Other Groups

No question about it, Tranell is good. Very good. She calmly explains that we need to decrease the human population to "ecologically sustainable levels" (500 million people, according to their calculations) and she makes it sound reasonable, good and practical. I wonder how many of the listeners who really realize what it means.

She then goes on to explain how a "society returned to its basic roots" will function. It sounds wonderful, harmonious and quite possible. She doesn't mention from where she got her ideas.

Church of the Holy Cross

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock
By their actions shall you know them: The Church of the Holy Cross.
A fundamentalist organization extremely well adapted to the modern world; it is slicker than most politicians and bent on achieving as much influence as possible.

The Church is extremely image-conscious, practically nothing is done without having the media section evaluating its impact. While the organization is deep down fundamentalist, it does a very convincing job in hiding it so that even ordinary fairly secular people can accept it. Outwardly it represents stability, a secure and humane community for normal people that want to avoid much of the weirdness and fear in modern life. It is politically correct in all respects, helps people get jobs (usually in Church-dominated companies; it is OK to work there and not be a member, but there is of course a certain social pressure), organizes many social activities, gives charity and generally behaves like a pillar of community.

The truth is that the Church uses all its good works to gain influence. In areas where it is strong it quietly and subtly gains influence on all levels of community, companies linked to the Church move in or start up and members advance to positions in local politics. In time, it is so entrenched that any threats to the church also become threats to the community -- and now even the non-church members must support it. The Church also uses subtle pressure to get rid of opponents or critics, usually through peer pressure, discreet character assassination through rumors and leaks and sometimes by stratagems like making other groups go against the opponent. Everything to preserve the squeaky clean image of the Church.

The brain behind the Church is Reverend Unity Holm, a Swedish preacher who founded the church in the '90s. He is still the spider in the web, although he doesn't appear publicly very often; the Church has many other popular preachers. Rev. Holm has gathered a circle of loyal and competent assistants who run the organization. Without him it could likely still function well, but only Holm has the vision to plan several steps ahead that is needed to keep the Church expanding at the rate it does. Unity believes in long-range planning, and the need to make people believe and conform. Happiness can only be found in a safe environment, and he is going to create it.

The Church is not anti-technological, but believes that the most important thing is people, not technology. While the members mainly come from the part of the middle class that has trouble adapting to new technology and hence seek security from the rapid change dominating society, the Church administration uses the most advanced information technologies available to monitor the organization and outside world.

The Church keeps a low, positive profile and seems to get along with everybody.

Green Nation

Gaia was under attack by an infestation of human rats feeding on the carnage of unsustainable technological explosions that tore through the body of the Goddess like bullets, blood oozing from the ruptured web of life.

But Gaia was old and strong and wily. She always produced corrective mechanisms. Feedback response: a predator appears. There were too many rats to exterminate, but the problem could still be neatly managed. First, disarm the rats. Then feed them, protect them, let them grow soft. See that their nascent separation from the real world is made complete. Withhold from them the power to ever threaten Gaia again. And if some among them insist on staying outside their niche? Kirstin smiled to herself. Thats why she was here. Thats why the cops existed. To pick off the mal-adapted and maintain the integrity of the herd.

And if she enjoyed her work, so what? Did the wolf feel guilty when it pursued a herd of deer? No. Like Kirstin, it happily performed its role in the body of the Goddess.
Linda Nagata, The Bohr Maker

Are you on the side of life?
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Green Nation is the largest, most well organized green movement in the US, with international branches just about everywhere. The goal of the Nation is to create an ecological society; this is implemented using political, economic and social means. Society must be made to serve nature, not the reverse. Only appropriate technology should be allowed, the population has to be lowered, the American lifestyle must be fundamentally changed and all human activity must be guided by ecological awareness as defined by the movement's leaders. If people don't get it, they need to be gently but firmly persuaded.

Green Nation is strictly organized, with a clear chain of command from the leader Rachel Tranell down to the individual members. It is divided into several branches, one political/intellectual (derogatorily called "the drones" by opponents), one activist ("warriors") and one for common members ("workers"). While the Nation officially does not condone acts of eco-terrorism and violence, this is about as believable as the pro-life groups' denial of connections to attacks on abortion clinics. Opposition is not tolerated; outside opposition is dealt with using media campaigns, public protests and occasionally clever sabotage, inside dissent is quelled by "education sessions".

Rachel Tranell is a brilliant, charismatic woman with total conviction; many of her followers regard her with an almost religious awe (some have even claimed she is the spokeswoman of Gaia), and her enemies have likened her to a new Hitler. Tranell grew up in poor circumstances in New Hampshire, showing an interest in environmental issues at an early age. She describes in her bestseller autobiography "Awakening Mother" how she gradually came to realize the fundamental flaws of western society and the need to change it from the bottom up at any cost. Originally she participated in various eco-activism movements, but after being arrested at an attempt to stop a new dam she decided the way to change things is not aimless protest, but dedicated, organized work directed at changing society on all levels. She started her movement in 2008, and has through a combination of devious politics, charisma and raw force made it the largest green movement in the US. Many of the smaller environmentalist movements have been absorbed into the Nation or been strongly weakened.

The Green Nation is strongly anti-tech, and has publicly denounced all scientists and engineers as betrayers of the Earth and mankind. It likely has some ties to the Knights of the Oppressed Earth and other eco-terrorist groups. Among it most militant enemies are the Democracy Defenders and various fundamentalist groups who denounce them as pagans. Interesting enough it never seems to collide with the Church of the Holy Cross.

The Unabomber Manifesto

Organized Crime

Organized crime is a society that seeks to operate outside the control of the American people and their governments. It involves thousands of criminals working within structures as complex as any large corporation, subject to laws more rigidly enforces than those of legitimate governments. Its actions are not impulsive but rather the result of intricate conspiracies, carried on over many years and aimed at gaining control over whole fields of activity in order to amass huge profits.
President's Commission on Law Enforcement
Organized crime is as strong as ever, despite (or thanks to?) grand wars on drugs/crime/corruption. The crime syndicates are international forces of note and involved in far more than just crime. The development of the three blocks has been mirrored in the development of "trade blocks" of crime syndicates. In Europe the Russian Underground and the Mediterranean Mafia are dominant, in Oceania the American mob, various gangs and the Japanese Yakuza, in East Asia several triad societies, Teochiu, gangs and networks form a loose but powerful alliance, the "Asian criminal enterprise".

These "crime blocks" compete/cooperate with each other and outside groups such as the South American cartels, the Indian Mafias and the various African or Oriental warlords in a manner very similar to how the trade blocks deal with the world. There is a constant struggle as the blocks try to get into each other's markets; while the organizations have a kind of understanding on the top levels, locally they are in harsh competition. There are certain areas where the struggle is especially violent, such as Australia where Oriental syndicates are fought by western groups aided by the American mob, the American west coast where the Orientals try to make inroads, the northern Pacific where the Russian Underground is expanding and the Caribbean where South and North American groups clash.

While organized crime isn't exactly in league with the FOG, both groups have parallel goals and want to stop any change that threatens their power. It is not obvious how strong the ties between the governments and syndicates are, despite the occasional scandal when a corrupt politician is unmasked and a steady stream of conspiracy theories from the neoliberals, but the TU is quite convinced there are real and deadly ties. On the other hand, from the perspective of many governments, the Concordat is just an organized criminal group.

The Concordat has had some mixed experiences dealing with organized crime. It is ruthless and doesn't like competition; at the same time it is always interested in profit. At least one attack against a nanolaboratory in California has been linked to a south American drug cartel -- if nanotechnology ever becomes widespread growing drugs becomes obsolete and many of the drug syndicates would loose most of their revenue. On the other hand, the organizations are very interested in buying certain of the high tech products of the TU, and supports the black market for tech. General wisdom in the Concordat says that it is best to avoid the traditional areas of crime -- they are already jealously guarded. If you have to deal with the underworld, do it through a long chain of intermediaries or through the Net, never directly.



Hang Ten Pro

A wildly successful software firm, world leaders in process migration algorithms. Not very well known to the public, but among computer people generally regarded with awe and envy.

In 2009 a group of MIT graduates with good ideas founded the firm, using gardening methods to invent better ways of managing multiprocessor systems. They got some basic patents, and discovered the Buckry jumper, a smart algorithm that made their fortune. Around the same time computer and software manufacturers were reluctantly forced to move towards multiprocessor systems, and suddenly the software of Hang Ten Pro was worth billions. Within two years the firm had become one of the major software firms in the world, earning tremendous revenue from its patents, successfully withstanding a Microsoft take-over bid and having its code becoming an integral part of practically every operating system everywhere.

HTP dominates the market for process migration algorithms, but is not a monopoly. Their main income is from adapting their basic algorithms to customer special needs, as well as being the acknowledged experts and standard-setters in the field -- their competitors haven't managed to catch up with them. The firm is surprisingly small, just a few hundred employees, and mostly consists of a large legal department, an impressive collection of supercomputers working as petri dishes and a bundle of hired geniuses from across the world improving the algorithms. They license their software to everybody else, and there is practically no computer in the world that doesn't have the line "Process migration algorithms Copyright Hang Ten Pro, 2015" scroll past when booting.

The Concordat is interested in HTP. Not only is the firm a beautiful example of someone who flagrantly and successfully ignores the block borders (why should they care for the blocks? Everybody needs their know-how, and the FOG has a hard time dealing with algorithm export and small, nimble megacorps), but it also produces software that might be ideal for nanocomputers. It is not inconceivable that the founders of HTP might be sympathetic with the TU, and it would be a shrewd investment for them to be first with algorithms tuned for nanocomputers too. But the approach has to be done softly, softly, since HTP is prudently paranoid and definitely won't get involved in anything putting themselves in danger.