Youth in Action

Black Hawk War Propaganda


I’ve got to be honest with you people, among my favorite movies, “Saving Private Ryan” and “Three Kings” (even with Mark Wahlberg and Ice Cube) are high on the list. Yet, after returning from “Black Hawk Down,” I’d have to say that we, as a nation, have entered an all-time low in our standards for putting out movies.

I thought it was bad when people first told me “Mission Impossible 2” was the best movie of the summer! Nay, the YEAR! And then it was even worse when I was told, “you have to watch ‘The Matrix’ a few times to understand the complexity in the plot!”

But alas, Hollywood has outdone itself once again. “Black Hawk Down” is hands down the worst movie I have seen in the theater in a long time, if not ever. This thinly veiled piece of American propaganda lacked a decent story line but had plenty of broadly drawn (and predictable) characters.

The entire movie was just one long, drawn-out battle scene, and that’s usually the redeeming quality to a bad movie. But while I was watching this movie, I often asked myself, “OK, when is this fight scene going to be over with?”

One of the scenes takes place near a downed black hawk helicopter. Inside the helicopter are three or four American GIs who were fighting off hoards of Somalians. The GIs are completely surrounded, and are of course, fighting like hell, and manage to hold them off for a few minutes.

Then, a “skinny” (what the GIs call the Somalians) approaches the helicopter with a pistol, and shoots into the helicopter, killing a soldier. This gives the cue to all the other angry Somalians to rush the helicopter, take the GIs, strip them of their clothes, and beat them to death. Nearby, another GI, who has a leg injury and is unable to walk, is looking at a picture of his wife and kid (it’s a well-known fact that Americans are the only ones who have families, especially in times of “war”).

Just then, a mob of Somalians see the GI, and rush toward him, beating him, and trying to strip him of his clothes, while the entire time, the only thing this soldier is worrying about is keeping a hold of his picture. How sweet.

Also, the very end of the movie made me very agitated. It left us with the line, “1000 Somalians died, and 19 Americans lost their lives.” Lost their lives-those are powerful words, but those thousand Somalians? Oh, they just died. It’s so much easier to distance yourself from the people whom you are killing.

It never ceases to amaze me at how few people see the irony of all of this “patriotism” crap. It was patriotism that killed 10 million innocent people in the holocaust during World War II. Please, just try to understand why I don’t buy into patriotism, and you’ll see why I don’t buy into horrible movies made to “lift the spirit of the nation.”

If the United States government had any respect for the victims of the Sept. 11 tragedy, then they wouldn’t encourage the very same weapon that promotes American terrorism in other countries around the world, and throughout history.

If you’re sick of having this propaganda shoved down your throat, I recommend you stay as far away from this movie as possible.

Although, if you like incessant, mind-numbing violence, mixed in with a great big helping of American pride, then check out “Black Hawk Down.” I for one, will probably stay away from the next movie advertised to “truly show what war is like,” unless the movie is not made by Hollywood.

War is hell, and everybody loses in a war. In my humble opinion, if we truly respect the deceased in any war or “police action,” then we won’t dehumanize the people on the receiving end of our bullets. Chances are they have families too, and that is why war is hell.

Mike Rogge is a member of Youth for Socialist Action in the Lake Superior area.



Argentina’s Young People Show the Way


They call them motoqueros (“motoboys”). And who are they? Young working-class motorcyclists who come from some of the poorest working-class neighborhoods of Buenos Aires. For them Argentina’s long-running economic crisis has meant a lifetime of underemployment, if they’re even fortunate enough to find work at all.

On Dec. 20, though, the motoboys fought back, playing an important role in what is becoming known as the Battle of the Plaza de Mayo. On that day tens of thousands of protesters, many of them youth and young workers, confronted the police guarding the Palacio de Gobierno.

By the end of the day, 30 of them had been killed, and hundreds more wounded, but they had forced Argentina’s President de la Rua to resign and flee, leaving the victorious motoboys and others to spray paint slogans of resistance upon the walls of the Casa Rosada (Argentina’s presidential palace).

Argentina is being gripped by wave upon wave of mass protests as the people become more and more outraged by the economic hardships they are being forced to endure, and at the ruling class’s inability to come up with any solution. The people are showing their outrage by banging pots and pans from their balconies, by occupying the streets, by stealing food from supermarkets to satisfy their hunger. They have made business as usual impossible for the ruling rich of their country.

And while the people banging their pots and pans, and taking to the streets come from different backgrounds and from all ages, it is the working people, and especially the young people, who are leading the fight. Students, young workers, and unemployed youth-the next generation of Argentina who yesterday saw no future-today have hope because they are fighting back.

It’s the same thing (on a much larger scale) that happened in Seattle in December of 1999 when young people from across North America came together in opposition to the capitalist policies of the World Trade Organization.

It’s the same thing that happened in Belgrade when thousands of Serb, especially young people, took to the streets to drive from power the national chauvinist Slobodan Milosevic, just as their Albanian sisters and brothers drove out Berisha in 1997.

It’s the same thing that took place in Ecuador two years ago when people rose up against the IMF-imposed austerity measures of President Jamil Mahaud, forcing him to resign. And it’s the same thing that happened in Indonesia in 1998 when tens of thousands of students and young workers rose up week after week to force out of power the bloody dictator Suharto.

Revolution happens when the majority of people decide that they can no longer tolerate the existing status quo, and decide to take their destiny into their own hands. That is why the working class is so crucial to any struggle for fundamental social change.

It is often young people, though, both students and young workers, who serve as the initial impetus of revolution-that proverbial small spark that starts a forest fire or sets the prairie ablaze. It is because we are young that we have hope. Because we are not burdened down by the setbacks of the past and we have little to lose, we are often able to play this role.

A dramatic battle is unfolding today in Argentina, the outcome of which is still undecided. Argentina’s ruling class, with the help of Big Brother in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere, may be able to divert or crush this revolution. They may somehow be able to put off the definitive battle over who will rule Argentina-the ruling rich or the workers-but they may not.

Today may be their last day, and if not, perhaps tomorrow will be. In either event the young people of Argentina are showing the way by making a courageous stand, and fighting for a better tomorrow. Let us stand in solidarity with them, let us support their struggle and lend whatever aid we can.

But most important, let us follow their example. Lets ask ourselves if we too are deserving of a better world, a world based not on debt and dead-end jobs, filled with unfulfilled souls and despairing lives but rather one based on solidarity, on fulfillment, and on hope. Let’s import the spirit of the motoboys into the United States!

Related Articles

Rage Against the War Machine: A Reactionary “Right-Left Antiwar” Alliance 

In these momentarily difficult times, tragically a small layer of antiwar personalities and a few well-meaning organizations have been drawn into the reactionary “right-left coalition” that is planning a February 19 “Rage Against the War Machine” Washington. D.C. demonstration. In the unlikely event that this effort meets with even a modicum of success, it will represent a serious defeat for antiwar, anti-racist, anti-sexist, LGBTQI and social justice activists as well as all groups that have been fighting against the inherent horrors of the capitalist system for a lifetime.