|Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: An Anarchist Critique
||[Jul. 19th, 2008|04:30 pm]
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: An Anarchist Critique|
WARNING: SPOILERS ABOUND.
Robbing banks. Liberating animals. Storming the statehouse. Abolishing speciesism and racial/Blood Purity as demarcation lines between magical beings. Creating a revoutionary guerilla foco in the forest while mounting a base of support in the population. Joining with other focos to foment a popular revolt in a rebel stronghold that will bring down the government once and for all. But Harry Potter does not strive for wizard liberation, nor the liberation of the “magic” internal colonies. Harry Potter’s Hogwarts revolt does nothing more than to restore state power to those with whom Harry Potter agrees.
“Freed” house elves, wizards, centaurs, and half-giants fight alongside one another in a popular front against the fascist menace, just like in Spain in 1936. But, crucially, in the background of that conflict, social revolution was quietly taking place on top of those very barricades, where classes were abolished, the means of production seized, and prisons converted into dormitories. Harry Potter’s revolution is nothing more than a Republicanist reaction to Voldemort’s Death Eater coup.
Let us study the oppressed in the Magical world: Ron Weasley, with his hand-me-down tattered clothing and his lack of proper preparation for schooling, showed us in earlier books that class and economic oppressions still rear their ugly head in a world where plenty is a flick of a wand away. Obviously, house elves are domestic slaves, forced into their oppression by cruel hexes that cause them to abdicate all power to their Wizard master. Goblins are another internal colony: kept from wand-magic, and used as pawns to oppress the economically exploitated wizards by tending the bank in which the monied wizards leave their treasures.
In fact, the only being conscious of the oppression of the state/proto-capitalist system was the goblin Griphook. Griphook believed (as does the IWW) that labor is entitled to all it creates. Griphook was uninterested in money or in personal gain, but played his part in the Harry Potter narrative to advance the liberation and the restoration of dignity to his people. Griphook is mildly demonized in the book for his beliefs, and after the Hogwarts revolt, it is likely that the situation of his race underneath the “liberator” Harry’s will not change.
We see, 19 years later, all the mechanisms of oppression inherent in the state (the torture chamber prison, the Aurors, the Ministry) still there, unharmed by the Hogwarts revolt that for a short time ousted the government in its entirety. The state’s oppressive nature has not been questioned, only who is able to weild it.
We know that Voldemort’s ascendance to power is not the first failure of “magic” government. Death Eaters had come close to power around the time of Harry’s parents’ death. Outside of the UK, Grindelwald lead his fascist army into an autocratic nightmare that slaughtered thousands “for the greater good.” At any time, another tyrant as bad or worse than Voldemort can once again take control of these reins of oppression and steam-roll the tragic machinery of slavery, torture, and authority over whatever it wants. We, as anarchists, know that all government is the same, labeled magic or Muggle. We need one, two, many Hogwarts, before all magical beings are free.