1 March, 2005 at 04:12 Leave a comment

4th World War? Empire – System – Globalization

Just came back after watching the movie “Fourth World War”.
Well, what can I say? It was a movie full of powerful images. Of war. Of greed. Of violence. Of death. Of hunger. Of pain. Of apartheid. Of curfews. Of protests. Of evictions. And all the scum and suffering that one human has inflicted upon another. It follows events that happened and are still happening in Argentina, South Africa, Mexico, South Korea, Palestine and which are probably happening in other parts of the world even as we speak.
This screening is a part of the whole anti-G8 thing that is going on and which plenty of students (all 30 University students combined out of 20000 in Glasgow + 120000 in Strathclyde) are active in.
There are two problems though (and it is not the appalling student numbers) I could identify –

1) The people watching this film are all ‘converts’ or who have seen such things before
2) The sheer lack of direction and a culture of mob jingoism
OK, the first one hardly requires any explanation on my part because it is something that is intractable as it is a preferential network problem that is a curse of group dynamics. If you cannot understand the previous sentence, no amount of dumbing down on my part will help explain it. So, just leave it at that.
The second one perhaps is worthy of discussion. What happened after the movie was a floor-opinion and QnA of sorts. As usual, people called out for others to protest and got their bit of space to air their opinions. One thing that stood out of all this is everyone saying “yeah, we should stand united and fight against the system – the empire – corporate globalization man“.
I seriously wonder if they really know what they are talking about. First of all, if not for the empire, these people would not be sitting in the confines of a nice room watching a DVD movie. Secondly, treating it as a war and wanting to win it is a contradiction in terms. In war, there are no winners. Only, who loses lesser. Thirdly, irrespective of how one would define the ‘system’ as, the truth of the matter is that it is irrevocably made up of other humans. The whole machinery is run and managed by humans. So, to fight against the system is to fight against other humans which as history has shown us (wish it had taught us) achieves very little in way of progress or a solution. As a proof of this, there is a quote in the film – “Apartheid has not ended in Africa. Only now, the people mistreating us are of a different color”. The visible image is that the police who seek to control the mob are our own countrymen.
So, the point is not to fight against the system or otherwise. The point is to ponder how come these other humans (who belong to the system) can be so inhuman and corrupt and ruthless. Is it not a problem of our education and value-systems? What makes them make such decisions? If some of us were offered a 100,000£ job and were asked to sign a dotted line to go ahead and dump toxic wastes in some unfortunate part of the world, how many of us would think twice? The main agenda of these protestors and the direction their enthusiasm should take is to solve the problem from within and try to get hold of the sensitive side of corporates. Shouting and dancing on the streets only makes for a good circus. Sorry for being so negative but there is a simple logic to all this. What can the G8 gain by their policy? Wealth and power.  What can they do with the wealth and power? Have a life of luxury and a disproportionate consumption of resources. Who are the beneficiaries of such consumption? A framework of money and personal wealth and we are all a part of this cycle. People in this movie did not protest for freedom or human rights or justice or any lofty ideal. They were protesting against someone else screwing them. They want land, jobs and money which is just a way to screw themselves on their own. But somehow it does not hurt as much I suppose.
Borrowing from Gandhian philosophy, I think there is no system at all. Of course there is an evil ‘other’ we need to fight but they are the demons and vices within us. Amen.

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