THE FORCE AWAKENS: GROWING SUPPORT FOR RIGHT AND LEFT WING POLITICIANS

By Josh Wilson

In Star Wars there are (arguably) three major factions; the Jedi, the Sith and the Galactic Republic. The Jedi strive for peace and harmony in the galaxy, whereas the Sith work for personal gain and power over others. The Republic is a democratically run institution that attempts to foster trade and good relations between planets and species.

In politics there are also three major groups; the far Left, the far Right and Centrists. The far Left work for economic equality through state implemented wealth redistribution. The far Right tend to use divisive and racist policies to create growth for a minority of people and to solidify their economic and political power. Centrists, who can often be seen to lean to the left or the right, tend to argue for free markets, promotion of trade and limited state intervention.

Jeremy Corbyn has wondered into our lives like Old Ben Kenobi…
and Donald Trump has rampaged onto our TV screens
in a manner reminiscent of Darth Sidious.

It would be wrong to say these two systems are comparable, and I would hardly be the first to argue as such. However, Jeremy Corbyn has wondered into our lives like Old Ben Kenobi, with the humble assertiveness of an experienced Jedi master; and Donald Trump has rampaged onto our TV screens in a manner reminiscent of Darth Sidious, spreading fear, anger and hatred. The rise of these high profile ‘radicals’ within strong ideological politics has left those in the middle unsure of how to ensure they maintain the status quo.

The politics of planet Earth is, arguably, a little more complex than that of the Star Wars saga; there is no one person that is completely good or completely evil. Our politicians are not easily identifiable as good or evil by the colour of their lightsabers. My analysis of the political spectrum is both crude and simplistic. We have seen in the past year or so a resurgence of bold, assertive ideological politics across Europe and North America. We have had decades of Centrist politicians swaying slightly to the left or slightly to the right. It is not to say that this centrism is not a clear and concise ideology; just like the Galactic Republic the past 30 years have been an almost unbroken chain of leaders that follow a Neo-Liberal policy agenda promoting trade and individual freedoms, and like the Republic it has left many on the outer-rim behind. Yet as this has been largely unchallenged in the political mainstream we are conditioned into classing anyone that does not conform as a radical.

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But something seems to have changed. So called ‘radicals’ are popping up all over the shop. On the Left we have Corbyn in the UK, Syriza in Greece, Podemos in Spain and even Bernie Saunders in the US. On the right there is UKIP in Britain, the Front National in France and of course Trump in the States. This surge in groups that openly identify themselves as outside of the centre of the political spectrum is both good and bad. Of course for me, and I am sure a great many of you, seeing a growth in those openly identifying as Socialists is inspiring – I never thought I would see a Labour leader do that again – but the politics of hate and fear that has risen at the same time is worrying and dangerous.

Maybe the Jedi aren’t meant to win elections and
create a utopia just yet, but their presence and ability to
question and hold to account the Galactic Republic and
neo-liberal policy promotes a more plural and democratic system.

Now of course the analogy I have used is very subjective, the Left being the Jedi is hardly a coincidence, but underlying this is a serious point: we need open and frank political and economic debate. Those that insight violence and racial hatred are not conducive to a healthy debate nor to a healthy society, but having neo-liberal economic policy properly scrutinised by mainstream politicians is healthy.

It is hard to say what will happen in the next 5 years. Maybe the Jedi aren’t meant to win elections and create a utopia just yet, but their presence and ability to question and hold to account the Galactic Republic and neo-liberal policy promotes a more plural and democratic system. The key is for all parties, species and star systems to ensure that the fascist evil Sith are not able to divide us and make us live in the fear they want us in.

I appreciate this analogy became strained towards the end (or even from the beginning) but I guess all there is left to say is this: join the rebellion and may the force be with you.

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