Thursday, May 31, 2007

v for vendetta

I have been back reading the blog entries on Steven Shaviro’s blog (http://www.shaviro.com/Blog/?cat=3) and an interesting discussion on the film V for Vendetta caught my intention. After recently seeing the film I had the thought of writing a paper on what the film can tell us about Hardt and Negri’s concept of the multitude as a force for political agency. However, after reading the excellence discussion about the film on Shaviro’s blog I will have to re-arrange my thought. I would like to thank the people who commented on his blog entry and especially those who introduced the term ‘destitute subject’, something I will now have to read into.
What I want to discuss in this blog entry is something that previous discussions on Shaviro’s blog have not taken into account, which is how, what Deleuze would say the peaks of present reveal the sheets of past. In simple terms, how the film reveals how the present was created from the past. The reason I want to discuss this point is because the film tells the viewer something very interesting about how the fascist government/dictatorship came into power, where the people desired their own repression and the repressions of others to give power to the party. To understand this point of view I first shall quote from Anti-Oedipus:

‘(Wilhelm) Reich is at his profoundest as a thinker when he refuses to accept ignorance or illusion on the ‘part of the masses as an explanation of fascism, and demands an explanation that will take their desires into account, an explanation formulated in terms of desire: no, the masses were not innocent dupes: at a certain point, under certain conditions, they wanted fascism, and it is this perversion of the desire of the masses that needs to be accounted for’(AO, p31).

Through referencing Reich Deleuze and Guattari aim to assert that no fascist party can merely take hold of government, but instead, and more worrying, for fascist rule it to come into power, it has to be desired by the people (or at least some of the people). Certain scenes from V for Vendetta appear to illustrate this point. The first one is when V (the ‘hero terrorist’) addresses all the people of England/UK and while acknowledging certain people are more to blame than other he states that ‘truth be told that to look for the guilty you’d only need look in a mirror.’ It is this sentence where V directly claims that the people are responsible for living in a fascist state; it is them who desired this situation. The second scene, which focus is a flashback given by a disguised V to the police, reveals more about how the people desired fascism and their own repression. The clearest example is how the fascist party was democratically voted into power, thus showing ‘at a certain point, under certain conditions, they wanted fascism.’ (AO, p31).
Of course, the ‘certain conditions’ are very important factors that needs to be taken into account, and help us to understand why people desire repression of not only others but themselves. One of the key factors, if not the key factor, is the use of fear to create a circumstance where people would desire fascism (Brain Massumi’s work is very relevant on this issue). Is not the politics of fear causing people to relinquish certain civil liberties as a sacrifice for the war against terror(ism)?
One other short point on the film can be made about the use of masks in the film. From my perspective the mask V uses, and gives to the rest of the people, presents a sort of non-identity politics, where the identity and history of V is unimportant (to a degree), and rather it is the message and affects he creates that are important. The people/masses all wearing the masks at the end and taking them off to watch parliament blow up also spoke about the politics of the multitude, where people can united (they all were the masks) but remain different (revealed through their various identities when they unmask themselves). I think this message in the film strikes at the heart of Hardt and Negri’s concept of the multitude, where people can united as whole, but do not need to lose their difference to a totalising whole that subsumes difference.

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