Understanding Through Media MP0509 (Advertising and Media student) Essay “How does Fight Club represent an anti-corporate Anarchist text? ” Module Leader: Gareth Longstaff Student: Oleksandra Gurko St. number: 10022661 Date of Submission: Deadline: 14th December 2010 Word Count: 1633 In the world, there are always two opposite powers taking part in it: the order and chaos or the state and anarchism. There is one interesting thing that one without the other simply cannot exist.This essay will focus on “Anarchism” as a term and its aspects, and also explain how anti-corporate anarchism text could be represented, using the novel “Fight Club” by Chuck Palahniuk (1996) as an example. Anarchism is a political philosophy that is based on freedom and has the aim to destroy all types of coercion and exploitation of man by man, where a “man is everywhere still in chains” (Read,H. ,1974: p.
35). Basically, anarchism is an idea that society can and should be organized without coercion of the government. Anarchism proposes to replace the cooperation of an individual power that exists due to the suppression of man by man.It means that, according to anarchists, social relations and institutions must be based on personal interest, mutual consent, responsibility of each participant, and any forms of government should be eliminated. The theory of anarchism itself revolves around seven basic principles, such as lack of power, freedom from coercion, freedom of association, mutual aid, diversity, equality and brotherhood.
In the novel “Fight Club” by Chuck Palahniuk (1996) we could observe all of these aspects. The first “law” of anarchism is the lack of power, which means that in an anarchist society, ne person or a group of people will not impose their opinion, desire and will to other people. Other words, anarchism is against totalitarian society in which all people will be under total control until it will lead to complete uniformity. The “Fight Club” as an ‘organization’ itself is based on a chaos, hence there is no control.
The second principle is freedom from coercion that implies the rejection of coercive one group of people to another group or a person to participate in any kind of activity, whether it is the interest of the individual or even the whole society, against their will.As for an example in “Fight Club”, there is no force that dictates members of this club to fight; due to all of them are volunteers. Freedom of association, in turn, implies that in a society that organized on anarchist principles, everyone must be able to participate, on equal rights, in determination of future of this particular society, where people themselves would collectively decide social issues and individually their own personal problems.For example, “Fight Club” does not show any of the members who brings his personal problems and tries to solve it with the help of this ‘organization of fighters’, all of them have only one main aim – to destroy corporations and businesses and here they are achieving this goal as a group. Mutual aid or cooperation manifests when people work together, their activities are significantly more effective than when everyone works separately by themselves. In addition, collective interaction is a shorter way to achieve the desired result.
The same thing we can observe in “Fight Club”, where all the members working together and their ‘success’ is fast and obvious. Diversity, as one of the principles of anarchism, gives opportunity to people to be different from each other in any way that leads to the issue that some individuals could become more complicated to control. Equality means that there is no hierarchy, equal opportunities for everyone to meet their needs. Finally, the last principle of anarchism is brotherhood where all people are equal and have equal rights.From my opinion, equality and brotherhood are two main “rules” that keeps “Fight Club” the way it is: no names for members, everyone is equal and have the same rights and as brotherhood – obsesses with the same idea. Anti-corporate anarchism implies a disagreement with corporations.
Anti-corporate anarchists consider that the large businesses affect democratic authority and public goods by harming them. From their point of view, these businesses and corporations, without any permission, participate in the private lives of people, manipulate in the political sphere and also create in consumers the false needs.The novel “Fight Club” by Chuck Palahniuk (1996) is a good representation of anti-corporate anarchism. This novel is about a man whose name is unknown in his 30’s and he works in the office. He suffers from insomnia and in his spare time he furnishes his apartment using an IKEA catalogue.
His doctor refuses to give him medication against the tormenting insomnia, offering the protagonist to periodically visit meetings of patients who suffer from testicular cancer.These meetings help him in the beginning, but then a woman start to attend the meetings, who also “fakes” her fatal disease, resulting in the main character to suffer from insomnia again. During one of his business flight he meets Tyler Durden and from here on all anarchistic activities starts. They organize a community for everyone who are interested and the point of it – fights. No one can talk about it and everyone is equal without names, like a brotherhood in theory of anarchism.
The members of this club are all from a working class people.Eventually, the “Fight Club”, how they start to call it, gains popularity and begins to expand, appearing in other cities, causing destructions and threat to corporations and businesses. The whole novel is a vivid example of representation of an anti-corporate anarchism and anarchism itself. Throughout the novel club members fought with values, imposed by society. For example, the moment where the protagonist is in his apartment and all his furniture purchased from the IKEA, a kind of “quest for the best” I would say, “and I wasn't the only slave to my nesting instinct.
The people I know who used to sit in the bathroom with pornography, now they sit in the bathroom with their IKEA furniture catalogue” (Palahniuk, Chuck, “Fight Club”, 1996: ch. 5). The constant need to purchase the better, more expensive to comply with a society that around and everywhere, as a proof of success, “All a gun does is focus an explosion in one direction. You have a class of young strong men and women, and they want to give their lives to something.
Advertising has these people chasing cars and clothes they don't need.Generations have been working in jobs they hate, just so they can buy what they don't really need” (Palahniuk, Chuck, “Fight Club”, 1996: ch. 19). Therefore, club-fighters decide that they “ have to show these men and women freedom by enslaving them, and show them courage by frightening them” (Palahniuk, Chuck, “Fight Club”, 1996: ch. 19).
The first act of anti-corporate anarchism is when the main character blows his apartment, in order to become free – “ ‘it’s only after you’ve lost everything’, Tyler says, ‘that you are free to do anything’ ” (Palahniuk, Chuck, “Fight Club”, 1996: ch. ). The idea of “Fight Club” itself in not only about fighting during “club meetings”, but, afterwards, club members get “home works”, such as “by this time next week, each guy on the Assault Committee has to pick a fight where he won't come out a hero. And not in fight club. This is harder than it sounds. A man on the street will do anything not to fight.
The idea is to take some Joe on the street who's never been in a fight and recruit him. Let him experience winning for the first time in his life. Get him to explode.Give him permission to beat the crap out of you. You can take it. If you win, you screwed up.
‘What we have to do, people,’ Tyler told the committee, ‘is remind these guys what kind of power they still have” (Palahniuk, Chuck, “Fight Club”, 1996: ch. 16). “Fight Club” members start a “cold war” with society and everything that this society has interest in. They do not respect anything, even history makes them feel the influence and power of society – “I wanted to burn the Louvre. I'd do the Elgin Marbles with a sledgehammer and wipe my ass with the Mona Lisa.
This is my world, now. This is my world, my world, and those ancient people are dead” (Palahniuk, Chuck, “Fight Club”, 1996: ch. 16). The important statement of the novel is “..
. you're not how much money you've got in the bank. You're not your job. You're not your family, and you're not who you tell yourself..
.. You're not your name..
.. You're not your problems....
You're not your age....
You are not your hopes” (Palahniuk, Chuck, “Fight Club”, 1996: ch. 18), it is targeted at individuality, as one of the points of anarchism.Afterwards, all plans of anti-corporate anarchists becoming a reality, “Fight Club was the beginning, now it’s moved out of the basement, it’s called Project Mayhem” (Palahniuk, Chuck, “Fight Club”, 1996: ch. 17).
Fight Club members write a list of corporations’ buildings that they want to physically destroy and they do their “job”. These actions, such as blowing up skyscrapers, are a clear representation of an anti-corporate anarchist text and “ only in death” they are “no longer part of Project Mayhem” (Palahniuk, Chuck, “Fight Club”, 1996: ch. 28).In conclusion, “anarchism” is a sort of unsatisfactory of the state of board and directed against the society rules. Anti-corporate anarchism, in turn, directed against big and powerful corporations and businesses with the aim of their destruction. As mentioned earlier, anti-corporate anarchists believe that these big companies, without any permission, participate in the private lives of people, manipulate in the political sphere and also create in consumers the false needs.
Other words, these corporations “force” people to buy more expensive things in order to help them look more wealthy and successful in society.In this essay the novel “Fight Club” by Chuck Palahniuk was used as an example in order to describe the representation of anti-corporative anarchist text, where the Fight Club itself is an anti-corporate anarchist “organization”. List of References: 1. Berger, Arthur Asa.
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