What Occupy can learn from the Hunger Games – Salon – Mike Doherty
Stories of people who are trampled on by competing ideologies and broken by enforced scarcity are certainly apt at a time when the U.S. political system is regularly brought to a standstill by politicians unwaveringly devoted to ideologies, the European Union threatens to disintegrate due to its members’ conflicting demands, divisions between the rich and the poor are ever-increasing, and those with the power to help offer rhetoric instead. The Occupy movement, as a loosely affiliated band of concerned people – Marxists, anarchists, environmentalists, survivalists, and more – has on the whole avoided ideology and embraced diversity and democracy. Some would say its lack of specific goals has undermined it, but the adoption of a V-style oppositional stance surely wouldn’t help. Occupy has done much to cast the U.S. and U.K. as dystopias, as pictures of police in riot gear confronting protestors have proliferated in the media…
…Propped against a wall inside the Bank of Ideas is a placard that reads, “’1984′ was not an instruction manual.” Nor, indeed, is “V for Vendetta,” and neither are “The Hunger Games” or “Chaos Walking.” The new YA dystopian novels are thoughtful books, but they don’t offer solutions or blueprints – they merely suggest ways of combating stifling political ideologies. They’re full of different voices, or what literary theorist Mikhail Bakhtin, writing in – and against – Soviet Russia, called “polyphony”: the opposite of propaganda, and the enemy of ideology. Where they resonate with the Occupy movement, it’s in the protagonists’ determination to recalibrate the world around us in creative ways: seeing a bank as an educational institution, a tent as a library, a movement as a gathering of people asking questions, and encouraging ways of thinking by which solutions could be found.
A moving piece that links dystopian novels such as V for Vendetta, 1984, Brave New World, Divergent, and The Hunger Games to the Occupy movements worldwide. 2011 was marked as the year of the Protestor, and publication popularity had leaned towards dystopian novels at the same time.
Seeing how the world culture and book culture influence and mirror one another is fascinating and intriguing!
2 thoughts on “What Occupy Can Learn from the Hunger Games – Salon”
The works you cite probably do not offer a model for the occupy movement that could effect political change. I believe the movement has worked much already by getting into our consciousness and conversation. I hope that in doing so, a new generation will be empowered to enter the political arena where the changes must be implemented.
I did not mean for the post to come across as “we should model the dystopian books.” Doherty also says that the books shouldn’t be used as models specifically. Rather, the article is pointing out the connections between literature and real life, which shows that even children and young adults can relate to the adult world of politics. I agree with what you said, a new generation can become empowered. So even if Occupy does not make sense to someone younger than 13 (let’s say), when they grow up they will be able to relate fiction they’ve read to actual fact and history regarding 2011 and all the protests.