The Philosopher Between the Capitalist and the Communist
Chapter 14 : Split into Halves or Thirds?
Emma, Ben, and the Philosopher had made their trek to the west, waiting on the beaches for the Coalition forces to land. Ben spoke, "Don't you understand it, Philosopher? Our revolution has the chance of succeeding, because have established a homebase -- a place where revolutionaries may rest, recuperate, and reload -- a place where we can provide food to any of our people, indulge our children in our ideas, and resist anyone who would try to enforce rule over us. That is the basis for our success! The homebase!"
The Philosopher said, "There is no mountain fortress for fear, no safety zone for terror. You will not be able to wall up any elevated area on this planet and expect that the weaknesses of your own mind can't get in. It's possible that you could find someplace to defend yourself from rational thinking and analysis. You might even be able to set up a tariff on truth and a tax on thoughts. But there is nowhere you can go to escape your emotions. They are always there, part of you in more ways than you can even consider, and while you can picture a marathon runner rubbing their legs to work out a pain, it's not quite so easy to picture the shattering force of someone trying to rub out stress in their mind by thinking, and simply breaking the power they were trying to soothe."
Emma looked to the Philosopher, thought for a moment, and then opened her mouth to speak, "Life is stress --" but before she could keep speaking, she was interrupted by the sounds of explosions. Across the walls of Anarchia, the soldiers of the Anarchist Army were firing rounds of Greek Fire, except it was the Anarchist-version -- the same chemical mixture in a gigantic, glass container, filled with almost pure alcohol, lit with a rag as a fuse, and fired by catapult.
"The enemy vessels are approaching the shore!" an informant running through the ranks echoed, over and over again. Each of the tiny vessels carried its own flag, Egyptian and Turk, Italian and Arabian. They followed a single command, and their objective was to take the hill where there was one black flag flying with nobody in command.
Heat, fire, tempest, storm, light, life -- the defensive battled raged on and on, until enough Coalition ships unloaded their human cargoes to outnumber the Anarchists by two to one. At that point, the Anarchist forces began a quick and careful retreat, keeping always one or two sharpshooting archers behind every rock. The element of surprise, each time, gave the Anarchists a greater advantage than numbers, and even though a single encounter might involve only a handful of soldiers, entire columns and divisions of the Coalition forces were halted, redirected, and reformed to try and handle the guerrilla tactics of their enemy. It was still bittersweet. The Anarchist soldiers knew quite well: every step they took backwards was one step away from the sea, it was one step closer to their homes and families.
In the North, Roz and the First Anarchist Army carefully guarded the hills near several rivers, carefully awaiting the Greek troops. And once the enemy had been caught making its way across streams in hastily-constructed rafts, sometimes making separate trips for themselves and their weapons, a squadron of the First Anarchist Army would rain a hailstorm of arrows upon the Greek soldiers -- they would be stuck, without a single form of natural cover, and with the only option of drowning as escape from Anarchist retaliation.
Where enough Anarchist squadrons converged, they were able to keep the Greeks from crossing the rivers, and forced them to another spot, where another squadron would make a similar surprise attack. And when there weren't enough Anarchist squadrons, they fell back to the next river, and repeated the action. But with Roz's instructions and the dutiful volunteerism of the soldiers, the Anarchists only fell back three times, before a final engagement, where the enemy's troops were completely broken apart, and Roz swooped in to eliminate every last officer of the opposing army. The Seventh Greek Army was destroyed that day; the First Anarchist Army was born.
In the South, Pan and the Second Anarchist Army organized its squadrons around the Taurus Mountain Range and the Tahtali River, even building makeshift fortifications in the mountains. When the Babylonian troops first encountered the surprise tactics that destroyed the Seventh Greek Army, and suffered miserable losses at the hands of Pan, the Babylonian commanding officers resolved to go through the mountains. At the first engagement with the mountain fortresses built up by the Second Anarchist Army, the Babylonians were quickly beaten back and forced into the protection of the plains, still several hundred miles away from their target -- Anarchia.
But the Babylonians had encountered bad weather before reaching Pan, and the Babylonian officers had believed that Coalition Forces were already linking up with the Seventh Greek Army, unaware of the strong resistance put up by the Third Anarchist Army and the the complete annihilation of the Seventh Greek Army. "Push on! Till you get every last one!" was the order, and there were merciless tolls, but once the Babylonians had gotten close to the one fortress, they were instantly within crossbow range of another -- and cut to pieces by the fresh, unused, impatient muscle of young Anarchist troops. When a retreat was ordered, they were quickly cut down by the Anarchists waiting by the rivers. The Ninth Babylonian Army was eliminated. The Second Anarchist Army took the day.
At Anarchia, the Third Anarchist Army had reached its final defensive position. There was no retreating. Emma, Ben, and the Philosopher stood under that one, gigantic, black flag, and while the Philosopher was given the advice to flee from the armed detachment of Anarchist soldiers, his response was too eloquent to get a statement, "Truth can always disappear. Somehow, I also know how to do that at any time, too."
When the sun reached its peak, the assault began. Coalition Forces outnumbered the Anarchist troops by three to one, but when they climbed the sturdy rock walls, they faced an entire population that was resisting them with everything from arrows and swords to boiling water and rocks. With every civilian a combatant, the ranks of the First Anarchist Army doubled. There was no doubling of armaments or skill, though, so the Coalition Forces still held the advantage.
As the fighting raged on at the city gates, the Coalition Forces finally broke through -- they began making their rounds, building by building, city block by city block, executing anyone they could find, those who resisted and those who didn't. Each time they made progress, they pulled the rear of the Army closer and closer, with the Army's cache of food and weapon supplies coming closer and closer to the city's gates. It had become exceptionally close at the time when the general declared, "The first row of houses has been neutralized. Move on to the next row."
The first house was extremely stubborn, and when troops were constantly cut down every time they entered, the general ordered it burned to the ground. The general picked out an arsonist and set him to it. A torch and a will power were enough to get a few small flames out of the base of the building. The soldier looked up and gave an approving smile to his commander, just as he saw three arrows rip through his chest and five dart across in random patterns around the body as it fell to the ground. Just as the general looked up, a single arrow penetrated his chest, ripping through his heart, and killing him. The First Anarchist Army had just beheaded the Coalition Forces, though its body still kicked and screamed.
The next in command took control for the dead general, ordering Coalition troops to return and defend their rear, where their supplies and temporary hospital was located. Many Coalition soldiers who were aiming to shoot an arrow through the window of one of Anarchia's buildings never even had a chance to turn around and see their own end. They were caught completely surprised and without any defensive barrier at all. In the city, they had their buildings, but just outside the city gates, Coalition forces were completely naked -- there wasn't even a pebble to cover them from enemy fire. As soon as the Coalition Forces thinned out from around the buildings of Anarchia, Anarchist soldiers poured out in numbers overwhelming their enemy, pushing them finally out of the city.
Roz incensed the Coalition Forces with every chance he had. When going through the supplies, he ordered the food to be burned and the distillation pots to be shattered. Before it was possible for there to be a truce. But at that point, there wasn't enough food, or enough water supplies, for both armies to stay alive after the onslaught. And with the echo of every shattering pot of clay, thirst could be felt in the throat of every Coalition soldier -- with the smell of burnt corn and bread, starvation could be found already festering in their guts. With these tactics, Roz had put every type of desperation and terror deep into the hearts of his enemies. It was one of the glowing moments, where one soldier may canvas an entire battlefield involving thousands of soldiers, and already confess, "All is lost. The Anarchists have beaten us."
Spilt blood provided its own incense to the fury and desperation every soldier was feeling, with these emotions mounting on both sides. Roz's First Anarchist Army, by itself, was not enough to eliminate the Coalition troops. There was an impasse, as Roz's troops were exhausted from rushing their long trek while Coalition Forces and the Third Anarchist Army were exhausted from fighting. From within that last building of the second row of Anarchia, the one still smoldering with smoke from the arson attempt, Roz could see Emma and Benjamin waving at him, signaling for him to enter the city and regroup their forces together. Roz looked them both in the eye and shook his head, and while he was too far away for them to hear, they could tell the one word he said: "Siege."
While Roz pursued the enemy, the Third Anarchist Army couldn't be easily moved or convinced to move from the holes they were hiding in deep in the city, where they had just nearly watched their homes burn down around them. Roz slowed the speed of his pursuit, coming to a complete halt, when the last soldier of Coalition Forces had disappeared over the horizon and out of view of the city. He let out a quiet breath, looked at his hands, covered in fragments of clay and burnt corn and blood and dirt, and said to himself, "... we could have had them." Not for a single moment did Roz let his vision veer from that hilltop that the enemy had escaped over.
The First Anarchist Army began to gather its dead and wounded, without much notice from their strategist and tactician. Nothing could distract Roz from the retreat of the Coalition Forces. Even the Third Anarchist Army started to pile out of the city to collaborate with the First Army. All seemed perfectly calmed, until "Aaaaahhhhhhhh!!!!!!!", a chorus of screams is heard by all Anarchians as a massive charge over the hill heads directly for the First Army. "At your guard!" Roz screamed, his penetrating gaze unmitigated by the clamor and noise and distress. His eyes focused, then widened, some of the others watching his gaze, as he noticed one of the Coalition forces carelessly drop his shield, but retain an iron grasp on his sword.
"Holddddd!!!!!!" the scream comes out without a stutter or interruption from Roz, and all of the First Anarchist Army halts and crouches down. A soldier from the Third Anarchist Army wielding a crossbow spoke up, "Hey, you don't have to follow his orders, you know -- nobody's in charge of you." And then rushing straight headward to the charging onslaught, this one Third Army soldier disappeared into a mass of limbs and bodies, when the sounds of the explosions started. From within the ranks of attacking Coalition Forces, fires were flaring up in every direction, melting some soldiers and exploding others into thousands of pieces. Just as the last of the Coalition troops passed over the hill, the Anarchians could see a soldier wearing a black sash on his arm with the number two. It was Pan and the artillery of the Second Anarchist Army.
Anarchists were using their shields to protect themselves from arrows by the archers and body parts by the explosions. The Coalition Forces found themselves hopelessly trapped between in an iron triangle of Militarists, Marxists, and Anarchists -- this is not how many of them had pictured their own deaths, which is a favorite pastime of all devoted soldiers, no matter how much the spirit of Militarism or Marxism runs through them. With a bit more of loudness, and a little less enthusiasm, the commander of the Coalition Forces screamed, "Siege!!!" Pan, Roz, Emma, and Benjamin all made eye contact with one another -- even though not a word could be heard, there was no disagreement when Roz and Pan nodded to each other, before charging their cornered enemy. Every enemy soldier who fought was killed, and those who surrendered were given the option of joining Anarchia as a free citizens or joining it as prisoners. Once every officer was dead, the entire Coalition Forces had surrendered -- it was a fourth of its original size.
*1. Anakiseuteu, Park Wu-Chan.
"We saw smoke coming out of Anarchia, so we tripled our speed," Pan said to Roz, as the two commanders finally met face-to-face after being separated for months.
"We heard the clatter and screams of the first battle, and made it over the hill just in time to kill the would-be arsonist of Anarchia," Roz said.
"Enough flame to stir up the Anarchist Army, but not enough flame to burn down the Anarchist City," Emma rejoined.
"Screams loud enough to make your spirit rise, but not loud enough to drown out every other voice," Benjamin added.
The battle had been won, and for many nights, there were celebrations. In Anarchia, they celebrated their victory by declaring themselves the Internationalists -- a culture that would accept anyone who wanted to find a home for their liberty. In carefully-worded, diplomatic dispatches between Athens and Babylon, Hammurabi and Solon decide to officially unite and forge an alliance to crush the Anarchists. They took on the name the Globalizationists -- and then they declared to their peoples that there is no point on this planet where they had no right to spread their justice. So, a new struggle began to take shape. An infinite struggle, between Internationalism and Globalization.
After the celebrations of the victory, the people of Anarchia needed to deal with the unique position of their city within world politics.
"So, according to the rulings of the International Court of Justice at The Hague..." Ben started.
"The what?" Emma asked, "Is that even a real thing? It sounds like it was made up by a child, like the Space Marines of Planet Xylon."
"Yes, it's a real thing, and sometimes countries pay attention to it, when it suits their interests," Ben replied, "So, for the most part, it gets ignored. But according to their rulings, we are now a sovereign nation in every direction for almost a thousand miles."
"Are you sure that's a real thing?" Emma asked again, "I was pretty certain that was just junk mail."
"Yes, it's a real thing," Ben said, "So, what do you think we should do about it?"
"Well, whatever you do, don't send them any money, because you definitely won't get it back," Emma replied.
Benjamin led a group of Anarchists to Ankara, where he delivered a message to them on behalf of the Anarchians. "According to the mandates of courts empowered by international powers, we are now the sovereign leaders of you," Benjamin said, "But we're Anarchists, so we don't know what the hell that means. Do what you want." This is the message that was plastered up over every Capitalist and Communist poster that could be found, no matter what tree, statue, building, historical monument, or tomb the original poster had been placed. It was a very short period of time before the Anarchists learned that the message meant nothing, because of the presence of landlords and governors -- but then half of these were killed by native uprisings, without the support of their Communist or Capitalist "mother country."
The other half of landlords and governors were either killed in fights or removed from their posts when the Anarchists provided arms to all of the disenfranchised and poor, often openly and in front of police officers and chieftains -- just to provoke a conflict that would end in anarchy. Within a month, anarchy had spread to every corner of the Anarchia's thousand mile radius. Like other vast stretches of landed with one social organization, it all started with one city, and then spread on and on; except the Communists and Capitalists spread themselves by force, while Anarchia grew by reason. The first two empires of the world were carved out with a sword, but the first sphere of liberty in the world was molded by influence.
In the thousands of villages accepting anarchy, some of the most revered thinkers had always held anti-Authoritarian attitudes on every subject. When anarchy spread through all of their economic, social, political, and cultural systems, these wise thinkers found themselves quite surprised when young kids called them "just more Anarchist talkers." After these groups of urchins had finished their cursing and laughing, you could hear a wisewoman or wiseman saying, "Kids these days. They don't have any respect for those of us who always disrespected authority."
As the light parted the skies on a world that had forever been shrouded in darkness, the Philosopher decided to leave. "Where will you go?" Emma asked, "We are in communication with villages and cities for a thousand miles in all directions. That's the framework of our defenses against the empire. Pan's troops in the North have just wiped out a boatload of Greek troops that have been interrupting our communication lines for the past week."
"She's right," Ben said, "Some Babylonian troops tried to seize some small village on the south of our boundaries, but Roz showed up with only one hundred troops, and the appearance of that number one across his black sash was almost enough to scare his enemy into retreat. His tenacity accomplished their defeat and surrender, with amazingly few casualties."
For a moment, there was a bit of silence, as it looked like the Philosopher was studying even the curves and cracks in the ground, listening cautiously and carefully to anything they might have to tell him. Then finally, he responded, "A group of people wanting liberty have obtained it. I came to see what I needed to see. It is time for me to move on. I think the rest of it can be left up to you."
Neither Benjamin nor Emma could find anything to say in response, but just before out escaping their sight, the Philosopher said to them, "I will miss the philosophical conversations."
"We didn't have enough of them," Emma said, "We should've been scheduling discussions in philosophy in our daily plans, instead of allowing them to just happen whenever a free moment came up and the soul still had energy."
"Somehow, a flower wouldn't be as beautiful, if it were completely planned, from birth to death, from blossoming to whittling," the Philosopher replied, "Don't you think so?"