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#1 2001-09-14 07:08:34

Adrian
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From: London, United Kingdom
Registered: 2001-09-04
Posts: 642
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Re: KSR Constitution Introduction

This is the introduction to a series of threads for discussion of the Martian Constitution proposed by Kim Stanley Robinson. While the constitution is hardly by any means written democratically, and also some might question the need for a global government with constitution, it nevertheless serves as an interesting discussion point for the idea of Martian governments in general.

I'm not going to reproduce the Constitution in full here as that would violate copyright. If you would like to view the original Constitution text, buy a copy of [i:post_uid4]The Martians[/i:post_uid4] by KSR; it's not expensive and I thought the book was excellent reading. I may approach KSR about reproducing the text for the purposes of discussion here but I'm not optimistic about him saying yes and I can't say I really want to ask in the first place.

KSR's Constitution should be viewed in the fictional setting of when it was written, shortly after the second revolution against Earth by Martian colonists and the need for a consensus (or compromise, as some might argue) between the pro and anti-terraforming factions of the colonists. It was also written in a world which was significantly different from ours where settlements had high levels of independence and self-sufficiency - through necessity - and where the 'Martian Underground' was fearful of too much corporate and governmental influence in their affairs (which was arguably the cause of all the troubles, but let's not go into that).

Therefore, it's extremely useful, but not essential, for discussion participants to be familiar with the history of the events in KSR's Mars Trilogy ([i:post_uid4]Red Mars, Green Mars, Blue Mars[/i:post_uid4]) - again, these are excellent books and multiple award winners. Unlike the Constitution, I have absolutely no intention of summarising the events in the trilogy and if you want to read one I'm sure there are places on the Internet where you can find them.

Finally, along with the text of the Constitution, KSR also wrote a commentary on the Constitution in the guise of a contemporary historian and political scientist, Charlotte Dorsa Brevia. Her notes on the Constitution are valuable reading as they provide insight into the thoughts of observers at the time, and also serve to explain the reasoning behind some of the Constitution Articles (which I believe she had a hand in writing).

The various Articles of the Constitution will be discussed in separate threads for the interests of organisation but it is inevitable that there will be some cross-referencing among those threads - I'd simply ask you to keep it down to a minimum and if appropriate start a new thread.

What I'm hoping will come out of these discussions is not some 'new and improved Constitution' but an increased understanding of our own individual positions on a hypothetical Martian government, and a recognition of areas which require more discussion. From there, it's hard to say where we'll go; however, I don't think it's impossible for us to make a good analysis of the issues that the future Constitution framers will face.


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#2 2001-10-06 19:09:52

saxifrage
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From: Springfield, Missouri, USA
Registered: 2001-09-07
Posts: 8
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Re: KSR Constitution Introduction

Here is a link to the full text of Kim Stanley Robinson's Constitution of Mars: Constitution of Mars

The link points to the web page of Professor Edward James, Department of History, University of Reading, UK. He claims to have permission of KSR to post the full text online.
Edward James' Home Page

sax

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#3 2001-10-07 14:42:55

Adrian
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From: London, United Kingdom
Registered: 2001-09-04
Posts: 642
Website

Re: KSR Constitution Introduction

Absolutely wonderful! Thanks for that, Sax


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