I spent some time contemplating history last week, and
realised just how many times we have been through moments like this.
The Civil War in Britain; the storming of the Bastille in
France; the Russian Revolution; the themes of many German philosophers during
the 1800s, such as Karl Marx and Friedrich Nietzsche; and more.
Throughout history there have been many moments where the
mass poor attack the elite rich to rob them of their wealth.
‘Let them eat cake’, is a fine response, until the them concerned decide to spit the cake
OK, this is a bit of a radical conversation for a Monday,
but it struck me more as there are so many films that resonate with this elite
versus mass structure that have come out recently.
In the Hunger Games,
a suppressed society set into different districts, are ruled by an iron fist
dictator who keeps them in order by sacrificing two of their young every year
in the hunger games.
One winner of the games gets glory, as does the winner’s
district for that year, whilst the rest die and starve.
In Time is very
similar but more adult in focus, with everyone living in districts once more, but this time in a time controlled society
where you earn more time credits in exchange for labour. Unfortunately, as you age, you may find that
you labour less and therefore your time shortens until you suddenly reach 00:00:00:00:00:00.
The synopsis of the film is that the world is
one where time is the ultimate currency.
You stop aging at 25, but there's a catch: you're genetically
engineered to live only one more year unless you can buy your way out of it.
The rich "earn" decades at a time, constantly remaining
at the age of 25 and effectively becoming immortal, whilst the rest of us are
forced to beg, borrow or steal enough hours to make it through the day.
There are many other films that have a similar historical
reflection on the oppressed attacked the oppressor, with Metropolis being the
originator of nearly all such themes.
Metropolis was made in 1927 Germany, just before the rise of
Hitler and the Weimar Republic.
Money was becoming worthless and people were living in
abject poverty except from the rare, hedonistic 1920s few.
It led to a people who could easily be led and manipulated
back into structure, organisation and overthrow.
With all of these films and issues the themes are the same:
when the few have the wealth at the expense the many, the many will strike
Why such focus today?
Because we are living in oppressed times.
This is obvious when the oppressor is a person – Colonel
Gaddafi, President Bashar al-Assad, President Mubarak, President Ben Ali,
Saddam Hussein – all ably illustrated by the Arab Spring.
But what if the oppressor is a system?
The system is the economic system of capitalism, which
happens to have been the blog entry that gained most interest on the Finanser
over the past year.
Capitalism is oppressing the people of Europe and America in
the post-capitalistic meltdown.
The heyday of hedonism from crazy credit days has gone, and
now we suffer the austerity of the post-boom bust.
No-one likes it, and it has spawned an equally interesting
movement towards a Metropolistic movement called the 99%.
The thing is that the 99% seem to have no focus, no
organisation, no leader and therefore no action.
But what would happen if they got a leader?
That’s what intrigues me about the other major anti-system
They have a semi-leader, or martyr if you prefer, in the
form of Julian Assange.
They have an organisation: the internet.
They have a focus: stop government and corporate authorities
from the suppression of free movement of goods, services, voice and democracy.
This is something that I’m watching actively as I wait for a
Metropolistic movement that might change our world from a Hunger Games just In
And, just in case you blinked and missed it, it’s happening.
It’s called an Uprising.
This is the first entry in a series about Hacktivism:
- Part One, The uprising
- Part Two, We are Legion: the History of Hacktivism
- Part Three, The Future of Hacktivism: the Collective Party
- Part Four, Cyberwars: a far bigger threat than hacktivists
- Part Five, So how should a bank protect itself from hacktivists and cybercrime?