The Politics of Star Wars: Beyond Action Fantasy
Is Star Wars just for kids and fooling around adults, or is there more to the great sci-fi epic? With the Star Wars trend from movies to the best star wars book, the socialist network from Austria examined the series for its political content and drew interesting parallels to European history and Far Eastern philosophy. Admittedly, the author sometimes exaggerates the facts a bit too much, but it remains a very readable article, especially for Star Wars fans. Let’s continue with the Star Wars analysis.
The Politics of Star Wars
“With great PR fanfare, Star Wars VII The Force Awakens is the latest battle in “Star Wars” to hit cinemas. In the naive-looking cinema epic, however, political motifs can be found. In 1977, George Lucas very consciously decided to shoot an action-packed fantasy story and not to design a profound, social utopia as later happened with “Blade Runner”. On the one hand, he brought science fiction and fantasy from the sleazy area into mass culture, on the other hand, “Star Wars” is considered by many, along with “ET”, to be the beginning of the “childization” of cinema, the beginning of a tendency to produce films mainly for a very young target audience. At the same time, “Star Wars” was the first major “franchise”, meaning that with “accessories” such as action figures, “secondary literature”, etc.
The “dark side” of politics
The image design alone, the white-armored stormtroopers, and the sinister master of the dark side of power Darth Vader, or his successor in “The Force Awakens” evoke associations with fascism. Crowd scenes are reminiscent of the Nuremberg Party Congress and Leni Riefenstahl. The fact that these soldiers are clones and all belong to one “race” is reminiscent of the SS Aryan breeding programs. While the rebel alliance presents itself as a motley crew in which all “races” work together. The fighters of the rebel alliance in “Star Wars VII” look more like anti-fascist partisans than ever before. On the other hand, the uncommon English term “Stormtrooper” sounds conspicuously like the Nazi “Sturmabteilung” (SA for short).
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The development from Anakin Skywalker to Darth Vader is not only a physical change but above all an ideological one. Anakin Skywalker comes to the realization that Senate democracy is ineffective, leaning more and more towards the authoritarian plans of Chancellor Palpatine (later Emperor). As the “chosen one,” Anakin distances himself from the other Jedis, follows his thirst for power (or the dark side of the force), and awakens the memory of a real human being who believed himself to be the chosen one, Adolf Hitler. The mass murder of the inhabitants of Luke Skywalker’s home planet Tatooine, the annihilation of entire extraterrestrial races by the “Death Star” are to be understood as references to National Socialism’s will to annihilate. At the same time, the “Death Star” reflects the fear of the ultimate bomb that still ruled the world in 1977, when the first part came out. Darth Vader’s outbursts of anger towards his subordinates, whom he can use telekinesis to send to the afterlife if necessary, are reminiscent of Stalin.
The Jedis, the ying to the yang of the malevolent Sith Lords, play a strange role as the overpowered protectors of democracy. Elected by no one, ennobled by their selfless philosophy and superior fighting power, they actually set alarm bells ringing among upstanding democrats. The dualism in Star Wars has nothing dialectical but rather draws its inspiration from Far Eastern philosophies, which can certainly have martial aspects, such as Zen Buddhism, alongside Christian motifs (e.g. “evil” manifesting itself physically and the Siths look very “devilish”).
Criticism of capitalism, albeit very shortened, is most likely to be found in the work of the insidious trade alliance, but one shouldn’t read too much into a film like this. Such criticism would also not be credible, since the arch-conservative Disney group has recently been behind “Star Wars”. The question of national liberation is certainly a theme, starting with Princess Leya’s fight against the Empire, Lando Calrissian’s resistance against Imperial troops in the “City in the Clouds” to the cute Ewoks’ struggle for the freedom of their planet.
Not badly, the “Star Wars” films treat the internal contradictions both within the insurgents (infiltrated by the dark side) and within the central power structures, where war leads to the erosion of democracy. The problem of the extent to which intelligent, self-aware robots can be equated with slaves and whether they will ever dare to revolt seems unsolved.
Taboo and bigotry
Science fiction has always been an area where social taboos have been broken, as exemplified by the first televised kiss in 1968 between a white man and a black man in the original “Star Trek” series. In 2015, in “Star Wars VII” a leading role was cast for the black Brit John Boyega. American right-wingers have therefore launched a boycott call against the film, the crude reasoning behind it: Jewish director JJ Abrams is part of an “anti-white” conspiracy that propagates “cultural Marxism” and multiculturalism to exterminate whites. Under hashtags such as “BoycottStarWarsVII” or “White genocide” racist hatred against the film. This proves that the stupidity of the right is at least as vast as “a galaxy far, far away.”