Throughout the semester of late 2018 to mid 2019, I returned as a member of the Comics Collective to help the group design posters, maps, flags, and propaganda, in a world building collaborative project, which takes the form of a comic compiling several stories of characters living in a post-apocalyptic dystopian United States. The country, in an alternate 2050, has been affected by severe climate change and resource scarcity, and mostly ruled by a Technocracy (form of government in which scientists and engineers are at the top) who despise all art and creative thinking, and have begun purging/committing genocide on artists across the country.
The Technocracy, in-Universe has annexed Canada and set up labor camps across the northern United States and southern Canada in order to force artists and machines to extract the last natural resources in North America, sometimes exterminating artists outright for being “useless” and for possessing “rebellious” thoughts. The camps are all named after famous technocrats or individuals with technocratic ideas– the largest and most deadly camp being called Howard Scott, after the real-life Howard Scott, who attempted to gain enough support in the 1930s (following the Great Depression) to establish an actual “Technate” in the US by overthrowing politicians and replacing them with academics, scientists, and engineers. Whereas in our real world, Scott failed to realize his dream, he actually won in-Universe, and his successors then twisted his ideas to suit their own agendas.The Technocracy’s capital is where Silicon Valley is today, except turned into a massive city (following the flooding and abandonment of most of the East Coast). California is, incidentally, where Scott first founded his Technocracy, so it would only be natural for the capital to remain there in the ensuing decades.
To the Northwest, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, British Columbia (Canada), the Yukon territories, and Alaska have seceded from the United States and unified under the flag of the independent sovereign nation known as Cascadia in order to protect the natural resources in the Cascadia bioregion from being exploited by Technocrats. Ruled by environmentalists who are desperately trying their hardest to preserve nature, Cascadia’s people have been locked into a constant state of war with the technologically superior Technocrats for many years, if not decades, especially as a result of camp refugees (usually fleeing artists) coming to their borders for asylum in a place where art is not met with hostility. To the northeast in Eastern Canada, the Enclave of Quebec has seceded from annexed Canada in an attempt to avoid being enslaved by the Technocrats, and has a loose alliance with Cascadia, although transporting supplies and communication has proven extremely difficult without the use of secret underground passageways, or current wireless technology.
In the South, Mexico has been renamed the Republic of Aztlan (after the Aztecs) and taken over by “water gangs” or “water cartels”. The United States has also recently sold its Southern territories, including Texas, back to Mexico (taken during the Mexican-American War) in exchange for not only added wealth, but also the loyalty of private armies owned by “water lords” in the fight to take Cascadia, and otherwise, enforce a military presence in Canada. Mexico has, alongside the Southern territories, received water from up north to quench its thirsty populations, as mutual benefit.
As a part of the campaign to remove all art, the Technocrats have ordered museums burned and libraries and places of religious worship destroyed, in an attempt to erase all trace of “useless” creativity in favor of logic and practicality, and the worst part of this is that many people have supported this maneuver by the government, eagerly enlisting in the army to conduct raids on artist’s secret retreats, or directly fighting Cascadian “savages” or “wild animals” (due to their association with nature) on the battlefield. Some people have, as doctors, begun performing lobotomies on “creative types” to remove or sedate their right brains, in order to force them to perfectly logical, while regular civilians have reported their friends and families as artists in order to gain wealth, prestige, and, or better living conditions (basically a Red Scare type of situation).
As proof of the Technocracy’s superiority, its leaders have advertised how science has allowed the Technocracy to continue to colonize the Moon after the first Moon landings and even after the downfall of the US, with art having done nothing, and therefore being “functionally useless”.
The flags of all the nations each have their own respective symbols and meanings in this post-apocalyptic landscap:
The flag(s) of the Technocracy retain the color scheme of the original US flag. The American eagle now holds a hammer and wrench, representing industry and progress, further cemented by the symbol of the gear (which has 31 teeth to represent the 31 remaining states of the US, since three have been taken by Cascadia, several have been sold to Mexico, the East Coast and Hawaii have been lost, etc). The 13 pointed star inside the gear represents the lost 13 original colonies, which are there as a token of remembrance so that everyone remembers the greatness of the former US.
The flag for the Underground Artist’s League (a group of artists resisting against the Technocracy) features the “black power” fist holding a paintbrush surrounded by 9 stars, representing the 9 forms of art.
The flag for Cascadia and the flag for Quebec are partially inspired by the diagonal bisection of the flags representing anarchy, and thus their desire for total freedom. Cascadia’s flag is pine green with a white pine tree and six stars, representing the six states of the nation, all filled with nature and vegetation. Quebec’s flag is red and blue, the red referencing its previous ties to the old nation of Canada, the blue referencing the old Quebec flag. Its white fleur-de-lis symbols from the previous flag are now arranged into a thorny cross and turned into spades, representing the country’s willingness to use violence to protect itself from the Technocracy (whereas Cascadia has tried within reason to be pacifist).
Aztlan’s flag is derived from the original flag of Mexico, except featuring a red Sun of May and a deep yellow background, referencing the desert that Mexico has become. The eagle from the old Mexican flag now has a crown, referring to the total rule of the water lords. Overall, things look bleak in this country.