Here is draft text of the chapter about “Other Interstellar Organisations” for my new brief Introduction to Flat Black. It is twice the word-count I budgeted, but worth it, I think.
Let me know if you think anything here is redundant, or if I’ve missed anything.
Other Interstellar Organisations
The Empire opposes any other government exerting power on the interstellar stage. And the cultural and commercial circumstances do not favour multi-colonial companies or franchise chains, except in banking and trade. But there are quite a few interstellar NGOs pursuing assorted agendas, some of which are discreetly funded and influenced by colonial governments, or even infiltrated by clandestine agencies.
The Alliance for Independent Development brokers development assistance for poor colonies free from meddlesome Imperial conditions. It is a front for rich governments in the Colonies’ Rights clique.
Amnesty researches, publicises, advocates for, and sometimes discreetly rescues prisoners of conscience, doxxing tyrants and staging jail-breaks.
The Association for the Advancement of Artificial People advocates for the liberty, civil rights, political equality, and reproductive rights of androids, parahumans, and digital sapiences. It is supported by, and believed to provide cover for agents of, the government of Simanta.
The College of Archivists, which many academic historians and field anthropologists strive to qualify for, is working on a multiply-redundant repository of confidential records of just about everything people do.
Democracy Unlimited advocates for democratic reforms, promotes best practice in electoral methods, and supplies election monitors. It is discreetly supported by some colonies in the Responsible Government clique.
GreenWar advocates to protect wildlife and the natural living environment, sometimes equivocating over terraformed wilderness. It opposes projects that will damage or alter biomes, especially terraformation projects on new worlds. GreenWar has been accused of terrorism.
Human Heritage strives to record and protect cultural treasures of art, literature, drama, architecture &c. It organises exchanges, exhibitions, and tours, and tries to protect artists and performers and their artistic freedom.
The Humanity League campaigns to protect non-combatants in war and prisoners of war, provides medical services &c., and organises relief in disaster zones. Respected and influential, it enjoys almost official status.
The Institute campaigns against the creation of artificial persons such as intelligent androids, parahumans, and digital sapiences. It also opposes the use of social engineering to create “unnatural” social environments, and even opposes the construction of orbital habitats.
The Planned Progress League advocates for technocracy and the use of social engineering and psychoengineering to create just societies. It provides advisors to reform movements. The PPL is discreetly supported by governments in the Public Safety clique.
The Reporter’s Guild advocates for professional standards in journalism and like endeavours. It accredits ethical reporters and aggregators, defends the freedom of reporting, and provides quasi-consular support to its insured members in difficulties.
The Sons of Patrick Henry campaign against slavery, serfdom, and like institutions, also mass incarceration. Some rogue effectives attack tyrannical trends in government.
Prominent NGOs such as those listed above have members, offices, and employees on most populous and developed worlds. But these are seldom skilled enough to do anything difficult, resolute enough to do anything strenuous or dangerous, or to confront opposition. NGOs therefore employ skilled and daring “effectives” as troubleshooters, field agents, and sometimes clandestine operators. Like Imperial servants and for the same reason, small teams of effectives are usually given big jobs and wide initiative. Everything that goes wrong is blamed on rogues.