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Last Resort: Mutiny, coups, and longing for an independent politics
When the path becomes too hard to see, we run back to what we know. Even if what we know is broken beyond all repair. -Marcus Chaplin
Last Resort, a now cancelled (read: banned) TV series, opens with a mutiny of NAVY sailors who, instead of carrying out their orders of a nuclear holocaust against the people of Pakistan, choose to threaten the United States government with their nuclear payload.
Coups, and counter-coups, unfold both in the United States government and within the ranks of those solders who have decided to mutiny. As the United States government collapses, the planet is in crisis as new oppressors rise, aiming to replace the U.S. government's role in the world.
The show also explores the sexism and rape-culture inside of the U.S. military, and struggle unfolds over the still existing imperial privilege of those soldiers in relationship to the people who they are ultimately incapable of uniting with or relying on.
The show delves into complex moral and political questions as finally U.S. soldiers question what they are doing in the world, and what kind of world they want to fight for.
Marcus Chaplin, a radical Black militant and naval captain who repeatedly defies the U.S. government through both strategy and tactical alliances, represents a sort of longing for an independent politics (and a failed attempt at a disillusionment with America that doesn't break with patriotism) that is ultimately unable to take root. At that heart of that inability is the absence of the people.
Through thirteen episodes, Last Resort depicts relentless sacrifice of rebel soldiers, and plots by the liberal wing of the bourgeoisie, to stop a global nuclear holocaust being unleashed by U.S. imperialism. But absent from this entire story line is any actual uprising from the oppressed themselves, or the people of South Asia who are nuked. And ultimately: Marcus finds himself encircled and crushed by powerful imperialist enemies, and mutiny from within the ranks of his own mutiny.
It is a lesson: the power of a revolutionary army is nothing without the people themselves. And over reliance on maneuver in the place of the people ultimately leads to the death of those radical aspirations.
The show was undoubtedly one of the most interesting I have ever encountered. If one wants to imagine what real faultlines for a revolution might look like, the complex maneuver and contradictory role of class forces and alignments, this show is it.
Despite having an 8/10 rating and being one of the most popular shows on public television, it has now outrageously been cancelled by ABC because of its radical politics. Check it out, tell others, and let's not let them silence this rare show.