This is an archive of the former website of the Maoist Internationalist Movement, which was run by the now defunct Maoist Internationalist Party - Amerika. The MIM now consists of many independent cells, many of which have their own indendendent organs both online and off. MIM(Prisons) serves these documents as a service to and reference for the anti-imperialist movement worldwide.
"Democracy: A Political Simulation & Strategy Game"
Reviewed December, 2007
We have to give a reluctant recommendation for this game. We were going to pan it when we realized that it had no stupid violence.
The problem with "Democracy" is that it is not much developed by today's strategy game standards. On the other hand, the money seems to go into the games with the most fantastic violence graphics.
There is a whiteness to this game, because it allows the playing of countries that are populated mostly by whites. Poland and Russia are the limits of where democracy exists in additional to the usual Western European countries and their North Amerikan descendants according to Tri Synergy. Thus, MIM sees partial vindication for its assertion that the word "democracy" like "freedom" is used by the West as a codeword for "pride in the culture I'm comfortable with" and that in turn translates to white supremacy. We say it is only "partial" vindication, because the game is in fact about how to win votes in a select set of white countries.
There are some terrible sign and formatting problems in the programming. The graphic interface is crude and looks like a first pass by someone not much experienced in the work. Messages appear every turn saying things that are exactly the opposite of truth, such as voters increased their support for you because of the asthma crisis, when what the game really means is that the asthma crisis ended and therefore support increased for the politician playing. It's just easier to program with text appearing that mentions "asthma crisis" without saying whether it started or ended and thereby clarifying the message.
No matter what country one plays, one is going to have the same number of voters, about 11 million. There were attempts to depict differences among the countries though, especially at the beginning of the game.
Once we get past the programming annoyances and follow the graphical columns showing our approval ratings, we can ignore much of what is going on in the misleading messages. Then the game does not seem so bad.
Indeed, there are some strengths to this game, namely the various assertions about cause and effect in politics. The overall model behind the game is Liberal. The "socialists" and "capitalists" are first mentioned, but they turn out to be two of twenty-one interest groups in society including drinkers, smokers, motorists, trade unionists, retired etc.
The opposition to the Liberal method involves seeing some mechanisms of cause and effect as much more important than others. A MIM game might only have eight categories to break down the world by class, gender and oppressor/oppressed nation status. We probably would not attempt to program a game like this where there is no exploited class within most of the democracies referred to. Amerikan internal politics would be too boring except as satire.
"Democracy" overestimates the importance of policy generally in politics. It's almost as if one implements politics and does not need campaign money or dirty tricks.
Somewhat making up for the overemphasis on the cerebral aspects of policy, "Democracy" allows for increases in political support for teaching creationism in school and forbidding stem cell research. All the demands of society can be equated this way and simply attributed to various interest groups--an egalitarian approach.
There is no option for taking over the means of production or eliminating classes, but there are gauges for equality, life expectancy, unemployment and poverty among others. When Tri Synergy refers to "socialist," it is referring to what we at MIM would call "social-democratic." Implementing various policies can please the social-democrats while keeping capitalism. One can increase income taxes or corporate taxes while also increasing spending in many various social programs.
One good aspect of the game is that what pleases various interest groups on the surface is not the entirety of what pleases them, because there is a web of cause and effect underneath that also affects the proportions of support from the 21 interest groups. For example, conservatives oppose urban riots but there is no direct way to please them on that score. Instead, one has to implement social-democratic policies to please the conservatives and bring urban riots to an end. Lest someone think the game is biased against conservatives, the game employs the myth that increased police presence actually decreases the crime rate, a favorite alleged chain of cause and effect beloved by anal retentives. Hence, MIM recommends "Democracy," because it will get people thinking about various social questions of cause and effect as they connect to politics.