In a state that exists in a sufficient condition of chaos to justify a vanguard party, is it not truer to humanist ideals to immediately force stability, peace, and government for the people than to attempt to game an already-collapsing political structure? Is the consent of the governed more important than the lives of the governed? - Roland Stein, New Humanism and the Vanguard Party
The New Humanist Progressive Party (NHPP) is the single-most powerful political party in the Humanist Union today. Though not offically an organ of the state, its influence is tremendous: Coordinator Stein and most of his cabinet are new humanists, as is 70% of the membership of the Federal Legislature. Party members pervade the Union's military, intelligence apparatus, and various levels of government, and can similiarly be found in positions of power in the civilian infrastructure of the Union in the police, manufacturing industry, and among leading university faculty. Though technically without any sanctioned power, the General Secretary of the party is among the most powerful men or women in the Union and often serves as a senator in, if not the leader of, of the Federal Legislature. Membership is voluntary and prospective members must be accepted by the party's Committee for General Party Membership before they may join. While the internal affairs of the party are democratic, factionalism is heavily discouraged under the principles of democratic centralism. The party prefers a semi-democratic approach to managing the state.
New humanism can be traced to ICR naval captain Vladimir Vasilyev Kuznetsov, who officially founded the party in 3208 and had been writing on what he called 'new humanism' as early as 3202. Kuznetsov, a career military officer, was severely disaffected by the rampant corruption in the military and the abuse of the soldiery. The inefficacy and corruption of the Socialist Party, of which Kuznetsov was a member, led him to establish his own socialist political party and laid the groundwork for some of new humanism's core ideological tenets. Kuznetsov and his followers felt that the Interstellar Cooperative Republic had descended into an unsalvagable, plutocratic bureaucracy and that typical political parties could not be expected to affect change to this system without themselves falling prey to the same disease. Kuznetsov, whose family had fought centuries ago in the Terran Russian Revolution, co-opted the idea of an exclusive "vanguard party" consisting of "professional revolutionaries," men Kuznetsov thought could be recruited from the military. A highly disciplined and rigid man, Kuznetsov's socialist values were affected by his meritocratic leanings - he was something of a military chauvanist and looked down on the membership of the Socialist Party as being shiftless and stupid, unwilling to work and thus undeserving of socialism. Kuznetsov frequently paraphrased Lenin when explaining the meritocratic tendancies of new humanism, stating that "he who does not work, neither shall he eat."
Kuznetsov's chauvanism would lessen somewhat over the years as he became more personally acquainted with the lives of civilian socialists who had joined his infant party, and new humanist ideology would take a more populist tone that roughly coincided with the exchange of the traditional red star of socialism for the fist-and-hammer used by the party today. Further, Kuznetsov began working on how to prevent the corruption of the party, advocating a system of checks on a new humanist government that involved - among other plans - the transformation of the state leadership (and eventually, the citizenry) into post-humanity who would theoretically be free of some of humanity's base vices and cognitive weaknesses. As the party grew in mass it gained attention, first from the navy, which was troubled by a potentially treasonous faction within its ranks, then by the civilian intelligence apparatus and secret police, who saw the ideology beginning to spread outside of the military and made various attempts to combat it. Kuznetsov's 3215 death is widely believed to have been a political assassination aimed at liquidating the party without necessitating a military purge. The NHPP was, in fact, thrown into disarray by its founder's death and reduced to a nascent, slowly growing political movement. Only as the political and economic decline of the ICR gained speed and new leaders emerged within the party would it regain its previous rapid growth. By 3295, the year in which the Republic elected its last president, the party has reached a critical mass of organization and discontent.
Following the beginning of the Harrison regime, the NHPP moved openly for the first time in decades at formenting revolution, staging protests, riots, and assassinations of political and corporate figures. The NHPP's adherents were pervasive throughout the military, making government crackdowns increasingly ineffecitve and converting more of the military over to revolutionary causes as the state in turn tried to purge the military. In 3300, an inexperienced officer's order to fire on unarmed, starving civilians marching on a wealthy housing district led to open revolt in the republican capitol world of Elysion's planetary defense forces, culminating in the federal government fleeing for the safety of orbit. New humanists played a prominent role in this revolt as well as the first two official engagements of the civil war, the mutiny of the Lightbringer and the Battle of New Britain. Its participation in these key events secured its position as one of the most important revolutionary parties during the Civil War, culminating in successful overthrow of the republic. The first coordinator of the soon-to-be Humanist Union, Commodore Roland Stein, secured the future of the party as the sole dominant power in Union politics through a combination of war fatigue in comrade-parties, extensive purges, and a distinct ability to appeal to the masses.
While technically the NHPP has discouraged factionalism throughout its history and attempted to cultivate a membership of highly-dedicated like-minded individuals, the party has almost always had a handful of schools of thought, usually centered around living or deceased figures of prominence in the party. Their balance of power today tends to fluctuate based on who has the most representatives in the Federal Legislature and the most powerful positions in the Navy, the Coordinator's cabinet, the Department of Internal Intelligence, and the Department of the State. The three major factions of the modern party are the militant, ideologically-conservative Expansionists; the forward-looking, populist Civil Socialists; and the dominant, pragmatically moderate Steinists.
By far the most powerful faction in the NHPP, the Steinists are what most people think of when they imagine the average new humanist, taking their name from Coordinator Stein and basing their beliefs largely around his vision of new humanism. A moderate faction, the Steinists are broadly given to practicality over ideology, though they tend to advocate their occasional deviations new humanist theory under the pretense of intellectual work by Coordinator Stein or party founder Vladimir Kuznetsov. Steinists advocate a largely socialist economy, with only small institutions being allowed to operate under a heavily-regulated capitalist system. They are atheist and anti-theist and largely pro-military, though generally wary of expansionism. Steinists favor caution over revolutionary dynamism and have been increasingly in favor of improved international relations. They do, however, advocate supporting socialist revolutions abroad, generally through the sale of arms. Steinists favor semi-democratic rule with an eye towards eventual dissolution of the nondemocratic organs of government. The Steinists regularly align themselves with one faction or the other against the third on matters the Steinist faction considers important, playing their more extreme comrades off one another to achieve the desired political balance. The inability of Expansionists and Civil Socialists to see eye to eye on the minutiae of new humanist ideology and its application has ensured that the Steinists have been able to easily maintain their position of dominance within the party. Steinists constitute roughly 50 to 60% of party membership.
The Expansionists represent the NHPP's most militant internationalists and trend towards rigid interpretations of Kuznetsov's writings, as well as more conservative interpretations of socialist idoelogy in general. Expansionists favor a socialist command economy with little or no capitalist elements at all, arguing that advances in synthetic intelligences make the historical inefficiencies of the command economy a non-issue. They further argue that even small-scale capitalism leads eventually to corruption of the state's political apparatus and is a weakness that foreign counter-revolutionary elements can exploit. Expansionists generally advocate warm relations only with socialist states and are extremely suspicious of capitalist or fascist nations; they do not, however, deny the necessity of normalized relations with foreign states, even those they believe represent fundamental ideological opponents to the Union, and tend to be fairly tolerant towards mixed economies. Expansionists favor the central state taking a less democratic stance than that employed by Roland Stein, regarding the state as still too vulnerable. They are well-known for their desire to support foreign revolutions with materiels, economic aid, and military advisors, even where it might not be profitable, and for their interest in actually formenting revolutions to begin with. Steinists find a natural ally in the Expansionist faction on matters of military spending - both groups favor continued growth of the military, especially the Federal Navy, long the bastion of the NHPP and its more conservative elements.
The youngest significant faction within the New Humanist Progressive Party, Civil Socialists center around the current Director of the Department of the State, William Bryce. Civil Socialists are by far the most liberal faction of the NHPP, favoring less restrictive economic policies than the Steinists, though by most galactic standards, they are still hardliner socialists. Civil Socialists are known for their frequent calls for dramatically slowed military expansionism and reorganization of the military to be more cost-effective, an unusual stance among new humanists, who have their roots in the military. Civil Socialists would instead like to see more effort in improving the Union's standard of living and economy, reasoning that military expansion should be a secondary priority in times of peace. Civil Socialists caution against wanton support of foreign revolutions whose ideological dedication cannot be verified and the support of whom may bring military hostility against the Union. Similarly, the Civil Socialists have less expansionist tendancies than the Expansionist or even Steinist factions, advocating instead export of new humanist ideology in a peaceful manner where possible and by violence only when no alternative is available and no diplomatic overtures can be expected to succeed. Believers in the evolution of new humanist ideology, Civil Socialists tend to ally with the Steinists on matters of practicality-over-ideology against the rigid Expansionist ideologues. Civil Socialists are only slightly more democratic in their leanings than Steinists, and would like to see restrictions of the powers of post-Stein coordinators better-defined.
The NHPP is a socialist party; enterprises and resources are collectively owned by the people through the state. Limited markets are, in fact, tolerated by the NHPP and the Humanist Union, though these are limited in size and thoroughly-regulated in the interest of the citizenry at large. The NHPP advocates the use of artificial intelligences (both "dumb" and "smart") to maintain its massive command economy free of corruption and inefficiency; this system works fairly well, with small markets providing agility at small levels. The NHPP advocates employment, housing, medical care, and education as fundamental rights under any proper socialist system. The NHPP does support international trade, provided that the exchanges service the citizenry rather than a plutocrat-class.
New humanist ideology promotes a relatively free culture. The NHPP generally advocates for freedom of expression in everything from the realms of politics to entertainment media. The party promotes sex, race, and sexual orientation-based egalitarianism. The party is officially atheistic and anti-theist, considering religion to be barbaric and harmful influence on society; Byzantine Catholicism is particularly reviled. Despite the antipathy the party has for religion, it does not advocate for the outlawing of religion altogether due to its stances on freedom of expression. Nonetheless, open theists are rarely accepted into the party and almost never acquire any significance within its heirarchy. The NHPP promotes austere and practical living as a virtue; leading figures are generally expected to adhere to a humble standard of living still comfortably within the first galactic standard. Despite its support for freedom of expression, the party is somewhat unaccustomed to and suspicious of more decadent and outrageous first galactic living styles and media.
The NHPP is an atheistic and anti-theist party, rarely permitting religious members and almost never allowing leadership positions to be occupied by believers. The party holds, in accordance to the writings of Kuznetsov and Stein, that religion is outmoded and socially damaging, as well as frequently being the tool of class traitors and foreigners in subduing the proletariat for the sake of profit and security. The party instead encourages secular community groups to fill the niche churches have as a nexus of community - an early example were Elysion's Labor Brigades, which organized members of a neigborhood together typically to help with cleanup efforts, but also to build a sense of greater comraderie. A similar system was used on the planet New Haven when it was annexed, with the disaffected unemployed being gathered into "Special Workers' Squadrons" as the planet's untrustworthy but massive army was demobilized. While the party is aggressively critical of religion, it does recognize the right of sapient beings to think freely, provided no effort is made to force religious dogma on other citizens or civil society.
The NHPP is originally a military party; its earliest members were disaffected mid-ranked officers and enlisted personnel - mostly from the ICR's Republican Navy. As a result, the NHPP of today still plays heavily to the concerns of the military, advocating for things such as rewards for voluntary service, high-quality treatment of injured veterans or career soldiers, and generally high spending. New humanist ideology and the party hold that the military should represent the collective will of the people, and thus must be beholden to civil society, not to itself. To the NHPP, the military is a tool of liberation and protection, but one to be used carefully and judiciously.
Historically, the NHPP was an isolationist party advocating formal, distant relations abroad with non-revolutionary governments. Today, this has changed - even the Expansionists, known for their trend towards Kuznetsov-originated political orthodoxy, admit that normalized foreign relations are a necessity to a healthy state. The NHPP of today is hopeful about its diplomatic potential abroad, intending to spread its ideology through peaceful channels as well as violent ones. The NHPP generally supports socialist revolutions abroad and advocates close ties to human socialist states in hopes of influencing them with what they believe to be a proven, successful model. The degree of this support varies, from mostly advisory on the end of the Civil Socialists to openly militant, in the case of the Expansionists. While the NHPP does acknowledge the need to establish relations with even ideological enemies, there has been considerable criticism at the improved ties between the Central State and the Humanist Union; the former is regarded by most new humanists as being a repressive fascist bureaucracy of the sort Kuznetsov specifically denounced and which the buried Interstellar Cooperative Republic was not far away from becoming.
- Vladimir Vasilyev Kuznetsov (deceased) - founder; first General Secretary
- Roland Stein - fmr. Secretary of Labor Relations; de facto leader
- Harlan Beecher - General Secretary (3401)