Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Radical Noir

"One of the first works of art with the courage to live up to our historical moment.The Army of the Republic is brilliant, terrifying, and much too close for comfort."

Naomi Klein, Backcover blurb, The Army of the Republic

The book is a sci-fi-like thriller about groups of eco terrorists with strange names, above-ground protest movements and the machinations of capitalists and their own army of security mercenaries. These domestic terrorists are certainly more competent and interesting than Bill Ayers and his ilk, but they are squashed like flies when the powers-that-be grow weary and put up the cash to stop them cold.

Beneath all the convoluted security precautions, odd revolutionary talk and word pictures and simplistic movement strategizing is a love story between boy and girl and another version of bad son and daddy dynamics.

The book strangely ends with the terrorist son sacrificing himself to the crackdown funded by his father and the father's redemption as he crosses the picket lines to join the protesters. Finally! Was it just about daddy all along?

I know it's a novel but ninety-nine percent of society seems to be missing as this noir revolutionary tale takes place in Seattle. Is there no civil society? Nothing left of democratic process? Politics? Anyone try nonviolent protest? So, maybe all that is gone, destroyed, withered away, irrelevant, forgotten. Unfortunately, all we are left with are bombs and guns and a trite story about love and redemption.

To me, this feels like looking backwards to nineteenth century Russia, not into the future.

No comments: