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Social Equality in the USMR
Social Equality in the Union of Socialist Micronational Republics is, by many macro- and micronational standards, above average and based upon the principles of Socialism. Although there have been criticisms of the system of government in the Union, the Communist Party of the Union of Socialist Micronational Republics has repeatedly demonstrated a strong commitment to improving social equality in the Union. In particular, the cause of social equality in the USMR has been championed by a non-Communist citizen who was a vocal supporter of the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. The ruling Communist Party prides itself on having made great gains in promoting equality, compared to the Kingdom of Licentia which had appalling Human rights and cripplingly low social mobility. In this article, social equality is defined as a social state of affairs in which all individuals within a society are equal and, to this length, also includes Civil and Human rights.
In all three constituent Socialist Republics of the USMR, all citizens and long-term residents are guaranteed the right to free healthcare, State-funded and high-quality educational services, social welfare benefits (in the event of disability, sickness, involuntary unemployment etc.), accommodation suitable for living and a basic pay that is sufficient for an individual to live off proportionate to the number of people in their household. As a Communist State, the concept of social class has been effectively abolished within the USMR, and it is a crime under Erusian law to declare oneself to be middle or upper class. In both Erusia and Licentia, it is illegal to hold any title of nobility and be a citizen - this includes a self-styled title.
Income, Property and Financial Equality
The Democratic People's Republic of Erusia formally illegalised private housing in all it's forms, replacing it with compulsory State ownership of all accommodation, and both Licentia and Bzan's governments have a constitutional monopoly on the housing sector. It is provided for by the All-Union constitution that all land and natural resources belong to the State and that, if a citizen wishes to establish a commercial enterprise, they may only be afforded State-owned land if their business transactions are strictly regulated, if they take care of the land and if their enterprise is beneficial to the community.
Within the USMR, all citizens are guaranteed fair and equal pay by national laws of each constituent Republic. Although no national legislature has yet passed a true Equal Wage Act, both Erusia and Licentia have established bands of pay that reflect one's contributions to society, how one earned employment and the ability of the individual proportionate to their means. In this respect, it is entirely possible for a dedicated manual labourer with no education but who is skilled and diligent in his work to earn higher pay than a well-educated scientist who contributes little to society.
The constitutions of the three Socialist Republics guarantee the State the power to nationalise any business, seize any land and to seize financial and material assets from anyone - provided those assets are immediately put to use in a way that benefits the People. In this respect, it is possible for the government to equalise and redistribute wealth by seizing unfair surpluses from individual estates and dispersing them throughout the local community. It is illegal for the State to use seized assets, material or otherwise, for any purpose other than improving equality and the lives of the People.
Freedom of Speech
Freedom of Speech is constitutionally guaranteed in both Erusia and Licentia, and guaranteed by a legislative bill (Personal Freedoms Act 2008) in Bzan. Although this right can be rescinded constitutionally in all three states, there are strict protocols governing such action.
Freedom of Expression
Freedom of Expression is constitutionally guaranteed in both Erusia and Licentia, and guaranteed by a legislative bill (Personal Freedoms Act 2008) in Bzan. Although this right can be rescinded constitutionally in all three states, there are strict protocols governing such action.
Freedom of Consience and Thought
Freedom of Conscience and Thought, which includes Freedom of Religion, is constitutionally guaranteed in all three Socialist Republics and further reinforced in Bzan by an item of the legislature (Personal Freedoms Act 2008). After the age of 7, no child may be forced to attend a religious institution by their parents, and no child of any age may be made to attend religious schooling until the age of 11. At the age of 11, a child must consciously make the choice to attend a religious educational institute before a Judge and may choose to enter the public school system at any time. In Erusia, this is not the case, as private education is outlawed in all its forms.
Freedom of the Press
Somewhat controversially, there is no law or constitutional document in the entire Union that allows for Freedom of the Press within the USMR. Despite interest from Reformist and Liberal camps within the Communist Party to establish Freedom of the Press, the Conservative faction has so far prevented any such legislative item from being proposed. To date, the Communist Party maintains tight control over all national and regional media, although media services are only required to comply with censorship laws, not the Party Line.
Although Erusia is currently the only nation in the Union that has democratic elections (for both the Premiership and the national legislature), every citizen of the Union has an inviolable right to vote any way they wish in any elections their national government should hold. Similarly, in Erusia and Bzan the People have the right to hold self-declared referenda (in the form of national public opinion polls) on a specific subject matter and direct the results of the vote towards the competent government authorities without any State intervention to stop them doing so. In both nations, government officials are accountable to the People (as a political entity) and are required to enter into a legal contract of service to them.
Although most micronational states have laws to protect the rights of women with the aim of promoting gender equality, the USMR advocates progressive Rennie-Gaffneyist social policies to promote gender equality. According to Rennie-Gaffneyism, masculinity and feminity are oppressive social concepts that must be replaced by newer, more progressive ideals if true gender equality is to be achieved. As such, the Communist Party of the USMR is both anti-masculist and also anti-feminist, instead of pursuing a path of reform that is about equalising the role of both genders without championing the cause of either men or women.
Within its micronational community, the Union stands out for an unusually high number of women in senior government offices. Two of the most important offices in All-Union government - the Chairperson of the National Revolutionary Committee (Premier of the USMR) and Speaker of the Supreme General Assembly - are held by women, with the former being the most important office in the State. Of the three major organs within the Central Committee of the Communist Party, two of these are lead by women.
As a Socialist State, Workers' Rights within the Union are of paramount importance but remain regulated to reflect the Communist Party's nature as the vanguard of the working classes. Workers have the right to strike against injustices in the workplaces, except in essential fields (such as the emergency services) where substitute employees cannot be found for the duration of the strike. All strikes require a minimum warning of forty-eight hours before becoming effective and should be Union coordinated, although wildcat strikes are not illegal in themselves. Workers may freely form Trade Unions or Workers' Syndicates to represent themselves, provided those organisations issue regular reports to the offices of the Communist Party in their region.
In all three constituent republics, equality is constitutionally guaranteed irrespective of "sex" or "sexuality", and the ruling Communist Party has worked actively to improve L(esbian)G(ay)B(isexual)T(ransexual) rights within the Union. Marriage has been abolished in both Erusia and Bzan and been replaced by a universal Civil Union for all couples, whilst Licentia has legalised homosexual marriage. Any citizen has the right to legally change their gender provided they can be recognised as such (i.e., have undergone hormonal therapy, gender reassignment surgery etc.) Homosexual couples have the right to adopt children provided they can provide sufficient care for them, and are subject to the exact same laws and protocols as heterosexual children. No religious institution may forbid an individual entry or membership on the grounds of sexual orientation.
The Communist Party has confirmed that there a number of "individuals who are not of the heterosexual orientation currently holding public office, both major and minor, within the Party and the State". For the sake of personal privacy and security, the government of the USMR refuses to disclose the sexual orientation of any ruling Party member, even if there is evidence that they are of a specific orientation (e.g., publicly married). The Party has worked actively to promote equality irrespective of sexuality and prides itself on the diversity of it's citizenry and ruling government. Within the USMR, discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation is considered absolutely equal to racial and gender discrimination.