The Star Wars Separatists were a corrupt corporate oligarchy, but Dooku convinced much of the galaxy to turn against the Republic and join their cause.

During the Star Wars prequel trilogy, Count Dooku founded the Confederacy of Independent Systems, a separatist movement that more than 10,000 systems left the Republic to join. Separatist worlds believed that the Republic’s corruption had irreparably damaged it and that a new government was needed. In truth, the Separatists were run by both the Sith and a clique of the least ethical corporations in the galaxy, making the CIS far more corrupt than the Republic. With this in mind, how did Count Dooku convince much of the galaxy to turn against the Republic and join a cause that was essentially a corporate oligarchy?

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As its name suggests, the Confederacy of Independent Systems (generally known as the Separatist Alliance) had a much more interventionist approach to ruling worlds than the Republic, allowing megacorporations to profit by any means necessary without oversight. For the separatist population, this meant that planetary laws and regulations were handled by the planets themselves and not by the CIS as a whole. This attracted worlds that were frustrated with the regulations and taxes of the Republic, but without the supervision of the Republic, planetary governments were free to inflict practices that would be considered crimes against civilization.

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In Legends, CIS supporters felt that the lack of oversight was a necessary evil for the planets to rule themselves in their own way, but Dooku also had a much more insidious method of gaining followers. In addition to highlighting the rampant corruption within the Republic, he also played on the prejudices of the people. In an edition of Republic comic series, two human soldiers from the CIS discuss Jedi and clones preparing to fight, believing that Jedi are mythical monsters that divide civilians and steal babies, and that clones are creatures grown in vats. In canon, the Separatist Alliance simply hides the fact that it is ultimately a corporate oligarchy. At Star Wars, Clone Wars In the episode “Heroes on Both Sides”, it is revealed that the Separatist Alliance has a capital world and a parliament, whose senators falsely believe that their worlds are better represented by Dooku than in the Republic.

Outside of the council, the Separatist leaders, especially in Legends, often knew that the ideology of the Confederacy was a ruse. Dooku himself was the Sith Lord Darth Tyrannus, and he created the CIS in large part to divide the galaxy and help Darth Sidious turn the Republic into the Empire. Dark side users, such as Asajj Ventress and Sev’rance Tann, joined the Separatist cause only to further their aspirations to become Sith. Kaleesh’s warlord General Grievous and Gen’Dai bounty hunter Durge were totally apathetic towards the politics of the Clone Wars, motivated instead by revenge. Grievous felt that his people had been betrayed by the Jedi and the Republic, while Durge detested the Mandalorians, and joined the CIS in killing the clone troopers, who were steeped in Mandalorian culture in Legends.

To their credit, the Galactic Republic had become corrupt when Dooku left the Jedi Order in the Star Wars prequels. He was indecisive, overly influenced by corporate lobbyists (to the point where they were represented in the Senate), and used the Jedi Order as a private military force with virtually no oversight. However, when all is said and done, the Republic, had it not been covertly under the control of the Sith, was salvageable, as its goal was to unite the galaxy and protect ordinary citizens against groups like the Trade Federation or the Trade Guild. These groups, who became separatist leaders rather than lobbyists for the Republic, existed for profit, not to protect citizens. But Count Dooku’s promises of planetary independence, fanning the fires of prejudice and cloaking corporate leadership ultimately won the hearts and minds of nearly half the galaxy.

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