You can't escape this one.
Imagine a group.
Now imagine a whole bunch of groups.
Now imagine a movement to consolidate all of those groups into a common group.
Now imagine several movements to consolidate a wide spectrum of different groups into several different over-groups.
Now imagine a federation of these over groups.
Now imagine an alliance of hundreds of similar types of federations.
Now imagine a nigh all powerful secret society that rules over several thousand of these kinds of alliances.
Now imagine AN IRON FISTED IMPERIAL REGIME TO WHICH A MILLION SUCH SECRET SOCIETIES ARE BARELY EVEN WORTH NOTICING.
This is that iron fisted regime.