Honoured citizens list

The honoured citizens list (French: liste des citoyens honorés) was compiled in the Free Territories to denote emiment Gylian artistic and civic figures. Inclusion of the list was a title of honour and brought certain privileges, including heightened security detail.

Background

The Free Territories saw a struggle between anarchists–libertarians and statists–authoritarians. The two sides formed an "alliance of convenience" during the Liberation War, but it was expected the two would fight for supremacy once the tide of war turned.

Alscia joined the Free Territories in 1939, upending the previous balance of power through an influx of liberals and conservatives, which required accommodation or reconciliation. It also served to heighten contradictions between the anarchist and statist factions. Significant divisions included the use of violence — which authoritarians advocated more recklessly — and culture — where authoritarians pursued a Year Zero, opposed by anarchists' embrace of utopian traditions.

Rationale

Deborah Freeman was involved in compiling and administering the list

The list was compiled some time around 1941–1943. It was part of a dual strategy used by the anarchist faction in the Liberation War, described by Luisa Braglia and Sofia Westergaard. It involved "rationing the use of violence" on one hand — allowing popular reprisals against hated figures but preferring public humiliation — and "buying out" the acquiescence of well-regarded figures on the other. Luisa referred to it as a "gold or bullets strategy".

By agreeing to protect and compensate esteemed Gylians, anarchists hoped to attract support for their popular front. They were also aware of the symbolic value of such a strategy. It separated themselves from the authoritarians, and also set themselves apart from the authoritarianism of the Ruvelkan Socialist Republic, not to mention the Futurist regimes of Megelan and Æþurheim, which went to greater lengths to subordinate culture.

Several ferroses were involved in compiling the list, including Eva Gardiner, Marguerite Tailler, and Deborah Freeman. Deborah took a prominent role in overseeing the administration of the honours regime, a task excellently suited to her aristocratic personality. She is most associated with the list in public memory, and has sometimes been described as its author.

The strategy relied on the "whoever isn't against us is with us" principle. As such, it didn't require recipients support the anarchists, merely that they refrain from actively opposing the Free Territories. Deborah commented: "We don't want brown-nosing or parroting, just that they don't make themselves obstacles." Some honoured citizens continued a career in public life, serving in communal assemblies or the General Council.

The first versions of the list concerned mainly Alscian figures, particularly members of the mauve circle and the Donatella Rossetti government. Anarchists also made a point of protecting and honouring ideological adversaries like Beatrice Albini and Maria Caracciolo, to set an example.

Privileges

Honoured citizens were afforded certain privileges, including a pension, permanent exemption from militia duties, provision of security detail if requested, and slight prioritisation on rationing and transportation. UOC title holders were entitled to continue being addressed by them.

Hedy Kiesler became a "poster child" for the list. Deborah recalled she was "quite cheeky" about her inclusion, requesting a pension of ₤1 million per year. This was granted, somewhat to her surprise. Hedy's example helped convince similar honoured citizens to accept the title and collaborate or acquiesce to the Free Territories.

In essence, the list was a form of political pension, guaranteeing recipients a "comfortable and quiet retirement" as long as they didn't engage in actions inimical to the Free Territories. Sofia wrote that the pension agreements, put in writing and approved by the General Council, were "kept with scrupulous reliability".

Deborah's sister Jessica wrote in Hons and Rebels that she felt proud of the way the Free Territories looked after its honoured citizens, and indeed the protection and compensation provided contributed significantly to the anarchists' reputation.

The arrangements were retained after the end of the Liberation War and the transition from the Free Territories to Gylias. The Gylian Senate became an additional vehicle for acknowledging the contributions of honoured citizens soon after establishment — both Arlette Gaubert and Dæse Şyna jokingly expressed appreciation of the "lovely retirement" it provided. They only ended with the deaths of the last recipients, in 1976–1977.

Although not officially included on the honoured citizens list, the Varnaþ family were afforded a similarly respectful, if less ostentatious, treatment after the Liberation War.

Notable people listed