One nation's version of fascism?
Or something uniquely Bergonian?
The Kilitan was a movement of
native Bergonians (atrei) that exalted Pre-Columbian native culture, using
it to justify a militarized dictatorship, and
actively condemned European culture, including liberal democracy and
Christianity. They especially reviled Britain and the US.
The word Kilitan derives
from an archaic Nacateca phrase, "kiliatai nai" which
means roughly "heirs of glory."
A lot of historians have claimed that
the Kilitan was a Bergonian manifestation of fascism. In its celebration and
assertion of native culture, it had similarities to the nationalism of European
fascism, and also to Japanese nationalism. Like these, it celebrated martial virtues. It
too was driven by a
distinctly romantic spirit. It too extolled the collective. But for
all these similarities the Kilitan had scant relations with the
European fascists, and cared no more for them than any other European
faction. Nazism and most other variants of European fascism were essentially
racist, while the Kilitan only presumed that Bergonian culture, not
Bergonian blood, was superior. The Kilitan extolled native
religion and condemned European culture, but it promised tolerence of
minorities, including Christian and European minorities. The Kilitan
had to face the fact that up to 25% of the population was Christian or
Neo-Christian, and that .
Kilitan attracted the most extreme "nativists." As
such, they were the heirs of the "nativist" Zaomitan of the
1820s and 1830s. They manifested the atrei resurgence after the
horrible plagues of the 1500s and 1600s and the attendant destruction of
native culture. They also manifested the latant bitterness that all
proud atrei felt whenever they contemplated the Bergonian
atrei joined this movement, since it condemned Christianity along with
everything else from Europe. Accordingly the Kilitan spread across the interior, where very few whites and the
highest percentages of atrei live, and had few adherents on the coast, the
areas where most Europeans lived.
Though the Kilitan condemned western
parliamentarianism and capitalism as moral abominations. they accepted science and technology as consistent with traditional
Bergonian values (as did most Miradi). Just as Nazism and Italian
fascism harkened back to pre-modern historical roots, the Kilitan
dreamt of reforming society in the image of ancient Pre-Columbian Bergonian
rejected European style dress and decor (which had become prevalent
throughout the 1800's), and they
mimicked the ways of the ancient banda warriors. Yes, they
produced a peculiar Bergonian version of
romantic folk nationalism, and like European fascism it veered toward
racialism and fascism. But because of their antipathy toward
Christianity and Europeanism, they had a peculiar sympathy for the Jews.
Five men with shadowy backgrounds
organized the Kilitan. They contrived ancient warrior nom de
guerre and refused to acknowledge any prior identity, although in time
journalist discovered and released their identities. (One such
journalist was shot in the head on the street at lunchtime right in front
of the newspaper building.) The five
names translated as follows:
"Black Mountain," "Hunting-Prowess," "Avenging Arrow,"
and "Temple-Guardian." They dressed exclusively in native
dress-- the long loose tunic and baggy pants-- and often wore the flashy costumes
of ancient banda warriors and leaders. Black Mountain had
served three short jail sentences for larceny, inciting to riot, and
selling heroin. Hunting-Prowess had served eleven years in prison for
robbery and malicious wounding. Avenging-Arrow had spent at least ten years
as a smuggler and gangster and was rumored, perhaps maliciously, perhaps
admiringly, to have personally murdered over fifty men before he was
thirty years old. Faithful had worked as cab driver, poster artist,
pimp and carnival huckster. Temple-Guardian had served
honorably in the Navy as one of the nation's first ever underwater
They organized a political party,
showing a vast gift of talent for picking able, capable second-tier
leaders. They also encouraged and promoted very active local
chapters, with very active local leadership.
Their party structure was very hierarchical, and members were expected to
take orders from their commanders. They had an "Inner
Party" which consisted of the charter members, their second-tier leadership, and
the first generation of local leaders. The much larger "Outer Party"
included the operatives, fighters, support staff and supporters.
elaborate uniforms and emblems, all taken from ancient motifs, which included traditional kilts and robes, ribbons
and broaches indicating rank and service, with caps and
headdresses. Most prominent of these were the tunics, baggy pleated
pants and long overcoat, in various combinations of light-gray, tan,
charcoal-gray and black, with colorful ribbons sewn around the tunic
collar and sleeves, as well as the brim of the black caps worn by the Kilitan rank and file. One
commentator observed in 1925, "If only the Kilitantist had ideas as
attractive as their uniforms." Indeed, since the uniforms
combined traditional logos with modern lines, they became very popular
throughout the country, and by the late 1920s a lot of people who cared
little for the Kilitan had begun to mimic their dress.
The "Themes of Ancient Warriors"
the Kilitan paramilitary organization, professionally organized by
veterans and well armed. The "Warriors"
wore traditional uniform: black tunics, gray trousers and red sashes. They
tucked daggers, knives and guns in their red sashes, and marched alongside the unarmed
rank and file Kilitanists dressed in beige and black.
The Kilitan refused at first to
participate in elections, but in a peculiar compromise (similar to the
compromise they ended up reaching with European capitalists), they ran candidates
in local elections, so they could take over towns and counties. This
gave them control over local police in many regions. They infiltrated the army.
They very publicly bragged that someday they would take over the
government in a coup. And they put on the most colorful, magnificent
street pageants of any political group in the history of the world, with
marching bands, massive statues of the ancient gods, floats depicting
heroic contests, and elaborate costumes.
The Kilitan rented a large field
just outside the city of Piatalani and held a huge outdoor rally there on
the night of 3 July 1925, with a magnificent system for public address and
lighting. Hitler & Co. would later study the techniques employed
here. 150,000 followers attended and heard the Five Leaders speak.
They read a "Statement of
National Purpose," by which they
called for these things:
1) A strong military for
Bergonia, with creation of an (a) all-ocean navy, (b) a
giant force of marines, and (c) rapid development of air power. To
emphasize this point the Kilitan flew a number of airplanes
over Piatalani all the following day. This was a spectacular
sight, and people all throughout the city stood in the streets and
looked up. The Kilitan were the first anywhere to explicitly advocate
air power in military doctrine,
2) A willingness to defend
Bergonia against Britain and America, and a willingness to assert
Bergonia into the world, particularly in Latin America, Africa and the
Pacific, to form a "corrected balance of nations in the world, a
new world otletei "order/structure" in which
"Bergonia will be a lynchpin."
3) A program of technological
advancement and scientific research, to enable weapons programs and
to "deliver the gift of electricity to every Bergonian."
They brazenly claimed that modern science was in total accord with both
ancient Bergonian reason and Miradi philosophy. Indeed the Miradi
have always been far more accepting of the usages and findings of
science than Christians, whose ranks include the fundamentalists who
resolutely defy all the natural sciences with the stupidities of
creationism. "Do you not see the Gods in the spark of
electricity?" asked the exalted Miradi priest, Ikinara Purei,
attending the Glen International Exhibition in 1903.
4) A supreme place for native
culture, art and sport, and Miradi religion in national life, yet a guarantee for
European minorities to
live freely in enclaves and "mixed" zones, providing they did not subvert Kilitan
4) A campaign against western
influences, especially the evils of "Western Modernism," including the decadent evils of
materialism, positivism, communism, socialism, democracy, capitalism, jazz, and all modern art.
5) A government imitating
ancient Bergonian forms-- not Tan forms-- with an emperor, a
council, and a trained and qualified elite, united around the grand
warrior ethos, and in service to the entire society. The Five
Leaders proclaimed that the Kiltan Movement was creating that new
elite. They proclaimed that they were that imperial council
reincarnated, and that "divine circumstance" would soon
produce a leader capable of stepping forth to become emperor. To
their credit, all throughout their subsequent reign, none of the
Quintrumverate ever aspired to step out to claim the role, explicitly
holding, in accordance with ancient imperial law, that their membership
on the council automatically disqualified themselves and all their kin
from the imperial post..
6) A promise that in due time
they would rise up and seize the state. This became the big
newspaper and radio headline that electrified the nation. The
famous quoted line by the leader named __
Although the central thrust of the
Kilitan philosophy was extremely nativitst and anti-European, many
the Kilitan elite of an interest in European fascism. No doubt the
Kilitan borrowed somewhat
from the economic ideas of
Italian fascism. Throughout the 1920s the Kilitan sent delegations
to Italy to study the ideas and organization of fascist society. They
borrowed Italian "corporatism," grafting it onto the nativist
notions of banda warrior society. In a similar way, Third World
anti-European movements called themselves "Anti-Imperialist" and
yet borrowed communism, a thoroughly European philosophy, to build a
barrier against the West.
Certainly both Bergonian Kilitan
and European Fascism perceived society as an organic structure which
depended on functional class difference, where there are no individual
rights. However, the links between the two are often
overstated. Many essential differences exist. First, the
Kilitan did not have a single strong man, and no cult of the Strongman,
hence no Hitler or Mussolini. Second, the Kilitan were not
racists. Their theories of exclusion were based on the superiority
of native Bergonian culture and spirituality, not the racial superiority
of native peoples. Kilitan academics never sunk to the absurd lows
of Nazi "studies" in paleontology.
Third, though the Kilitan were "warriors,"
and very much steeped in what one journalist called "militant
romanticism," they did not share in the Fascist virtue
of ruthless force in opposition to rationality. The fascists
followed an ideal of heroic struggle, idealization of the will, the simple
goal of power, and the romance of war. To the Kilitan, this was just
another example of the Western tendency toward self-indulgence. The
Leader "Faithful" said this in a speech at the prestigious University of
Red and Black in Cationi in 1927:
At the font of all fascist energy an honest man finds the
very individualism that [they] pretend to hate. The craving for power
and the violent swing of the fist reveals the naked individual at his
worst. Fascism is the perfect projection of ego, worse, a single ego,
the perfect anti-social expression, the perfect expression of
ultra-individualism overwhelming and suborning the common good. It is the privilege of the strong individual to
rule, exploit or kill the weak, the masses they make weak. It is a
westernization of Mogul, Pharaohic and Chinese emperor-worship. This
is a much more extreme version of what the capitalists have done for years in both Europe
and Bergonia. The fascist says that the state and all society
constitute a coherent whole, like a brain animating the body, but it is just
a lie to mask his real idea, which is that a coterie of
highly motivated scoundrels will dominate everything for their own
In another address, "Faithful" propounded the
Kilitanist attitude very succinctly, "Every ideology coming out of
Europe is at heart rank individualism, whether professed, admitted or
disguised." The view hardly stands up to scrutiny, but it
certainly says a lot about the speaker, and also reflects the widespread
anxiety most atrei have had about Western culture.
The fascist saw himself as an anti-religious pioneer
striding into the future, while the Kiltanist believed in his Miradi God,
and further believed that the traditional Bergonian way of life would
securely assure harmony with the holy way. The fascist worshipped the
warrior ideal because they fancied that bloody struggle ennobled man;
the Kilitan worshipped the warrior ideal because they felt that warrior discipline
ennobled man. The fascist wanted war for national aggrandizement and
glory, while the Kilitan, if they wanted to fight at all, wanted to achieve
a practical, defensive goal of keeping America and Britain away. The fascist
wanted a hyper-masculine life of vitality, power and war, while the Kilitan
expressly preached the penultimate Bergonian ideals of harmony, balance,
disciplined grace and respect for the holy and sensible things in the world. The Kilitan differed from most Bergonians in taking on a singularly intolerant
authoritarian way of advancing these things.