Enclosure and capitalism at work in Providence
Note: Please regard the following as a fully out-of-character observation with no bearing on how I actually play the game; it’s a testament to what I see as a unique perspective in EVE that has nearly been extinguished.
Being the uncivilized, uncultured American that I am, I often miss the nuances of European-written EVE propaganda. You see, I am so uncultured and egotistical (as are all Americans) that I call myself American, when in fact what I mean to say is that I am from the United States of America — truly we must trivialize Canadians, Mexicans, and South Americans. Thankfully, what I lack in complexity of understanding I make up for with sarcasm — one could even say ‘scads’ of sarcasm (seems to me that’s a European term). But I digress — or I’ve not gressed yet.
Back to the point; I’ve been watching my alliance mates and our allies in Ushra’Khan call the Curatores Veritatis Alliance standings enclosureist, all the while assuming it was some clever use of the word enclosure. An enclosure, as you may well know, is defined thusly:
- something that encloses, as a fence or wall.
- something that is enclosed, as a paper sent in a letter.
- the separation and appropriation of land by means of a fence.
- a tract of land surrounded by a fence.
- an act or instance of enclosing.
- the state of being enclosed.
It wasn’t until today, when I came to write this article and looked up the word, that I fully understood the rhetoric and meaning behind the word enclosure. Plenty of political meaning there ripe for the propagandizing.
I’ve spent a lot of time in Providence. Some of my earlier blog posts tell a more detailed story, but for now it should suffice to say that I’ve lived there for two stretches of time with a small break in between. Whatever failings CVA may have had, they created something unique in Providence. They carved out a region of null-security space and made it hospitable and welcoming for even new players. This mighty role-play alliance provided some small measure of security, but much more importantly they provided a framework for a greater level of cooperation and common defense.
This framework is where the propagandized standings enclosureist label comes from: the much-maligned kill-on-sight list. Through this use of rhetoric, the list’s detractors are claiming it was, in fact, a virtual wall around Providence and that pilots, corporations or alliances were added to the list simply to keep them out. Since I lack an inside perspective on CVA, I can’t say for certain that this was not the case. But it always seemed to me that adding somebody to the KOS list required a long string of evidence. As far as I can tell, the only way to be added to the list was to shoot somebody who was not already on the list (and not make amends).
What I can say, with complete certainty, is that people on that list did not come to Providence to make friends or earn isk. When I saw pilots on that list it was because they were there to do me harm. Neutrals, of course, might have been there for the same reason; but reds were guaranteed to be there for that reason. While the list did not give me security in and of itself, it gave me and other Providence pilots the framework on which to build security.
Without such a list, null-security space is simply a wild west style shoot ’em up. I’m not saying that it’s wrong — I’m saying that it’s nothing new in New Eden. For all the talk of how special and unique the new era will be in Providence, I’m not seeing anything different than I saw when I was with Imperial Republic of the North (who shot anything not blue).
The end result is a smaller New Eden for anybody not aligned with a large power or not hungry for PvP set in complete and utter chaos. It’s more truly a standings enclosure now than it ever was under total CVA sovereignty. There are alliances claiming sovereignty who will shoot anyone in their space unless you pay them for standings. I guess, as an American, I must be missing the nuance that makes this enclosureism different. I suppose that living in a capitalistic society should make the difference pretty obvious to me, though.
In this new age, sometimes standings aren’t even enough to save you as one of our brave pilots found out; I don’t feel this is a security leak as it’s boldly posted in the EVE Online forums.
As I bring this article to [en]closure, I just want to say (out of character) to CVA that I salute you and what you’ve done. Keep fighting.
In character, I hope you’ll accept this defeat as a lesson that enemies of personal liberty and human rights will not be tolerated.