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Made in gb
Lit By the Flames of Prospero






I'm taking them in context of the setting which you need to do as well. If you're going to be immensely obtuse and only shout about how fascist the Imperium is then you are never going to have a discussion.
   
Made in fr
Stalwart Tribune





What makes the wolves fascists, though? If it's their loyalty to the Emperor, that applies to every other legion. It's not like Russ was the one Primarch who fanatically believed in the Emperor's vision while the others were just meekly following orders.

Does it say anywhere that the people of Fenris are totally into human superioriy or whatever? And that people from other worlds aren't?

You can't just say "they're fascists because the Imperium is fascist" without applying that same logic to all the others. What about the Iron Hands? With their whole "the flesh is weak" deal they're into some dubious purity stuff, does that make them SS too?
   
Made in fr
Trazyn's Museum Curator





on the forum. Obviously

Is the Imperium even fascist? I always thought it as a Feudal Theocratic Oligarchy. How does the Imperium work economically, what is the relation between the state and corporations, and if the worlds have autonomy doesn't that make them more like vassals than subjects of a fascist empire?

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/07/19 22:00:16


What I have
~4100
~1660

Westwood lives in death!
Peace through power!

A longbeard when it comes to Necrons and WHFB. Grumble Grumble

 
   
Made in gb
Lit By the Flames of Prospero






Feudal Theocratic Oligarchy is just a fancy way of saying fascist with religion.
Once you accept the Imperium and everyone else except the Nids are the bad guys it gets easier.
   
Made in fr
Trazyn's Museum Curator





on the forum. Obviously

 Gert wrote:
Feudal Theocratic Oligarchy is just a fancy way of saying fascist with religion.
Once you accept the Imperium and everyone else except the Nids are the bad guys it gets easier.

Seems awfully simplistic to me, but yeah they are pretty bad.

What I have
~4100
~1660

Westwood lives in death!
Peace through power!

A longbeard when it comes to Necrons and WHFB. Grumble Grumble

 
   
Made in gb
Lit By the Flames of Prospero






Obviously there are good people within the Imperium but they aren't given space to flourish and make things better for people. Even when "good" people like Dragan Vangoritch get power the horrible state of the Imperium slowly drives them mad as they try to fix every single problem.
It depends on the view you take as well. From the top the Imperium is plentiful and full of beauty. From the underhive, life is cheap and fast so do what you want when you want, nobody cares if you live or die.
   
Made in gb
Regular Dakkanaut



Birmingham, UK

 Gert wrote:
Feudal Theocratic Oligarchy is just a fancy way of saying fascist with religion.
Once you accept the Imperium and everyone else except the Nids are the bad guys it gets easier.


This.

As much as we disagree on the specifics, I'm with Gert 100% on this.
   
Made in gb
Sneaky Lictor





London

 harlokin wrote:
The waters were also muddied by the Rangdan Xenocides lore, where the Space Wolves are potrayed as a weapon the Emperor uses to threaten with, while the Dark Angels are used to employed to execute with the minimum of fuss.


Though I'd also say that's an example of before the "model" for the legions was finished, and the Dark Angels were sent primarily because they were the only legion at the time with the sheer manpower to do the job.
   
Made in fr
Trazyn's Museum Curator





on the forum. Obviously

 Gert wrote:
Obviously there are good people within the Imperium but they aren't given space to flourish and make things better for people. Even when "good" people like Dragan Vangoritch get power the horrible state of the Imperium slowly drives them mad as they try to fix every single problem.
It depends on the view you take as well. From the top the Imperium is plentiful and full of beauty. From the underhive, life is cheap and fast so do what you want when you want, nobody cares if you live or die.

Sorry, I wasn't entirely clear. I was referring more to describing the Imperium as fascist as a simplification, much in the same vein how people call Tau communist because they are a collectivist society (which is also a trait of fascism, funnily enough).
Calling them fascist instead of feudal doesn't reflect the medieval motif they have going on as well as that certain level of autonomy they grant planetary governors. When people hear fascist they don't think Medieval Europe in Space, they think Mussolini's Italy, Franco's Spain or Nazi Germany in Space, which gives a much different impression of the Imperium. Hence why I don't consider it to be an accurate classification.

I do agree that there are good people in the Imperium; in the fluff it makes the point of saying that Salamanders and Ultramarines tend to treat the mortal populace well. Furthermore, with the sheer number of worlds in the Imperium and the autonomy granted to them, it is not impossible for there to be at least one world that has a liberal democratic system of governance.
That still doesn't change the fact that the Imperium is led by a group of self-serving oligarchs overseeing a convoluted bureaucratic system with no concern for human life and nonsensical laws that don't really help anyone. Imagine if in Brazil instead of a man being executed due to a clerical error, an entire population gets wiped out. That is a possibility in the Imperium and that's just terrifying. It is also a good satire of politics.

This message was edited 4 times. Last update was at 2021/07/20 13:56:45


What I have
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Westwood lives in death!
Peace through power!

A longbeard when it comes to Necrons and WHFB. Grumble Grumble

 
   
Made in gb
[DCM]
Ambitious Archon





Port Carmine

 The Phazer wrote:
 harlokin wrote:
The waters were also muddied by the Rangdan Xenocides lore, where the Space Wolves are potrayed as a weapon the Emperor uses to threaten with, while the Dark Angels are used to employed to execute with the minimum of fuss.


Though I'd also say that's an example of before the "model" for the legions was finished, and the Dark Angels were sent primarily because they were the only legion at the time with the sheer manpower to do the job.


That may well be the case, but by the Rangdan campaign the Legions were all alread established and deployed; all the way up to the XXth.

Kabal of the Mon-keigh's Paw
Coven of the Screaming Statues
Cult of Veiled Malice

"Death is only a concern if you're both weak enough to be killed and dumb enough not to arrange your own resurrection." PM713
 
   
Made in gb
Lit By the Flames of Prospero






Spoiler:
 CthuluIsSpy wrote:
Sorry, I wasn't entirely clear. I was referring more to describing the Imperium as fascist as a simplification, much in the same vein how people call Tau communist because they are a collectivist society (which is also a trait of fascism, funnily enough).
Calling them fascist instead of feudal doesn't reflect the medieval motif they have going on as well as that certain level of autonomy they grant planetary governors. When people hear fascist they don't think Medieval Europe in Space, they think Mussolini's Italy, Franco's Spain or Nazi Germany in Space, which gives a much different impression of the Imperium. Hence why I don't consider it to be an accurate classification.

Firstly the only people who call T'au Communist are Imperial fanboys. They see the T'au as Communist because the Greater Good, or T'au'va, puts the collective before the individual and is, therefore, Communism, despite the T'au being very authoritarian and maintaining a rigid Caste system that is literally the core of its society. They aren't really Xenophobic but generally, non-T'au are considered inferior unless they explicitly prove otherwise.

Anyway, as for the Imperium. The way I look at the situation is by finding things like the Characteristics of Fascism and applying them to 40k. This will be long so I'll spoiler to save space:
Spoiler:

The 14 Characteristics of Fascism as determined by Lawrence Britt
1) Powerful and continuing Nationalism - This is pretty easy to see within the Imperium.
2) Disdain for Human Rights - This isn't explicit as humans are regarded as the supreme beings of the galaxy. However, in practice, the vast majority of humans live in horrid conditions and are treated like cattle rather than people.
3) Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause - I mean. Pretty obvious this one.
4) Supremacy of the Military - Again, obvious.
5) Rampant Sexism - This one is actually an anomaly since the Imperium isn't institutionally sexist. But considering the state of humanity, sex and gender aren't really a concern.
6) Controlled Mass Media - This one is a big yes.
7) Obsession with National Security - Another one. (see I did the DJ Khaled meme, I'm cool)
8) Religion and Government are Intertwined - The God-Emperor says hi.
9) Corporate Power is Protected - Corporations aren't really the same anymore but groups like the Rogue Traders, Chartist Captains, and entities like Trade Leagues (such as the Kathargo Trade Lords from Badab) hold a huge amount of power and influence.
10) Labor Power is Suppressed - The Imperium is pretty anti-Workers Union unless that Union can also double as soldiers and is formed around "patriotism".
11) Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts - Technological innovation is banned and art has to either be religious or of powerful leaders. No paintings of sunny fields for you peasant!
12) Obsession with Crime and Punishment - Knock, knock, it's the Arbites.
13) Rampant Cronyism and Corruption - By the boatload.
14) Fraudulent Elections - Are there even elections?

The aesthetic choice of Gothic architecture and Pig Latin language doesn't preclude the Imperium from being Fascist. It's just turned up to 1000 to the point of absurdity which was the initial ethos of the Imperium. It has so many dumb laws and stupid leaders but epitomises perfectly the concept of "too big to fail".

Spoiler:
I do agree that there are good people in the Imperium; in the fluff it makes the point of saying that Salamanders and Ultramarines tend to treat the mortal populace well. Furthermore, with the sheer number of worlds in the Imperium and the autonomy granted to them, it is not impossible for there to be at least one world that has a liberal democratic system of governance.
That still doesn't change the fact that the Imperium is led by a group of self-serving oligarchs overseeing a convoluted bureaucratic system with no concern for human life and nonsensical laws that don't really help anyone. Imagine if in Brazil instead of a man being executed due to a clerical error, an entire population gets wiped out. That is a possibility in the Imperium and that's just terrifying. It is also a good satire of politics.

That was the original point of the Imperium, it was a satire of super right-wing power fantasies. It took all of the dumb things about politics, militarism, and religion, cranked the levers, and put came the Imperium.
GW has less of the "wait that's super dumb" bits of background however, which is why you see so many 40k fans crying and screaming whenever you say the "Imperium is bad actually".

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/07/20 16:21:18


 
   
Made in fr
Trazyn's Museum Curator





on the forum. Obviously

Well, that's one definition of fascism. An improper one too, as that was taken from a modified version of Umberto Eco's list and was intended to be a criticism of George W Bush's administration. It's less an academic study of fascism and more of the political version of Malleus Malificarum. I wouldn't use it as a source of identification. Pretty sure his name in the original article was spelt "Laurence" too.

It's actually a very difficult subject to properly define that historians have been debating over since 1915. There is a consensus though that it is an Authoritarian force of government, though that in itself isn't enough to determine if a system is fascist.

I would argue though if that the member worlds are granted Autonomy and are to permitted to run as the governor wished, then the State could not be considered fascist.
According to Mussolini's Doctrine of Fascism, the State is supposed to be "all-embracing" and "totalitarian", which would run contrary to the idea of giving worlds autonomy. We certainly would not see the shear variety of government systems and cultures in the Imperium that we do now.

I would also not limit 40k to a satire of right-wing policies; it's a satire of every horrible bit of human history, including Feudalism, the Inquisition and the Soviet Union.

This message was edited 9 times. Last update was at 2021/07/20 17:54:58


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Peace through power!

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The Imperium genocides peaceful, harmless aliens, as well as humans who display birth defects. They are intentionally derivative of horrible regimes like the third reich. Calling them "nazis, but justified" like Gert is doing is exactly missing the point.
   
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Hecaton wrote:
The Imperium genocides peaceful, harmless aliens, as well as humans who display birth defects. They are intentionally derivative of horrible regimes like the third reich. Calling them "nazis, but justified" like Gert is doing is exactly missing the point.

Not just the Third Reich, but also Sparta, and...most other civilizations come to think of it. It's only quite recently that we decided as a civilization to not to do that, and even then it still happens today. Not to mention the number of species we hunted / culled to extinction, which is more comparable to the Imperium's treatment of non-human lifeforms, imo.
Humans are messed up, which is kind of the point of the setting, really.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/07/20 18:32:12


What I have
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Westwood lives in death!
Peace through power!

A longbeard when it comes to Necrons and WHFB. Grumble Grumble

 
   
Made in gb
Lit By the Flames of Prospero






Spoiler:
 CthuluIsSpy wrote:
Well, that's one definition of fascism. An improper one too, as that was taken from a modified version of Umberto Eco's list and was intended to be a criticism of George W Bush's administration. It's less an academic study of fascism and more of the political version of Malleus Malificarum. I wouldn't use it as a source of identification. Pretty sure his name in the original article was spelt "Laurence" too.

Hardly improper if it encapsulates Fascism well. If you want we can just use the Wikipedia definition :
Spoiler:
Fascism (/ˈfæʃɪzəm/) is a form of far-right, authoritarian ultranationalism characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition, and strong regimentation of society and of the economy, which came to prominence in early 20th-century Europe. Opposed to liberalism, democracy, Marxism, and anarchism, fascism is placed on the far right within the traditional left–right spectrum.

Fascists believe that liberal democracy is obsolete and regard the complete mobilization of society under a totalitarian one-party state as necessary to prepare a nation for armed conflict and to respond effectively to economic difficulties. A fascist state is led by a strong leader such as a dictator and a martial law government composed of the members of the governing fascist party to forge national unity and maintain a stable and orderly society. Fascism rejects assertions that violence is automatically negative in nature and views imperialism, political violence and war as means that can achieve national rejuvenation. Fascists advocate a mixed economy, with the principal goal of achieving autarky (national economic self-sufficiency) through protectionist and economic interventionist policies. The extreme authoritarianism and nationalism of fascism often manifests a belief in racial "purity" or a "master race", usually synthesized with some variant of racism or bigotry of a demonized other; the idea of "purity" has motivated fascist regimes to commit massacres, forced sterilizations, genocides, mass killings or forced deportations against a perceived other.

Again the Imperium falls very neatly into this categorisation. Authoritarian? Check. Ultranationalist? Check. Suppression of opposition? Check. Regimented society? Check. One Party state? Check. Loves violence? Super check. Racial purity? Check.

Spoiler:
It's actually a very difficult subject to properly define that historians have been debating over since 1915. There is a consensus though that it is an Authoritarian force of government, though that in itself isn't enough to determine if a system is fascist.

Too bad the Imperium meets almost every single other requirement for what would be considered a Fascist regime.

Spoiler:
I would argue though if that the member worlds are granted Autonomy and are to permitted to run as the governor wished, then the State could not be considered fascist.

I would argue that the only reason Governors are allowed leeway with operational autonomy is due to the sheer size of the Imperium. If it consists of billions of worlds with trillions of inhabitants, there is a limit to the control the greater state will have on each world. However, every world must pay their tithe and must be loyal to the Imperium.
I would also say that you are vastly overstating how much freedom a Governor has to govern their world. The Administratum, Aribtes, Mechanicus, Ministorum, and potentially the Inquisition are all watching over the shoulder of each and every Governor, with any step out of line with the status quo, met with swift and painful retribution. A world might elect its Governor through a council of ministers but while those ministers might belong to different parties like the "Technocracist Guild" or "Defenders of Faith", they aren't going to oppose the Imperium or try to overthrow the Governor for an anti-Imperial replacement. Such cases are extremely rare.


Spoiler:
According to Mussolini's Doctrine of Fascism, the State is supposed to be "all-embracing" and "totalitarian", which would run contrary to the idea of giving worlds autonomy. We certainly would not see the shear variety of government systems and cultures in the Imperium that we do now.

Again, you're overstating the autonomy of Imperial worlds. An autonomous world could ignore their tithe requirements or even not worship the God-Emperor. The only organisation that could be described as autonomous are the Space Marines who actually can do whatever they want, they just usually don't. It's why the High Lords are so afraid of them, the Astartes and the Custodes are the two organisations within the Imperium that can't be outright commanded by any of the mortal High Lords.

Spoiler:
I would also not limit 40k to a satire of right-wing policies; it's a satire of every horrible bit of human history, including Feudalism, the Inquisition and the Soviet Union.

You are right with regards to wider 40k but the Imperium is a satire of right-wing power fantasies. The Imperium is Fascism ramped up to 1000 on a previously unseen scale
It could be compared to the Cardassian Empire from Star Trek (who were specifically modeled off Nazi Germany BTW), massively Xenophobic, expansionist, militarist but also crippled by internal politics between the military factions, surrounded by races and empires that hate them (rightly so because holy gak the Cardassians are bad) and slowly but surely doomed to death by either invasion or revolution. We could even go further by looking at the justice system and secret police. The Cardassian justice system has one verdict, guilty, and one punishment, death (by various painful means but always death). Court sessions are even streamed live to the public to enforce a culture of fear and obedience to the state. The secret police, the Obsidian Order, was known to be unrepentingly ruthless in its methods and was reportedly so efficient at information gathering that the Order would know what was on the table before a Cardassian even sit down for breakfast. While this last part is more for humour it does serve to highlight just how good the Order was.
In almost every instance you could replace Cardassian with Imperial and the results would be the same.

And before I get someone jumping in misrepresenting my words again, the Imperium is the bad guys who themselves believe they are justified in their actions.
I personally know they are the bad guys and their justifications are bunk however this is the Background Forum where the background is discussed.
Discussions would never go anywhere if all people did was say "the Imperium is bad" then everybody clapped.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/07/20 18:55:03


 
   
Made in nl
Jovial Plaguebearer of Nurgle





The Imperium can't possibly be the bad guys because they are the "good guy" (rather, slightly less evil) human faction in 40k.
   
Made in ca
Legendary Master of the Chapter





Catulle wrote:
I *suspect* you may be accidentally occluding the fascist part of the wolves' identity and giving them too much credit (like Fenrisians strive to be marines, because they've been indoctrinated like real-world fascists, the fash doesn't spring forth from the womb) - and the Wolves-as-enforcers is definitely a theme running through the Imperium Secundus chain, the Blood Angels bit in re Cygnus and the World Eaters backstory down to the face-off.


ferensians don't strive to be Marines. Most don't even know what a space marine IS

Opinions are not facts please don't confuse the two 
   
Made in fr
Trazyn's Museum Curator





on the forum. Obviously

 Gert wrote:


Again the Imperium falls very neatly into this categorisation. Authoritarian? Check. Ultranationalist? Check. Suppression of opposition? Check. Regimented society? Check. One Party state? Check. Loves violence? Super check. Racial purity? Check.


I do believe that the Soviet Union and North Korea also fulfills that criteria. Whilst Racial Purity isn't exactly an outright Soviet doctrine they did commit genocide against the Tartars, Chechnen, Koreans and Ingush. North Korea does have a Racial Purity aspect and has been noted to commit infanticide against children suspected of having non-Korean heritage. So either they are fascist as well or that criteria is still insufficient.


I would argue that the only reason Governors are allowed leeway with operational autonomy is due to the sheer size of the Imperium. If it consists of billions of worlds with trillions of inhabitants, there is a limit to the control the greater state will have on each world. However, every world must pay their tithe and must be loyal to the Imperium.
I would also say that you are vastly overstating how much freedom a Governor has to govern their world. The Administratum, Aribtes, Mechanicus, Ministorum, and potentially the Inquisition are all watching over the shoulder of each and every Governor, with any step out of line with the status quo, met with swift and painful retribution. A world might elect its Governor through a council of ministers but while those ministers might belong to different parties like the "Technocracist Guild" or "Defenders of Faith", they aren't going to oppose the Imperium or try to overthrow the Governor for an anti-Imperial replacement. Such cases are extremely rare.

That doesn't sound unique to the Imperium or fascist states though, that sounds like something that is expected of a Feudal Vassal or a Soviet State. If their loyalty is found wanting they will be replaced. In fact, isn't that true of most governments? Is an American state allowed to secede or outright break federal law?


You are right with regards to wider 40k but the Imperium is a satire of right-wing power fantasies. The Imperium is Fascism ramped up to 1000 on a previously unseen scale

And yet there are Commissars and Valhallans, which are meant to be references to the Soviet Union, right down to the stereotypical wave tactics and Order 227. Furthermore, the game was released in the 80s, during the Cold War. I would find it highly unlikely if the writers didn't try to sneak in some satire of the USSR.

This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 2021/07/20 21:47:08


What I have
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~1660

Westwood lives in death!
Peace through power!

A longbeard when it comes to Necrons and WHFB. Grumble Grumble

 
   
Made in gb
Lit By the Flames of Prospero






Spoiler:
 CthuluIsSpy wrote:

I do believe that the Soviet Union and North Korea also fulfills that criteria. Whilst Racial Purity isn't exactly an outright Soviet doctrine they did commit genocide against the Tartars, Chechnen, Koreans and Ingush. North Korea does have a Racial Purity aspect and has been noted to commit infanticide against children suspected of having non-Korean heritage. So either they are fascist as well or that criteria is still insufficient.

North Korea sure as heck isn't Communist I can tell you that for a fact. And the USSR under Stalin comes very close to what I would call a Fascist system. In reality it doesn't matter because we are discussing the Imperium which very much fits the bill of a Fascist system of rule.

Spoiler:
That doesn't sound unique to the Imperium or fascist states though, that sounds like something that is expected of a Feudal Vassal or a Soviet State. If their loyalty is found wanting they will be replaced. In fact, isn't that true of most governments? Is an American state allowed to secede or outright break federal law?

Again, the USSR treads the line very very closely. I'd also like to point out I never claimed the Imperium was alone in its Fascist tendencies, just that it embodies them more than any other 40k race.
And there is also a distinct difference between a State seceding and an Imperial world/system seceding but considering how hot a topic the American Civil War is I'd rather not go into it.
As for loyalty to governments, if a UK cabinet minister is "disloyal" they are replaced whereas if an Imperial Governor is "disloyal", they get shot, their family gets shot, their friends get shot, their servants get turned into servitors and a new Governor is chosen with the threat of death hanging over their head.

Spoiler:
And yet there are Commissars and Valhallans, which are meant to be references to the Soviet Union, right down to the stereotypical wave tactics and Order 227. Furthermore, the game was released in the 80s, during the Cold War. I would find it highly unlikely if the writers didn't try to sneak in some satire of the USSR.

Political Officers are not unique to the USSR, in fact, the Russian Empire used them before the USSR even existed and MP's perform loads of similar duties. Many of the punishments we see for the Guard were practiced for years after the end of WW2 and many others are inspired by the punishments handed out to soldiers of the British Empire such as floggings. The Royal Military Police (or Provosts) of the British forces during the Peninsular War fill the same role as Commissars do.
The only thing Soviet about the Valhallans is the red stars and Ushankas. Their name isn't even a Russian myth, it's Scandanavian. As for the wave tactics, that wasn't a Red Army tactic, it just seemed like it was due to the colossal amount of manpower the Soviets could field. Enemy at the Gates was not accurate with its depiction of the Battle of Stalingrad.
Order 227 might be known as the "Not one step back!" order but in fact, it was Order 270 that first established this. 227 instead authorised the creation of Penal Battalions for each front and was intended to improve morale in the face of constant defeat. In reality, it proved detrimental to morale and the Penal Battalions were quietly phased out by October 1942.
And BTW, wave tactics and Penal Battalions are something that is applied to all of the Astra Militarum. That's how they win, through superior numbers and weight of fire.
The writers might have put some satire of the USSR in 40k but again it would be of totalitarian systems of government built on oppression. In its infancy, 40k was intended to poke fun at Thatcherism.
There is no single influence on the Imperium so dropping things like "but what about Catachans?" isn't going to prove your point about how it isn't a Fascist system. It is. Call it a Feudal Theocratic Oligarchy but in the end, it's still Fascism.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2021/07/20 23:30:15


 
   
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 Castozor wrote:
The Imperium can't possibly be the bad guys because they are the "good guy" (rather, slightly less evil) human faction in 40k.


If you mean that seriously, I disagree. One, there's no reason the humans have to be the good guys, and two, how can they be the "less evil" faction when they're needlessly cruel?
   
Made in fr
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on the forum. Obviously

North Korea sure as heck isn't Communist I can tell you that for a fact. And the USSR under Stalin comes very close to what I would call a Fascist system.

Still doesn't make North Korea fascist. That is not its classification. Whilst the USSR was at it's worse under Stalin, it still retained many of its authoritarian aspects including discrimination against ethnic groups. It just didn't outright try to kill them like Stalin did.

 Gert wrote:


Political Officers are not unique to the USSR, in fact, the Russian Empire used them before the USSR even existed and MP's perform loads of similar duties. Many of the punishments we see for the Guard were practiced for years after the end of WW2 and many others are inspired by the punishments handed out to soldiers of the British Empire such as floggings. The Royal Military Police (or Provosts) of the British forces during the Peninsular War fill the same role as Commissars do.

Those political officers weren't called Commissars, were they? Commissar is quite clearly a reference to USSR political officers.

The only thing Soviet about the Valhallans is the red stars and Ushankas. Their name isn't even a Russian myth, it's Scandanavian. As for the wave tactics, that wasn't a Red Army tactic, it just seemed like it was due to the colossal amount of manpower the Soviets could field. Enemy at the Gates was not accurate with its depiction of the Battle of Stalingrad.

The Valhallans had Special Character named Chenkov, which is a Russian sounding name. He also had a rule that's supposed to represent attrition wave tactics. To me the inspiration is clear.
True, the Soviet Wave tactics are something of a myth, but that's part of pop-culture and 40k is built on pop-culture.

The writers might have put some satire of the USSR in 40k but again it would be of totalitarian systems of government built on oppression. In its infancy, 40k was intended to poke fun at Thatcherism.

Fair enough. It would have been the era to poke fun at Thatcher, yes.

There is no single influence on the Imperium so dropping things like "but what about Catachans?" isn't going to prove your point about how it isn't a Fascist system. It is. Call it a Feudal Theocratic Oligarchy but in the end, it's still Fascism.


Thanks, I will continue to call it a more accurate descriptor


Automatically Appended Next Post:
Hecaton wrote:
 Castozor wrote:
The Imperium can't possibly be the bad guys because they are the "good guy" (rather, slightly less evil) human faction in 40k.


If you mean that seriously, I disagree. One, there's no reason the humans have to be the good guys, and two, how can they be the "less evil" faction when they're needlessly cruel?


Well, compared to demons and Dark Eldar they are sort of less evil.
That's really not saying much though.

This message was edited 10 times. Last update was at 2021/07/21 11:36:11


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Longtime Dakkanaut




Hecaton wrote:
The Imperium genocides peaceful, harmless aliens, as well as humans who display birth defects. They are intentionally derivative of horrible regimes like the third reich. Calling them "nazis, but justified" like Gert is doing is exactly missing the point.


Jeez, this always comes up with you in these discussions. The point as you mentioned is that the imperium, even though it's utterly terrible, is less terrible than Chaos and the eternity of torment that awaits it's worshipers at the end of the line. It's less terrible than tyranids, who can not be argued with in any circumstance and it's way less terrible than dark eldar. The imperium is terrible and cruel because of it's dogmatism, stupidity and regression in technology. The dark eldar purposefully and willingly chose to be the worst sadists in the galaxy, even though another path (that of craftworld eldar) was shown and offered to them...they represent pure and utter evil.

So, and this is always misunderstood in these discussions, the interesting part about the imperium is that, despite being one of the worst theocratic regimes imaginable, it's still not as terrible as much of the other big threats lurking about within the galaxy....hence the grimdarkness of the setting we all enjoy. Recognizing and appreciating this fact from a storytelling perspective does not mean one is in favor of any form of fascism. It's a complete non sequitur.
   
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It's just a different kind of terrible. It's also related to how GW have turned Chaos into more and more of a flanderized version of themselves and removed any ambiguity from them. Much like how they made the Tau secretly evil due to the Ethereals or made the Hive Mind spiteful rather than just a huge hungry organism.

The Imperium fails because it is fascist. It's clearly part of the original background that the fascist crap the Imperium does is holding it back from actually succeeding, and that keeping the populace in miserable conditions and engaging in mass murder of dissidents and mutants is sabotaging their society. This is because that is also what happens IRL fascist societies.

The fact that later authors who were...more limited in their perspective came along and invented reasons why we absolutely have to do those things or we will lose so it's absolutely justified REALLY has unfortunately turned the setting from a satire and critique of fascism into something of an apologia for fascism. This makes me pretty sad and uncomfortable.

When I got into the game age 12 with very little political awareness, I was able to understand that the Imperium were the bad guys. The only way we could conceive of a good guy in the setting was someone who was rebelling against the Imperium to protect their people from it. The fact that this was the case made the setting much more interesting to me, and it was familiar to me from growing up reading stuff like Judge Dredd.

   
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Trazyn's Museum Curator





on the forum. Obviously

I didn't see it as attempting to justify the Imperium, I saw it more of a clumsy attempt to make it more hopeless and tragic.
I suspect that the writers assumed that most people would understand the horror of the setting, that the Imperium has to function that way because it burnt so many bridges, made so many mistakes that it is literally the best the Imperium could do.
That should have been a horrifying prospect of the future, but something got lost along the way and people thought that it was instead a justification for the Imperium's rule and that they are in fact the heroes.

It's funny that you mention Judge Dredd, because there was a similar case where readers thought Mega City One's draconian measures were justified, hence why the America Arc was written.

This message was edited 5 times. Last update was at 2021/07/21 13:14:13


What I have
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~1660

Westwood lives in death!
Peace through power!

A longbeard when it comes to Necrons and WHFB. Grumble Grumble

 
   
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Longtime Dakkanaut




 Da Boss wrote:
It's just a different kind of terrible. It's also related to how GW have turned Chaos into more and more of a flanderized version of themselves and removed any ambiguity from them. Much like how they made the Tau secretly evil due to the Ethereals or made the Hive Mind spiteful rather than just a huge hungry organism.

The Imperium fails because it is fascist. It's clearly part of the original background that the fascist crap the Imperium does is holding it back from actually succeeding, and that keeping the populace in miserable conditions and engaging in mass murder of dissidents and mutants is sabotaging their society. This is because that is also what happens IRL fascist societies.

The fact that later authors who were...more limited in their perspective came along and invented reasons why we absolutely have to do those things or we will lose so it's absolutely justified REALLY has unfortunately turned the setting from a satire and critique of fascism into something of an apologia for fascism. This makes me pretty sad and uncomfortable.

When I got into the game age 12 with very little political awareness, I was able to understand that the Imperium were the bad guys. The only way we could conceive of a good guy in the setting was someone who was rebelling against the Imperium to protect their people from it. The fact that this was the case made the setting much more interesting to me, and it was familiar to me from growing up reading stuff like Judge Dredd.


Oh boy I'm getting flashbacks to the last time this was brought up in general discussion....

I agree with you generally except for the fact that the imperium is still portrayed as unambiguously evil imo. Everyone with a half working brain can recognize that.
Guilliman for example is presented as a hopeful figure for the imperium....and he is, because even though he is a genocidal warlord even by crusade era standards, he almost appears like saint compared to the imperium in 40k. Which really doesn't paint the imperium in a good light.

So I think the imperium has always been portrayed as stupidly evil, but there are even more evil factions in 40k. Which is the whol shtick of the setting....nobody is a good guy here, there is just different shades of terrible.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/07/21 13:14:18


 
   
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I can't speak to the intent, but the fact that the Imperium fails from small mindedness and cruelty is to me much more tragic than artificially amping up every single avenue of threat so that fascist approaches are conveniently the only ones that would work. That's just too close to IRL fascist propaganda. I agree, it was probably an effort to make the setting more grimdark, but I think it's also coloured by the feeling among the writers that the Imperium are the good guys, just sort of grim good guys who do bad stuff because they have to with a steely gaze and a heavy heart. But that's...gross as feth to me. Especially when you've got control over the fiction, so you don't actually have to make it be like that. It starts to read as a fantasy for people who think fascism is cool. The character advocating fascist approaches is never proven wrong in the fiction, they are always actually right and others were just not STRONG enough to do it. Gross.

And like, if you play Imperials as most of the fanbase do, you probably want to identify with your faction and root for them. If I read a Gaunt's Ghosts novel, I want to root for the Ghosts even though they are the instrument of a horrific regime and Gaunt is a scumbag really.

I agree about people misunderstanding Judge Dredd. It's definitely been a problem for a long time with the character. I misunderstood him when I started reading those comics (I mean I was 8, so please forgive me). It took some particular stories highlighting how awful the Judges were to really get the point across to me as a kid, and probably primed me to see the Imperium the way I do.

Edit: Tiberias: I see lots of people online in discussions saying the Imperium is the good guy, I'd say it's the majority opinion I see expressed. At the very least, that the ends of the Imperium justify the means. So I'm not sure you're right about what you are saying.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/07/21 13:20:06


   
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Longtime Dakkanaut




 Da Boss wrote:
I can't speak to the intent, but the fact that the Imperium fails from small mindedness and cruelty is to me much more tragic than artificially amping up every single avenue of threat so that fascist approaches are conveniently the only ones that would work. That's just too close to IRL fascist propaganda. I agree, it was probably an effort to make the setting more grimdark, but I think it's also coloured by the feeling among the writers that the Imperium are the good guys, just sort of grim good guys who do bad stuff because they have to with a steely gaze and a heavy heart. But that's...gross as feth to me. Especially when you've got control over the fiction, so you don't actually have to make it be like that. It starts to read as a fantasy for people who think fascism is cool. The character advocating fascist approaches is never proven wrong in the fiction, they are always actually right and others were just not STRONG enough to do it. Gross.

And like, if you play Imperials as most of the fanbase do, you probably want to identify with your faction and root for them. If I read a Gaunt's Ghosts novel, I want to root for the Ghosts even though they are the instrument of a horrific regime and Gaunt is a scumbag really.

I agree about people misunderstanding Judge Dredd. It's definitely been a problem for a long time with the character. I misunderstood him when I started reading those comics (I mean I was 8, so please forgive me). It took some particular stories highlighting how awful the Judges were to really get the point across to me as a kid, and probably primed me to see the Imperium the way I do.

Edit: Tiberias: I see lots of people online in discussions saying the Imperium is the good guy, I'd say it's the majority opinion I see expressed. At the very least, that the ends of the Imperium justify the means. So I'm not sure you're right about what you are saying.


Again, I honestly agree with most of what you are saying. However even though I also agree that the imperium is grotesque, I don't have problem with how the writers are going about writing it. It's fiction after all and I see no problem with writing a faction as grotesque and morally reprehensible. I'm very much for artistic freedom and expression on that front.

Now, imo you can still identify with your faction if you play imperium, because playing the bad guys can be fun (then again, as I already mentioned, every faction in 40k is the bad guys to a varying degree). Also, and this is the important part, not every individual or group within the imperium has to be automatically as evil as the entire imperium at large. There can be heroic characters within these stories despite the awfulness of the setting.

And to your last point about a lot of people arguing for the imperium to be the good guys: if those people mean this by real life standards, as in drawing real life lessons from 40k, then these people need to pick up some history books.

Imo the only interesting real life question you can pull from 40k is this: if we were faced with an existential threat like in 40k, that can't be argued or negotiated with, would we also search for a strong leader and fall back to a fascistic, theocratic society and abandon our humanity?


Edit: I also have to say that your comparison to real life fascist propaganda and 40k is wrong just one small detail, but this detail is crucially important:
Real life fascist propaganda, by definition, paints a group of people (political enemies, minorities, whole foreign countries etc.) as a threat to the fascistic society for political gain to further cement the parties or leaders power. These "threats" are always either grossly exaggerated or straight up lies, as our history has shown in many terrible examples of whole ethnicities being dehumanized this way.
In 40k the imperium does the same thing, BUT crucially many of the threats are actually existential threats to humanity that can't be argued or negotiated with.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2021/07/21 13:52:54


 
   
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So, I broadly agree. I have no problem with the Imperium being depicted as fascist. I even can accept them depicting it as "justified", it just means I have no interest in the setting any more.

When I was a kid I gleefully played my Blood Angels as the bad guys against my brothers Imperial Guard rebels. So I totally accept your other point too.

But my point about fascist propaganda is that the fictional universe of 40K has been distorted over time to make the fascism justified as you describe. It was not originally clear that it was justified, there was more ambiguity. That ambiguity has gradually been removed until we are where we are today.
THAT'S what I think is similar to fascist propaganda, because that is where the narrative has literally been constructed. The Imperium's fascist propaganda in setting is perfectly fine by me, it's quite amusing ("blessed is the mind too small for doubt" "an open mind is like a fortress with it's gates left open and unguarded", great stuff for a regressive fascist regime).

What's sad is that they've changed to setting to make it so the Imperium is in the right. That they do have no alternative. That's uncomfortable to me, I don't like it. I'd prefer it if it was not like that. And changing it so that fascism is the only answer is on the part of the authors close to fascist propaganda.

Please understand, I do not believe that their motives are sinister. I think it's an unintended consequence of many decisions by many people over a long time. I don't think there is a secret fascist plot in GW. But my interest in the modern setting is much lower because this is the "truth" of the setting. I often feel like I should stop discussing the setting in this forum because I find it so unsatisfying. Because I disagree with the direction of the setting, but I can't argue about it because people who read more of the modern stuff than me can quote chapter and verse that that is how it is.

   
Made in fr
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on the forum. Obviously

It would be nice if there were other human factions to show that there are alternatives. They should have their own set of flaws, of course, but it could be an interesting thematic tool.

What I have
~4100
~1660

Westwood lives in death!
Peace through power!

A longbeard when it comes to Necrons and WHFB. Grumble Grumble

 
   
Made in de
Terrifying Doombull






Nuremberg

Yeah, when I started working on my "own version" of the universe for Stargrave and Stars Without Number the first thing I did was make the Imperium the biggest human faction but not the only one. I had the Eastern Fringe contain a bunch of human societies and small empires that were not Imperial in nature. In an RPG, my expectation would be that my players would come from this area, and the Imperium would be just another antagonist faction.

I think there's actually plenty of space for that within 40K. That was the background for my brother's army back in the 90s - a group of Imperial Guard that had killed their commissars and commanding officers to prevent a genocide and gone on the run with the humans from the world they were supposed to conquer. You could have all of the stories of 40K still happen while still having independent human systems and empires.

   
 
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