by Max Barry

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by The People's Republic of Pajonia. . 43 reads.

Transcription of January 20th First Minister Debate



Pajonia: To start off the debate, this question is posed to the Incumbent First Minister, Radicalania.

Looking back, would you have done anything differently last term? If so, what would it be?

Radicalania: Probably, I'd have liked to have done more cultural events, given we had a bit of a drought of them, barring our joint event with Europeia we lacked anything that brought the community together internally. I think certain ministries required a bit more help, more evident in the WAA for example, but further help should have been allocated to those ministers who needed it.

Pajonia: This next question is directed towards Asvalya

Given that, if elected, you’d have to resign from a quite important role that you were recently elected to (Legislative Committee Member), could your campaign not be seen as a power grab rather than acting in the best interest of the Bloc?

Asvalya: I have pledged during my Legislative Committee campaign - and you can still find it on the forums - that I will be fully committed to the development of a better future for the Bloc. The spirit of my Legislative Committee campaign was about an ambitious vision for the Bloc, and I have stayed true to that for this campaign. I am a man of ambition who wants to advance our cause, and I pledge to be a leader for good.

Radicalania: But that doesn't answer the question at all? You're currently in a position where you can positively effect the Bloc, and rather than doing anything with it (which you haven't), you're choosing to jump straight to a higher position.

Asvalya: I can positively affect legislatively indeed, reforming and coming up with new laws is good and it's needed, as we still find errors even in our Constitution. But my plan is international, it's interregional and its scope is beyond the legislative process of the Bloc.

Radicalania: And if you find you struggle to do what you want as First Minister (remember it's a very limited powered role), what are you going to do then? You absolutely had the power as a Legislator to, for example, reform how the MoWAA operated. You absolutely had the power as a Legislator to begin laying the groundwork for a military. You had the power to at least try and do anything you mentioned in your campaign, and failed to even attempt it. Is that something we could expect from your tenure as First Minister, because judging by your past performance- it is.

Asvalya: First of all, I have tried reaching out to other members of the Legislative Committee on this matter, and even posted about it quite some times in the LC channel on the Discord server, asking if we can start discussion on working on a re-establishment of the PRAF, but to no avail. As you know, I was freshly elected as a Member of the Committee, and had yet to come up with any actual law. I wanted to take a unifying approach through which we can all agree in the LC on the specifics of its re-establishment, but discussion on that was left out. So I was ready to lay the ground for that.
As First Minister, I can call on all of cabinet, especially the ministries concerned by military activity, to lead an effort from the top for a rebuilding of our military activity, and if I don't get it done, hold me accountable, as I have always made it my absolute first principle to be held accountable on all of my actions as a servant of the Bloc.

Radicalania: You've posted a single time on anything to do with your own election plans in the Legislative Committee Channel- and I quote:
[quote]I think we should soon decide how we're gonna bring back the military And if we're bringing it back to start with[/quote]None of which is laying any groundwork, nor actually attempting anything.
When I took the role of Legislative Committee Member for the first time I immediately got to work. Once my term limits came in, I took the Executive and immediately got to work on issuing Executive Orders. You dithered and did nothing- is that what we want from a First Minister?

Pajonia: Now, a question for both candidates:

You are both campaigning on bringing back the regional military. What can you do to ensure it doesn't fall into inactivity like the last PRAF?

Radicalania: Simply put, we can't guarantee that, and anybody who says otherwise is a liar. However, what we can do is attempt to put in place good measures to limit inactivity, commit to active recruitment, and make sure theres a stream of compitent leaders for that military, separating that leadership for both Raiding and Defending to make sure that if one side falls into problems, the other is there to scoop it up and help the other side.

Asvalya: Just as I mentioned so many times, it's time to be bolder in our fight against fascism and ultra right-wing regions of NS. The plan is to broaden our range of target regions, beyond the classic fascist / neo-nazi baddies targets, and with the full counselling of the Ministerial Cabinet, especially our Minister of Foreign Affairs. I will also call on experts in R/D - and we have many of them (hello Aq) - to pitch in and help us build a strong military strategy. This will be a collective effort, it's crucial to get all of our best comrades in its realization. In the end, we will try, as it's worth starting up our military activity again in the scope of the development of our international activity.

Pajonia: This question is directed towards Radicalania

You said in your campaign: "TCB has historically been ridiculously isolationist. This needs to change."

Why does this need to change? Why should we spend our time and energy in the complicated mess (to say the least) that is Gameplay, when we have our own things to do and few common interests due to widely our differing ideology? The General Assembly is not going to pass a resolution calling for the collective ownership of the means of production. Is time and energy not better spent elsewhere, like creating guides/informational dispatches and templates, creating/amending legislation, improving our endorsement tools, manual recruitment, farming cards, etc.?

Radicalania: Because alliances and positive relationships between the Bloc and external sources have the ability to help everyone within the Bloc, whether that be prevention of military actions towards TCB, strengthening our ties in the World Assembly, or simply promoting cross cultural events. They also have the ability to positively influence regional politics too- without The Leftist Assembly we wouldn't have had the REP, without Europeia we wouldn't have had cultural events last term.
Just because we can't get the World Assembly to magically embrace Communism (sorry, it's been tried) does not mean that it can't have a positive effect on the wider community. The Security Council actively supports antifascist work through its various commands, and seeking those commands has some people kicking fascists out of regions. Inter-regional work is extremely important.

Pajonia: Riding off of the back of that question, a question in the same vein for Asvalya:

How do you plan to navigate the minefield that is NSGP politics? The GCRs don't like each other, how will you pick which ones to ally with and ones which to inadvertently make our enemies? How will you educate yourself on the political background/situation? Why do you feel the need to seek new relations with GCRs?

Asvalya: NSGP politics are complex and messy, no doubt about that. Leading a collective effort with our Minister of Foreign Affairs on how to approach NS politics and what political strategy to prioritize is key. GCRs don't like each other but TCB has quite the bad history with The South Pacific, so that's already one GCR crossed off the list. As I have repeatedly said, and I will mention it again, all crucial decisions will involve lengthy counselling from cabinet and knowledgeable comrades on Foreign Affairs, which naturally includes the MoFA. Therefore will not allow myself to rush head first into uncharted territory without full knowledge of the stakes and possible consequences, and I have full confidence in our future Minister of Foreign Affairs, and other prominent comrades of the Bloc, to tackle international politics effectively. There's much to consider when it comes to which GCRs to ally with, so we will pick carefully and only after we're confident in our choice.
This is also about leading the charge. If we sit down and do nothing then we wouldn't have tried to have a larger impact and advance our cause. We need to at least try and go forward, and there's so much good we can do with many friendly regions, it's not all bad faith politics. It is essential that we seek out to build new relationships with the wider world of NS, expand our influence and broaden our interregional network of alliances. We will navigate our options, and let's not forget the many other fellow, although smaller leftist regions out there who we can greatly benefit from as part of an interregional and intersectional left-wing union in NationStates.

Pajonia: Switching topics for Radicalania:

How would the card giveaways, which would propel TCB into becoming an “inter-regionally recognised artwork powerhouse”, roughly work? How will this collection of the regional card farm translate as a belonging or possession of the citizens of the Bloc as a whole?

You also said in your campaign you would run “200 farms, 100 per day” What does this mean? What's the point of running 200 if you're only going to touch half of them each day, given you get 4 issues in 24 hours? Wouldn't it make more sense to run a smaller amount full time to concentrate bank? How will you especially avoid burnout in this regard?

Radicalania: I've planned for 100 per day/200 that I will personally handle to allow for a fully recharged set of 100 every day, which bizarrely appears to have significant effects on pull events. This means rarer cards are more likely to be gained by the Bloc, and given to its citizens. However, that will not be an enforced quota.
I'd like to add that this is not a single persons role- I wouldn't be the only person involved, and those involved may set their own limits. This number is simply what I believe I can easily handle. The plan is to involve as many folk as possible, give them the relevant scripts to make their work easier, and drive forward that way. I plan to fully legislate this before beginning it, so there are strict rules in place governing the people operating these farms.
Theres 3 ways this benefits the Bloc.
1- it gives us all a collective target to work for. In the first instance, TCB would choose a theme (I personally would like to see an S3 TCB Collection owned by TCB as a whole, but this will actually go to vote!). We would then donate cards to the "Art Museum" so to speak, which would be TCBs own, and be a monument to our regions cooperation.
2- The farms themselves will be used for weekly giveaways. Citizens who contribute to the regional Art Museum will be enrolled into a Lottery, meaning they have the chance to be given some of these cards.
3- Citizens who contribute to either the card museum or take part in farming will also have the ability to request any cards for collections, including high value legendaries in some instances. However it will not be limited to those who contribute. Any citizen may request cards, and it will be the Card Farms job to fulfil that request.

Pajonia: And for Asvalya:

You are very new to the Bloc, and the position of First Minister is one of the most important in the region. If elected, how are you going to lead/and or fill in for the executive given your lack of experience firsthand behind the scenes? How will you organize the Council of Ministers, without previously seeing how it operates, and how will you fill in for/assist various ministers when required without having worked in said ministries before?

Asvalya: Counselling, counselling and counselling. I can't stress this enough. Leaning on cabinet is crucial to coming up with decisions that impact and take the region forward. My approach is participative and involves as many of our people as possible to ensure a decision-making process that takes everyone into account. It's true, experience is an easy aspect to attack a candidate on, but that doesn't mean that I'm not aware of the processes and the tasks of our various ministries and the heavy background work being done. Ever since I've joined the Bloc, I have shown immense curiosity for its workings, politics, history and most importantly people. I am constantly building and strengthening relationships with comrades within the Bloc, from whom I have learned so much in the past few months.
I am ambitious, and I wish to take us to the next level. My leadership is about a common cause, a common effort and a bold, ambitious vision. I do not wish to keep things at our current level through measly reforms here and there. Instead, I will coordinate with ministers on all actions to take and all necessary work, and make sure that we get a weekly report on ministerial activity and decisions so we can keep track of our doings and progress, because I know what's at stake and I know what needs to get done so we can finally unearth ourselves from our current position.

Pajonia: This question is directed at both candidates.

You have both mentioned writing WA proposals and having more sway in the World Assembly in general. What would you do to ensure we can properly edit, revise, and refine these proposals, and that we have enough people involved to get it done? What will you do to ensure that our World Assembly Affairs doesn't fall into shambles like it has recently?

Radicalania: This is one of the campaign ideas which is going to be me pretty much begging people for help. It's my hope that I can reach out to existing World Assembly Authors and ask them to teach classes on best practice in resolution writing, and how to negotiate the battlefield that is the World Assembly. I'm hoping to get in place a monthly Q&A with WA Authors, but that will ultimately rest on whether those authors are willing to help. I will of course look to our existing allies first, as there are some excellent writers working within those regions.

Asvalya: I will make it my first action as First Minister to establish a World Assembly Task Force which the Minister of World Assembly Affairs and I will lead to actively draft our own, TCB-made GA proposals, with the goal of getting at the very least one impactful proposal at vote. The work of this Task Force will consist of writing and refining international legislative proposals to be drafted in the WA forums until a final and solid version for each is reached. It's crucial to take the necessary time for this. GA proposal writing is tricky as it requires us to collect lengthy feedback on the content of the proposals from the forums. This is a necessary process which all GA authors go through. With this in place, we will have our own voice at the table of world politics. We are the biggest leftist region in NS, we hold such immense potential for influence and swaying, we can take things further by getting comrades, including myself obviously, into World Assembly politics. If we don't make the effort to experiment with this and see where we can go with it, then who are we to judge if it'll fail or succeed?

To take things further, I have very recently been elected as Gameplay Secretary of NSLeft, which goes hand in hand with my WA plan of interregional cooperation with our leftist allies. The position handles NS Gameplay matters including World Assembly politics, and I am so excited to work with ambitious and like-minded comrades from across our alliance and to include them into our task force. A collective effort of drafting ideas and writing will surely speed things up and deliver results. We will take this seriously, and it's a matter I hold close to heart as I and many others are sick of the monopolization of the WA by non-leftists.

Pajonia: Another question posed to both of you, open discussion permitted:

Why do you think you would be a better First Minister than your opponent?

Asvalya: Because I hold the ambition and the vision which my opponent doesn't share, the sense of collective effort for the purpose of great achievements and the desire to form a more perfect union of the Left, the belief that we need to be so much bolder than we currently are to achieve anything of substance at the international stage and to make our name heard across NationStates. I am here to assert that our potential is untapped and that we need to get to work to improve on what has already been built. We can be so much more while also taking careful steps and not getting ahead of ourselves, it's a matter of making our voice heard and not shying away from international politics. If we are not bold now then when?

Radicalania: I think the issue you've got here is you have two candidates in front of you: One who has a plan set in place, which requires a small amount of polishing up to work within the legal framework of TCB. This plan requires some solid people at the helms of the Ministries, but is completely doable. Then you have this: "Asvalya wrote: Counselling, counselling and counselling."
A person with a vague idea of what to do, and some undoubtedly great ideas- I know this because a fair chunk of those ideas are copied from my election campaign- but absolutely no idea how to put them in place. There's a simple choice in front of you. One of your candidates wants to work with his ministers to achieve their goals, bringing forward a stronger Bloc. The other wants to spend months learning how the Bloc works, wasting your precious time, and delivering nothing. One of your candidates fully commits to a project, showing their talents elsewhere before coming forward with a vision to lead. The other hedges their bets, gets elected to a position they will do nothing with, and then comes forward with the exact same promises they made when they got elected and did nothing.

Asvalya: I know what needs to get done and that is why I have written down a fixed plan focusing on international and World Assembly affairs. Creating a WA taksforce, engaging with allies in NSLeft - who you never bother reaching out to and who have been completely neglected during your term - , initiating new talks with more leftist allies around NS and bringing them into the family of the Left.

We both know already who's expected to be in the next cabinet, and I know what approach to take, which is of immediate and effective action.

This IS the plan which puts our success and growth at the forefront :

Immediately establishing the interregional WA taskforce and drafting initial ideas as soon as my term as First Minister starts, and I have quite the list for that

Reaching out ASAP to the aforementioned leftist regions and seek out new diplomatic relationships to strengthen our common front

Constant check-ups on ministeries' progress, coordination with NSLeft on WA and Foreign Affairs matters, and non-stop activity on NSGP

This is not about learning, and if you consider that working together and making sure we take the best collective decisions to ensure stability and success is "learning", then you are absolutely wrong, and I will fight to the death to bring this plan into fruition.

Radicalania: During my term we were involved Social Liberal Unions refound. Successfully bringing the two regions closer.
During my term we have been working extremely closely with The Leftist Assembly including but not limited to REP and countless Cultural events. Successfully bringing the two regions closer.
Your accusation is completely baseless, and easy to dismiss with the facts.

Pajonia: A question for both of you:

The population of TCB has been quietly suffering a decline since the beginning of December. While this is in part due to the holiday season, will there be any new initiatives to raise and maintain this number back to a healthy 1000 nations or so during 2021 in order to bring TCB back into the top 20 in the Number of Nations category?

Radicalania: Unfortunately this is a question better levied at the candidates Minister of Domestic Affairs- we can only support them in their endeavours. It is worth noting that I have been an active volunteer for some time in the MoDA, and do keep up to date with their campaigns and updates. I regularly read the statistics which are slightly disappointing but ultimately predictable at this time of the year.

Asvalya: I hope that through the new work and discussions generated by the initiatives of the WA plans, we will generate interest and therefore new activity that will get new comrades involved in TCB's workings. I have high hopes that this will stabilize our numbers and get less people to leave us for other regions, and with the inevitable and constant flow of new nations into the Bloc assured by our Ministry of Domestic Affairs (recruitment mainly), we can get closer back to our late 2020 nation count.

Pajonia: That will conclude the questions. Both candidates may now submit closing statements.

Radicalania: Looking forward to the votes themselves, and I'm hoping to be able to count on your votes to so. Please remember that only citizens can vote, so remember to sign up as soon as possible.
I really hope that I can continue my role as First Minister, providing you with the top Service y'all have come to expect.
Cheers for tuning in everybody, thanks to Pajonia for hosting and thanks to Asvalya for coming along.

Asvalya: As a final statement, I will once again affirm the need for us to seek new heights and build a stronger position for the Bloc internationally. So many allies to reach out to, so much work to get done to have our voice in the WA, so much ambition and energy from comrades that want something new, a fresh experience that gets rid of the old and focuses on new achievements of a grander scale.
Comrades, for a more powerful Bloc that imposes itself at the highest levels of NationStates, for a new perspective on what we can achieve together, for renewal and effectiveness, for the Future of the Communist Bloc, you know who to vote for. Good riddance to the old ways and welcome to boldness and progress.
Thank you all for following this debate, it was an honor and a pleasure. I wish to thank Pajonia for hosting it, you have done such wonderful work, as usual.

That will conclude this debate. Thank you to both candidates for taking part. Hopefully this debate can help you make a more informed decision when you vote. A full transcript of this debate will be posted tomorrow.
Until next time.