1st delegacy - INWU: An opinionated history

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1st delegacy - INWU: An opinionated history

Post by El Fiji Grande on Wed Oct 14, 2015 11:23 pm

An Opinionated History of the First Delegacy of the INWU
Note: this 'history' will be written from my personal perspective, and may thus include biases and opinions that may not be considered objective or impartial.

In order to fully encompass the political and social regional situation when I began my delegacy, I must begin this where my 'History of Strategos Prime' factbook left off: just prior to the merge.
Before The Merge
As is common knowledge to all who participated in the merge between the International Northern Union, International Western Union, several members of the International East Union, and Strategos Prime, SP was allowed to join into the merge a day later than the others. Thus it was that the members of the International Unions merged first, and took the time to agree to a new document detailing the conditions of the merge in the month preceding, and then a day later, SP came as well. I dislike focusing primarily on SP in the start of my history of my first term, but from my perspective, I would not be honest if I claimed to have nonpartisan views in mind.

Before 'we' (and by we, I mean former SPers) left SP, there was a lot of tension. The region seemed to be collapsing around us, despite the dedicated efforts of the core members of the region fighting the decline. We seemed to be throwing RPs to create bursts of flame on an inevitably dying fire. In fact, those flames surged so brightly a few weeks before the merge, that I, as the former WAD of SP, retracted SP's bid for the merge before those RPs began once more to crumble, resulting in our day's late entry into the new union. When we left, there was anger, confusion, angst, disappointment, and perhaps a tinge of hope. As the delegate of SP at the time, I felt terrible - that the region had collapsed under my watch, and that in order to save any last shred of dignity, I needed to ensure that the core members of the region stuck together - because without that, it would truly have been the end. It isn't fair to blame the collapse of the region on my delegacy there, as it had been a long time coming, but the gravity of the situation made me feel as if I had to deliver my people out of a sinking ship, and if it failed, that there would be truly nothing left.

So we left SP with the urgency and the desperation to succeed, to make things work out, and to pull through the collapse of our former home together. While some of the collapse had been caused by puppets, I left mine behind so as to prevent that from occurring in the International Northwestern Union (INWU), and to leave SP as a memorial of our time there.
The Interim Period
When SP joined the INWU, and we entered the interim period to intertwine our cultures, political ideas, and construct a lasting constitution to stabilize the region far into the future. I felt that I needed to remain the leader of the citizens of SP, to carry the torch, and to openly voice the opinions of our former region. In fact, there was so much support from former SP members, as well as our friends in the INU and IWU welcoming us to the new community, that I have in fact saved several of the telegrams sent to me in an individual telegram folder I call 'The Collection,' which contains some of the nicest things anyone has said to me on NationStates. Not to include some of these would not do justice to the meaning and encouragement they provided me.
The Muffinator of Hockesin wrote:
The only way I would go through with this is if you are the founder. You are one of the few good leaders on Nationstates.

The Directorate of Xin Prussia wrote:
He's absolutely right, regardless of where you come from or where you serve; you're a bloody integral part of our community, and you've been there since near the very start. You're one of us, and you're free to do what any of us could.

I'd like to specifically thank Hockesin and Xin Prussia for those telegrams.
To continue with my description of the interim period, I shall focus on the construction of the regional constitution, as it was the main focus of those weeks, though I will also cover some of the other conversations that were held. The constitution was a main point of concern, as it became a point of clashing between several INU and SP members. Each side had their pros and their cons: the SP argument was for simplicity and brevity, whereas the INU model, spearheaded by GROSS Independency was complicated and lengthy. The SP model focused more on limiting what is actually said in the constitution, whereas the INU/GROSS model was focused on specifically detailing certain functions and responsibilities of various positions and committees without very much room for freedom of interpretation or easy adaptability. That of course lends itself to either a complete gridlock, or a compromise of sorts - though as rough one at that. What happened was two weeks of standstill and bickering, that decimated the original idea of the interim period - to peacefully merge through international cooperation and goodwill. It came to a head-to-head between GROSS and I, I with the wish to compromise, but with the pressure of just how much was at stake, GROSS with the same (in effect) stubborn refusal that I had in non-compromising nature. Eventually, GROSS resigned his unofficial post, realizing that there was no way to both finish the constitution on a point-by-point basis and make it in time for the end of the interim period. This led to both sides writing completely separate versions of the same constitution, each attempting to make compromises to make their constitution somewhat more appealing to the other side, and thus more likely to be accepted.

What finally became the regional constitution is a combination of both of those drafts, though fundamentally, the structure they defined for the region were nearly the same in either case. I do have some regrets over this interim period. Interestingly, neither the constitution nor the interim period have ever been incredibly important to me. The interim period, in my mind, should have been, at maximum, two weeks in length. The constitutional draft was to me less important personally, but more a defense of values carried over from SP, and certain principles and nit-picky details that could allow certain positions to be impeachable seemed overblown and stretching the law too far. Many ideas that were to be written into the constitution from GROSS' perspective could be later passed into law from the Northwestern Federal Assembly (NFA) as separate and more easily adaptable documents. I also regret that my attitude towards GROSS during that time changed significantly. I lost much of the respect I had held for Zwotstyg, a puppet of his, in the INU. The stubbornness he displayed seemed so different than the nation I thought I knew. At the same time, I gained respect for Othelos and Nephmir for their pragmatism and experience.

In the interim period, the INWU forums were constructed, the RMB exploded, but tension remained strong high between GROSS and I. It became clear that it would be either one or the other of us with the most political influence in the region. I cemented it in my friendships with other nations in the INWU whom I knew prior to the merge, and in the overall reaction that was felt as a result of the 'Regional Government' constitutional discussion thread.
The Official Beginning of the INWU
Interestingly, it was not, to the best of my memory, GROSS who ran against me for the delegacy, rather, Kathmandue. The political significance of this, and this first set of elections, was that it was the first live test of the regional constitution, as well as the political resignation of GROSS. Had he ran, there is a good chance it would be him writing this incredibly drawn out history from his perspective right now. Not surprisingly, I won the election against Kathmandue, as I had the support of nearly every former SP nation. Thanks to Vizindolf, non-WA members could also participate in the elections, which, thinking back, I have to agree with, despite having fought it at the time. Here and now, too late as it is, I'd like to thank him for making that contribution to the structure of our region. Being elected WAD was important, as it solidified my position as a political heavyweight in the region. Had I not retracted the earliest SP offer for a merge, I may very well have used my INU ambassador Caleann (named after a character of mine from an SP Character RP) to help me run for the position of founder. As it is, I like the way things went.
The 1st Delegacy
Being the first delegate of the INWU was special. It will always be special, regardless of how long the region survives. After the 30 day interim period, 190 pages of RMB had already been posted. Discussions had been heated, but they had been lively. It had been my responsibility before to help integrate SP nations into the INWU and fight for their values, but then as WAD, it was my responsibility to listen and aid all nations in the region. Seeing a region as active as the INWU excited me in ways that seemed long distant in my memory of SP. I completely dedicated myself to resolving international conflicts, integrating the community, and building an incredibly active region with a bright future. Interestingly, I noticed very early the inactivity of Xin Prussia as Chancellor, and began to fill that role by dealing with all affairs of the region. As time passed, the position solidified. The first events of my delegacy were the unlocking of the region to allow recruitment to begin, the appointment of Crumstain as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and commencement of the plan to limit our construction of embassies to regions that we as a region actually have meaningful ties to. It allows us to open communications freely between our allied regions. CiviC was partially adapted from GROSS' constitution, but fell apart nearly immediately from a combination of lack of interest and inactivity. The RMB already served as a perfect location to openly discuss new political ideas. Othelos was elected to become the Speaker of the NFA, having the most votes in the NFA elections. If I recall correctly, he later resigned the position to allow Topsail Empire to become the Speaker. Political parties started, which did not surprise me in such an active region, but, as expected (as they have in nearly every region previously), they soon fell into inactivity as well because the individual ideas and the lack of the next immediate election as well as the slowness of the NFA left a lack of space for the party system to ever really take off. The Regional MT RP Map project I had had from all the way back in SP was discussed as well, and effort was put into the conceptualization of the map, though it was not completed at the time. The final constitution revision process also kicked into effect, part out of guilt that it still had not been completed. It was in this time that Malkbacconne became commonly accepted (even by many former SP nations) as a regional pastime, though Hockesin's probing also had an effect. Campagne and popcorn fell a bit on the wayside, but tigers in closets felt a boom period. The uniquely strange aspects of INWU culture emerged then, which we still have to this day. GROSS was appointed to be the Minister of Recruitment, but he was quite busy at the time. Regional RPs began, though slowly. An endorsement cap was also put into effect at this time.
This section deserves its own box. Near to the end of my first month as delegate, a certain nation frequently mentioned in my 'History of SP' factbook - Vortukia, entered the region. This is more a final chapter of SP than an early chapter of the INWU, but it is significant to my delegacy. At the time, this was a worst nightmare for me. Having successfully led former SP regions to a new region, incorporated them, moved on, and fought tooth and nail during the constitutional debates, there was a very 'him-or-us' type of attitude. Fights broke out on the RMB, and the the vitriolic behavior shied some nations away. I had to intervene, as, in a certain sense, this threatened (again) the collapse of the region. Otherwise reasonable nations from the other founding regions seemed incapable of understanding the caustic nature of the conflict, and it occurred to me that they were in fact being reasonable, and we were overreacting to a long past fight. The Trial will always be embedded in the hearts and minds of the SPers that experienced it, but I hit a turning point. As delegate of the INWU, it is my responsibility to call upon the Chancellor to resolve these types of internal disputes, but it was decided that I better understood the situation than Xin Prussia, and handled it myself. It would have been simply easier to ask the NFA to banject Vortukia from the region, but I'm glad I didn't. It was no longer my responsibility to guard over the former SP nations specifically, but over the stability of the entire region. They were no longer special in my eyes, as I had now formed bonds with Crumstain, Othelos, and Xin Prussia. There was no way to simply drop the issue either, as it was deeply ingrained emotionally. The solution was the same as what should have been more frequently employed in the constitutional debates: compromise. It, at least in my view, became accepted that we had all made mistakes in the past, but that it was time to move on, and heal as a region, and as a people. Surprisingly, it worked. I'm still not sure how, but it concluded the 'Vortukia Incident,' and has not been a problem since. Unfortunately as a direct result of this, The Valen Empire left the INWU. Luckily, Fairroam reactivated, which helped balance the regional population.
By near the end of my second month as delegate, the second annual NS Zombie Apocalypse occurred. I always feel like we take that thing waaayyy too seriously. But it did seem to strengthen our bond as a region, and systematically work together to eliminate the zombies. I recall two nations (you know who you are Wink) as specifically having been a pain, as they decided to embrace the zombie hordes. Nevertheless, we placed among the top 100 in the NS World as a region, and better than our population would have predicted the outcome to be.
In this era, Fijitology emerged as a new religion. It was charming. That aside, it was in this period when the INWU began to expand its influence interregionally. I applied for embassies with several of the Game Created Regions (GCRs), as well as several of the more influential non-GCR regions in the game. I was accepted on a few of them, but concluded not to continue with the embassies as we had little active connection with those regions, and little reason for creating said connections. With the help of the NFA, the INWU adopted some of the GCRs' official embassy creation forum design. The International East Union contacted Crumstain and I for military assistance as we were the largest of the International Unions at the time. I had to turn them back empty-handed, because at that time our military was literally nonexistent except for some bitter threads on how the military should be run from the interim period. The move to quickly create a regional military was jump-started, helping ease the critiques that GROSS, Albiorix, and Astrosis had of the nation. It also created another outlet for regional participation. Initial eagerness was quick to take root, but actions speak more than words. Actual participation was minimal, which was disappointing especially of several nations who had pledged commitment to actively improving the military. Estradia, Falling Stars, The Sotoan Union, Tracian Empire, and Crumstain, as well as a few other nations took serious interest. Training missions began to be held frequently, despite my own inability to help liberate regions. I also built up the military sections of the forums. When it was discovered that NS++ now was officially part of NS, and that the update times were several minutes off at best, progress and interest in the military dropped. The lack of capability in predicting the update times led to the creation of the InternatiOnal Northwestern Intelligence Agency (IONIA), which would not only be responsible for leading classified foreign missions, but also would be responsible for regional security and military data collection. I appointed Estradia to be the Director of IONIA for his hard work and dedication in both military and regional activity. It was later concluded that for both IONIA and the military to get off the ground more, recruitment would need to be done to bring in new members.
In this period, GROSS became more active again, and I asked him to begin the recruitment process for the INWU, as it did seem especially necessary at the time, given the political climate towards the military, and indirectly, IONIA. Unfortunately for the region, it was in this time that the RMB got more active, but in a somewhat crazy way. Several nations took offense to certain comments made by Hockesin and other former SP members. These comments focused around the rather strange SP tradition of probing and the intensely random conversations that followed. The point was made that the INWU RMB, modeled after the former region whose members contributed most to RMB activity, was especially vulgar when compared to other regions'. Though the initial post was not intended to set off tensions within the region, it had the effect of splitting those who believed more in the free thought and openness of the RMB with those who appreciated a more respectable front to the region. GROSS believed that it would sorely hurt recruitment efforts, and that is was cause for annoyance for the more respectable and authoritarian members of the region. Myself, having little respect for those who attempt to block openness on the RMB, refused to understand the issue, and dismissed GROSS' claims as simply yet another example of the stubbornness he had demonstrated near the founding of the region. Additionally, the posting on the RMB was no where near our old habits, and posting in all caps-lock really didn't manifest itself in an issue. I regret not having said anything specifically addressing the issue then, or at least been more compromising myself at that point, especially given how frustrated GROSS appeared to be getting. Several other nations seemed to come out of the woodwork of inactivity to speak up in agreement. Them doing this made me reflect. With increasing regional tensions over small, solvable issues that were blown way out of proportion, but given that normally inactive nations came out to speak made the issue more serious to me. It occurred to me that perhaps the reason for their inactivity was their feeling of disturbance to the comments made on the RMB. As delegate, it is my responsibility to hear the voice of all the nations in the region, and treat their opinions equally. I certainly took their opinions into account, but given their inactivity since the near start, I was also inclined to mostly disregard the issue. Regardless, I gave in to several requests to personally speak with Hockesin about it, though I felt inclined to agree with him. RMB over-sensitivity has long been known to suppress activity, which is also the beginning of the downfall of regions. But as the regional conflict became increasingly unsteady, and the comedic relief of both of the self-proclaimed Üntzes Gatito and Crumstain became more and more necessary, I came to see how much was at stake. I telegrammed nearly every nation in the region who I had not already heard from to see how they sided, and talked many times with Othelos and GROSS over the issue. I worked incredibly hard to firstly understand their concerns, and then how to fix them. I'm sure Estradia, Crumstain, and Xin Prussia will remember the almost frantic push of reforms I telegrammed them with ideas about.
I'd like to thank Xin Prussia for then immediately offering to help, and allowed me to take control of more of what would be considered power of the Chancellor in a desperate effort to turn around the course of the region.
The Directorate of Xin Prussia wrote:
Fiji has been working extremely hard in this regard and has really put a lot of us to shame.
I want to make an appeal. If you see something on the RMB you dislike, please please telegram me about it and I promise I will check it out for you. You don't need to bother Fiji with this. He's busy enough trying to get five different things going for the region as it is.

The 'issue' itself did not itself seem like one, but the tensions were more deep-seated than simply RMB conversations. They also had roots in the early debates and an overall feeling of discontent given the lack of military activity, low RP activity, and the impression by many of marginalization.
Then, in mid December, GROSS posted a long RMB speech speaking of his decision to leave the region to reoccupy and effectively refound the INU and IWU with several members who had formerly been very active there. The action caught me off guard, but did not surprise me, as while I was perfectly aware of how high the level of dissatisfaction and conflict had become, I had not seen refounding the former regions a possibility. Ironically, I even saw it as a contradiction by those who left, as I had thought that it specifically mentioned in the terms of the merge that the INU and IWU would remain dormant as a memorial to all former citizens' previous time there. GROSS' main point in his speech was not so much the recent conflict, but that he saw the recent conflict as a symptom of a deeper divide between former SP and INU nations, marginalization to a large extent, and much to be desired for in the current state of the region. In one sense, it was my lack of immediate action at suppressing the issue that allowed the situation to get as bad as it did, but in another, suppressing those underlying feelings would only have resulted in additional tensions and growing dissent among the quiet nations who detested the state of the region at that time.
The holidays were thus somewhat solemn for the INWU, as we had lost roughly a third of our citizens to "The Split," as it now seems to be referred to, and we were all forced to contemplate our role in causing the disaster, and what we could have otherwise done to have prevented it. Aftershocks still had gently rocked the region just before the new year (2015), with the added disputes over having puppets in both regions, and feeling loyalty to one side or the other, and Othelos' befuddlement and anger over discovering The Split. In a sense, we all felt that anger, that silent despair, and the crushing sensation of failure. But those feelings subsided with reflection. While I definitely disagreed (and still do) with GROSS' decision, I ultimately respect him more for doing it, and going through with it, perhaps even more than I had had for Zwotstyg before the merge. I felt that by standing up for his opinion and his fellow nations, and by doing what he thought was right, he was once again proving himself to be a respectable leader. I also held respect for each of the nations that left for similar reasons. I immediately attempted to calm Othelos down, and to redirect his anger towards myself for failing to prevent The Split, while at the same time attempting to re-solidify former relations between our regions. Traditionally, the International Unions and SP had been the closest alliances there could be, and I wanted to at least maintain that status from before.
Several of the nations that left in The Split even thanked me for returning relations to like the time before the merge, especially New Educandi:
The Deutschestaten of New Educandi wrote:
Thank you Fiji. This is why you lead the INWU.
Cheers! Happy end of December holidays!

Interestingly, GROSS and I have equally valid concerns, for the same reasons: that we are both under the restriction of having just a few months left before departure to college, and that we want our citizens to continue to prosper, grow, and become more influential in the world of NS. We just choose to lead our regions differently.
In my review of the events, however, my general attitude changed from taking blame for the events that occurred to a much more confident eye towards the future of the INWU. I noticed that nearly all of the nations that left had been almost completely inactive before The Split. In fact, the most active of any of them seemed to be GROSS, who had been fairly inactive over the entire course of the region until that point. It seemed highly ironic that the people who criticized my administration were for the wide majority of the time, completely inactive, or had done literally nothing to aid the progression of the region or help resolve the disputes they brought up, regardless of their validity. It was also mentioned that we (the INWU) as a region may want to reevaluate our alliances with the nations of the INU and IWU, as several of our members felt betrayed, and felt that regardless of technicalities, the merger terms had been broken. Despite losing nearly a full third of our citizenry, the region, if anything, became more active than before, as if a great burden had been released. Over the coming days, the INWU RMB soared to new levels of activity comparable, and perhaps in excess of the days of the Golden Age of Strategos Prime. Entering the few weeks of my delegacy, the region appeared to have re-emerged from the dark ages to return to a new era of activity and participation. I began work on finally completing the regional MT map project that I originally took on before the merge, and used my spare time to build the map conceptually, and add nation's claims to the hex overlay of the map. Regional RPs recovered from their period of lull, and became active once again, though the speed of RP generation seemed to overtake current levels of interest, requiring the need for recruitment. It struck me that although I had appointed GROSS to the Director of Recruitment, he had never succeeding in bringing a single nation, to the best of my knowledge. I then started to formulate my own recruitment ideas, and with the help of Estradia, old advice from GROSS, and a basic recruitment telegram by Adronda (which I expanded upon), I began the process of majorly recruiting. Success was not immediate, but with reformulations and new recruitment TGs, I created one that had a slightly above-average success rate. By the end of the week, our population had partially recovered, having reversed its downward trend and somewhat stabilized in the opposite direction. Activity was so outstandingly excellent that some even voiced the comment of it becoming a new Golden Age for the INWU. There was some remorse for the nations that left in The Split, as they faced the reality of the depressing inactivity of the 'reactivated' INU and IWU. Some claimed it to be the holidays, but after those passed, and then well into early January, both regions seemed relatively quiet, while the INWU pumped out nearly 200 RMB pages in under a month. I have repeatedly let it be known, to members of both the INU and IWU, that if they ever wish to return, they will be perfectly welcome to, and that we will try our best to hear their voice in how to reform the region. None have done so, though some have retracted their puppets in those regions and placed their loyalties more on INWU soil.
In the last few weeks, we have begun reforms on the region, and with a newly elected group of NFA legislators, more legislation is being created. I specifically went against my principle to ask for a bill designed to allow the delegate to suppress particularly objectionable posts, in reaction to the reincarnation of the posts that sparked The Split, this time from Veyris. I also wanted the region to take on an anti-puppetry stance to increase the effectiveness of recruitment, allow an accurate indicator of regional population, and decrease election fraud. Upon closing my term, I looked back and reflected on everything that's happened, and wondered if I've done all that needed to be done, and whether or not I'd done my duty as delegate to set an excellent precedent for future delegacies.
The Karlore of Estradia wrote:
first off, I don't remember you causing the split. That was their choice, a bad one at that. Secondly, ... You've really brang this region together after the split. Thirdly, what you've done is more than what a delegate is ever needed to do. You took charge and put this region back on it's feet. I think that as big as a precedent as they'll ever be.

The election cycles for the next terms for the positions of WAD, Chancellor, and Minister of RPing quickly approached. I officially announced my bid for re-election for WAD, and was challenged by Topsail Empire. Estradia decided, with my encouragement, to run for Chancellor, and will face a race against Hugohk, a highly experienced and active, yet relatively new recruit to the region. Lastly, Falling Stars will run unopposed for Minister of RP.
I then prepared for my final week of office, and the challenges I will face in my bid for re-election against Topsail Empire. That brings us to now, as I write this article, and await the final moments of my official delegacy: voting begins in just two hours. I wish good luck to Topsail, and I thank the entire region for supporting me and the region through the last four months!
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