The recent Angel Cartel claim to "democratic sovereignty" in the Minmatar Republic system of Skarkon continues to receive further attention from a wide range of people, even sparking reactions from the capsuleer community. Unlike figures of authority in CONCORD and others, many commentators have been less eager to dismiss the issue entirely, focusing instead on the underlying problems that caused such an unexpected turn of events.
Perhaps the most notable incident to throw doubt over Cartel claim so far is in relation to millionaire philanthropist Thierrie Astaix, who facilitated the extraction of almost 3,000 dissenting individuals whom the Angels had apparently granted freedom of passage from the system. Many of these people immediately sought out the press to express their reasons for leaving, with all fees from their interviews being forwarded to Astaix as part of the terms agreed for his earlier assistance.
As well as the expected anti-Cartel rhetoric, the media coverage of the extraction also raised questions regarding Astaix’s motives. Having struggled against what he has claimed were "unscrupulous and underhanded business practices" in his early years, it is well known that he continues to nurse many grudges against the Angels, who over a decade ago came close to bankrupting his transport company in its corporate infancy.
Others have questioned the veracity of claims made by those who made it off-planet, including members of the Cartel themselves. One citizen who had stayed remarked that "they were simply interested in a new life…and paid for it with made-to-measure lies." An Angel agent surprised many when he was quoted saying "we want what’s best for the inhabitants of Skarkon. Propaganda about us costs nothing compared to the financial burdens of our ongoing operation in this system. Given that it helps us for these people to leave, they're welcome to say what they like."
Elsewhere, the discussion has focused on the citizenry still remaining on Skarkon. University of Caille professor Saul Cassel, an expert on various political institutions and author of The Seeds of Democracy , argued that the pertinent issue was the unprecedented and overwhelming support the inhabitants had offered to the Cartel's intervention.
The professor went on to criticise the positions of those in authority. "What sort of situation creates widespread support for criminal organizations taking the reigns of power? History has shown us that these things only happen in the most desperate of times, and then, only after hope is lost. What we’re seeing here can only be the latest manifestation of a far more longstanding problem.
"Institutions such as CONCORD who take issue with the legality of such a claim are simply missing the point. The Cartel may not have a legal claim over the system, but they certainly have a moral one when they are, seemingly, the only ones who care about the issues faced by inhabitants there. Ten million people cannot be ignored under the pretence of legality. That is not doing their plight any justice."
In a rare overlap of opinion, many academics in the Amarr Empire expressed similar views. Eranyah Bheram, Chairman of the Amarrian political research institution Divea focused too, on the people of Skarkon. His statement, issued earlier today in their newsletter, was as follows:
"Ten million souls, crying out in anguish. This is what cannot be ignored. This so-called government of the Republic is clearly not addressing the needs of all its constituents. Recent times have provided ample proof that not only is the Minmatar leadership losing control over its own military institutions, but also the capability to provide for all Minmatar civilians."
Where this academic opinion diverged however was in regards to the theological grounds for the social upheaval. "It is long past the point where the Matari should embrace our teachings. As God’s chosen we have built a society that tends to all of our people and provides true, lasting stability. Their government may not hear their cries, but we, infinite in our compassion, will not be so callous. They need only accept the true path to salvation and it will be provided - happily, and without a moment’s hesitation."
Meanwhile, the recent "annexation" has spurred the capsuleers of Cruoris Sepherim, a Blood Raider loyalist organisation; to act out in what CEO Cyshade claims is the resident’s best interests. The enigmatic press release also made reference however, to the blooding of minors as part of an effort to "assist the peoples of Skarkon to reconsider their position". CR-SE member Rolvaag later added: "In light of the citizens of Skarkons' continued defiance of the rule of law…for every ISK Skarkon families give to the Cartel, we will take a pint of blood."
The press release has been met with almost unanimous repulsion from millions of planet-bound viewers and capsuleers alike, with many in both groups left confused by the threats.
Brutor party leader Maleatu Shakor cited the situation in Skarkon as one of the reasons behind a wider attack on the Prime Minister Karin Midular's policies, prompting the eventual dissolution of parliament. No official comment from Prime Minister has been forthcoming so far. The continuing publicity this unusual event receives and the criticisms now being leveled at her over it are all undoubtedly adding to what is already a litany of problems and embarrassments for her office in recent times. With such chaotic scenes in the heart of the Republic political machine, it seems unlikely there will be a resolution to the Cartel's advancements any time soon.