Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Society In The Pioneer

In Poul Anderson's "The Troublemakers," Evan Friday, formerly a junior officer, now a machine worker in Engineering, befriends a family of shopkeepers who sell ornaments and household objects of wood, plastic and metal. Thus, Friday gains perhaps a unique perspective on the social diversity within the Pioneer.

The demagogic Councillor Wilson declaims that farming and Engineering workers, greens and grays, comprise more than six of the seven thousand people on board and that:

"'Everybody else on board is riding on your backs...'" (Cold Victory, p. 66)

- but goes on to list professions like doctor and teacher which are surely necessary.

Friday challenges Wilson's figures. The latest census shows:

1000 Engineering;
500 food;
300 public service;
700 Guildsmen and other independents;
500 officers and their families;
4000 housewives, children and aged -

- so there are 1500 greens and grays. Dictatorship by them would not be democratic. (However, I would count their entire families as members of the same socioeconomic class.)

Friday tells his shopkeeper friends that Wilson's rule would be "'...nominal communism...'" (p. 73) but really old style dictatorship. Here then is a recognition that "communism" does not mean "dictatorship."

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