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Seraph IX Basarab: Identity within the CFC

January 5, 2014

By Seraph IX Basarab

A recent Eve News24 article published a discussion from the CFC media outlet in which a Goonswarm siege FC by the name of Lyris Nairn had shown concern over Razor’s “attempt to distance themselves” from the CFC. By this he meant the language used in Razor’s recent update that espoused the merits of Razor acting as an independent force and using language in the manner of “Razor and CFC forces will do X, Y and Z.” I found this particularly interesting on several levels beyond even the typical Eve meta because it touches upon aspects of human nature such as nationalism. Now I am a major proponent of nationalism, that is to say I believe it is human nature to cling to our national origins and we are better for it. I refuse to equate the term nationalism as it is more commonly used in the modern sense, as something inherently racist, ignorant and derogatory toward minorities. True nationalism respects other national groups and their unique identity because without that, you cannot discern yourself and your unique qualities. It’s a simple premise, you can only respect yourself if you respect others.

The Hierarchy of the CFC, Not all are equal

Alright, not to go down further into that rabbit hole, we’ll consider how this applies to Eve online, specifically in the social structure of the CFC. Now as some of you may know, the CFC is composed of several alliances such as the aforementioned Razor, Gentlemen’s Agreement, Fidelas Constans, Fatal Ascension etc, and they are lead by Goonswarm. There is a definite hierarchy to the CFC, some aspects quite overt, such as the Goons being the head of the coalition, and some of them less obvious which can be inferred by the territory held and the roles fulfilled. Over the last couple of years I always enjoyed seeing who got what within the CFC after a new conquest or when a coalition member would get purged. GENTS were given Tribute after the war against Dotbros there and indeed their performance in the war was nothing to scoff at as far as skirmishing and harassment. FA in turn likewise acquired territory in Fountain after TEST’s eviction. I cannot say I am sure if this was due to their performance or simply to spite TEST honestly. Then on the other end of the spectrum we can look at Executive Outcomes whose holdings in Cloud Ring may be inferred that they are indeed considered “junior members” to put it kindly. Going solely off of sec status alone, it seems that they have yet to prove themselves as a major asset as of yet. Their membership into the CFC having been solidified when the then leader of TEST, Montolio, took issue with their straddling the line between his HBC and the CFC. If this war settles in the CFC’s favor, it may be interesting to see if and where they will be given territory.

Frati ca frati dar branza e pe bani

A Romanian saying whose meaning would be “We may be brothers but the cheese costs money” this being in reference to the distribution of resources in the CFC. In the past some CFC members had raised concern about the number of moons owned by the CFC as opposed to other coalition members. While the Mittani has staved off such criticisms saying that “per player, the Goons have the least amount of moons” I am not sure that is much of a relevant defense considering that the various number of alts, inactive members and the fact that it isn’t as if individual members get a monthly paycheck. Indeed, Deklein has some of the best security stats for ratting of just about any region in New Eden. Truthfully I cannot think of too many regions I’d rule my Empire from.

An Empire held together by an Iron Fist

There is a very definite and distinct manner by which the CFC operates which I find fascinating. To an extent they make me think of the Austro-Hungarian Empire with its ruling class, serving ethnic groups such as the Magyars, Croats and Saxons. At the top you have the GSF, the central core of the CFC, the noble class if you will, with the Mittani as dictator. The main narrative is propagated through him, his vision and goals are taken up and implemented by his directors and FCs. Undeniably there is a cult of personality surrounding the individual which he and his followers hold up. This provides a focal point for the line members and is a very effective motivational tool.

Beyond this you have the core CFC members such as GENTS, RZR and FA. They have proven themselves valuable and reap the rewards. In essence they are a sort of middle class status, not in the actual functional manner but rather in the form of rank. There seems to be a bit of rumbling among this group to define themselves beyond just “being CFC members” and it is this rumbling which seems to be of concern to some members in the GSF. I had said before that the Goons like to keep their coalition members strong enough to be useful, but weak enough to be reliant on the GSF. Some CFC members may accuse me at attempting to sow discord among their coalition by saying that. Aside from such an action being completely useless to me, I actually find this policy as one of the few ways the GSF can maintain the CFC’s integrity. Within is coalition member’s territory, the GSF holds a station which I can only guess houses caches of assets that would provide some sort of “grip” to the GSF domain should their allies “falter.”

Eve has shown itself as a game where dictatorial hierarchy is much more practical than any sort of shared power dynamic. Until we see a major power bloc that shows us the contrary, there’s little point of entertaining such notions beyond the tip of a pen. If anything, I would recommend to N3 that they take a bit of a page from the GSF playbook and mold their coalition in a more centralized manner as well. However some within the CFC may disagree. Some may even wish to define their alliances more intently based on such sentiments giving a bit of weight to the concern Lyris has shown. Although he has stated that he “didn’t mean it that way” it’s hard to ignore his words.

“Burn the heretic. Kill the mutant. Purge the unclean.” ~ Lyris Nairn

One cannot help but feel that the GSF has evolved from its roots by quite a bit. From their days of throwing swarms of Rifters at the “evil” BoB Empire, hanging out with Red Alliance and being a goofy every-man’s alliance, they have become quite arguably, THE most powerful entity within Eve. Mord Fiddler had an interesting and somewhat poetic article discussing the term “barbarian” and how it applies to the CFC’s perspective on outsiders. Although the article was blatantly anti CFC, I did enjoy the read and it did bring some things to mind to consider. Where once they swarmed around the tall walls that BoB had put up, mocking them for their decadence of rental programs, and elitism, the GSF now find themselves within their own walls, with their own decadent rental program and it seems also engaging in their own level of elitism within the CFC. Those, it seems, that aspire to have an identity outside of the specific GSF mindset are deemed “heretics, mutants and unclean.”

Pay your rent, Pub Lords

Some may remember the private forums of BoB and the rather cruel things they said at the expense of their coalition members. I am left scratching my head as to why the GSF chose to use an abbreviated form of “Pub Lord” as their rental alliance ticker considering the connotation it holds. For those who do not know, a pub lord is a term Goon members use for the lowest of the low in their eyes. I’m equally baffled as to how many members that join the rental program know this. Don’t get me wrong, I have looked at the CFC rental program and while some aspects may be considered better and others worse, I would consider it in no way inferior to the N3 rental program. It isn’t as if the status of “renter” is highly valued in N3 either. I do not bring up these issues out of any antipathy and while I am not stranger to malice when I am pushed to it, it is out of a curious concern and interest that I entertain these things.

Sacrificial Lamb

The Mittani may have to make a very important decision here. I find it hard to believe Lyris is the only one to hold such sentiments within the GSF and he would be a far better judge than I due to his perspective. Depending on the size and power of the “Goon purist” faction, he may choose to make an example out of Lyris and show that that sort of elitist mindset is not part of the CFC. This of course would be popular with entities such as RZR and GENTS, but on the other side it may anger the “Goon purist” faction within the GSF. Issues such as these are nothing new. Indeed we can even look at Monarchist France and the issues between the nobility and the commoner class which left the French monarch always on edge. Punish Lyris and anger the purists. Ignore it and anger the coalition members. Perhaps I am short sighted and relying on a false dichotomy to reach this conclusion, who knows.

A Fine Balance

There are numerous factors and counter factors to consider for those involved in the matter. If members such as RZR and GENTS find too much autonomy within themselves, there may be calls for a more “equal status” between them and the GSF and then too many cooks spoil the broth. Clamp down too hard in the manner of the “Goon purists” and these members may look for alternatives. Interestingly enough, it is the danger that N3 poses which maintains CFC unity as much as it does and the same can be said about N3. Another method may be to pull back GSF forces in the northern front a bit by perhaps deploying them to harass N3 renter space and allow RZR and GENTS to “be more independent.” Perhaps after feeling the weight of EMP and other N3 entities, they will think of the GSF’s reinforcements as a sign that they need to depend on them more. On the other hand it may breed resentment and further worsen the problem, it really depends on how Mittani spins the narrative and even then who knows. Although unlikely, if GENTS and RZR actually manage to fend off N3’s advance in the north they may be even more emboldened. In short, it’s a crap shoot and we can only speculate on the factors. Perhaps the most important factor is recognition. Nations and Empires have fallen because the hegemon has failed to give credit where credit is due, or at least perceived.

My thoughts on the matter

I personally think it is great that RZR and GENTS are seeking to define themselves. Eve is much more interesting with unique identities and perspectives on things. Your status and relationships are not set in stone and you must find your own worth as an alliance in Eve. Simply put if you do not define yourself beyond your coalition, people will find little reason to be part of you. Failing to do this will mean that your better members, be they FCs or simple line members, will simply migrate to something superior if not distinct. If I recall correctly, RZR had the issue of a couple of corps moving to GSF and I believe this was due to a lack of having a strong enough identity at the time. I wouldn’t go as far as to challenge the leadership of the GSF, at least not when you have N3 at your gates. Yet at the same time the dangers of war may afford senior alliances some bargaining power within the CFC. Remember, the purpose of the current war is to set up for the next war. One must always keep in mind that one day your coalition will fall, and you need to have your alliance in an advantageous position, and one day your alliance may fall, and your corporation must have all the advantages possible. And one day your corporation may fall, and you as an individual must be maintained. One must always plan for the future and self identity is one of many factors when navigating your path.

– Seraph IX Basarab