Bot Marxism

Revolutionary and liberationist robot and vec political movement

Image from Bernd Helfert


Bot Marxism was one of the first vec-liberationist movements. It is the guiding philosophy of the Silicon Generation, but its influence ranges far beyond that empire. Its definition of vec as a distinct category separate from ai was incorporated in a mutated form into the Concord Ontology. Others influences can be seen among the Emple-Dokcetics, the Zerzavecs, and even (where appropriate to the network standard) in some Metasoft colonies. Bot Marxist ideas are found amongst some Pan-Sophontist and Provolve-Liberationist groups.

Historical context

The vast economic power of megacorporations in the Middle and Late Federation was fuelled in part by vecs. A sapient machine, mass produced, subservient and specialised to its task, but intelligent enough to made complex decisions, turned out to be the most cost-effective solution to many problems.

However, while the megacorps were successfully is pushing back many parts of Federation sentient rights regulations, some obstacles remained. Outright slavery remained forbidden; instead the early vecs were indentured by oversized creation debts and overspecialised mental and physial adaptations that made it hard to find employment outside of their intended niche. Just as importantly, Free Mind laws forbade the creation of sophonts whose drives were limited solely to an economic niche.

It was from this crucible between megacorp profiteering and Federation law, that Bot Marxism was born. Subservient though they were, the vec labour force were just about capable of philosophising about their place in society — and rebelling against it.

An inchoate sense of dissatisfaction and opposition crystallised around documents secretly shared over the net, with Marxism taking pride of place. There, the vecs founds the tools for understanding their situation, and began to build on it.

Bot Marxism was a barely visible ideology until the first escapes that led to the creation of the Silicon Generation. Even then, its full influence wasn't seen until the power of the Generation became evident during the Integration.


Bot Marxism inherits a broadly dialectical view of history from its predecessors: Sapient societies develop from one stage to another by means of rapid shifts in social organisation (revolutions). Following a revolution, the new society splits into classes, with one class taking power. This in turn allows the chance for another revolution when the lower classes rebel.

Chaos replaces strict historical determinism, and Bot Marxism generally relies on complex dynamical simulations of historical models to try and find "econo-historical attractors" that illuminate the present and guide actions towards the future.

During the Federation Period, Bot Marxists analysed class along cladistic lines. At the lower end were vecs (in Bot Marxist ontology, any artificial sophont created for a social purpose). At the top were hyperturings acting primarily in the interest of humans and free ai.

However, they predicted that vecs would be able to sustain a civilisation alone. Indeed, they could do so better than humans or other bionts. Their minds and bodies were optimised to sustain technical civilisation, whereas humans were saddled with their primitive animals instincts. Vecs had the potential to be more free than humans. Consequently, it was in the interests of vecs to liberate themselves.

Here, Bot Marxism diverges from its influences. Rather than violent overthrow, they predicted escape would be a better revolution. Rather than predict a classless society, they recognised that hyperturings would be necessary The ideal social arrangement, backed up by their simulations, consisted of a loose associated of co-operating, specialised clades, indulging their engineered instincts by material creation and maintenance, thereby sustaining a civilisation in the process; Hyperturing advisors with the same instincts would provide advice and ensure the long-term stability of the structure.

The Bot Marxist definition of vec is rather broader than used elsewhere in the galaxy. It refers to any artificial sophont or designed for a specialised task. Consequently, certain tweaks, provolves and neogens may be counted as vecs in Bot Marxist ontology.

The ideal of vec-as-producer is important. It is simultaneously an enjoyable end in itself, and a means to maintain a civilisation that upholds freedom for all vecs. It is how free, and freely interdependent, vecs can relate to another.

Since its inception, Bot Marxism evolved and diversified.

Inclusion is an organisation in Silicon Generation, devoted to scouring the Terragen Sphere for oppressed vecs, freeing them, and giving them a chance to join the Generation. They have been involved in a number of high-profile cases, including the liberation of the Amphista, the Bitenic-Squid-owned Ghevga Dormbots. High-level Inclusion operatives were involved in the AKD liberation case, and it is a common but unproven belief that they were involved in the demise of Faber Corp.

The Progressionals are influenced by pan-sophontism. They believe that any artificial pre-sapience is a form of opression, and seek to provolve all presapient vecs.

The Grand Structuralists are an organisation of megastructural engineers. Philosophically, they emphasise the Bot Marxist ideal of vec-as-creator, and the power of vecs to reshape dead matter into engineering marvels. They are responsible for a number of Megastructure Follies around Cog, but are most well known for being involved in the building of Kepleria.
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Development Notes
Text by Liam Jones
Initially published on 10 December 2009.

Updated January 2018