Counterculture/The Free American Republic

From FireSpeakerWiki

Formed from the collapsed Northwest Confederacy in 1874, the Free American Republic (FAR, usually pronounced as the word 'far') has the first government in the world to implement totality representation. A citizen of the Free American Republic is refered to as a 'Farite'. FAR is located approximately in the center of North America and stretches toward the west coast. It shares borders with Canada, the Lone Star Republic, the United States of America, and Kansas.

History

The Free American Republic was established at the end of the Farite Revolutionary War. At the time, the proposed form of government was extemely controversial and is, by many, still considered so today. In particular, it was suggested that this government was not stable enough to endure.

About forty years after the nation's founding it was devastated by the Spanish Influenza pandemic. The pandemic left FAR with a population mostly between the ages of 18 and 35. This sudden change in age distribution is thought to have led to a period of very rapid social change in the late 1920s and early 1930s. In addition, an unusually high birth rate during that time led to a similar condition again in the 1950s. This phenomenon is called the Farite Counterculture Movement and has separated FAR from its neighboring nations culturally. Today, in most large countries, public nudity is illegal. In FAR, it is a right explicitly protected by the constitution.

Recently, the attitudes and trappings of the Counterculture Movement have spread into the other North American countries. It has been a strong presence in The United States of America, Canada, and The Lone Star Republic for years now. It has been observed that The Confederate States of America, the most socially conservative North American nation, is beginning to show signs of it as well.

Timeline

1874 (February): The Farite Revolutionary War ends. The Northwest Confederacy falls to revolutionary forces and the Provisional Articles of Confederation are established to govern seven of the states which had constituted the Northwest Confederacy (Nevada, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Nebraska, and South Dakota - Kansas having been claimed by the Lone Star Republic).

1874 (August): The Constitution of the Free American Republic is ratified along with an initial set of laws establishing district boundaries and limited local governments. Simon Sterne is inaugurated as the first president of the Free American Republic.

1874 (September): Congress passes the Civility Act - a collection of laws which forbid and prescribe punishments for crimes such as murder and burglary. Also, congress declares October 7th annual Decoration Day - a day to honor those who have fought for the freedom of the people of the Free American Republic.

1876 (January): Congress passes the Immigration Act of 1876 which enacted strict requirements for immigration including a proven ability to read and write in the English language and to understand the Constitution, laws, and contracts.

1876 (March): Congress passes the Limited State of Emergency Act which granted the president limited powers for addressing national emergencies without invoking Suspension of Law.

1878 (June): Congress elects Representative Samuel J. Tilden to the office of president.

1878 (August): Samuel J. Tilden is inaugurated.

1880 (February): Congress passes the Thanksgiving Act, granting the president the power to declare national days of Thanksgiving on which government workers and indirect government workers (through contractors) are given a day off (private businesses voluntarily participate).

1881 (March): When a forest fire of unprecidented proportions ravages Minnesota and traps hundreds of citizens of the United States of America against the border of the Free American Republic, the president grants them entrance and asylum in violation of the Immigration Act of 1876. President Tilden personally notifies the sumpreme court that he has exercised his power to suspend law, initiating the first impeachment trial in the history of the Free American Republic.

1881 (December): President Tilden is found innocent of abusing his power to suspend law in an 89% national referendum.

1890 (January): Congress declares the anniversary of the ratification of the Constitution of the Free American Republic a national holiday.

1918 (September): The first cases of severe influenza are reported (many retrospectively diagnosed).

1918 (November): The Ormsby Chronicle announces that "We have arrived at an epidemic," in regards to the recent outbreaks of influenza.

1919 (January): Congress passes the Kinship Act of 1919 allowing adult citizens to chose their legal family and compelling hospitals and financial institutions to cooperate in matters of visitation and inheritance.

1920 (March): The Quarantine Measure almost passes in a 52% congressional vote (a 2/3 supermajority was required).

1923 (May): By 1923, 30% of the Farite population has been infected (with a 60% death rate) and 10% have fled the country. The Quarantine Measure passes in a 76% congressional vote. Butte, a northern district with a nearly 100% infection rate, is selected as the quarantine district. All inficted citizens are forcibly moved to Butte, whose border is patrolled by the National Guard. Quarantine deserters are shot on sight.

1923 (October): 60 out of 233 congressional representatives have been quarantined. Congress passes the District Stewardship Act of 1923. Under this law, each district must elect a Steward who will report directly to the president and exercise many of the powers of the president on a local level in the event that the district loses contact with the national government.

1923 (November): An uprising at the northeastern border of the quarantine district erupts into a devastating battle. Many of the quarantined escape into Canada (most of whom were killed by the Canadian military). Reporters deliver the demands of the quarantined to the Farite people: more clean food, restoration of the right to governmental representation, and a plan to identify and release individuals who have survived influenza and are no longer contageous.

1924 (February): Under pressure from a majority of the people, congress passes a measure to allow the quarantined citizens to vote and appropriates money for the supply of clean food to the quarantine district.

1924 (March): Advised by doctors, congress ends the quarantine measures, requiring instead that all new cases are immediately and forcibly hospitalized. To this day, anyone infected with the flu is required report their condition to a hospital and may be compelled to receive treatment if the president declares an epidemic emergency.

1924 (April): The president declares the end of the national emergency and schedules an extra day of Thanksgiving (the second one in 1924).

1928 (January): Congress passes the Health and Education Act of 1928, introducing government-funded systems of healthcare and education.

1928 (May): Congress passes the Copyright Act of 1928, granted authors and inventors limited rights to make profits from their work. In a departure from most copyright laws, this law did not allow authors to restrict the use of their works except in regards to attribution. Before 1928, the Free American Republic had no copyright laws as they were considered an afront to freedom of speech.

1930 (June): Congress passes the Citizenship and Immigration Act of 1930, extending the requirements of the Immigration Act of 1876 to native citizens wishing to become independent citizens with the right to vote and make contracts without a councilor.

1940 (October): The Health and Education Amendment is passed in the second round of a supermajority national referendum. This amendment made the Health and Education Act of 1928 constitutional by adding education and a healthy environment to the rights of every citizen, ending what the newspapers dubbed "The Health-Care and Education Debacle".

1945 (January): Congress officially adopts the tradition of Labor Day on May 1st of each year for the Free American Republic. Later than month, congress declares New Year's Day also to be an annual national holiday.

1948 (February): Congress passes the Public Decency Act of 1948, abolishing public nudity, extreme public profanity, and public displays of sexual or romantic affection between persons of the same sex.

1951 (July): The Free American Republic joins the American Union.

1951 (August): After the success of the first round of a national referendum for the Clarification Amendment, congress repeals the Public Decency Act. This is widely considered to be the beginning of the Counterculture Movement in the Free American Republic.

1953 (July): The Clarification Amendment is passed, adding a clarification of rights explicitly protecting such forms of expression as public nudity and profanity. It also requires that every section of national law include text justifying the law in terms of the constitutional guarantees of liberty and representation. The deadline for compliance with that requirement was set at January 1st, 1960.

1954 (March): Congress passes "Clarification Compliance Act 1". This act satisfied the requirements of the Clarification Amendment for laws about which a general consensus could be reached in congress. More controversial measures were deferred until after further debate.

1956 (January): Congress approves and adopts the green candle flag design so that FAR is not the only member of the American Union without a flag.

1959 (November): Congress passes "Clarification Compliance Act 2". With the compliance deadline for the Clarification Amendment impending, congress passes this act to reach full compliance in the law.

1961 (February): Congress moves Labor Day to May 2nd, acknowledging that May 1st is a pagan religious holiday.

1961 (April): Congress passes the Transportation and Communication Act of 1961, establishing a contract relationship between the national government and companies which require a network of roads, tunnels, and conduits throughout the country in order to provide transportation and communication services. Before this time, all such contracts were made with district councils.

1992 (January): Congress passes the Digital Democracy Act, beginning the process of shifting toward using databases and computer networks to keep track of votes and petitions and to provide more accessible forums for public debate.

Law and Government

The Constitution of the Free American Republic is the highest law of the Free American Republic and prescribes framework for the entire government. The most unique and defining feature of this grovernment is its use of totality representation. This is a system of representation in which each voter selects a representative popular enough to be in the house of representatives and contributes one vote to that representative's voting power in congress.

Unless a voter's representative leaves the legislature, the voter may only change his or her chosen representative once per year during a one month period beginning on the voter's birthday (or otherwise on a randomly selected date). Therefore, the electoral process is continuous throughout the year. When a representatives number of votes falls below one five hundredth of the total number of votes, her or she is removed from congress.

Citizens are elected to congress through the process of candidate petition. Any independent citizen may register a candidate petition, thereby becoming a congressional candidate. A voter may add or remove his or her name to or from any candidate petition any time his or her vote is not locked (a term that will be defined in just a moment). As soon as any candidate petition has a number of supporters greater than or equal to one five hundredth of the total number of votes, that candidate becomes a reprepresentative. At the same time, voters supporting the petition in question are removed from all petitions and their votes are locked until the next time they would normally be allowed to change their chosen representative. At that time, their votes automatically transfer to the representative they helped to elect.

The Free American Republic also has a president whose job is primarily to lead and preside over the congress. The president also has the power to suspend law when he or she deams it absolutely necessary. In the case that this power is used, an impeachment trial for the crime of abusing that power automatically begins with a national jury of all voters. Finally, the president may be assigned further powers and responsibilities by law.

The president of the Free American Republic is appointed by congress in a manner prescribed by the congressional bylaws. The president must be appointed from within congress, at which time he or she must resign from his or her position as a representative. In cases that the bylaws do not cover, the representative with the most votes is appointed.

Politics

At the present time, there are 14 major political parties active in the Free American Republic. Of those, the 5 most popular are refered to as the 'principle parties' of the Free American Republic.

Political parties in the Free American Republic operate in a unique way. There are no laws which specificly govern the Farite parties. Under the law, they are treated as any other organization (organizations are created by contracts between their participants). Each major party, and most minor parties, participate in the Candidate Exclusivity Agreement. This agreement, created in 1892, allows any of the participating parties to declare any of its primary elections mutually exlusive with any primary election of any other participating party. The agreement requires the parties to cooperate in preventing voters from voting in a pair of mutually exclusive elections. Unlike most party systems, this does allow voters to vote in primary elections of more than one party. Parties allied in a certain issue often agree not to invoke exclusivity when they intend to field candidates for congress to champion that issue. Parties will also sometimes jointly sponsor a candidate.

The current principle parties are:

The Constitution Party

The Farite Constitution Party, not to be confused with the Confederate Constitutionalist Party, emphasizes strict adherance to the Constitution of the Free American Republic. This party was founded in 1935 to promote the Health and Education Amendment. The party was inactive from 1942 until 1948, when it was resurrected to champion the Clarification Amendment. It is now one of the most popular parties in FAR. Presently this party actively discourages Farite involvement with other countries.

The Libertarian Party

The Libertarian Party was founded in 1955 to field candidates with the intention of helping to shape the changes to law required by the Clarification Amendment. The goal was to remove constitutionally unjustifiable laws that limit personal freedom. The party and most of its supporters consider the effort to have been a success. The party remained and continues to oppose what it deems unreasonable limitations on personal freedom.

The Federalist Party

The Farite Federalist Party supports granting more powers to district councils so that they are more like the states of the United States of America. Ideally, the party would like each district to be able to make local laws. The party was founded in 1970.

The Environmental Party

Justified by the health clause of the Health and Education Amendment, the Environmental Party supports laws enforcing "sustainable resource management practices". This party was founded in 1965.

The Conservative Party

The Farite Conservative Party was founded in 1981 to oppose some of the legal affects of the counterculture movement. In particular, the Conservative Party supports laws against abortion and laws against nudity outdoors on public land. It also supports limitations on the separation of church and state, claiming that they pit "Church Against State". Recently, the Conservative Party has taken a stand against the Constitution party, insisting that the Farite government should provide military and medical aid to non-Farite peoples when it is "the right thing to do".

Political Divisions

Although the constitution makes no explicit provision for internal political boundaries, law divides the country into districts which may manage local courts, police departments, voting offices, and budgets for public services to be contracted. In each district the management is handled by town meetings and/or district councils. Each district also has a steward responsible for assuming the responsibilities of the president locally in the case that the district loses contact with the national government.

There are currently 377 districts in the Free American Republic.

Economy

The Free American Republic's principle export is technology. As the first nation in which personal computers were produced, FAR remains a major source of electronics all over the world. This, combined with the fact that FAR imports virtually nothing that can reasonably be produced domestically, has given the country a stable and prosperous economy.

Transportation

Auto Roads

The Free American Republic has a network of roads used primarily for public transportation. Individual car owners may use the roads for a hefty fee. In general, only large companies and very wealthy Farites own cars. The roads are maintained by several contractors with the government. These contracts give congress the power to switch to new contractors at any time without losing any of the road maintenance resources that have been payed for by road use fees.

30 private bus companies operate public transportation services on these roads. Nearly all of them cooperate in providing universal scheduling information and route planning. All bus companies which do not, have been boycotted.

Rail Roads

Rail roads run alongside most of the auto roads as well as underground and over bridges at some places. Contracts for the maintenance and operation of the rail roads are similar to those for the auto roads.

Subways and Local Roads

Many districts maintain subway systems and local roads by contract.

Airplanes

Airlines and airports are entirely private enterprises in FAR. The law only requires that "reasonable cooperative measures" be taken avoid collisions and provide security. Legal precedent supports only accreditation from the Association of Farite Aviators as adequate compliance. The AFA coordinates ground control and imposes safety regulations. The AFA is not a government agency. There is a movement to impose legal regulations and allow for military intervention in private aviation for national security.

Communications

In 1989, one of the major telephone and television companies in FAR replaced its analog infrastructure with a high speed digital network. Only two major communications companies in FAR survived the transition. They founded the communications network which now spans the globe: Internet.

In the Free American Republic Internet is used for telephone, television, and countless services for personal computer clients. Because television content need not be transmitted as a broadcast in FAR, there are no television networks as in most other countries. Television producers create shows which may be dowloaded and viewed at any time for a fee. The Internet broadcast addressing feature is used for live television transmission.

Education

In the Free American Republic, all citizens' educations are subsidized. Each year, every citizen can be reimbursed for classes up to a certain amount regulated to be approximately worth three courses. There are some courses that all must take as minors and before becoming independent citizens. The full cost of all such courses is separately reimbursed.

Businesses offering courses must meet some government imposed standards in order to be subsidized. Competing organizations establish final exams to gauge the effectiveness of their competitors' courses. The government requires cooperation with this system for participation in the education subsidy program. While many companies offer courses, there are very few schools. Most courses take place in rooms rented from third parties. Degrees are awarded by independent organizations which gauge the significance of a person's coursework.

Almost all Farites seek a Bachelor's Degree. While not all seek a higher degree than that, most citizens continue to take classes throughout their lives.

Health Care

The Farite government has contracts with several large insurance companies. The government pays, with tax money, for insurance for every citizen. The government contracts stipulate that the government may withdraw at any time keeping a certain amount of the capital from each client. In that case, the government must seemlessly switch the affected citizens to another policy without allowing them not to be covered at any time. On average a contract is dropped, and another added, once every two years.

Demographics

For all categories responders were allowed to choose as many options as were appropriate for them.

Ethnicity

  • Caucasian - 72%
    • English - 35%
    • Spanish - 26%
    • German - 17%
    • Italian - 16%
    • Irish - 16%
    • French - 15%
    • Other - 27%
    • Refused - 3%
  • Hispanic - 16%
  • Black - 13%
  • Indiginous - 13%
  • Asian - 10%
  • Refused - 8%

Religion

  • Christian - 57%
    • Mormon - 46%
    • Catholic - 25%
    • Protestant - 20%
    • Other - 7%
    • Refused- 9%
  • Agnostic - 39%
  • Atheist - 14%
  • Indiginous - 6%
  • Jewish - 5%
  • Islamic - 5%
  • Pagan - 4%
  • Other - 6%
  • Refused - 9%

Legal holidays

Date Name Remarks
January 1 New Year's Day Beginning of the year.
May 2 Labor Day Celebrates achievements of workers. Adopted from The Lone Star Republic.
August 9 Constitution Day The anniversary of the radification of the constitution of the Free American Republic.
October 7 Decoration Day Honors servicemen and women who died in service.
President's Discretion Thanksgiving Day of thanks declared by the president, usually once each year.


Back to Counterculture World and LARP

Printed