On the way back from the Kyonoke inquest I was fortunate enough to share a civilian shuttle with Bataav, a capsuleer I’ve long been aware of but had not previously met (except at the end of my targeting systems).
Given our shared Intaki heritage and geographic proximity in New Eden, I took some time to understand his long held Intaki Independence stance.
SMS : Why is there an independence movement? What IS your problem with the Federation!?
B : Let me answer that with a question of my own. When someone asks, do you tell them you’re Gallente?
SMS : Well of course, I fight for and am part of the Federation.
B : A lot of Intaki give the same answer.
For a people who were so proud of their self-reliance and their independence, how many of us have forgotten our roots? How many speak the language? How many know of Ida? And not those cheap ‘Little Books of Ida’ the tourists buy. They don’t really count.
To answer your question, a part of why I support independence for the Intaki is to prevent the Intaki culture being completely lost to a vague, all assimilating Federal identity that has no depth.
SMS : Surely most Intaki are fine with the status quo though? There was even an Intaki President not too long ago.
B : It’s important to understand that this isn’t ethnic nationalism. It’s not some Gallente-hating movement. Not like Intaki Pure was, with their plan to kick out everyone who’s not Intaki, and drag anyone who is, away from the lives they have built, back to Placid.
The core independence movement is civic nationalism. It’s about embracing that self reliance, and giving the Intaki Assembly back the responsibilities it once had.
SMS : But the Intaki Assembly still has autonomy in Intaki? Federation governance is light touch and the benefits of the Federation has meant prosperity for Intaki itself, no?
B : The Federation is often described as an ideal, or a vision. But that vision, that view, looks out at the cluster from a Luminaire perspective.
New Eden looks very different from Placid, and the Intaki Assembly no longer has the powers and responsibilities it once had, which would enable it to look after its people effectively.
If you look back at the years immediately after first contact with the Gallente ((22794 AD / -YC442)), the Intaki were quickly taking to the stars and establishing colonies all across what is now Placid.
A few hundred years later and the Federation is founded ((23121 AD / -YC115)), but the Intaki are still proud of our self reliance and our independence, free to explore whatever paths that lay before us, just as Ida teaches us. Our potential was there for the taking.
SMS : So, what happened?
B : The Federation evolved, as it must. But since that time, the Intaki Assembly’s authority has consistently been reduced, its influence and power taken away and handed to the Federal Senate.
When what remains of the Assembly’s mandate extends no further than the boundaries of the home system, the idea of Intaki autonomy cannot be taken seriously.
And this is what the independence movement campaigns for: For the Intaki Assembly to be given the responsibility, and accountability, that other nations take for granted. For a free Intaki to be an equal alongside its neighbours.
SMS : Do you think Intaki could afford to be independent? Economically what are Intaki’s strengths?
B : The Intaki system would form the core of an independent state, but it’s borders would reach beyond the system limits. The economic argument needs to take this into account.
While Intaki itself is relatively short on natural resources, it is still considered one of the wealthiest in the Federation.
The majority of this wealth is attributed to services, and to advanced manufacturing.
What matters most for the latter of these, is that the wider Placid region is a net importer of goods and materials. With organisations such as FedMart prominent in the system, it should come at no surprise that most of these imports are directed from the Federation.
We argue that an independent Intaki, and its colonies, would have the ability to negotiate trade agreements without Federal oversight.
SMS: How would that manifest itself? Surely having the might of the Federation behind Intaki is a powerful plus?
B : Being positioned between Black Rise and Verge Vendor, we should be able to flourish, trading openly with both Federation and State, and without the complications of CEWPA.
And of course there is the Intaki Syndicate to which Federal policy currently acts as a barrier, frustrating legitimate trade potential.
Independence would remove that barrier, and an empowered Intaki would provide the Syndicate with a new and legitimate market, reducing the reliance on other… unconventional practices.
You only have to look at the successes of the Upwell Consortium to see what Intaki Bank funding can achieve.
SMS : How do the Intaki people as a whole deal with the system being seen as a prize asset by both the Caldari and the Gallente – Does the ongoing capsuleer faction warfare affect anyone’s day to day lives?
B : Honestly? With stoic resilience.
Baseliners really aren’t in a position to do anything else with regards to CEWPA, despite the civilian deaths that result from so-called “collateral damage” inflicted on so-called valid targets, such as POCOs and other infrastructure, by the capsuleer conflict.
We believe those deaths are entirely avoidable, and both Federation and State should be held accountable for their ongoing participation in such a futile and pointless conflict.
The reality is that because the Intaki Assembly remains the local government regardless of militia dominance in the system highlights just how futile the conflict is.
SMS : What would be your recommendations for moving the diplomatic stalemate forward?
B : Firstly, we would wish to seek clarity from CONCORD, and the Senate regarding the disparity between a state’s right to territorial integrity vs a people’s right to self determination.
Secondly, there needs to be an understanding that this is not ethnic nationalism, and there are no plans for forceful repatriation based on ethnic heritage, of anyone, from anywhere to anywhere.
Finally, we require an acknowledgement that by definition, Intaki Independence is not compatible with accession to the Caldari State. This is not what is being campaigned for by organisations such as the ILF.
I’d add that it’s reasonable to assume that an independent Intaki could become a full CONCORD signatory in its own right, and act as a friendly neighbour to both Federation and State.
It would also provide a buffer between the two, alleviating the conflict along a substantial section of the war zone for the civilians living there, as we trust Intaki’s neutrality would be respected, just as both sides have done towards the Syndicate.
SMS : How do the Intaki Liberation Front operate on a day to day basis and what form does your resistance take?
B : Our pilots regularly patrol to challenge Serpentis operations, in support of Mordu’s Legion security efforts, and we’ve also increased our direct action against militia activity in the Intaki system.
We believe that Federal militia deployments in the Intaki system directly contradict and undermine the spirit of the Intaki stipulation that there must be a minimal Federal military presence in Intaki.
I have personally made the case publically that militia assets should be redeployed, and the station in orbit above Intaki II be transferred to the legitimate security force in system, Mordu’s Legion.
SMS : Yes, I’ve got mixed memories of engaging some of your er.. valiant capsuleers in the past…
B : Our work goes beyond security operations though. We also sponsor projects of cultural importance, through the Intaki Cultural Centre on Intaki Prime.
Some of our more high profile projects have included efforts to preserve and teach the Intaki language, and artifacts and literature of cultural significance.
SMS : If Intaki pilots are interested in helping out, how do they get in touch?
B: We can be found in and around the Intaki system, as well as the fluid router channel FreeIntaki. Our Galnet portal ilfcorp.com also provides ways to contact the ILF.
SMS : Well best of luck, I think? Personally I’m going to commit to staying out of Intaki for now, to avoid any collateral damage, no point throwing spirits onto a funeral pyre…Now where the heck do they keep the Pleasure Deck on these transports!? It’s been well over 4 hours since I had any beer….
[The conversation swiftly progressed to less relevant topics including the variety of beer available at the Kyonoke Inquest, why Xenuria’s specialist footwear failed to help him escape inquest security and the ever increasing price of Quafe]