- "And don't forget she's a politician. They're not to be trusted."
- ―Obi-Wan Kenobi, about Padmé Amidala
Politics were the activities associated with the policies of a government. Those involved in such activities were referred to as politicians. Across the galaxy, there existed many different forms of government.
Forms of government
- "We need a system where the politicians sit down and discuss the problems, agree what's in the best interests of all the people, and then do it."
"That is exactly what we do. The trouble is that people don't always agree."
- ―Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Amidala
In a republic, people are governed by elected representatives and an elected leader rather than by a monarch. With its body of elected senators, the Galactic Republic was a galaxy-spanning democracy. However, that system was not without its drawbacks. As admitted by Padmé Amidala, a Republic senator, elected representatives were often too stubborn to reach consensus, and some were known to even take bribes. Additionally, many of those representatives were tempted to forget common interest and looked out only for themselves and their home systems. The Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi thought that most senators were only focused on pleasing those who sponsored their campaigns, which prompted them to forget the ideals of democracy.
- "And as your King, I pledge my loyalty to all people of Mon Cala."
- ―King Lee-Char of Mon Cala
In a monarchy, a single individual—known as king or queen depending on gender—would rule his or her people by birthright, grounding their legitimacy in lineage. The Elder Houses were comprised of ancient galactic royalty.
Sometimes, however, the legitimacy of a lineage was contested. During the Clone Wars, Prince Lee-Char of Mon Cala was preordained to succeed his father Yos Kolina, but the Quarren inhabitants of the planet wanted to place one of their own on the throne, which prompted them to wage war with the crown heir. Other planets ruled by monarchies included Aleen, Toydaria, and Onderon. Some monarchs, such as those of Naboo, were elected to the throne.
- "In order to ensure the security and continuing stability, the Republic will be reorganized into the first Galactic Empire! For a safe and secure society."
- ―Darth Sidious
An empire was an intergalactic system of geopolitical organization in which various territories and aggregates were collectively constituted underneath a common, centralized executive authority. Oftentimes, these territories would fall under the direct rule of a singular galactic government's jurisdiction, as was the case with the Galactic Empire and the way in which it was administrated. In other cases, empires were more nuanced, instead manifesting as hegemonies; here, the various aggregates would be devolved, with territories retaining their own official sovereignty, though many were often vassal states of the most powerful government in the dominion. A good example of this was the isolationist Chiss Ascendancy, a political designation that saw its planets controlled by the ruling houses of the Aristocra.
Traditionally, many empires fell under the rule of a single leader, who was typically called an emperor or an empress, depending on the gender.
- "That sounds an awful lot like a dictatorship to me."
"Well, if it works…"
- ―Padmé Amidala and Anakin Skywalker
A dictatorship was a form of government in which central authority is vested in the hands of a single individual, who often held vast executive power. The authority of that individual, called a dictator, is often enforced through various oppressive mechanisms, such as repression of the press, detention of political activists and the use of omnipresent security measures to monitor public opinion, often with hopes of manipulating it in favor of the regime. A form of dictatorship was called fascism.
At the time of the Clone Wars, the planet Quarzite was ruled over by a Belugan dictator, Lord Otua Blank. When Sheev Palpatine, then Supreme Chancellor of the Republic, announced the establishment of the First Galactic Empire, the galactic government shifted from a democracy to a dictatorship, more specifically, a fascist regime.
A massive nongovernmental criminal-orientated organizational body ruled by a single individual, such as that of the criminal empire of the Hutt Jabba Desilijic Tiure, may also function as a dictatorship.
A confederacy, alliance, or league, was an organization of entites that willingly entered into a larger coorperative body.
Confederacy of Independent Systems
One such organization was the Confederacy of Independent Systems:
The Separatist Crisis that plagued the latter years of the Galactic Republic was propagated by the lack of support from the Republic to its outlying members. Fueled by frustration with the dysfuctional and corrupt bureaucracy of the Republic, many star systems, as well as greedy corporate entities vying for greater commercial freedom for its financial goals, formed the Confederacy of Independent Systems, a secessionist state that attempted to liberate itself from the shackles of Republic law and its slow, albeit democratic system. Free of such restrictions, the Confederacy boasted its Separatist Parliament, an alternative democratic assembly for the independent systems. This parliament was the legislative branch of the Confederacy, yet could be overruled and misguided by the ruling Separatist Council,[source?] dominated by large corporations such as the Techno Union and the Trade Federation, the Council itself manipulated by the elusive Sith.
Alliance to Restore the Republic
- "I wasn't the youngest queen ever elected, but now that I think back on it, I'm not sure I was old enough."
- ―Padmé Amidala, to Anakin Skywalker
There also existed hybrid forms of government. On the planet of Naboo, the head of state was referred to as a king or queen despite being elected by his or her people. He or she was assisted by a body of ministers called the Naboo Royal Advisory Council. Additionally, that elected sovereign could only serve two terms in accordance with the Naboo constitution, a type of constitutional monarchy.
Behind the scenes
In the 2016 reference book Star Wars Propaganda: A History of Persuasive Art in the Galaxy the in-universe author expresses shame over the pro-imperial propaganda poster Imperius Unitada ober Totallex for its "unflinching fascist image."
Notes and references
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Nomad Droids"
- Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars — "Pursuit of Peace"
- Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Water War"
- Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope
- Princess Leia: Royal Rebel
- Star Wars Propaganda: A History of Persuasive Art in the Galaxy
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Bounty"
- Star Wars: Rogue One: The Ultimate Visual Guide
- Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi