Are the Rebels in Star Wars communist?

Bit of a lighthearted question: Do you see the Rebel Alliance in Star Wars as communist? Or another form of leftist?

If so, would that make Star Wars a leftist film series?

Muad'Dibber
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I’d say so, he explicitly modeled the rebels after the Vietnamese communist resistance, so that should give you a good idea of who he thinks the empire represents… He says in the interview below, that hollywood never would have let him make his first movie (THX 1138) if they knew what he was really doing.

He also praised the soviet film industry, and prefers it to the US film industry, criticizing the latter for its narrow commercialism. That’s about as far left as a popular US film-maker could get, and its surprising that he wasn’t exiled from the industry entirely.

Its also worth noting that the imperialized people are the ones that are humanized in the series, obviously a good thing. We unfortunately don’t get much of a look at the empire’s loyal citizens, that would be holding up too much of a mirror to the imperial core countries and their chauvinist outlook.

@pimento
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Sounds like the rebels are a liberal’s interpretation of communists then. Which makes sense that they would end up as socdem reformists as @Farmer_Heck@lemmygrad.ml suggested.

Seabourne_PLA's
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Yeah, Lucas is just a liberal, and basing the Rebels on the Vietcong is more late 70s edginess than anything.

He clearly wanted to artistically highlight the antagonistic nature of American imperialism, but did so from a liberal viewpoint.

If you take a materialist view of the situation from within the fictional universe, core worlders really shouldn’t and wouldn’t support the Rebellion. Realistically, the Alliance would be a primarily outer rim political movement, and a fringe movement within the core. Because, as we’ve seen with IRL imperialist nations, be people who live in them and benefit from them often don’t oppose them without good reason, even when told of the atrocities of that imperialism. If you also fold in clone wars era propaganda, which was intended to condition core worlders to become xenophobic of non-humans and become hyper-nationalistic for the republic and the core worlds, it becomes even more of a headscratcher as to why the rebellion is as popular as it is. But I’m rambling now, so I’ll stop here. Regardless, it’s the result of a western liberal looking at imperialism from their country onto others and going “hmm, if things were different, we’d all revolt, wouldn’t we?”

edit because it just occurred to me: expecting a samurai film about space wizards to be realistic and strictly adhere to materialism is probably silly.

Muad'Dibber
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core worlders really shouldn’t and wouldn’t support the Rebellion.

But Tatooine, the main planet of the series, is a periphery world, and its young people did support and join the rebellion. We’d assume from that support, that they hate the empire. We don’t know if the previous republic had any presence there, but if it did, and the rebellion represents them, why would they join up?

Obvi Lucas never really takes any look at the core worlds, the economic system, how the republic is, etc. But I think its as simple as who Lucas paints as the good guys, and bad guys. Good guys = anti-imperialist resistance fighters, bad guys = soulless exploitative expansionist empire.

Contrast this with the black panther movie for instance: where killmonger and the Oakland panthers are the villians, and seen as “ultra-violent killers”, the Black panther is seen as a MLK peace-keeper, and the CIA is the good guys.

@Makan
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Pretty much.

Also, watch The Clone Wars as the Separatists are corporate overlords while the Republic is pretty much the “greater good” but also highly corrupt from corporate influence itself.

Muad'Dibber
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I think its as simple as who Lucas paints as the good guys, and bad guys. Good guys = anti-imperialist resistance fighters, bad guys = soulless exploitative expansionist empire. We can’t speculate too much on how the republic treated the outer rim worlds, but if tons of young ppl from the outer worlds are joining the rebellion, it probably was positive or non-existent.

Seabourne_PLA's
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Some people would say they are, for various reasons, but I very strongly disagree. The rebels weren’t trying to start a dictatorship of the proletariat, or secure any form of a people’s democracy. They, instead, were trying to reform the previous republic, believing that Palpatine’s corruption is the sole reason it failed. And while they would technically be right, the only people who knew of Palpatine’s plans were himself, Anakin, and his close council (the two henchmen who stand with him while he represents the republic), as well the separatist war was going to happen regardless of Palpatine’s puppeteering, because the republic was a state that only benefitted the core worlds.

Or, really, the IRL counterpart for the Rebels would be Social-Democrats of the western nations. They don’t seak true revolution, only the reformatting of the old system to work for more of its citizens. They lack materialism, and act solely on reaction. The only group in the Star Wars universe who mirror communist society are the Kinyen, the three-eyed folk who switched to the CIS during the clone wars after generations of belittlement from the core worlds.

If we extend, and keep in mind that politics in Star Wars are entirely different to the politics of our world, then the only major faction you could argue as being ‘left-wing’ would be the CIS. Yes, they were ran in part by the Trade Federation, yes one of their primary figureheads was a monarch. But, the main calling card of the CIS is independence for every system that joined the confederacy. So though the confederacy’s military and higher-level government is funded by staunch capitalists, they promised every system freedom from the chains of the core. Which, at least to me, sounds a lot like some forms of ‘libertarian’ leftism.

or to sum, no the Rebels are liberals.

edit: If you want to disagree, that’s cool - it’s your right to, and this is just a made-up story about space wizards. But, this answer comes from a deep 18+ year love for the lore of Star Wars, not just conjecturing. If you want to only talk about episode 4, as though it exists in a vacuum within the universe of the story, then sure. You could argue that as being moderately leftwing. But if you want to look at literally anything else, then the argument quickly falls apart, especially if you include the established canon of the lore.

Seabourne_PLA's
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It should also be stated that if you thought George was pointedly making a statement of strict anti-imperialism, the CIS and the Alliance fought for the same major motivation, freedom from core world oppression. But one was led in part by humans, and the other was led in majority by non-humans. And the one that was led by non-humans also happens to be ‘evil’. By the time of the clone wars, Lucas had entirely dropped the anti-imperialism from the story.

The heroes of the clone wars era are the oppressors, we’re expected to root for magic space wizards and liberal politicians who utilize a slave army to put down popular native revolutions. CIS is f a r from perfect, but most of the systems within it are genuinely just trying to win the right to regulate themselves. When we get to the rebellion, we’re rooting for humans to regain their old state so they can do the exact same thing again, but this time with more minority oppressors :trade mark:

@Makan
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No, George Lucas was pretty much a New Left hippie; he was very anti-imperialist.

Muad'Dibber
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because the republic was a state that only benefitted the core worlds.

This is kinda the main issue tho, otherwise they’re fighting a temporarily successful counter-revolution. Is there anything in the movies (I don’t know if anything else is considered canon) that suggests the republic before palpatine was malicious towards these worlds? AFAIK almost all the worlds we see in the original films are outside of the republic / eventual empire.

Seabourne_PLA's
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It’s well established in both the canon and the EU that the core worlds have always been exploitative of the outer rim. The earliest example of this (in terms of in-world timeline) is the conquests of the old republic into the outer rim during the sith wars. In essence, the core worlds represent the first world of IRL and the outter rim represents the third world.

During the Republic, it’s already well established that the republic only worked for coreworlders and humans, this is reinforced by the opening negotiations scene in episode 1, and further reinforced in nearly every examination of the CIS that attempts to explain why systems joined it. I don’t off the top of my head remember when this was added to the canon, but it was before episode 1 and sometime after episode 7. But, we also see with the New Republic, they kinda just reverted to this exploitation of the outer rim.

@Makan
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Actually, the Republic in The Clone Wars and New EU is pretty corrupt. Even George Lucas said so.

@SovietIntl
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No I’d say they’re definitely liberal. The old republic became a bureaucratic and corrupt nightmare of horrible inefficiency since they passed an anti slavery bill that wasn’t enforced in the outer rim. The empire had a Socialist aesthetic but of course that aesthetic is something that was stolen by fascism. The fascists stole Socialist aesthetic and rhetoric and turned it into “for the nation” and “for the race” or whatever.

The Rebels are just a counter liberal revolution for the most part.

Muad'Dibber
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anti slavery bill that wasn’t enforced in the outer rim.

I think that’s disney canon tho. As far as tatooine goes, the republic had either no presence, or a positive one, otherwise why would tons of young ppl from the outer worlds be joining the rebellion?

Seabourne_PLA's
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The anti-slavery bill being unenforced was part of the clone wars animated show that ran before Disney bought the franchise.

Tatooine also shows up in both the EU and the Disney canon during the clone wars, it’s an outer rim world that stayed independent during the separatist war, but during the imperial era became an imperialized world for its ore deposits. before the empire, it was a regular haunt of the galaxy’s criminal underworld, but during the empire, it became a hotbed of anti-Imperial sentiment. Most of its residents were either natively born on the planet, or immigrated there to work in the mining industry or to flee the law. It’s somewhat of a narrative equivalent of the fictionalized old west towns you’ll see in spaghetti westerns. People moved there either to chase the ore mining industry or to flee the law, then lawmen followed - following that the locals got annoyed at the law and fought back.

Muad'Dibber
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That’s fair, I haven’t seen the animated clone wars series. I was mainly basing off of the original trilogy.

@Makan
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@muad_dibber@lemmygrad.ml is pretty much right in this case.

George Lucas, in his original conception, based on his sayings, original concepts, and what’s actually show, does portray the Rebellion as being a people’s war and the Empire as being literal Space Nazis.

@Makan
11M

Yes, they’re based on the Viet Cong.

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