“Star Wars: Rogue One” made some of the right wingnut Trump voters start boycotting the movie and claim that it’s nothing but feminist, multicultural propaganda against the new president. The problem is that, in a way, they are not entirely wrong.
Everything started in November when Chris Weitz, one of the screenwriters of the movie, sent the following tweet: “Please note that the Empire is a white supremacist organization”. While British writer Gary Whitta was quick to add: “Opposed by a multicultural group led by brave women”.
As expected, amidst the political polarization that followed Donald Trump’s victory, there were those that claimed that Star Wars contains hints against the new president.
And the fact that most of the heroes of the movie are Black, Asian or Hispanic gave a boost to conspiracy theories about the liberal left that supposedly dominates Hollywood.
The notorious Alt-right reacted instantly. They made #DumpStarWars on Twitter and boycotted the movie.
The audience of America’s far-right schizophrenic show will probably remember that a similar boycott also took place at the release of the previous Star Wars movie (The Force Awakens).
The appearance of a black actor at a leading role was said to be a call for a… “white genocide” and although those boycotts usually become known just because thousands of twitter users make fun of them, they still represent certain political opinions that often become prevalent.
It was probably the great impact that sheer madness can have that forced screenwriter Chris Weitz to delete his tweet at the same time that Disney’s chief executive was making clear that there is nothing political about the movie. But is this entirely true?
So this is how liberty dies… with thunderous applause. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
As “The Atlantic” pointed out, the Star Wars series always had political messages because that’s how the creator, George Lucas, visualized the movie since 1977.
The well known “Stormtroopers” of the Galactic Empire borrow their name from Hitler’s paramilitary group “Sturmabteilung” and lots of the movie’s symbols and names refer to WW2, Kristallnacht and the Holocaust.
Lucas never tried to hide that he copied scenes from the work of Leni Riefenstahl who directed Hitler’s demonstrations, and from other movies about Roman history. In “Star Wars: The Revenge of the Sith” specifically, Lucas borrowed elements from ancient Rome and the transition from the Republic to the Imperium in order to describe George Bush’s America.
“If you are not with me, then you are my enemy” says Anakin Skywalker as he joins the dark side and becomes the famous Darth Vader. The creator has even compared Emperor Palpatine to Richard Nixon in the past.
Therefore as Sam Kriss from Jacobin explains, it’s not about whether Star Wars has a political message but what exactly that message is.
The famous Rebel Alliance that fights to bring democracy back, does not have a certain ideology, is not consisted of a certain social class and does not have any other traits that refer to a democratic, revolutionary force.
We don’t know how the alliance is financed and it doesn’t seem that it cares to create alliances with the people. Those “rebels”, Sam Kriss concludes, haven’t learnt a thing from Mao and the partisan’s need to win the trust of the common people. Instead they acted according to some kind of “space Blanquism” (from the theory attributed to Blanqui claiming that revolution is not done by the masses but is the work of a small organization of devoted conspirators).
In this sense the multicultural composition of the good guy’s team on the last Star Wars film was perfectly compatible with the identity politics that Hilary Clinton followed during her pre-election campaign.
She ignored entirely the class conflict in front of her (that could be better expressed by Bernie Sanders) and choose to focus on equality politics and refer to Black and Hispanics as minorities instead of poor and exploited workers.
Star Wars was not against Donald Trump. But it was in favor of the liberal political mash that Hillary Clinton represents- In favor of an America that has lost its class consciousness and therefore is doomed to fall to the Galactic Empire.
Read: Smash the Force
An article by Sam Kriss from Jacobin that dismantles all the political legends of Star Wars with a single phrase: There was never an Empire; there was never a rebellion; there was only the Force; and it’s evil.