When we dropped Rap News 21, at the start of this year, I said I wanted to post something here after each new release to share some of the thoughts and ideas that don’t always find their way into the actual videos. (That didn’t quite work out as planned… sorry – the demands of monthly video production were slightly more massive than anticipated). But since we recently uploaded our last video for the year – The New World Order (Rap News 30) – our Season 3 finale – I thought I’d take this opportunity to make up for my slackness for the past eight episodes and post an update. So here’s a little rant to accompany RN30, for those who have a bit of time on their hands.
RN30 covers one of the key concepts which Hugo and I have always wanted to explore through Juice Rap News. Even before we made our very first episode, in late 2009, we spoke about the need to critique the popular New World Order / Illuminati conspiracy theory which is often invoked to explain the state of the world today. It’s a conspiracy that has gained massive popularity over the past decade thanks to the internets, and which has arguably shaped the world view of an increasing number of people around the world – many of whom are justifiably pissed off about the way things are going, and want to change things for the better.
Sure, there are many real conspiracies around. But the NWO has grown into more than just a conspiracy; it has become a master narrative for explaining all the problems in the world today – practically a cosmology. So what is it all about? Despite all its apparent intricacies, its basic premise is rather simple (and therefore quite appealing): it externalizes the source of injustice by assigning responsibility for all the evil in the world to a shady elite at the top of the pyramid (commonly referred to simply as “They“), while encouraging us (usually affluent westerners) to identify as the oppressed at the bottom of the pyramid of power.
In order to prop up this notion, the NWO narrative needs to blast century-wide holes into our collective historical consciousness. Think about it… what about Indigenous peoples who experienced (and in some cases continue to experience) the catastrophic effects of colonisation? What about sweatshop workers, sex slaves and child soldiers? What about women across the world for most of recorded history? And what about the non-human species of the planet? Where do they fit into this NWO pyramid of power? They don’t. Because the NWO conspiracy world-view relies on us identifying as the victims of the system.
But take any of the serious crimes usually attributed to the New World Order – genocide, enslavement, exploitation, theft, cruelty, homogenization, conformity, assimilation, etc – you’ll see that all of these have been inflicted on the above sections of the society, in past and present times. (If you live in settler states such as Canada, USA or Australia, for example, you are living off the proceeds of all of the above). The historical record is clear about this. But NWO conspiracy advocates don’t like to be reminded of the crimes upon which their own wealth, privilege and power has been built; it upsets the basic victim based narrative.
In RN30, to illustrate this blind spot, William De Berg presents Terrence Moonseed with a more honest depiction of the NWO pyramid of power which encourages us to question where we actually fit into its structure. Note that the image is not ‘to scale’: the layers of the pyramid do not necessarily sit in this specific order, indeed they often intersect across gender, class, race, etc; and you may well find it necessary to question the labels and positions of the lower tiers (That’s good – reality is too complex for any single stupid diagram!). The basic point this image seeks to convey is that “we” are not necessarily at the bottom of the pyramid, as we are often encouraged to imagine by NWO-conspiracy proponents. Victims of injustice can also be oppressors and beneficiaries of injustice.
Ironically, if there is a NWO conspiracy, its most powerful aspect might be that even its agents don’t realise they are a part of it. Which is precisely what keeps the pyramid of power intact, for by failing to recognise our place in it, we end up perpetuating the very injustices which we (and NWO conspiracy advocates) seek to end.
Well, it took us 5 years and 30 episodes to distil these ideas into a rap news format, to develop the characters we needed to craft the argument, and to hone our rap newsician tools. So we hope you find it… illuminating. We don’t expect this episode to be particularly popular with the hardcore NWO believers out there – many of whom by now probably regard us as being part of the Illuminati. We can only hope that it might lead some of them to question their view of the world – as they so often exhort others to do.
Well, that’s all for now. Hugo and I will be back with fresh doses of Juice Rap News in February 2015, when we’ll kick off Season 4.
Till then, take care.