Narration of creative piece and display of art +Basic explanation of fascism and anarchy +Talk about context of fascism and anarchy at the time book was written +How Fascism is portrayed in the book (negative) +How Anarchy is romanticised How there are negative aspects to anarchy and positive to fascism, evaluation +Justification of Creative Piece (at the end because it links back to the beginning, adding feeling of warped and leaves it open ended to audience) +——Policeman in the Finger August 23, 1994 It’s been two years, four months and seven days since Norsefire and Adam Susan came into power. The worst part about this government is I can never make up my mind about them. The force in the London jurisdiction, or the finger, as they now call it; has received a significant amount of spending power. We’re being given guns, uniforms and gadgets we don’t need with the money we never had. Ever since the last crime wave died down back in December, it’s almost like all of The Finger is a petulant child bored with its toys. We’re being told it’s now our job to rule the streets, complete and total authority over anything and anyone that stands defiant in our way. It feels… disgustingly powerful knowing you have the license to take somebody’s life for no reason, completely ruin them within seconds. Or if you want, you could torture them slowly… make it gratifying… pleasurable, even. I guess I understand what it feels like to be on the other side, now. Yesterday, Emily asked me why Uncle Jonathan “ran away”… I mean, how do you explain to a 7-year old that the regime conducts regular round-ups of people who don’t love according to the specifications, or who don’t think, live and breathe according to their fucking recipe. Sometimes I wonder if we’re on the right path, when everyday the 7 am news bulletin talks about the glorious new missile technology that our brave scientists have developed, or the opening of the oh-so-unbiased new and revised ‘European History Museum’ but never the 37 gay men that I arrested in a raid at Liberty Cinema, or the headquarters of the National Socialist Party being brutally bombed without any suspicion or reason. Everyday, I feel more powerful yet powerless at a same time. It’s cruel how every single day at work can fill me up with passion yet drain me of all hope at the same time. Sales clerk at Urban Sales May 18, 1992A few years ago, underneath the pale yellow midnight clouds, London loomed. I was woken up by Samantha who’d just received a call from her parents in South Africa. They’d told her that there was a nuclear warhead heading towards them as they spoke. The governments in the region had all abandoned the citizens to their fate, as top officials and their families hid in their bunkers like spineless rats, leaving the 30-odd million people to vanish… *poof* just like that. An entire continent dissolves into nothingness. That night I remember thinking to myself “this is the most scared I’ve ever been and possibly ever will be.” It chills me to the bone thinking I assumed my words to remain true over the course of time. They suspended work for the next few days, it’s not like anybody apart from hooligans and the homeless was visiting the commercial centre anyway. A few weeks of nervous uncertainty, and they shut down the entire city after a false alarm. The people had had it, we’d had it. Enough was enough. We needed radical change and we needed it now. The system was way too inefficient and unstructured to support the nation. The people thought to take matters into their own hands… but never did we know how irony would play her cruel tune to our dance, and we’d devolve into chaos. Every second day, there’d be a fire in the neighbourhood, cars destroyed, buildings ravaged, people burnt to death. Mass congregations, mass executions, mass confusion, mass hysteria. And amongst a hundred thousand governments governing a hundred thousand people, on October the 9th, it happened. Samantha was returning home from the temporary food rationing office when she was stuck between the rioting commies and republicans. She was stabbed 17 times in the gut before they left her on the curb. The thirst for power renders rational men savages. And in a sea of savages, they arose like a buoy of stability. Norsefire rose to power a month ago. And within a month, our lives have indelibly and irreversibly changed… hopefully, for the better. The sewers are now cleaned regularly, disease largely cured, the army re-strengthened and serving at the border. Although there are no riots and no criminals on the streets now, I sometimes think about how Samantha would have screamed on that night in October. Whenever I think about her, I go to the street where she was killed. The deafening silence that greets me is louder than her screams in my head. ——BASIC EXPLANATION OF FASCISM AND ANARCHYFASCISMSuvu: Fascism is a form of radical authoritarian nationalism, characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition. It revolves around ideas of extreme militaristic nationalism, contempt for electoral democracy and political culture and liberalism, a belief in natural social hierarchy and the rule of elites- a community in which individual interests are subordinated to the good of the nation.ANARCHYSneda: Anarchy is the condition of a society,entity, group of people, or a single person that rejects heirarchy. The basic ideas revolving around this concept are that all shall be free and equal, and, that all should extend mutual aid and solidarity when possible. Anarchists believe in challenging hierarchies in our relationships, especially where matters of access to power and resources are concerned, and this goes for both those at the bottom of the imbalance, and those at the top.HISTORICAL CONTEXTSuvu: When analysing a book that is so political in its nature, it is important to understand its historical roots and influences. At the time of the setting of the novel, the Cold war was coming to an end and England had just come under a conservative government under Margaret Thatcher of the conservative party and had witnessed great uprisings and protests. The short answer to your question is that Moore’s graphic novel is a wild exaggeration of Thatcher’s rule – the parallels to Thatcher’s time in power are quite weak. Britain did not become significantly more authoritarian during her time, nor did it engage in eugenics, for example.However, I can give you some reasons as to why Thatcher is thoroughly despised by a lot of people in the UK, and why these comparisons might seem reasonable to them. From the 1950s to the 1970s, Britain was in many ways a socialist economy. The economy was centrally planned, key enterprises were owned by the state and unions were far more dominant than they are today.Thatcher sold off many state enterprises and allowed those that were unprofitable (in particular the long moribund British steel and coal industries) to collapse. While few today would argue that this didn’t make sense from a coldly economic point of view, Thatcher and her government were seen to have done little to help those whose livelihoods were destroyed by her reforms. The famous quote that defined this supposed attitude came from Norman Tebbit, who when asked what he would say to the thousands of people his government had made unemployed replied “get on your bike” and look for a job.Moore’s novel might seem an extreme response to basic free market economics, but it’s hard to understate how dark a time the 1980s were for many people in the UK. Whole communities, especially in the North and Wales, that had depended on particular industries or even single factories were tipped into unemployment in the space of a few years. Strikes and protests followed, and in some cases became violent – in particular the Miner’s Strike.And there is very clear subliminal messaging signalling Alan Moore is talking about the erstwhile current government. Moore exposed the homophobic Section 28 Law that vaguely forbade the publication or presentation of any materials that promote homosexuality. V’s Larkhill Resettlement Camp is a fascistic, nightmare scenario of what many feared would be the next step. The totalitarian government presented in his groundbreaking anarchists tale is very much modeled on Thatcher’s Tory party.This was also a time when Britain was witnessing a marked increase in the prominence of Nationalist Parties such as the British Nationalist Party and the Democratic Unionist PArties which espoused conservative ideals. Sneda: Anarchism in the book also had a lot to be influenced by the political context at the time of writing. The late 80s were a period when the words “anarchism” and “anarchy” began being used legitimately and sincerely again on the political scene with several anarchist groups popping up such as The Solidarity Federation, also known by the abbreviation SolFed, which was a federation of class struggle anarchists active in Britain. The organisation advocates a strategy of anarcho-syndicalism as a method of abolishing capitalism and the state. Another example is The Anarchist Federation (AF) which is a federation of anarcho-communists in Great Britain and Ireland. The Federation was founded as the Anarchist Communist Federation in March 1986. The group aimed to provide an anarchist intervention into working class struggles such as the Miners’ Strike, and was closely involved with the Anti-Poll Tax community-based campaign at the end of the 1980s. There are obviously strong historical ties to the notion of anarchism built up in the book, for instance, the iconic mask that V wears is a representation of Guy Fawkes, an anarchist in the 1600’s that plotted to blow up the House of Lords during the state opening of parliament. The “Gunpowder plot” was intended to kill the King at the time, but the plan failed and Fawkes was tortured. We see how V was inspired by this movement as he himself blows up the parliament building and says,” Remember, remember, the fifth of November, the gun-powder treason plot, I know of no reason why the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot”, referring to Fawkes’s “gunpowder” plot. Such as this, many allusions are made to the political and social atmosphere at the time. CHARACTERISTICS of FASCISMSuvu: Powerful and Continuing Nationalism – Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia.Suvu: Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights – Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need.” The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc. In the concentration camp the homosexual, Muslims, immigrants, terrorists, disease-ridden degenerates were contained and maltreated. They were guinea pigs in the government’s laboratory for inventing bioweapon.In addition, the government conspired with a pharmaceutical company to spread viral plague in St. Mary’s that caused thousands of people’s death, including Evey’s brother.Sneda: Supremacy of the Elite- For example, in every conference Sutler contacted with his subordinate thought video conference system. This symbolises Sutler’s status as the highest and untouchable commander of state administration of all affairs. Sneda: Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause – The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc. In the concentration camp the homosexual, Muslims, immigrants, terrorists, disease-ridden degenerates were contained and maltreated. Suvu: Supremacy of the Military-Even when there are widespreaddomestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized. Violence is legally monopolised by the government to defend and repress chaotic situations in society. Sneda: Rampant Sexism – The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid.All the women in this comic are hypersexualized to an absurd degree, and are made into permanent and willing victims. All the women have sex and appear naked, while very few to none of the men do. The only woman who isn’t hyper-sexualized, Valerie, is sexualized as much as possible within her lesbianic limits, never appears in person, and is rarely mentioned.Another example is when Evey is ambushed by a group of three men who attempt to sexually assault her. Evey makes a vigorous attempt to escape or otherwise protect herself, but fails and is overpowered. However, V, a lone man, is able to skilfully kill all three men and save Evey from the potential assault. In another scene, Evey makes an attempt at protecting V as she confronts one of the detectives, Dominic. However, Dominic easily knocks Evey unconscious and thus, again, V ends up saving Evey. In both of these instances, Evey tries to either defend herself or someone else, but is easily overpowered by men. V, a male character, does the same, except, he is able to successfully take care of others and himself. Another example,We see this most clearly in the character of Helen Heyer—a brilliant, ruthless woman whose ambition matches that of the Leader. Instead of conspiring to control the Norsefire government herself, Helen is forced to search for ways to install her husband, the inept, foolish Conrad Heyer, in a position of power. Suvu: Controlled Mass Media – Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common. We can see how every aspect of the media consumed by the people is controlled by The Voice. Sneda: Obsession with National Security – Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses. Evey obeyed the government due to her recollection about her parents who were killed during their political activity. That had an effect on her political attitude and her behaviour in her workplace, a television station. She accepted oppression from ones who are in higher positions than hers.åSuvu: Corporate Power is Protected – The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite. All the people in higher positions are protected and unquestioned on their decisions, such as Adam Susans many misconducts and violations of human rights. Suvu: Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts – Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked. Sneda: Obsession with Crime and Punishment – Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.sneda-Religion and Government are Intertwined – Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Suvu: Throughout the book, Fascism has been portrayed in a seemingly negative light. Its leaders have been portrayed in poor light as weak characters, whether that be Adam Susan’s fragility and insecurity for love, or even Derek and his portrayal as a chauvinist, egotistical and somewhat stupid man. The fall of fascism has been congruent with the increase in the arc of the story towards completion, i.e. the more elements of the government that V dislodges and renders null, the closer the reader feels to ‘ending’ their journey, as they feel they are that one inch closer to redemption. Hence, creating an inherent bias against Fascism in the book, as on the surface the reader would root for the characters and not the ideologies based on their own evaluation. ANARCHY AND ITS CHARACTERISTICSSuvu: V is a self-proclaimed anarchist. In the initial portion of his character development, we see his rendezvous with Lady Justice, wherein he accuses her of being disloyal and committing herself also to “the men in uniform”, or the fascist regime. He introduces Anarchy as his mistress, and that she’s taught him Justice means nothing without freedom. Anarchy is closely linked to freedom, and in the entire book Anarchy is never portrayed as the end in itself, but the means to an end, the end being freedom. Suvu: Doctrine that all forms of government are unnecessary V dismantles all parts of the government one by one (the eye, nose, etc) to show people are progressively more empowered when these subsystems are dismantled Sneda: Doctrine that all forms of government are oppressive (“This is no way to live”) Sneda: belief in freedom of expression Sneda: Belief in equality of all individualsSneda: Acceptance of all identities (gender,race,sexuality,etc)Suvu: V also draws a distinctive line between anarchy and chaos. He says that anarchy is without leaders and not without order. That is chaos. He says that anarchy is marked by ‘Orung’ which the German word for order, rather- voluntary order. In a sense, what is happening here is that anarchy is being isolated from chaos which is separating its negative aspects. All of these lead me to believe that anarchy has been greatly romanticised in the book, another very obvious symbol of the romanticisation being the ‘roses’. And anarchy isn’t critically analysed or its scope and nature fleshed out in detail but rather, presented to us in a somewhat skewed manner. Evaluation Sneda: Although on the surface of things, the graphic novel portrays a sharp juxtaposition of Fascism and Anarchy. Wherein Fascism is portrayed to be the entirely negative, imposing, controlling system that’s out there to completely invalidate individual existence. In our exploration of how fascism is portrayed in the book, it’s important to note how only the negative aspects of the political system are explored. Whereas on the other hand, when we discuss anarchy as a concept, the book only seems to treat anarchy as something which is a means to “freedom” and also separates it from the negatively connotated ‘chaos’. On the surface, it appears as if the book treats it as Anarchism over Fascism. However, that is certainly not what Alan Moore intended things to be. The novel is certainly about Anarchism versus Fascism. State sponsored terrorism versus Individual Terrorism. Suvu: The novel also makes us question our own and V’s hypocrisy: We are so used to having the narrative of a good guys vs the bad guys set in our minds, that we often overlook how objectively similar the drawbacks of both sides are. For example, when the fascist regimes lock people up in torture camps we (justifiably) feel disgusted and label the government as monsters for doing so. However, if V does objectively the same thing when he imprisons Every, tortures her, shaves her head off, we don’t perceive it to be evil, but rather, a benevolent act because he does it for “her own good”. This puts forward the idea that pure violence is acceptable if it has good motives behind it, which is inherently incorrect. We should hold V to the same moral benchmarks as we hold the fascist government. Sneda: Readers should also realise that anarchism in itself is a concept which may or may not be achieved as represented in the novel. The novel only leaves the city of London in a state of chaos, of virverrung, not orung. The reader doesn’t know whether or not an anarchy will eventually be established. Suvu: There are several reasons to believe why an anarchy cannot be established in the first place. The first being that humans are inherently selfish, a system of “voluntary-order”, as anarchism prescribes doesn’t account for inherent greed. As John Dewey pointed out, “Morality is largely concerned with controlling human nature” (1). A government controls human nature through laws and regulations. For example, a business owner’s natural tendency is to maximize profits. Therefore, the business owner will want to provide as little for the employees as possible, to minimize the cost of production. However, the government institutes regulations such as minimum wage and child labor laws to curb the businessman’ greedy human nature. In an anarchist society, we would remove the government. If the government is removed, then nothing will be controlling human nature. Following John Dewey’s line of reasoning, without controlling human nature, there will not be morality. Therefore, in an anarchist society, there would be no morality. Sneda: Another logistical flaw with anarchy is that it doesn’t account for the vulnerability of the security of the overall state. The government takes the protection of the citizens to be its responsibility, however when there is no government by extension there is no protection. Leading to neighbouring countries perceiving you as defenseless, making an anarchist state easily conquerable by external powers. Suvu: The final, and most pressing flaw with anarchism is that it fundamentally contradicts itself. The fundamental premise of anarchism is based upon the fact that that there should be no leaders and there should be no control structures. However, in a society which has an anarchist system, there is a still a system. Even if anarchism is the norm, the norm within society is still followed thereby invalidating the existence of anarchy itself. Sneda: Alan Moore recognises this contradiction, and that’s represented in the very face of the book. V’s mask is that of Guy Fawkes, who we spoke about earlier. Guy Fawkes may have wanted to bring the power structure down, but he just wanted to replace it with a power structure where his own daughter would be in charge. Justification of Creative Piece Suvu: The purpose of the creative writing is to show that the opinions and political inclinations of the characters in the back are on the extreme ends of the spectrum and not necessarily reflecting that of the average people living in the city of London within the time-frame of the book, and these perspectives, often like ours are sometimes conflicting or confused. Sneda: It is also to add an aspect of humanity to everything. Often, when we discuss large political structures and discuss and probe how our societies should function at a macro scale, we often tend to ignore the effects on our day to day lives, and this dramatisation was to remind us of the possibly immense effects of the choices we make for our society on the individuals.Suvu: But most importantly, it was also to show us how we can be guided towards different political systems under different circumstances. That no one political system is inherently bad or inherently beneficial for us, it’s all relative on how we perceive our needs to be which is shaped by the circumstances we are in.
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