Star Wars mostly shows how cool lightsaber fights can be. However, it also shows how difficult it is for anyone, Jedi or Sith, to create a workable government on a large scale. Turns out that running a nation with hundreds of planets and billions of people, aliens, and robots, all with their own languages, values, and agendas, is pretty hard. This is especially true if you don’t have the two main ingredients of government: power and authority.
Power is the answer to the question: “What can a government do?” In the Old Republic, the answer to this question was “Almost nothing.” In the Empire, the answer was “Almost everything, including blowing up a planet.”
Authority is the answer to the question: “Why does a government exist?” In the Old Republic, there were tons of answers to this question, including tradition, the legitimization of royalty, religion, and defense against the Dark Side. In the Empire, the only answer was the wrath of their evil agenda and the imposing force of Darth Vader.
The Old Republic had authority but no power. The Empire had power but no authority. Both fell apart predictably in the movies. With no power to actually do anything, the Old Republic fell apart as soon as they faced a serious government problem. With no reason to rule, the Empire was destroyed as soon as they lost military power, much like other fallen empires in our own history.
Will the Rebel Alliance do any better in the upcoming episodes or will the First Order rise to become even more powerful than the Empire? What authority do General Leia and Han Solo have to rebuild a government and deal with all the problems of an entire galaxy? I think the real question here is whether a galactic government is even possible, or even necessary.
Watch the video below for a breakdown of power and authority in the Star Wars galaxy and how it compares to governments in our world’s history.
Is it fair to compare the Black Panthers to a hate or terrorist movement? Let’s look at how they really compare to the KKK and the world’s most known terrorist group, ISIS.
The public reaction to Beyoncé’s Formation video and Super Bowl performance was, well, maybe it’s best to let Saturday Night Live demonstrate it. Among the controversial images are a child not being shot by police, a police car sinking into a storm surge in New Orleans, and, at the Superbowl, a black power salute while wearing black berets, a nod to the Black Panther Party (BPP).
Support for the Black Panthers has stirred a lot of debate, not all of it measured. Newscaster Tomi Lahren referred to the Black Panthers as similar to the KKK. A city councilor for the city of Toronto has asked the Canadian government to investigate Beyoncé for possible terrorist links.
Pundits and police unions have made similar claims, calling the Black Panthers a hate movement. Is it fair to compare the Black Panthers to a hate or terrorist movement? Let’s look at how they really compare to the KKK and the world’s most known terrorist group, ISIS.
- The Black Panther Party was founded as an organization in Oakland in 1966 that advocated resisting police brutality with deadly force. They soon embraced revolutionary Black Nationalist, Maoist, and women’s liberation politics, performing activism and providing social programs to uplift African-Americans.
- The KKK was founded in 1865 by a former Confederate officer to attack freed slaves, Northerners, and federal government employees. Due to a federal crackdown, it remained small until around 1917, when it rapidly grew to include millions, including many politicians.
- ISIS was founded as a Jordanian terror cell in 1999, dedicated to establishing a single fundamentalist government ruling the entire world. In 2003, it gained prominence through participation in the Iraqi insurgency and later gained real territory as a result of the chaos of the Syrian civil war.
- The Black Panther Party committed at least seven homicides, roughly two dozen assaults, and several counts of jury intimidation. Most victims were police or members of the BPP itself.
- The KKK’s violence is difficult to estimate. About 3,500 African-Americans were lynched during the years of KKK activity. Anywhere between 1000 and 50,000 people were also killed in anti-black riots. However, the KKK may not have committed all of these. Most estimates fall between a minimum of 2,000 homicides and a maximum of 50,000. Tens of thousands more were tortured or had their homes destroyed.
- The official count of ISIS’ victims is around 10,000 dead, but due to the chaos of the region, this number could be much higher.
Size and Representation
- The Black Panther Party had a peak membership of 2,000 in 1969, thus including roughly 1 in every 11,000 African-Americans.
- In 1925 the KKK had a peak membership of five million, thus including roughly 1 in every 20 white Protestants in the United States.
- By the Pentagon’s estimate, ISIS had a peak membership of 50,000 in early 2015, thus including roughly 1 in every 600 Sunni Muslims in Syria and Iraq.
In this lesson, students will look at different document sets, comparing the three organizations on issues such as community service, violence, ideology, aims, the reactions of society, and the roles of women.