The Robot Mouse King and the Revolution on Mouseplanet.
Tommy Douglas introduced single-payer, universal healthcare to Canada, a very popular campaigner, Douglas liked to tell political fables. One of these was about Mouseland.
In Mouseland, the mice are governed by cats, the mice voted for either the black cats or the white cats, but as they always vote for cats, they always got a society that serves the interests of cats, namely, eating mice. When the mice try to vote for mice, they where denounced as bolsheviks and imprisoned.
Let’s start off where Tommy Douglas left us, our heroic mice are imprisoned by the cats in Mouseland. Now, lets say these revolutionary mice managed to escape imprisonment. More! Let’s say these where supergenius mice, who had advanced knowledge of astronomy and space travel. Not only did they escape the cats, but they where able to locate a far away planet where there where no cats, a mouse paradise: Mouseplanet! In secret, they built a space ship and traveling 17 Billion Times The Speed of Cats, arrived safely on Mouseplanet.
Landing in an unpopulated area of Mouseplanet, our heros industriously began to set up their new society in their new home. They worked together in general assemblies and began setting up the kind of society they could only dream up back in despotic Cat-rules Mouseland. All economic and social institutions where made transparent and participatory. The free development of each mouse was a condition for the free development of all mice! They called their new society New Mouseland, and fully expected to live happy ever after.
Unfortunately, they where not alone in Mouseland, there where other mice. Unlike our heros, the indigenous mice of Mouseplanet where somewhat less politically advanced. Mouseplanet was a stratified society where there where Mouse Kings and Mouse Slaves, and for generations Mouseplanet was wracked by war. Mouse King would battle against Mouse King for slaves, and many lives where lost and much wealth was squandered.
Until one day, the Kings grew weary of war, there where enough Slaves to keep all the Kings well provided for, so the Kings made a pact, it was called the Iron Law of Mouseplanet: No King would wage war against another King, any slaves not serving a King could be taken by force by any King who came across them. Thus there was peace on Mouseplanet. But the peace was not a happy peace, for the Mouse Kings took possession of everything the Slaves produced, and the Slaves where forced to toil for only their subsistence.
The Kings of Mouseplanet eventually took notice of our heros in New Mouseland, and they sent over a messenger to inquire about this place, that no King had ever come across before.
When the messenger arrived, the mice where curious and eager to find out more about this new planet, and as soon as he arrived, they offered him the best food and drink they had, and found out all about the Kings and Slaves and Iron Law of Mouseplanet. Needless to say, they where quite concerned. Before long, the messenger insisted to be taken to their King.
The mice slipped off to consult each other. If they told the messenger they had no King, the other Kings would enslave them! What where they to do? The dual society of Mouseplanet had no place for a egalitarian community such as theirs, and would destroy them. They quickly resolved to choose a King, so that the other kings would be bound by their own law not to enslave them. Yet, what would this mean to their own community? Their new King would have great power by virtue of his relationship to the other kings, he would certainly demand the King’s share of what the community had, and could start imposing his own preferences and interests on everybody else, after all, according to the Iron Law, they where his slaves. This was no better than being enslaved by the other Kings! What would they do?
The mice realized that if they stayed as they where, they would be destroyed, since their internal way of living was not in keeping with the external reality of Mouseplanet, and yet if they conformed to the accepted form, that would mean they had abandoned the project of creating the new society they had come to build!
One of the older mice remembered a story from many ages ago, there was once a time back in Mouseland when electricity was quickly spreading to ever more remote communities, most electrical devices, such as the motors of the day and electric lights operated on low-voltage direct current. Yet, the transmission of electricity over long distances required high voltage and alternating current.
If the internal circuitry of an electronic device was exposed to high-voltage alternating current it would be destroyed, even explode or catch fire. To operated the devices, the high voltage AC needed to be transformed to low-voltage AC, which would then be transformed into DC by an Adaptor added to the device. The Transformers and Adaptors allowed low voltage DC devices to exist within a high voltage AC electrical system,
It seemed to the mouse that New Mouseland was like the DC device, and the society they had come to be in was like the AC electrical system. What they needed was an Adaptor. In order to exist within this society, they needed to give the other Kings a King to work with, while maintaining their participatory community on the inside.
So the mice told the messenger that their King was unavailable at the moment, and that the next day their King would meet with the other Kings.
Our busy mice then worked all day and night to build a Robot Mouse King. Strikingly lifelike, the Robot Mouse King was radio controlled, and operated transparently and democratically by rotating operators selected and accountable to the other mice, and always used the Kingly power in accordance with the wishes of the whole mouse community.
By and by, New Mouseland continued to prosper, their Robot Mouse King never needed any special privilege or wealth, and imposed no burdens or restrictions on the mice. In absence of coercion and exploitation, New Mouseland quickly grew in wealth and power among the other Mouse Kingdoms.
As news of the great society at New Mouseland spread, mice fled and escaped other kingdoms, or even overthrew their own Kings to join New Mouseland at such rates that the other Kingdoms, one by one, disappeared, and only New Mouseland remained, their old Robot King Mouse eventually confined to a museum.
The old Iron Law of Mouseplanet was abandoned, but the old Robot King Mouse remained an important reminder of a new law: The Law of Transformation.
A revolutionary structure must always have extrinsic characteristics that are antithetical to its intrinsic characteristics.
If the structure only accepts it’s intrinsic nature, it will be destroyed by it’s external reality, and if it adopts the extrinsic characteristics it exists whithin then it abandons the change it hoped to prefigure.
For any structure, be it community, or a device, to cause change, it can not only seek to prefigure the future within itself, it must also be able to exist within it’s initial conditions. The process of transformation is a state in between the initial and desired state, and therefor the vehicle of transformation must have two natures, existing in both states.
The mice never forgot the importance of the Robot Mouse King in freeing them, and all groups hoping to create change must build Robot Mouse Kings of their own.