Writers are present in our society, but they appear in various forms. Whatever form they take, there are those that, with an eye on politics, should play the role of informant. The piece we read by Arundhati Roy, “Power Politics”, is great considering events of the most recent past. Towards the end of the piece she calls for the need of “a new kind of politics” and goes on to say:
“What we need to search for and find is… not the politics of governance, but the politics of resistance. The politics of opposition. The politics of forcing accountability. The politics of slowing things down. The politics of joining hands across the world and preventing certain destruction. In the present circumstances, I’d say that the only thing worth globalizing is dissent.”
Despite her writing this in 2002, this sounded like something right from an informed Occupy Wall Street protesters mouth. She actually talks shortly about OWS in this clip from Democracy Now:
The movement started mid-September and has been a source of opposition from the start. One of the biggest issues the supporters of OWS have brought light to is the lack of accountability in concerns to those that have brought the nation to the various situations we’re faced with economically, politically, and globally. Their mass presence from the start should have been national news, but largely the main news media sources overlooked the movement for several days, if not longer. The way the word got out though was through the internet via blogs, videos on sites like youtube, and a variety of other information sharing mediums. People created their own means of extending the protests so that their voices would be heard.
Roy asks, “What is the role of writers and artists in society?” At least one of the roles should be that of informing others of issues that the writer/artist are aware of through creativity in whatever medium they find viable. Now, it used to be that people could rely on the news, written or televised, to deliver important information to the public in a way that served the public. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be the case as well as it used to be. The following video showcases a major network’s skewing of information about the OWS movement:
This is a great example of the artist playing a societal role of political informer, an action that is possible through the use of the internet. There is a threat to this freedom though, and it comes in the guise of an act that was being entertained by representatives, which was known as the Stop Online Piracy Act. For most people, reading these bills and understanding them can be an arduous task. Luckily there are writers and artists out there that can help us to understand what exactly such a bill would mean for us. Of the many who help interpret the bill, we have thanks to The Daily Show for delivering the information the way Roy would approve of because they have brought it “into the realm of common understanding.” In the following clip we are shown how such a bill would affect things:
With such a bill, the previous vlogger would not have been able to share the insight that he did. But like Roy said, “Any overt attempt to silence or muffle a voice is met with furious opposition,” and it wasn’t just one voice being threatened, it was practically a whole nation’s voice. Sites across the board protested SOPA by participating in a blackout, and in doing so were successful in stopping such a potential violation of freedom of speech.
Writer’s no longer need to express themselves in the traditional form of printed text to speak their minds, but there is still a need for them to make their presence known however they can. I think Roy is right when she says that we should take sides. If we don’t, I would imagine those that have agendas will be able to slide on by without resistance.
“Fox News Blames Occupiers For Police Violence?” YouTube. 31 Oct. 2011. Web. 31 Jan. 2012. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USPW1BxJQXU>.
“KO Computer – SOPA Runaway.” The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Viacom, 18 Jan. 2012. Web. 31 Jan. 2012. <http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-january-18-2012/ko-computer—sopa-runaway?xrs=share_copy>.
Roy, Arundhati. Power Politics. Boston: South End, 2002. Print.