life as a struggle in which it behooves a man to win for himself a really worthy place, first of all by fitting himself (physically, morally, intellectually) to become the implement required for winning it. As for the individual, so for the nation, and so for mankind. Hence the high value of culture in all its forms (artistic, religious, scientific) and the outstanding importance of education. Hence also the essential value of work, by which man subjugates nature and creates the human world (economic, political, ethical, and intellectual).

This positive conception of life is obviously an ethical one. It invests the whole field of reality as well as the human activities which master it. No action is exempt from moral judgment; no activity can be despoiled of the value which a moral purpose confers on all things. Therefore life, as conceived of by the Fascist, is serious, austere, and religious; all its manifestations are poised in a world sustained by moral forces and subject to spiritual responsibilities. The Fascist disdains an “easy" life.

The Fascist conception of life is a religious one, in which man is viewed in his immanent relation to a higher law, endowed with an objective will transcending the in­dividual and raising him to conscious membership of a spiritual society. "Those who perceive nothing beyond opportunistic considerations in the religious policy of the Fascist regime fail to realize that Fascism is not only a system of government but also and above all a system of thought.

[...]

Grouped according to their several interests, individuals form classes; they form trade-unions when organized according to their several economic activities; but first and foremost they form the State, which is no mere matter of numbers, the suns of the individuals forming the majority. Fascism is therefore opposed to that form of democracy which equates a nation to the majority, lowering it to the level of the largest number; but it is the purest form of  democracy if the nation be considered as it should be from the point of view of quality rather than quantity, as an idea, the mightiest because the most ethical, the most coherent, the truest, expressing itself in a people as the conscience and will of the few, if not, indeed, of one, and ending to express itself in the conscience and the will of the mass, of the whole group ethnically molded by natural and historical conditions into a nation, advancing, as one conscience and one will, along the self same line of development and spiritual formation. Not a race, nor a geographically defined region, but a people, historically perpetuating itself; a multitude unified by an idea and imbued with the will to live, the will to power, self-consciousness, personality .

In so far as it is embodied in a State, this higher personality becomes a nation. It is not the nation which generates the State; that is an antiquated naturalistic concept which afforded a basis for XIXth century publicity in favor of national governments. Rather is it the State which creates the nation, conferring volition and therefore real life on a people made aware of their moral unity.



In the Fascist conception of history, man is man only by virtue of the spiritual process to which he contributes as a member of the family, the social group, the nation, and in function of history to which all nations bring their contribution. Hence the great value of tradition in records, in language, in customs, in the rules of social life. Outside history man is a nonentity. Fascism is therefore opposed to all individualistic abstractions based on eighteenth century materialism; and it is opposed to all Jacobinistic utopias and innovations. It does not believe in the possibility of "happiness" on earth as conceived by the economistic literature of the XVIIIth century, and it therefore rejects the theological notion that at some future time the human family will secure a final settlement of all its difficulties. This notion runs counter to experience which teaches that life is in continual flux and in process of evolution. In politics Fascism aims at realism; in practice it desires to deal only with those problems which are the spontaneous product of historic conditions and which find or suggest their own solutions. Only by entering in to the process of reality and taking possession of the forces at work within it, can man act on man and on nature.

[...]

The right to national independence does not arise from any merely literary and idealistic form of self-consciousness; still less from a more or less passive and unconscious de facto situation, but from an active, self-conscious, political will expressing itself in action and ready to prove its rights. It arises, in short, from the existence, at least in fieri, of a State. Indeed, it is the State which, as the expression of a universal ethical will, creates the right to national independence.

A nation, as expressed in the State, is a living, ethical entity only in so far as it is progressive. Inactivity is death. Therefore the State is not only Authority which governs and confers legal form and spiritual value on individual wills, but it is also Power which makes its will felt and respected beyond its own frontiers, thus affording practical proof of the universal character of the decisions necessary to ensure its development. This implies organization and expansion, potential if not actual. Thus the State equates itself to the will of man, whose development cannot he checked by obstacles and which, by achieving self-expression, demonstrates its infinity.

[...]

Fascism, in short, is not only a law-giver and a founder of institutions, but an educator and a promoter of spiritual life. It aims at refashioning not only the forms of life but their content - man, his character, and his faith. To achieve this propose it enforces discipline and uses authority, entering into the soul and ruling with undisputed sway. Therefore it has chosen as its emblem the Lictor’s rods, the symbol of unity, strength, and justice.


http://www.worldfuturefund.org/wffmaster/R...i.htm#bookmark3

1, 6, and 8 on the list of "14 characteristics of Fascism" are really the only ones actually supported by The Doctrine of Fascism. Fascism is all about the perpetuation of the state as a way to give meaning to finite human existence, thus the tendency towards patriotism. It stresses the necessity of education and supports state control of education, thus control of media. And it is heavily entwined in spiritualism and philosophy.
pbangarth
Thanks, hyzmarca. This warrants some thought.
Critias
Yeah. I guess I could've been more clear about it, but the 14 Doctrines are generally only used when people are pointing fingers specifically at the failed, flawed, horribly violent, versions of Fascism that we've run across in the last hundred years or so. It's certainly an outsider-looking-in view of a Fascist state, and by no means, like, the list of "things to do today" an idealist Fascist leader refers to.

I was going on a different tangent than Hyzzie fo' Shizzie, and just pointing out that even the negative side of the real-world Fascist regimes we've seen aren't as negative when dropped into the Shadowrun universe (and, in fact, many of them make perfect sense).
Wounded Ronin
QUOTE (Penta)
Until they appropriate something else.

And I don't think the most famous Nazi symbols can ever, really, be reclaimed.

The societal conditioning is too strong.

Unless we happen to be in Japan in which case it appears on maps for tourists indicating the location of Buddhist temples.
Moon-Hawk
QUOTE (Critias)
... and by no means, like, the list of "things to do today" an idealist Fascist leader refers to.

rotfl.gif
Penta
QUOTE (Wounded Ronin)
QUOTE (Penta @ Oct 16 2007, 10:14 AM)
Until they appropriate something else.

And I don't think the most famous Nazi symbols can ever, really, be reclaimed.

The societal conditioning is too strong.

Unless we happen to be in Japan in which case it appears on maps for tourists indicating the location of Buddhist temples.

I meant in the West.smile.gif
FlakJacket
QUOTE (Kagetenshi)
Actually, it would be nice to see more pro-fascist Shadowrunner activity. While it fits badly with the radical individualist mainstream Shadowrunner culture, the kind of strife the Sixth World experiences is a perfect breeding ground for the idea that someone needs to step in and lead strongly from above, and policlubs should be able to provide gainful employment for at least a few 'Runners who share their ideals.

That my good sir is a brilliant idea. Aside from the Brackhaven/Archconservative and Yeats/Republican parties in the 2057 elections being the nearest I can think of, and Brackhaven really being disqualified for the blatant racism, have we ever really had a serious facist party or group in the game?

I've no idea of whether it's really true or not without further reading, but a number of articles I've read in the past that covered the Great Depression mentioned that people in the US did turn in quite large number to looking at facism or communism as a possible solution. That the whole idea of democracy was reconsidered since it had obviously screwed up so bad. Contrast that with the 2060/70s and whilst they might not be quite as bad as the Depression it's still fertile ground.
martindv
Democracy didn't seem to work very well in a lot of countries in the 1930s.
Grinder
Especially not in Germany and Italy.
pbangarth
Just as a sidebar, it should be noted that communism is not the opposite of democracy. Communism is an economic system that developed after and in response to capitalism. Theoretically, it should be just as possible to have a communist democracy as a capitalist one.
Kagetenshi
It is, actually, impossible to have a democratic communist state—at least with final-stage communism. The "goal" of the communist movement is a stateless society, while democracy is a manner in which to operate a state.

The intermediate step, the "dictatorship of the proletariat", can be interpreted as democracy but is intended from the beginning to be temporary. This is the step that the USSR supposedly stayed in for most of its existence, though it never seemed to pay much attention to the whole "of the proletariat" part.

~J
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