An Analysis and Comparison by Andrew Bi
Information is a powerful thing. It has toppled governments, and establish new ones. Abraham Lincoln once said, America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter, and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves. This is precisely what is happening in the world right now. Increasing government surveillance and censoring of information, coupled with plummeting voter turnouts and government accountability is destroying our civil rights and freedoms. The book, Little Brother by Cory Doctorow illustrates perfectly a dystopian society in San Francisco of what would happen if we allowed the government to reduce our civil rights, almost like a small fascist coup within the State of California.
To sum up the book’s theme in one sentence, it would be "We can all do something to enact progressive change in the world.". This is important in our current world because many governments are trying to pass controversial bills at the expense of the liberties citizens in their country. For example, Prime Minister Harper of Canada is has recently passed Bill C-51, which would allow CSIS to gain unprecedented powers and allow them to infringe on the privacy of many Canadians, and make "preventative" arrests for crimes which might not even happen. The Patriot Act of the USA, originally passed by President Bush in 2001 following the aftermath of 9/11, has also been renewed for another 4 years until 2019. However, due to popular demand, NSA monitoring and mass collection of phone calls has ceased, proving once again the book’s message: We can all make change in government.
Little Brother, Selma, & craphound.com (Cory Doctorow’s website) present this theme with a fresh insight through their different methods. Little Brother shows that even a 17 year old boy can force change on the government, proving we all have the power inside if we choose to excise it. The movie Selma, which portrays the life struggle of Martin Luther King, shows that through persistence, reform can be forwarded. Finally, craphound.com gives away Cory Doctorow’s books for free under a Creative Commons license, allowing a new generation to seek inspiration in making change in the world by reading books of his such as Little Brother & Homeland.
This movie connects with the theme of anyone can enact change in the world because throughout the movie, Martin Luther King is portrayed as a simple family man who has been given the gift of skillful oration and the natural ability to lead. As the movie progresses, he chooses to fight violence with peace, and eventually pressures the President to reduce discrimination in voting.