One of the most poorly understood aspects of nullsec warfare is the
underlying political structures which create and define an alliance.
Structured well, an alliance can survive incredible stress and bounce
back from defeat; structured poorly, an alliance will implode in drama
at the first sign of adversity. In the last few years of sifting
through the dirty laundry of just about every alliance holding space in
EVE, I've noticed that alliance structures tend to fall into four broad

At the corporate level, most organizations in EVE are dictatorial,
simply due to the inherent structure and absolute power of CEOship in
the hard-code of the game. It's not possible to create a partnership,
LLC or S-Corp in New Eden, so every corporation begins with total
control in the hands of CEOs and full directors. Yet at the alliance
level, dictatorial structure is the exception rather than the rule.
There can be no question that a dictatorship is the easiest type of
alliance to administrate and the fastest to respond to crises, but it
remains rare in nullsec. Alliance dictatorships crop up when a central
corporation in the alliance is far stronger than the other members. If
the central corporation doesn't need the help of the other member corps
to accomplish its ends, the other corporations take an ancillary,
subordinate role. Some examples of this type are Goonswarm, whose 'core
corp' is Goonfleet, KIA Alliance with KIA Corp as its core, and xDeathx
Squad at the center of Legion of xDeathx.

I don't know what it says about humanity or even if a broader comment
can be made from what occurs in a spaceship game, but democratic
alliances in EVE tend to be flaming disasters. They are rare, because
most CEOs are brought up with absolute dictatorial power and the idea
of voting is an alien idea to them. RISE and Knights of the
Southerncross both created 'council' or 'senate' style governments,
where any given governing item had to be voted on by the leaders of the
group, and smaller corporations were given equal say with the larger
ones, despite the differences in military reality - not unlike the
modern American Senate.  When the barbarians are at the gate,
though, voting does not save you - leaders need to be on the field
rallying their pilots, not having meetings and quibbling. When
pressured by an outside force, democratic alliances in EVE do not fare
well. If you find yourself shopping for a 0.0 alliance to join, stay
far away from those openly advertising their shameful egalitarian

The most common form of de facto government in nullsec, oligarchies
form the core of virtually every alliance. Two or more 'strong'
corporations band together to form the central force of an alliance,
and accrete power and military strength. Smaller corporations join them
to round out the alliance, but power is not shared equally. Band of
Brothers was a loose oligarchy with no 'weak' corporations hanging on;
Lotka Volterra was an oligarchy formed by Shinra, M. Corp and UK Corp
with sundry hangers-on. Generally, strong personal bonds will form
between the leaders of the oligarch corporations, and they will
informally dictate the direction of the alliance; leaders from the
smaller corps will be shut out of inter-alliance decision making or
military leadership.

If you think you may be in a decentralized alliance, run away with your
assets as fast as you can. These alliances exist in the rare pockets of
0.0 where there is no political or military pressure; the flotsam of
failed alliances and isk-seeking carebears find regions which are not
actively under military contest and set up shop purely to settle down
and make money. At the first sign of trouble, these alliances implode,
not due to a failure of leadership structure, but because they had no
such structure to begin with. The best examples of this class are the
'pet' alliances, those created as a rent-collecting entity by a larger
entity. In rare cases, renter alliances may try to break away from
their 'landlord' and become independent, such as what happened with
Scorched Earth in Wicked Creek a few months ago. But because these
entities had no defined leadership before becoming independent, their
first halting steps are marked with either apathy or ferocious internal
power struggles. Neither situation is good when faced with a military
threat; the good times roll until the alliance is forced to defend
itself, and then the member corps flee. Other examples of this class
include Daisho Syndicate, Shadow of xDeathx, and Aggression.

So when you're looking for a place to call home in the dark places of
New Eden, make sure you understand what kind of alliance you're
joining. The morals of modern society will steer you towards disaster
in lawless space; keep a cool head, and aim for an oligarchy or a
dictatorship. You won't get a vote, but you won't lose everything you
own in a war gone horribly awry.

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Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016