We all love the story of Star Wars and the rebels fighting the evil empire and its spin-offs. Themes of resistance, rebellion, redemption, and fighting for what’s right against forces on the dark side who do harm on a massive scale, aided and abetted by those looking to make profit off mass suffering and oppression.
Generations now have grown up and identify with these stories and themes from one of the most popular franchises in American history. But this fiction wasn’t just pulled out of the air, art always reflects reality. Creator George Lucas himself said Star Wars was inspired by the Viet Cong – an anticolonial, anti-imperialist, national liberation movement which fought off French colonizers and US invaders in their homeland of Vietnam.
Why do the original and new Star Wars movies still resonate with us? We can clearly see in the films why the rebels and subsequent resistance are just, and why the empire and it’s spin-offs are vile. We identify with just causes, with what’s right, with hope, but there’s a problem we have as Americans where these feelings and convictions we identify so strongly with, especially in pop culture, fail to be realized in the real world.
Our Dark Side
We should identify with the themes of Star Wars, but we need to recognize our shortcomings in realizing those rebel principles. As creator George Lucas identified back in ‘77 the US was the literal empire which inspired his ‘Galactic Empire’ in Star Wars.
Things have changed since then, but not for the better. Our military excursions have only increased, our military interventions in other peoples’ nations have continued, and Americans have been lied into these conflicts for decades now while having to foot the bill.
As we’re writing this the US is amping up its military presence in Iraq and across the Middle East with thousands of soldiers after a series of air strikes and drone attacks across Iraq and Iran. Driven by nationalistic and warmongering lies the public was duped into invading Afghanistan, Iraq, and as a result the US has never been at war for this long across so many fronts around the world than we are right now.
The “war on terror” has been a failure, we are no safer today than we were before 9/11, but we have had our rights eroded, we are spied on by our own government, our living standards have dropped, our police look like an occupying force, we had the greatest economic depression since the Great Depression (and we are due for another recession any time now), the largest wealth disparity, and yet the stock market is at an all time high.
These are all signs of an evil empire where the 1% lives off the global working class like a parasite, and like a parasite it consumes its host until it dies. Why do we tolerate the lies, the spying, the brutality, the war crimes, and the plundering? Why do some of us even justify these things? We go about our everyday lives, pursuing careers, seeking stability, worrying about 401ks, home ownership, marriage, kids, what to eat, what entertainment to consume, these all are plenty of things to endlessly occupy our time and attention, but we don’t seem to see beyond the propaganda fed to us everyday by the 1% and their media.
We rather buy Star Wars memorabilia and cosplay as Star Wars characters than recognize that we live in the heart of the empire as we aid and abet that empire by participating in it. As we revealed here the New River Valley hosts one of the most crucial facilities in the manufacturing of propellants and munitions for the US empire. If we really do believe in the principles of the rebels and the resistance we would do our part to stop the monster in our backyard and embrace working class internationalism and anti-imperialism.
There is a force in our world, and we all can use it. Just as jedi train to tune into the force we too must work to understand and live the principles of the rebels and the resistance by rebuilding working class internationalism through anti-imperialist struggle. Our enemies are not in a foriegn land, but the 1% who rule directly over us. We owe it to the workers of the world to stop the empire.
We are living in the center of the empire, we all in some way prop it up by participating in its economy, many of us are coerced into it, but fighting for what’s right has always taken sacrifice and heroism. We have it in our power to begin the world over again, but only if we each make the choice to join the cause.
If you want to be a part of the solution then reach out