The alt-left (short for "alternative left") movement is a political ideology that gained traction early in 2016. It has its roots in the United States but it draws followers worldwide, in particular among people within Virtue territory. It is self-described as an "anti-establishment" ideology, meant not just to confront political conservatism but also to confront the mainstream political opposition.
Core ideology Edit
The alt-left is known as a mainstream-defying, "militant" ideology that champions the marginalized over the privileged class. It is predominantly socialist, advocating for policies that place an incredible tax burden on the rich in favour of generous social welfare programs for the poor and infrastructure development.
The movement is also known for its embrace of identity politics, leading to many experts describing the movement as "minoritarian". Its leaders frequently talk about "resisting oppression" from privileged classes, and government policies have been shown to be hyper-sensitive to the needs of minority groups, even if those needs are in conflict with each other. Nevertheless, what keeps many of these alt-left societies from falling apart is a common bond of a shared feeling of oppression, meaning competing minority groups eventually do reach compromises. For the class identified as the "majority" in an alt-left society, on the other hand, alt-left leaders are headstrong in their beliefs that there is no compromise to be made, since the alt-left believes that many within the "majority" have taken from the minorities and must now "give back".
One strong facet of the alt-left movement is feminism, not just as it relates to minority classes but as it relates to women who belong to the "majority" class. The alt-left's version of feminism, as typified by Haylie Modine, is incredibly militant, with the stated policy of ending "all forms of male dominance over women". Advocates state that alt-left feminism is sex positive, but many within the alt-left feminist movement have been known to campaign against pornography, prostitution and many other kinds of sexual imagery, arguing they are "tools of female oppression".
A major part of alt-left feminism is campaigning against the concept of rape culture. According to the alt-left, rape culture is a global phenomenon, noting that in societies that ostensibly denounce it and criminalize it, rape is still "allowed" on the basis that these societies do not punish it enough and/or promote actions that "facilitate the proliferation of sexual offences". Activism in this regard focuses on education and correcting perceived shortcomings within the law. Critics of rape culture activism assert that it is nothing but a moral panic with the "backdoor" motivation of regulating sexual encounters.
Appeals to Emotion Edit
The alt-left's most visible trait- and its most frequent criticism- is their tendency to appeal to the emotions of the public. Civil discourse and complicated negotiations are widely panned within alt-left circles in favour of protests and civil disobedience campaigns, sometimes resorting to violence. Said Emeldic leader and Rockian President Thomas Bighill, "we are well past the moment where talking can solve anything...we've been oppressed for so long that fighting is our only option- and we use it".
Scholars agree that much of the alt-left's appeal has been its ability to tie itself to the depths of human emotions, advocating for policies that "stir human heartstrings". "It's hard for someone to say 'no' to someone asking you to help eradicate rape," said University of Rome sociologist Licinia Grassus, "and that's how the alt-left sucks you in...they will paint their enemies as subhuman, deplorable monsters that must be defeated and you feel you must help in every manner that you can. In doing so, they can dress up some very unpalatable policies- like eliminating due process- as attractive options, because it's 'necessary to defeat the monster'. Furthermore, if you say 'no', the alt-left has the perfect response- you must also be 'the monster'."
Further criticisms also suggest that because the alt-left is so concerned with emotions they fail to come up with policies that are "well thought out". "When you resort to feelings you resort to the easy answer," said Oxford University sociologist Ken Barker. "However, many issues are very complex, and there's just no easy way to spot solution for any of them. In fact, in many cases, going for the easy to spot solution creates more problems than it solves, because you're not thinking of the implications."
Alt-left leaders scoff at these suggestions. Labour Party of England leader Koiji Kawasaki has stated that "impulse and calculated reasoning can go hand in hand", and believes that "the privileged classes obsfucate the truth so much that they deliberately wrap up the easy answer in a sea of complexities". Modine has stated that "if our rights and laws get in the way of battling oppression, then it is those rights and those laws that need to evolve to face the challenge", while Bighill is even more blunt- "if taking away someone else's freedoms means ending privilege and oppression everywhere then I'm all for it."
The alt-left has its beginnings in the 1950s, during the American Presidency of Joseph McCarthy (1953-61). Throughout his career, McCarthy represented the core principles of the Republican Party, quickly becoming known as a strident opponent of Communism and its many tenets. He thus became known as the epitome of the right side of the American political spectrum, becoming a polarizing figure as a result.
During the first term of his Presidency, McCarthy sent thousands to trial from every level of American society. All were accused of having ties with the Soviet Union, charged with many different crimes of sedition. Some were cleared but many were jailed, going through trials that were described at the time as "show trials". The moves energized his base but it also galvanized his opposition, the Democratic Party. Over 20 candidates ran in the primary elections for the Democratic nomination for 1956, with Jerzy Michalek, a Polish expat, eventually winning.
However, on the campaign trail, Michalek proved to be a disaster, and McCarthy cruised to victory. Michalek's loss left the Democrats searching for answers, with rumblings within some wings of the party that party leadership was out of touch with their needs. A cry for a different kind of left wing party- an "alternative left" began to develop, eventually becoming the Unionist Party in 1957.
Momentum for the Unionists faded as McCarthy's popularity sank during his term, allowing for the Democrats to sweep back into power behind John F. Kennedy in 1960. Rudderless, the Unionists faded into the fringes of American politics, barely making a dent as the Democrats left their mark firmly as the standard bearer of the American left, championing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as its high water mark.
North American Union Edit
It wasn't until the North American Union formed that the Unionist Party regained its footing. Since the NAU effectively merged Canadian politics with American, it meant that the ideological landscape of the continent had to be reshaped. As Jean Chretien was an admirer of the old Unionist Party, the Unionists picked up the lion's share of members from the old Democratic Party, the Liberal Party of Canada and the New Democratic Party of Canada, additions that bolstered the party's status as representatives of the NAU's left. The Unionists also had a strong base of support to draw from while the Federalists were hampered by ideological infighting that meant they entered the first NAU election without a clear message. Thus, in 1995, Bill Clinton (who narrowly edged Chretien in the primaries) easily defeated Preston Manning, who needed a contested Federalist convention to win the nomination.
However, this version of the Unionist Party was derided as "too mainstream" by several left-wing publications, and the Federalists learned from their electoral defeat. The Feds soon coalesced into a party that championed nationalism, Petrinism and capitalism, a message that caught on with an aging NAU population. The Feds rode that wave into another NAU victory in 2011, and in 2013, the Federalists gained control of the House of Representatives, giving them unprecedented power in the North American landscape. Although the 2013 Representatives election was still fueled by older voters, the Federalists showed they had staying power, as their share of the youth vote reached 45%, including 67% of youth who did not possess a college education.
2016-17 NAU Election Edit
In 2016, a surprise election was called after the President, Joseph Reddick, was assassinated. The Unionists, caught between embracing the North American mainstream as the Federalists had done and "going back to their roots" as an "alternative party". In one corner was Juan Castro, who embraced Petrine ideas but developed a socialist bent, while in the other corner was Haylie Modine, who championed the rights of minorities and feminism. Neither was a favourite of party leadership, who preferred the centrist but charismatic Jack Layton, but as the primary season wore on, Modine and Castro emerged as the Unionists' frontrunners.
Since Castro proved to be polarizing within Unionist ranks- although he agreed with a lot of Unionist principles, Castro was abrasive on the campaign trail and was not seen as a champion for minorities- there were rumblings within the Unionist Party leadership that thought of ways to take him out of the race. On September 30, 2016, Castro withdrew himself, fearing just that. He then formed the socialist but nationalist American Party and opposed Modine in the election.
On December 7, 2016, the Unionists won the election, as Modine picked up 130 Electoral College votes to Castro's 87, despite the fact Castro won the popular vote 50.13% to Modine's 24.27%. Modine's victory was due to Castro scoring over 95% of his votes in just three states- New York, Virginia and Carolina- alongside a string of very narrow state victories. Castro attempted to challenge the result but failed, refusing to give Modine a concession speech.
Modine's popularity would grow during the first month of 2017, as reports of Nathanite rape gangs proliferating across North America helped sway popular opinion towards her policies. Her first executive order was an order formally banning Nathanism from North American shores, which drew harsh criticism mainly for its broad denial of due process, with some critics believing that Modine was operating "solely on an emotional level". Modine shot back at her critics, deriding them as "rape apologists" and attesting she needed to "do something" to keep North America's women safe. "Rapists don't get rights," she famously declared at the end of a social media video that was widely praised by her base.
Several NAU states threatened to break away, causing Modine to schedule plebiscites to redraw the map. The result was the American Confederacy, with Modine as President and operating under roughly the same structure as the old American republic, except this time its politics are firmly those of Modine's, establishing the alt-left movement on the global stage.
Worldwide growth Edit
Since Modine's rise several other figures joined the alt-left movement, raising its stature worldwide. Koiji Kawasaki, leader of the Labour Party of England (the first person not of Anglo-Saxon descent to lead a major English political party), managed to put enough of a dent in the hold of Parliament by the Conservative Party of England in the 2016 elections to give the Conservatives a plurality of seats and a weak hold on power. In the elections for the governors within the Mongol Khanate (where a majority vote by the governors can remove a sitting Khan), polls show leads for 14 "alt-left" candidates, many of whom have pledged to remove Khan Ogedei XII from power. Furthermore, elections in Montenegro and in several Greek city states (most notably Athens) have produced alt-left victors.
The biggest boost to the alt-left movement was in Casara, where Genera Fallang defeated Psia Gdyunk to become Empress of Casara in early 2017. Fallang, 29 at the time of her election (just like Modine) ran on a platform to bring the alt-left to Casara, pledging to make the country more vocal and visible within the wider world. Fallang facilitated Casara's entry into Virtue within the Family, signing multiple deals within Virtue to increase Casara's influence. Most notably, Fallang issued legislation banning Nathanism from Casara- a move Gdyunk refused to make- and has pledged to forge wider ties with Modine in America.