The strange tale of Runescape's Communist republic

In 2007, a group of players in Runescape -- once billed as the world's most-played massively multiplayer game -- declared a Communist republic on Gielinor's Server 32, amid a revolution that saw 5,000 characters killed off in the fighting.

The Gielinor republic established town councils who sent deputies to a people's parliament who advised a cabinet of 20 ministers who governed under party leader SireZaros. In 2008, a counterrevolution led by junior party member Redsteel136 deposed much of the leadership and executed them, instituting a program of market reforms.

The new regime fell after the Runescape management revalued in-game items against real-world currency, leading to economic collapse.

I am aware that today is April 1, and that the wiki that is thesource for this story does not appear in earlier versions on the Wayback Machine; however, based on the page's long edit history, I'm prepared to believe that this actually happened, as weird as that is.

In October, the economy bottomed out at its historical low. Nevertheless, the communist party continued to hold out, hoping that the tradeable price of high-level items would eventually grow high enough to allow for an eventual economic recovery. Sadly, this was not to be. In the grip of total market collapse, the communists were incapable of extracting enough tax revenue from players to meet the clan fees necessary for them to maintain power. As the sun set on the final few days of December 2008, after almost a year of working class rule, General Secretary Redsteel136 dissolved the party and returned power to the bourgeoisie.

RuneScape’s first experiment in socialism ended, regretfully, in the restoration of capitalist domination. This should not, however, be taken as a sign that capitalism is inevitable or uncontestable. The revolutionary fervour with which the proletariat of Server 32 ganked and teabagged their way to power demonstrates clearly that the objective conditions for communism in RuneScape can and do exist. Likewise, while General Secretary Redsteel136′s ascent to power came through backroom politicking and anti-democratic plots, his policies towards Karamjan national liberation were progressive and internationalist. The crisis which snuffed out the flame of socialism was the result of a concerted attack by a powerful capitalist foe.

Free armour trimming: The Communist revolution inside Runescape [Emilie Rākete/The Spinoff]

(via Four Short Links)