5th Militia

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Excerpted from A Brief History of the Post-Conflagration Period, by Joseph Smylie

100 years after the Great Conflagration, the seeds of the 5th International emerged from scattered nomadic bands and agricultural settlements struggling to survive in the post-apocalyptic wasteland of North America. New city-states had begun to form by this time, clustered along the newly formed coastlines. These oases of law were established following a drawn-out series of conflicts and negotiations between the larger corporations and cartels that survived the Second Thirty Years’ War. Nominally free republics, these city-states were dominated by a plutocratic class that controlled long-distance trade, particularly the lucrative slave trade with the Southern Confederacy. While politically independent, the new cities and republics remained economically dependent on a neo-feudal backwater, where authority and law was far less centralized. Marauding gangs and private armies of mercenaries were common in these regions, and when they were not pillaging the isolated farming communities, they enforced tallages and labour-rents on behalf of local warlords. The 5th Militia began as a means of protection against the depredations of these gangsters and warlords, and eventually succeeded in uniting a disparate collection of tiny autarkic peasant communities into a loose federation of democratic communes.

The forces of the 5th Militia were mainly comprised of ramshackle, low-tech gasoline-powered vehicles, often referred to derisively as the “Society for Creative Anachronism-Marxist-Leninist” because of their heavy reliance on primitive weapons such as crossbows and swords. The 5th Militia was nevertheless able to maintain a formidable armada, largely because its core settlements lay near some of the last remaining local oil reserves in a remote region in the interior of the former province of British Columbia. The 5th was able to use this oil to supply its vehicles, and through shrewd bargaining it was able to play the local corporations and city-states against each other and secure a degree of autonomy. But this autonomy was shaky at best. The oil of the Militia Territories continued to attract hostile mercenary groups, and the police forces of the new city-states occasionally attempted to assert authority over the hinterland. The 5th Militia was also torn by political infighting, which sometimes spilled over into bloody civil wars. It would be a long time before the 5th International would truly form out of these fractious groups, and then only in alliance with the CCF and other organizations such as the “Los Jinettes” to south, and “Piece de Resistance” and the “Guns of Brixton” to the east. …


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