The following is an article penned by Belfast Marxists writer LENIN. LENIN is the original creator of the Belfast Marxist blog and up until recently the sole contributor to the blog. With Belfast Marxist expanding the author has taken the decision to take on a new pen name as the blog will now consist of various writers and the Belfast Marxist name being used as the blogs title. Anyone wishing to become a writer or send in an article on behalf of themselves or an organisation can do so by contacting email@example.com.
V for Vendetta
This article is based on a critique and review of the film V for Vendetta and also relating it to the Irish context and a wider context of oppressed peoples and nations. I decided to relax and watch the film on Guy Fawkes night. I’ve watched the film several time and is a great film in terms of the underlying political message it entails.
The film is set in a totalitarian and oppressive state, something that we can all relate to with the occupation of Ireland in the six by the Brits and the occupation of the Free State by NAMA, the EU, the IMF and the Trioka.
It demonstrates the tools and mechanism that the state uses to control the masses and keep them at bay such as the military, police, media, the clergy, government, the justice system and big business. These are all used as tools to keep the masses as obedient subjects. The media and the clergy are used to brain wash the people, big business to fund the state and in turn the state to abide by the will of big business and the military and police deployed when the people dissent or get out of line.
The tactics that the state uses include detention, mass murder and fear. Detention is used today in Ireland with Maghaberry used as an example. Those who dissent against the state in any way can find themselves facing long periods on remand there. There is a scene that Vs female accomplice is detained, has her head shaved, tortured and thrown in a cell (although in the end it is V who detained her as a form of training). This can be directly related to Maghaberry where prisoners are subjected to forced strip searching and controlled movement. The purpose of this is not to find contraband or for security but rather to make the individual feel vulnerable and to dehumanize them, a clear violation of human rights.
Fear is very much used today by the state and through its media. One example being the rise is Islamophobia another being the use of the dissident ‘boogeymen’ and their whole array of elaborate hoax’s.
The deliberate starvation of the people in Ireland during the famine is an example of mass murder by the state and can also be related to present day Palestine.
Those who are oppressed by the state or at risk include not only the rebels, those who are ‘different’, the dissenters but anyone could fall victim to the state just like internment.
The main character is V, a faceless character wearing a Guy Fawkes mask (the same one we all see the anarchists wearing). V represents an idea, a vision and in pursuit of that vision he blows up the Old Bailey and Parliament (tools of the state) and arises the masses. The mask also represents that idea and the need to hide behind a mask. This is relevant today in Ireland as it is very hard for anyone who is seen as a political dissenter to be out in the open with their views either for security purposes, risk at work, isolation or even the risk of people being petty and narrow minded for an individual to have that view.
Another representation of that idea or movement is the scarlet rose and traditionally the rose can be associated with labor and socialism. In the state the rose is suppose to be extinct, representing the extinct ideology, but each of Vs victims is left with a scarlet rose. Testament that the idea is not dead and that people (even if in small numbers) are intent in pursuing that idea and keeping it alive.
The fault of all this lies with the people who allowed the state to do what it wants. But the solution also lies with the people through mass mobilization. V can fight as much as he wants but without mass mobilization it will never succeed. It only takes one spark or wrong move by the state for this to happen. In the film it is a female being gunned down in the street by a cop but in reality one example would be Bloody Sunday that triggered mass mobilization and an upsurge in support for the revolution. More recently we can relate this to the introduction of a water charges and water meters in the Free State.
In the end V sacrifices himself for the cause and blows up Parliament buildings marking the demolition of the state. The risen people wearing Guy Fawkes masks de-mask themselves as a symbol that the revolution is over and that their is n longer a need to hide, the idea has now become a reality.
“Behind this mask there is more than just flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea…and ideas are bulletproof”.
In Ireland all we need is an organisation to carry an idea for when the masses mobilize and the revolution occurs that the organisation and the structures will be in place to sustain a mass movement, a rising and revolution.