The Logo fro 'The Prisoner'
(Image by Patrick MacGoohan estate, low res image used under 'Fair Use' Doctrine) Permission Details DMCA
Robert Reich in his 24 March 2014 OpEdNews article, "The New Tribalism and the Decline of the Nation State," wrote of the emergence of a new tribalism throughout the world today. When Scots want to secede from the 300-year-old Act of Union with England, for no other good reason than they want to, we must ask ourselves is there something more behind the disintegration of nations than tribalism.
I would like to suggest that what is behind this tribalism movement is the giant multinational corporations, playing the old game of divide and conquer. Their intent is simple: weaken the only serious impediment to their hegemony over the rest of humanity, the political power of the nation-state, especially if that nation-state is at all responsive to the needs of its people ahead of the conglomerates.
The uncaring, faceless, corporate-controlled world, where the great sin is to stand out above the corporation, was a nightmarish vision with James Caan and John Houseman in the 1970's film. It is becoming a horrific reality in the 2010's.
We also have the late Patrick McGoohan's twisted vision of a seemingly benevolent island prison camp called "The Village." It is the comfortable gulag for retired intelligence operatives--possibly from more than one nation--in McGoohan's late 60's television masterpiece, The Prisoner. The Prisoner contains echoes of our nation's current troubles: "I am not a number, I am a free man!" Even the amorphous blob innocuously named "Rover," designed to prevent your escape from The Village, is a symbolic representation of society's expectations to stay in your predetermined place, no matter how confining it might seem to you.
Both of these pieces of seminal video art have one thing in common: the dehumanization of human beings in order to bring them to heel for some faceless, soulless entity, always to that individual's, and the rest of society's, detriment.
Racism is an intrinsic aspect of tribalism, as is sectionalism, provincialism, classism, elitism, and every other "ism" that promotes an "us versus them" mentality. Nationalism is a small step up from all of these other "isms"; showing an evolutionary step forward toward the acceptance of the universal brotherhood (and sisterhood) of all humankind, the sublime state of existence where we accept that we are our brother's and sister's keeper, and that every child who is born on this planet is part of our responsibility to one another.