DUBAANA (AGOZE V) – In the year since capsuleers began to interact with planetary populations through their massive resource extraction centers, life has changed dramatically for the inhabitants of this oceanic colony.
Prior to the start of capsuleer planetary interaction, the Union Council had been sole governing authority for the fifth planet in the Agoze system. The Council, comprised of representatives elected by the colony’s various labor unions, ruled the colony since LaSalle Submarine Extractions ceded control of its underwater operations centuries ago.
Early attempts to unionize the capsuleer-employed workers failed as the local population has no real leverage against the capsuleers. Workers at one extraction center staged a walk out, but quickly found themselves replaced by an army of foreign-born employees brought in by the capsuleer. Another group tried to force the issue with a work stoppage. They backed down when their employer threatened their homes with an orbital bombardment.
Under the colony’s charter, full citizenship and representation is extended only to union members. With the failure to unionize capsuleer operations, tens of thousands of Dubaanans employed by them were effectively disenfranchised. This spurred a fundamental debate among the population.
“When the colony was formed, the labor unions were the dominant force in Dubaanan society so it was only natural that the colonists used them as the basis for their government,” said Ira Bakker, professor of history at the University of Caille. “The unions have since fostered the notion that only the productive members of society should have a say in how it is run.”
Traditionally, being a productive member of society and being a member of a labor union were synonymous in the minds and legal system of the Dubaanan people. With the rise of capsuleer planetary interaction, however, those left out of the union system have pressed for the creation of a new legal classification allowing those who are employed, but not unionized, to participate in elections.
“It’s only fair that we be allowed to vote,” said Chakar Singh, an employee at a capsuleer-owned installation. “I go to work every day, collect my pay and spend it in the shops of my aarambh. I am as much a member of society today as I was a year ago when I was in the custodial union.”
Over the course of the last year, several proposals were put forth as possible solutions. The first was to allow capsuleer-employed citizens to vote on referendums and local governance issues, but to deny them representation on the Union Council. A second would allow create a new seat on the council to represent those employed in capsuleer enterprises, thus granting the non-union citizens full legal representation.
In the end, the Union Council could not reach a consensus to approve either proposal. As a result the matter will be put to a vote of the people, allowing them to decide what course to take.
Ironically, those most directly affected—the non-union employees—will be prohibited from voting because, under the existing laws, they do not qualify to vote. Despite this paradox, supporters of the full-citizenship option are confident that the measure will pass.
“Everyone I know knows somebody or is related to somebody who works for a capsuleer,” said Echo Hattangady, who is herself an employee of the food preparers’ union. “I’m voting for to give citizenship back to my uncle.”
With less than a week until the referendum, the debate is reaching a fever pitch and the vote is one that will be watched throughout the cluster as other planetary governments deal with their own issues created by activities of the elite capsuleer population of New Eden.