Rather than thinking that civil war starts at the margins of society, what happens if its starts at the centre? What happens if its a constant in all of our lives? One that was exposed, via the financial crisis of 2008, when the tide went out and revealed the vested interests of the dominant and most powerful elements of our society?
What happens if its a Hidden Civil War? One in which the state and those most invested in its cur-rent formulation are the primary initiators and agitators?
At first glance, the idea of a civil war within these lands may seem crazy. Surely it requires tanks on the street and constant civil disobedience? But what if we replace these signs with household debt and payday loans; deterioration of the NHS; increase in racial tensions; fragmentation of communities; zero-hours contracts..
What happens if the state and those in authority (media; banks; global corporations etc.) are acting to keep there power and privilege, rather than serve the people. What happens if the law-makers, become the law-breakers, all in the name of keeping the law?
Just how far fetched is this in the age of Hillsborough, phone tapping, MP’s expenses?
It is said that our imaginations have become so entrapped into the inevitability of living like we do, that we find it easier to contemplate nuclear 0r environmental disasters, rather than something different to global capitalism.
This ‘state of inevitability’ creates the perfect front in which those with influence and privilege can extend their authority well beyond where the law existed in the past; and at the same time withdraw from previously held collective responsibilities.
Just who does really benefit from ideas such as Brexit; austerity; privatisation? These are the questions found at the heart of Hidden Civil War.
Hidden Civil War explores the states of exception that are allowing those in power, to culturally, physically and psychologically attack not only political adversaries, but entire categories of citizens who for some reason cannot be integrated into the current economic and political system.
Hidden Civil War explores how certain forms of knowledge are privileged and accepted as true; and certain voices heard and valued, while of course, many others are not. History show’s that such acts hold great importance in relation to the production of power and wealth. The processes of both acquiring knowledge, and suppressing certain knowledge, is a violent act within a time of crisis.
Via artistic expressions; the stories of particular people groups; and emerging issues in post-Brexit Britain, Hidden Civil War shall seek to appreciate and celebrate alternative voices and expressions of life; whilst also disrupting and dislodging, mainstream forms of knowledge and understanding.
But make no mistake. Hidden Civil War is not some ‘lefty finger pointing exercise’. We are truly all in this together, in as much as we are all economic addicts. John Holloway writes:
‘We are all involved in the re-creation of the social relations we are trying to overcome. It cannot be otherwise in a capitalist society. The movement of doing is not a pure movement, but a moving in-against-and-beyond … There is no purity here: we try to overcome the contradictions, we rebel against our own complicity, we try in every way to stop making capitalism, we try to direct the flow of our lives as effectively as possible towards the creation of a society based on dignity.’
There are no simple solutions, but that cannot mean simple surrender. Placing art at the heart of this program is no mistake, but it is not in isolation. Voices and ideas from the areas of food, land, travelers, domestic violence, poverty, asylum and debt are all in the mix.
Our times require deep collaboration, reflection and listening. As the world renowned journalist John Pilger recently wrote:
‘What has happened to the great tradition of popular direct action, unfettered to parties? Where is the courage, imagination and commitment required to begin the long journey to a better, just and peaceful world? Where are the dissidents in art, film, the theatre, literature?’
Our hope is that Hidden Civil War will contribute to these needs.
Bella is delighted to be part of the Hidden Civil war project. More details here.