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Games Workshop notes that space fascism would be bad

There are official comics of W40K by Marvel comics, I guess it is a test to know the reaction by the audence. My theory is some day GW will publish a "final war" event caused the "end of the times", like the old Warhammer Fantasy, and starting from zero updating the last tendencies. The background would keep being relatively darkgrimm but with space for the hope, or the rebellion against the system, or in some places different alien races could colive together against a common menace.
 

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MGibster

Legend
There are official comics of W40K by Marvel comics, I guess it is a test to know the reaction by the audence. My theory is some day GW will publish a "final war" event caused the "end of the times", like the old Warhammer Fantasy, and starting from zero updating the last tendencies. The background would keep being relatively darkgrimm but with space for the hope, or the rebellion against the system, or in some places different alien races could colive together against a common menace.
And like the Old World, that day will come after Warhammer 40k sales remain stagnant for a few years.
 

Blue Orange

Adventurer
Without education, the dream of the exploited is to become the exploiters.

I'd say education is one of the ways exploited try to become the exploiters. Hierarchy is universal in human societies above a certain size; you can't make decisions effectively by consensus, so someone has to be in charge, and then they take advantage. The best you can do is stuff like unions and welfare states to make the system less cruel. There's also the occasional revolution when the upper classes get too greedy, which usually lets a new bunch of upper-middle-class people get in on the exploitation game.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Without education, the dream of the exploited is to become the exploiters.

I'd say education is one of the ways exploited try to become the exploiters.
Both can be true, because how one interacts with education and society in general is an individualized dynamic. Some try to make sure they’re on top, some try to make sure nobody else has to go through what they did.
 

Blue Orange

Adventurer
One of the reasons I don't like the lore of W40K is the anticlerical tropes about the church as enemy of the science and the reason. It is not only annoying and offensive, but as dangerous as messages promoting homophobia or racism. Haven't you thought anytime maybe any horrible things said about the Spanish empire were only lies by enemy propaganda? The pirates movies tell English corsairs were brave to attack Spanish ships, but in the real world the Spanish ships went together in convoys to avoid those pirates. The most of attacks by pirates were against coast villages to catch slavers. Spain built universities in the new world for the naives, Spain published books about naive American languanges when any European countries hadn't yet done with theirs. We may need humildity and self-criticism to not become monsters, but don't allow be emotinally manipulated apealling the shame and the guilty shame, and less when others should

Let's imagine for a second all that look of neogothic art by the space marines was replaced by Russian and Chinese esthetic.
Can you notice now the potential menace of the speculative fiction being used as a propagandistic weapon?

If some day GW is acquired by a bigger fish, you could bet a restart of the IP to be more.... open-mind and flexible.

So you have unwittingly found the one person sympathetic to your argument. My family is from Latin America, and when I proudly told my dad about all the bad things the Spanish did to the natives, he pointed out, "You ever wonder why there are lots of indigenous people in Latin America but none in British America?" (I'm also half Jewish, which means I get to joke about how El Cantar de Mio Cid has a scene about half of my ancestors ripping each other off. I'm on both sides of the expulsion of the Jews in 1492! But--realistically, go back far enough and odds were some of your ancestors were doing bad things to another group of your ancestors.) I got to hear how the Spanish Armada was destroyed through English ingenuity and design in school, and a storm at home.

I am aware of the Black Legend, and will grant you that the narrative of the Spanish crown being infinitely worse than the British has...an air of British propaganda to it, not to mention history being written by the winners (o estaríamos charlando en español). As for anti-Catholic prejudice, while the Church suppressed Galileo, they were also the ones keeping what was left of classical learning alive through the Middle Ages. So it's not totally fair. (And for example, the Catholic church doesn't have a problem with evolution, unlike certain Protestant sects in the USA.)

But, you know, think about it. Games Workshop is a British company. People like to favor their own group, and Spaniards aren't a group people on the left feel all that bad for, as a former colonial power. Now has there been Russian and Chinese imperialism? You bet! (Knew a gal from Vietnam who had all kinds of things to say about the second one...) But there isn't a large and loud Spanish-British or Spanish-American lobby (Hispanic Americans are from all over Latin America and have our own disagreements), and due to American cultural politics the Catholic church doesn't have much leverage over generally left-leaning game designers. (I can't speak to the British variety, though given the linguistic similarity I'd bet there's a lot of crossover.) Note that Russia is often used as a villain in American Hollywood productions, since there's no concern about racism there.

tl;dr: you've got old-school Protestant-Catholic rivalry (the Brits spent a lot of their history fighting Catholic powers like Spain and France) plus new-school concerns about racism to make the Catholic church (like Russia) one of the few remaining acceptable targets. (I actually kind of think the USA, with its large Irish/Polish/Italian/Latin American immigrant populations, wouldn't have leaned into that, though we mess up lots of other stuff.)

Best thing I can think to say is either (1) try for the Spanish RPG market, which I think is still undercapitalized or (2) make Spanish-centered medieval European supplements, most of the stuff is still Britain/France/Germany.
 
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Blue Orange

Adventurer
That last is not required. We simply incentivize it.

But it's human nature, IMHO! 'Guarding the guards' is a problem with every type of authority, from police corruption and brutality up to the king/prime minister/premier building himself a nice palace while the people starve. It's a perennial problem (the Chinese even described it as part of the dynastic cycle), though, if you don't try at all it gets worse.
 


Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
The pirates movies tell English corsairs were brave to attack Spanish ships, but in the real world the Spanish ships went together in convoys to avoid those pirates. The most of attacks by pirates were against coast villages to catch slavers. Spain built universities in the new world for the naives, Spain published books about naive American languanges when any European countries hadn't yet done with theirs. We may need humildity and self-criticism to not become monsters, but don't allow be emotinally manipulated apealling the shame and the guilty shame, and less when others should

It's estimated that about 8 million indigenous people were killed due to Spanish colonization. I won't compare that to other countries (British, French and Belgium colonization could be described as even worse) but let's not say completely fair criticism of atrocities is "Hispanophobia."
 

Here it is not the best place to talk about History, but we can mention as certain points of view about History are showed with certain tropes in the speculative fiction, for example 7th Sea, the RPG (now by Chaosium) or the vampires wearing morions in Itxalan, the world of Magic: the Setting. Or the trope of sinnister minister isn't present not only in Warhammer (fantasy and 40K) but also in other tiles, for example Fading Suns. The speculative fiction can be other battlefield in the cultural war. Thanks internet I found a different version about the facts, for example about the failed siege against Cartagena de Indias thanks Blas de Lezo, the "half-man", or the total faiulre of the expedition Drake-Norris, the counter-attack after the Invincible Armada. I have read UK helped in the independence of Iberoamerica, but this had to pay a lot of debts. Of course if you ask British, they will answer Iberoamerica is poor by fault of Spain, not the debts by the independentists. Really can you believe Spain's rivals as reliable sources? When the USA-Mexican started, how many naives lived in both sides of Rio Grande, in the Spanish and English-speaker zones?

You can mention Galileo Galiei, condemned to recite penitential psalms, horrible punishment!, but nobody knows about when in URSS Trofin Lysenko's pseudoscientific theories were against the evolution and the genetic. Teachers were fired, and someone died in prison. You can mention inquisition, and I can answer most of the judged were ordinary criminals who blasphemed during secular trials because they would rather to be in the hands of the inquisition. The Iron Maiden torture or the chastity belts? Fake, totally, there aren't true proofs of their existence for the middle age. If I ask about the drowning at Nantes, do you know how many people were killed? And Mao's cultural revolucion? When the TTRPG and other franchises, for example the videogames "Assasin's Creed" tell about the History, they are only showing their own point of view, and may this is wrong.

I say it is time to stop the trope of Spanish empire like the evil empire, and the trope of clergy as enemy of the science. George Lemaitre, the father of the Big Bang Theory, was a priest, and Mendel, the discover of the genetic laws, as a fray. The real middle age wasn't so dark like Umberto Eco told in "the name of the Rose". Some bad things happened, sadly, but there is also a lot of exageration. We can need humildity and self-criticism, but there is a time when you have to notice toxic people are trying to manipulate emotionally appealing the shame and guilty feeling.

If you want to discover who is the potential menace as menace, you have to watch the reaction when somebody dare to disagree, and if they believe the solution to fix everything is more control by the state, more rules, laws and protocols because they don't trust the free citizen doing the right actions when you explain the reasons. They will sell you the tale of the state as the fairy oddmother fixing all your problems with her superpowers.

If the speculative fiction wants to use the satire to warn against potential dictatorships then we have to distrust the state controlling everything, because then the economy would be like a monopoly, they aren't going to worry about the best work to avoid rival stealing clients, or suffering themself the weight of their own actions because we are the suc losers who will pay for the broken plates.

And the respect for the human dignity. We have to recover those ethical values to not fall in the Dark Side of the Force. I mean the fiction should report and warn about what is wrong, but we have to offer the right solution or at least some idea or realistic suggestion, without demagogy.
 
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I'm not going to post links to it, but you can find photos of what the "Austrian Painter" at the Warhammer tournament in Spain was wearing. I'm not really up on my fascist semiotics, but one of the symbols was a circle with a cross in it and some arrows/spears behind the symbol and I didn't recognize it.
This symbol is the yoke and arrows, which was the symbol of the Falange party/movement in the 1930s and of the Francoist regime afterwards. While Franco was certainly fascist-adjacent to say the least, there's probably a whole lot of Spanish historical and cultural context I'm unaware of there. But in the context of an outright neo-Nazi calling himself 'Austrian painter' wearing it next to swastikas ... suffice to say I doubt he was really wearing it out of a deep and enduring passion for the role of the Roman Catholic Church or the Catholic-endorsed monarchy in everyday Spanish political life.

As for GW's statement ... well, I'm glad they made it, but GW has been contradicting themselves regularly over this for many years. The lore, as others have said, has many dodgy cultural assumptions built up over the decades that are just in the process of starting to be addressed or unwound, (I still reckon they should have bitten the bullet and used the whole Primaris thing to canonicise female Astartes - if you're going to turn the lore upsidedown, do it HARD!) but the bigger issue is the chasm in quality and sophistication between the writing in the book line and the game line. The novels (or at least those written by the better authors - Abnett, Wraight, Dembki-Bowden, French and the like) make no bones about how awful the Imperium is. But then you come to the stuff in the game books or the advertising copy for miniatures and it's all HEROIC ULTRAMARINES DEFENDING HUMANITY without a trace of satire or self-awareness or acknowledgement of the nastier aspects of Space Marine-dom at all. This rod really is one that GW forged for their own back, and they continue to do so.
 

MGibster

Legend
As for GW's statement ... well, I'm glad they made it, but GW has been contradicting themselves regularly over this for many years. The lore, as others have said, has many dodgy cultural assumptions built up over the decades that are just in the process of starting to be addressed or unwound, (I still reckon they should have bitten the bullet and used the whole Primaris thing to canonicise female Astartes - if you're going to turn the lore upsidedown, do it HARD!) but the bigger issue is the chasm in quality and sophistication between the writing in the book line and the game line.
I've actually been rather impressed by how GW handles lore changes. They do it slowly and typically without acknowledging that they've actually changed it. One day they just stop referencing something and its as if it never happened. Or sometimes, as in the case of Squats, their home world gets devoured by Tyranids.

As for GW's statement ... well, I'm glad they made it, but GW has been contradicting themselves regularly over this for many years. The lore, as others have said, has many dodgy cultural assumptions built up over the decades that are just in the process of starting to be addressed or unwound, (I still reckon they should have bitten the bullet and used the whole Primaris thing to canonicise female Astartes - if you're going to turn the lore upsidedown, do it HARD!) but the bigger issue is the chasm in quality and sophistication between the writing in the book line and the game line.
Yeah, I'm fine with the lore. It's so over-the-top that I can't really get offended by it.
 




GW as a young, upstart company in the 80s was full of (though not necessarily entirely comprised of) anti-Thatcher lefties, and Rogue Trader's totalitarian Imperium of Man was indeed originally satirical. Of Thatcher and British authoritarianism (leaning toward fascism, in the eyes of the writers), not just of the Soviets or the Nazis. Though absolutely, elements like the Commissars were directly borrowed from the Soviets, and their uniforms modeled off Nazis.

The original fluff had Space Marines more clearly shown as indoctrinated cannon fodder (though to a lesser extent than the Imperial Guard), and art would often show them dying in blackly comic ways.

As GW grew and started getting kids as an audience/customers in the 90s, they toned down the adult satire a bit and tried to kind of play it both ways. Making the Imperial propaganda MORE true about Space Marines being heroic defenders of humanity, while still keeping the fact that it was a fascistic totalitarian society clear when you read between the lines. In-character quotes like "An open mind is like a like a fortress with its gates unbarred and unguarded" are not exactly subtle, though maybe above the heads of some junior high kids. Or the "typical daily schedule of a Space Marine" from the 3rd ed Codex, showing their absurdly rigorous monastic/military routine at home in the chapter monastery with something like 4 hours of sleep and 15 minutes of "free time" (which some chapters don't allow, considering it soft and a chance for corruption and laxity).

Part of the point of the setting is that there are no good guys, per se. Everyone's brutal, humanity is in such a desperate state that this insanely awful society might be our only means of survival (though probably not), every faction has reasons for fighting every other faction, and the galaxy-wide dystopia works as a wargame setting.
 

MGibster

Legend
As GW grew and started getting kids as an audience/customers in the 90s, they toned down the adult satire a bit and tried to kind of play it both ways. Making the Imperial propaganda MORE true about Space Marines being heroic defenders of humanity, while still keeping the fact that it was a fascistic totalitarian society clear when you read between the lines. In-character quotes like "An open mind is like a like a fortress with its gates unbarred and unguarded" are not exactly subtle, though maybe above the heads of some junior high kids.
And they've gotten rid of some of the lore and models that were decidedly NSFW. A least one little blurb from the lore that I won't even mention here in spoilers because it's pretty offensive. In miniatures, they stopped producing the topless Daemonettes of Slaanesh sculpted by Juan Diaz a few years back. I don't personally find these offensive but their NSFW so Google at your own risk. My only problem with those models is that I typically play Warhammer 40k in a public venue and I'm not keen on using them were children and others might see them. I suspect GW decided, "Hey, if some kid takes his mother to the store and she sees people using these models for the game he's asking her to buy that probably won't look good for us."
 

Sometimes I doubted seriously about it was anti-totalitarian satire or subtel propaganda, something like "negative priming", showing something that is wrong to us get used to ignore them, or something "oh, yes, it is very wrong, but you can't fix it, it is better to accept and stand it". And my opinion is that is a toxic mindset. If we really start to fix the things and help for a better future, we have to recover faith in ourself, and find positive examples to be imitated. It is like doctor giving a good diagnosis about a disease but no viable treatment.

We need the right balance between self-criticism and faith in ourself, both are necessary, but in excess both can also be wrong. And the writters should start to teach what are the true differences between a toxic boss and good leader. Do you remember Sgt Hartman in the movie "the metalic jacket"? In the real life he would be killed by a crazy recruit, but the soldiers would make sure it looked like an accident in the battlefield. The fiction tells about how to kill a tyrant, but nothing about to manage a nation or a company.

And please! If I have learnt about strategy is the resources and supplies! When the wars are too long, you may lose by the economic collapse, bankruptcy. After the battle you need a lot of time and money to rebuilt.

If GW wants to be teen-friendly some things have to change.
 

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