United State of Cinema & Ali Ebrahimzadeh / The San Francisco Chronicle – 2017-04-03 00:03:25
On April 4, Screenings of ‘1984’ (with John Hurt and Richard Burton) will be held across the US. To find the nearest screening to your location, go to www.unitedstateofcinema.com.
Resist Brother Trump like it’s 1984
Ali Ebrahimzadeh / The San Francisco Chronicle
(March 31, 2017) — April 4, 1984, is the day that Winston Smith, the protagonist of George Orwell’s classic tale “1984,” began his revolt against Big Brother and the Party. In solidarity with this dystopian antihero and to punctuate a resistance to President Trump, more than 100 movie theaters nationwide will screen “1984” on Tuesday.
But what’s the point? “The rule of the Party is forever,” as O’Brien, a Party elite, tells Smith.
We just witnessed the futility of our election system, the powerlessness of our voice, and the meaninglessness of our alleged choice between the “lesser of two evils.” For all our downtown marches’ sound and fury, for all our pink hats and cardboard signs, what does it all mean?
Are we living in Orwell’s world?
In his world, three superpowers control the planet and are at constant pointless war with each others’ weakest allies, colonizing villagers and ostensibly vying for the cheap labor of Africans, Indians and others in what we call the developing world.
Rather than have any principled basis or aim at truly destroying the opposing “mega-state,” the continuous war is waged only to consume the time and energy of the people who create the weapons and goods needed for war. Their efforts are literally blown up in battle rather than being used for publicly enriching social services.
By keeping the people poor, ignorant, sickly and tired from working long hours, the power elite in “1984” seeks solely to maintain power for its own sake.
In our world, the billionaire class has taken control of our government and creates policies that benefit the 1 percent while cutting services for the 99 percent. We spend about a fifth of our federal budget on defense-related expenditures, we lack universal health care, and our public schools and infrastructure are deeply underfunded.
We’ve been involved in questionable military conflicts for decades against opponents whom we demonize in the media and seemingly are never able to defeat.
In Orwell’s world, the Party creates history at whim, having elite members constantly fabricate and re-edit events in order to reflect the Party’s ever-changing perspective on any issue or entity.
Similarly, the Party creates science itself on the premise that if we all believe something to be true, then it is. The Party ensures that all people think what the Party wants them to think, be it that the Earth is the center of the universe or that 2 + 2 = 5.
“Doublethink” is a Party axiom defined as knowing something to be a lie yet believing it anyway out of Party loyalty. But when employed by enemies, it is defined simply as evil deceit. For example, the Party’s war department is called the Ministry of Peace, the torture department is the Ministry of Love, and the censorship and fake news department is the Ministry of Truth.
Doesn’t this reflect the upside-down choices President Trump has made to fill key Cabinet positions with billionaires whose life work and principles oppose the very missions of the departments they’re supposed to lead?
It’s Orwellian that Trump and friends weekly spew “alternative facts” regarding key issues meant to foment public fear, namely that 3 million people voted illegally in our last election or that he was wiretapped by President Barack Obama and British intelligence.
Trump has had removed from the White House website and thus has disavowed all references to hard science such as climate change and social science regarding LGBTQ rights. He’s editing science to support his executive orders.
As an Inner Party member tells Smith, “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.” It is this militant boot that movements such as Black Lives Matter and the Women’s March on Washington are fighting to throw off.
The resistance movement has been exceptionally strong over the past year, with:
American Indians coming together with activists nationwide to fight oil pipelines;
tens of thousands protesting weekly against Trump’s efforts to curb civil rights;
national leaders, foreign and domestic, critiquing this administration’s unprecedented rollbacks on social welfare, immigration reform and climate change efforts;
and now congressional investigations into Russia-related activities of Trump’s inner circle.
The Party’s three slogans — “War is Peace,” “Freedom is Slavery,” “Ignorance is Strength” — as Orwell wrote in 1948, point out the absurd hypocrisy that the Party uses to dupe the people and to which almost all of them patriotically succumb. But not us — we resist.
Go see “1984” on Tuesday to beat the drum of resistance and to honor the memory of a revolutionary forebear who, surviving the era of Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin, knew too well what the likes of brothers Trump, Tillerson, Bannon, Sessions and Kushner and Sister DeVos are up to.
Ali Ebrahimzadeh is an attorney practicing law in California, New York, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C. (www.aeesq.com).
George Orwell’s 1984
Full 1954 BBC TV Movie
(September 26, 2013) — Early BBC live TV version of 1984. “BBC Sunday-Night Theatre” Nineteen Eighty-Four (1954) is a British television adaptation of the novel of the same name by George Orwell, originally broadcast on BBC Television in December 1954. The production proved to be hugely controversial, with questions asked in Parliament and many viewer complaints over its supposed subversive nature and horrific content. In a 2000 poll of industry experts conducted by the British Film Institute to determine the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes of the 20th century, Nineteen Eighty-Four was ranked in seventy-third position.