Is Pokémon a Leftist Utopia? Pt. I

Is Pokémon a Leftist Utopia? Pt. I

A quick look at government and society in the world of Pokémon.
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The Pokémon games are a phenomenon to say the least. Stretching across a variety of formats since its creation in 1995, the Pokémon franchise has managed to create an impossibly charming world of friendly monsters and idyllic society. Very little in-game attention is paid to the governing bodies and economic systems of the regions that players traverse, but that doesn’t necessarily mean there is no observable evidence of their existence. Buried in the typical deluge of gameplay and story-centric fan forums are a handful of threads dedicated to debating the political landscape of the Pokémon world.

Scrolling through these conversations, some of them years old while others have sprung up more recently to coincide with the latest releases, one question seems to pop up quite a bit more often than others. Time and time again politically minded fans, have wondered, “Is Pokémon socialist?”




Now obviously no concrete conclusions can be made, seeing as this is mostly a fan base looking way too far into a family friendly video game series, but being a student of history and politics, I decided to venture down the rabbit hole and throw my own observations into the conversation. After all, isn't that part of the fun of being in a fandom?

While I consider myself a leftist, I would like to focus purely on the world of the games themselves. I won’t be arguing whether or not these ideas or systems work in reality, nor will I be using Pokémon as some sort of pro-socialistic talking point. My goal is simply to relate my own observations and then follow up with more in-depth research. This article is being split into two pieces, with this week focusing on my own personal opinions, while the second part will focus on more thorough research into the games themselves and the fan theories online.

From my time with the Pokémon series (mostly spent playing Yellow, Gold, Y, Alpha Sapphire, and now Moon) I’ve come to think of it as an Eco-Socialist Utopia. Throughout the series, as players strike up conversations with the NPCs they encounter, a heavy cultural emphasis on an environmentalist, egalitarian society is established. Themes of friendship, camaraderie and acceptance are all common topics in every region from Kanto all the way to Alola. Pokémon X and Y's Professor Sycamore even opens the early game with this message. The citizens of each town and city are also absurdly generous, gifting passersby with supplies for their journey ahead and warmly sharing tips with travelling trainers. The cultural norm seems to lean more towards communal and collaborative ideals rather than purely individualistic ones.



Scientific progress is not only an important factor in Pokémon’s world, it is a priority. The professors of each region do not seem to be privately funded as they usually tend to function outside of the need for consistent monetary profits from their research (Professor Kukui being a prime example of this). Not only that, but almost all research and technology present in the Pokémon universe exists in tandem with nature. If something negatively impacts the environment or the Pokémon that inhabit it, the common citizens are almost always quick to voice their distress. There is a balance of science and technology with progressive environmentalism and the mysticism of Pokémon lore.


Healthcare in the world of Pokémon is the key element that often sparks these conversations and debates online. Medical assistance is provided rapidly and free of charge, with almost no questions asked, to trainers and their superpowered pocket monsters. While this can be partially attributed to the fabulous science-fiction technology that exists in the games the fact of the matter remains, Pokémon seems to have a socialised healthcare system in place. Pokémon Centres, the buildings where trainers go to access the free healthcare system, are often uniform across a region, (though from one region to another their designs tend to change) and, in Sun and Moon, they also contain the PokéMarts. The PokéMarts are storefronts where trainers can pay for supplies or sell items that they no longer need, and their existence within Sun and Moon shows that they are likely under the same jurisdiction as the Pokémon Centres. If players venture into the City Hall building in Hau’oli City in Sun/Moon, they will encounter an NPC standing off to the right of the information desk who states that the city hall’s functions include, “supporting the folks who work at the Pokémon Center,” showing that these establishments fall under some sort of government programme.



All of this being said, if it were some sort of socialist utopia, it would be incorporating elements of Social Democratic/Democratic Socialist values in its allowance of free enterprise. Corporations and stores that are not operated by the government exist throughout the Pokémon universe, and while much of the transportation seems to be publicly funded and municipally controlled, there are several examples of private transportation. It is interesting to note that of the instances where large scale companies are present in the games, these corporate entities are at times seen as shady and sometimes even directly connected to criminal activities.

Though the world of Pokémon is left fairly vague, there seem to be quite a few pieces of evidence to support the idea that it all takes place in some sort of leftist utopia. I’d personally argue that it is an Ecological Social Democracy with elements of other leftist ideologies, but this is all a raw response. Next week I’ll be delving into the fan theories, wiki pages, and other sources of evidence for a more complex look at the world of Pokémon!



Cover Image Credit: sketchappsources

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An Open Letter to the Person Who Still Uses the "R Word"

Your negative associations are slowly poisoning the true meaning of an incredibly beautiful, exclusive word.
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What do you mean you didn't “mean it like that?" You said it.

People don't say things just for the hell of it. It has one definition. Merriam-Webster defines it as, "To be less advanced in mental, physical or social development than is usual for one's age."

So, when you were “retarded drunk" this past weekend, as you claim, were you diagnosed with a physical or mental disability?

When you called your friend “retarded," did you realize that you were actually falsely labeling them as handicapped?

Don't correct yourself with words like “stupid," “dumb," or “ignorant." when I call you out. Sharpen your vocabulary a little more and broaden your horizons, because I promise you that if people with disabilities could banish that word forever, they would.

Especially when people associate it with drunks, bad decisions, idiotic statements, their enemies and other meaningless issues. Oh trust me, they are way more than that.

I'm not quite sure if you have had your eyes opened as to what a disabled person is capable of, but let me go ahead and lay it out there for you. My best friend has Down Syndrome, and when I tell people that their initial reaction is, “Oh that is so nice of you! You are so selfless to hang out with her."

Well, thanks for the compliment, but she is a person. A living, breathing, normal girl who has feelings, friends, thousands of abilities, knowledge, and compassion out the wazoo.

She listens better than anyone I know, she gets more excited to see me than anyone I know, and she works harder at her hobbies, school, work, and sports than anyone I know. She attends a private school, is a member of the swim team, has won multiple events in the Special Olympics, is in the school choir, and could quite possibly be the most popular girl at her school!

So yes, I would love to take your compliment, but please realize that most people who are labeled as “disabled" are actually more “able" than normal people. I hang out with her because she is one of the people who has so effortlessly taught me simplicity, gratitude, strength, faith, passion, love, genuine happiness and so much more.

Speaking for the people who cannot defend themselves: choose a new word.

The trend has gone out of style, just like smoking cigarettes or not wearing your seat belt. It is poisonous, it is ignorant, and it is low class.

As I explained above, most people with disabilities are actually more capable than a normal human because of their advantageous ways of making peoples' days and unknowingly changing lives. Hang out with a handicapped person, even if it is just for a day. I can one hundred percent guarantee you will bite your tongue next time you go to use the term out of context.

Hopefully you at least think of my friend, who in my book is a hero, a champion and an overcomer. Don't use the “R Word". You are way too good for that. Stand up and correct someone today.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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2019 Just Means That The 2020 Election Is Coming

I don't want things to be that way, people running for President make it that way.

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The 2020 election has begun with Senator Elizabeth Warren announcing that she has formed an exploratory committee to run for president.

Other likely candidates include Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Joe Biden, Beto O'Rourke, Michael Bloomberg, Sherrod Brown, Kirsten Gillibrand, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders. And those are only the people eating at the adult's table, there are other Democrats that will probably throw their hats in the ring just for some publicity.

The last time a primary began to decide the opponent for an unpopular incumbent Republican president that had lost the popular vote in his first campaign was just 15 years ago, in 2004 when John Kerry became the nominee to challenge President George W. Bush.

Kerry may have lost the election, but he did have an easy primary. Kerry beat out his early challengers and went on to easily win almost all of the primary caucuses and elections.

I do not think that 2020 will be so easy and that is due in part to 2016. The 2016 primary may have eclipsed 2008 in terms of being one of the most consequential primaries in US history.

2016 showed the ideological split within the Democratic Party, with many New Democrats, socially liberal economically conservative centrists, holding most of the power within, while there's a strong grassroots force urging the party leftwards. Critics will claim Hillary Clinton lost because she was not left-wing enough. And Bernie Sanders's surprising success shows that anybody who wants to be the nominee has to appeal to the Sanders demographic.

This article is not really here to endorse any candidate, you can read my other articles to figure out who I'm voting for, it is however here to point out just how difficult it will be to win the nomination.

A candidate has to, according to the so-called experts: be left-leaning but also be a centrist, and be able to get minorities out to vote but also appeal to some Trump voters that they think they can win over by calling out the President's divisive tactics.

Trickle-down economics and massive deregulation always throws the economy into a recession, but the question now is when will that happen? If it happens during the 2020 election it's safe to say it's over for Trump, but if a Democrat has to challenge a Republican while the economy is doing great, it will be all the more difficult. The election will turn into a debate over so-called "social" issues (assuming Trump does not take us to war).

Issues that seem to be on most Americans' minds are healthcare and immigration. The healthcare debate will turn into a debate amongst Democrats over whether or not single-payer is possible and will likely be one of the most divisive issues of the primary. Immigration will be easy, every Democrat will go the safe route and boldly proclaim that putting children in cages and letting them die is not good. This will lead to Trump accusing them of being Antifa thugs.

The road to the White House is not meant to be easy. You need to fight hard to win the hearts of Americans, unless you are a Republican then you just need to win over rich Americans and let the electoral college do the rest of the work.

But seriously, we need to start the process of finding someone that will undo the years of horror unleashed by the Trump administration and also put the country in a new direction. Someone that will help the old and the young, and all workers. It's time for a leader that works for the American laborer, not the American entrepreneur, and above all, it is time for a new president.

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