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Blake
Spaceship Dispatcher
Rodney wrote:

I agree. He's not a likeable character and incredibly egotistical. The moment when he rushes into the empty control room is priceless:
“We’ve done it! We’ve done it! I’ve done it!”

Shouldn't that be highlighted, like this? “We’ve done it! We’ve done it! I’ve done it!" Oops

Grin Grin
Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow. I bet that means something. It sounds great.

Blake's 7: Trojan Horse (s4 fanfic) - Blake's 7: Through the Needle's Eye (s2 fanfic)

Spaceship Dispatcher's fanfic site
 
guiser
Rodney wrote:

Paul Darrow aske us to decide whether Blake's crew - in Series 1 and 2 - was a group of freedom-fighters or terrorists. What do people think of this provocative question?!


Well, since freedom is a goal and terrorism a tactic, it is quite possible to be both at the same time. Be that as it may, I think that Blake and co were freedom fighters and not terrorists. Of course that does not make their actions moral, just not that particular kind of immoral! No war is moral, even if truly fought in the name of morality. A whiter than white hero with a gun is, to me, a ridiculous idea. (you can see why I am a Blake fan!)

Terrorism is a psychological tactic and has nothing to do with the level of violence or destruction a group are involved in. Terroristic violence is an attempt at political manipulation without significant military goals. Not really the kind of thing you see in B7. Exactly the same actions can be terroristic or not depending on the intention. On any wider definition, we would have to conclude that conventional warfare is the most terroristic activity, since it is the most destructive.

Unless you restrict terrorism to a narrow technical meaning then the term is totally meaningless except as a propaganda weapon. Unless the definition is narrowed you get into the territory of the morality of all warfare. Sometimes I think that the overuse of the words terrorism is a cop out way of dodging much more profound and difficult issues. Ironically, I think Blake and co were deliberately written written to be unusually unterroristic for the kind of group that they are!
 
Spaceship Dispatcher
guiser wrote:

Terrorism is a psychological tactic and has nothing to do with the level of violence or destruction a group are involved in. Terroristic violence is an attempt at political manipulation without significant military goals. Not really the kind of thing you see in B7.

I'm going to have to agree with the first part of that, but not the final conclusion. In trying to use violence to inspire rebellion against the current political order, Blake's goals were both a psychological tactic (inspiring actions in others without direct interaction) and politcial manipulation (again, trying to influence the actions of anti-Federation political groups) and so were very much what we see in the show; at the same time, it cannot be said that the Liberator crew had significant military objectives.
Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow. I bet that means something. It sounds great.

Blake's 7: Trojan Horse (s4 fanfic) - Blake's 7: Through the Needle's Eye (s2 fanfic)

Spaceship Dispatcher's fanfic site
 
guiser
Spaceship Dispatcher wrote:

Rodney wrote:

Paul Darrow aske us to decide whether Blake's crew - in Series 1 and 2 - was a group of freedom-fighters or terrorists. What do people think of this provocative question?!

imo Blake and Cally were terrorists, because their MO was destruction, so I suppose everyone else is too by association; but I don't apply the tag to any of the other crew members as individuals.


Well, they are all involved in trying to achieve Blake's goals, regardless of their degree of commitment, so as far as I am concerned, they are all terrorist/freedom fighters (depending on taste). Indeed, if Avon and Vila do not believe to some extent in Blake's cause (and I'm not sure they don't), then they are far more morally despicable than Blake or Cally for engaging in violent actions in support of it.
Edited by guiser on 05 January 2015 00:30:47
 
Rodney
I'm not sure that Blake knew what he was doing. Central Control was like some unholy grail, and when he finally got there, the alien armada suddenly made him wonder who the real enemy was.
Vila: Where are all the good guys?
Blake: You could be looking at them.
Avon: What a depressing thought!
 
Rodney
As Avon says in Star One:
“Blake is an idealist. He cannot afford to think.”
Vila: Where are all the good guys?
Blake: You could be looking at them.
Avon: What a depressing thought!
 
guiser
Spaceship Dispatcher wrote:

guiser wrote:

Terrorism is a psychological tactic and has nothing to do with the level of violence or destruction a group are involved in. Terroristic violence is an attempt at political manipulation without significant military goals. Not really the kind of thing you see in B7.

I'm going to have to agree with the first part of that, but not the final conclusion. In trying to use violence to inspire rebellion against the current political order, Blake's goals were both a psychological tactic (inspiring actions in others without direct interaction) and politcial manipulation (again, trying to influence the actions of anti-Federation political groups) and so were very much what we see in the show; at the same time, it cannot be said that the Liberator crew had significant military objectives.


I think terrorism involves more the manipulation of neutral or hostile populations by fear. Civilians putting pressure on governments to grant concessions or change policies and that kind of thing. Trying to manipulate people to become supporters is something else! Certainly, in Blake's case, I can see his actions as both military and propagandistic. He can gather support, but his actions can also be seen as trying to distract and weaken the Federation enough that others can also organise. It may well be that, as you suggest, the propaganda value was the most significant, though
Edited by guiser on 05 January 2015 00:27:01
 
peladon
Terrorism is what it says on the tin, the undirected and generalised use of terror as a weapon of conflict. As I understand it from my pre writing research the internationally accepted definition is the use of tactics deemed outside of the rules of war, that is where the outcome has either no military advantage to the combatant or where the impact, particularly on non combatants, is disproportionate to the claimed military advantage.

In B7 there isn’t any terrorism that I can see before the anomaly of Star One. Prior to that civilian populations are not targeted, or even significantly put at risk, prisoners are not abused or killed and all Blake's targets, as seen in canon before SO, are military and the military advantage appears to be proportionate to the impact. He considers himself to be at war and fights accordingly.

Even SO is uncertain, after all there is no suggestion in Pressure Point that Control is anything other than a military device, and we have no concrete evidence that Blake knows it has morphed into the supposed hybrid of Star One. In fact why should he, the Star One idea of a combined civil and military system seems totally implausible to me as the security headaches alone would make it unworkable.

Blake fights within the rules of war and is closer to the classical resistance leader model, not always nice, not always honest, not always kind, but not a purveyor of terror as such.
 
Spaceship Dispatcher
peladon wrote:

Terrorism is what it says on the tin, the undirected and generalised use of terror as a weapon of conflict. As I understand it from my pre writing research the internationally accepted definition is the use of tactics deemed outside of the rules of war, that is where the outcome has either no military advantage to the combatant or where the impact, particularly on non combatants, is disproportionate to the claimed military advantage.

In B7 there isn’t any terrorism that I can see before the anomaly of Star One. Prior to that civilian populations are not targeted, or even significantly put at risk, prisoners are not abused or killed and all Blake's targets, as seen in canon before SO, are military and the military advantage appears to be proportionate to the impact. He considers himself to be at war and fights accordingly...

The generally accepted definition of the word military does however refer to the armed forces or their activities. Since neither Blake nor his crew or the Liberator* belong to any recognised armed forces, nothing he does can be described as military tactics or action; the rebels are merely a group of private individuals who attack the legal authority and its subjects.

edit: *well, the Liberator does originally belong to a military force - but it's nothing to do with Blake!
Edited by Spaceship Dispatcher on 05 January 2015 21:25:28
Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow. I bet that means something. It sounds great.

Blake's 7: Trojan Horse (s4 fanfic) - Blake's 7: Through the Needle's Eye (s2 fanfic)

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Ela
Rodney wrote:

As Avon says in Star One:
“Blake is an idealist. He cannot afford to think.”


Is it scary that I hear that in my head in Avon's exact tone of voice? Wink
 
Frankymole
Rodney wrote:

Blake is, arguably, less honest than Avon, isn't he?


JENNA At least you're still alive.
BLAKE No! Not until free men can think and speak. Not until power is back with the honest man.
AVON Have you ever met an "honest man"?
JENNA [eyeing Blake thoughtfully] Perhaps.
 
peladon
Spaceship Dispatcher wrote:



The generally accepted definition of the word military does however refer to the armed forces or their activities. Since neither Blake nor his crew or the Liberator* belong to any recognised armed forces, nothing he does can be described as military tactics or action; the rebels are merely a group of private individuals who attack the legal authority and its subjects.

edit: *well, the Liberator does originally belong to a military force - but it's nothing to do with Blake!


I dont think that holds up, after all equipment can and is defined as 'military' in appropraite circumstances so the objective rather than the authority/ownership seems to be what defines something as military. Even with regards to actions and organisations the word military doesn't only apply to the the formal armed forces of a state and private armies, militia and armies of dissenters of one form or another can be considered to be included. So any organised defensive or offensive force can be considered to be 'military' if their objectives are 'military' and they form a unified and ordered organisation that act within the rules of war. Blake 7 would fall into that category - however unwilling on the part of some of them.

As for whether his actions are military, for most of SA/B thats exactly what they are both in terms of target and desired outcome. What else would you consider them to be?
Re the System, there is no evidence that it is a military force by any defintion.
 
Spaceship Dispatcher
peladon wrote:

So any organised defensive or offensive force can be considered to be 'military' if their objectives are 'military' and they form a unified and ordered organisation that act within the rules of war. Blake 7 would fall into that category - however unwilling on the part of some of them.

The Liberator crew are unified with who? Ordered as part of what? There is no war.

As for whether his actions are military, for most of SA/B thats exactly what they are both in terms of target and desired outcome. What else would you consider them to be?

Terrorism? That was, after all, the original question! Grin
Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow. I bet that means something. It sounds great.

Blake's 7: Trojan Horse (s4 fanfic) - Blake's 7: Through the Needle's Eye (s2 fanfic)

Spaceship Dispatcher's fanfic site
 
peladon
Grin
Spaceship Dispatcher wrote:

peladon wrote:

So any organised defensive or offensive force can be considered to be 'military' if their objectives are 'military' and they form a unified and ordered organisation that act within the rules of war. Blake 7 would fall into that category - however unwilling on the part of some of them.

The Liberator crew are unified with who? Ordered as part of what? There is no war.

As for whether his actions are military, for most of SA/B thats exactly what they are both in terms of target and desired outcome. What else would you consider them to be?

Terrorism? That was, after all, the original question! Grin



Unified and organised in that Blake has a strategy within the context of a resistance movement and the military goal of overthrowing a corrupt and dictatorial regime according to canon. It’s clear that there is one, and that Blake has some wider support. Blake and the other resistance clearly do consider themselves to be at war, there may not have been some formal declaration but within a civil war scenario- which is probably what history would consider it to be - there often isn’t You may not consider it a war but our characters clearly do, so I'll go with that.

As for the original question - I have already said that I see no evidence that his actions count as terrorism prior to the dubious SO, and why I consider them in that manner, therefore you would have to explain what aspects of those actions justify them being described as such.Grin
 
Spaceship Dispatcher
@ Peladon - You make quite a few points and statements, so I'll try and answer them in turn:

peladon wrote:

Unified and organised in that Blake has a strategy within the context of a resistance movement...

Does he? If we're going by what's on screen, all his attempts to meet with other rebels end miserably within an episode! How can he exist within the context of a unified or organised movement that itself does not exist? To say he is unified with himself alone and organised because he organises his own crew does not itself vindicate his actions.

...and the military goal of overthrowing a corrupt and dictatorial regime according to canon.

I would argue that private individuals seeking political change from within a political system, rather than from outside it since Blake is not subject of another government and operated within Federation space, is a political one rather than military. Besides, it's only canon that Blake and his like-minded friends believe the Federation corrupt and dictatorial; other characters believe otherwise, and it's viewers' privilege not canon to choose who you believe more.

Blake and the other resistance clearly do consider themselves to be at war...

In the real world, so do many political factions who are really terrorists. This is not the place to discuss RL issues, but the principle here is that merely declaring that you are at war with someone else's political ideals does not legalise violence against them.

...there often isn’t You may not consider it a war but our characters clearly do, so I'll go with that.

Which you are free to do, but neither your choices or mine as a viewer are canon. To my mind, there is little to support Blake's claims and nothing to support his actions.
Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow. I bet that means something. It sounds great.

Blake's 7: Trojan Horse (s4 fanfic) - Blake's 7: Through the Needle's Eye (s2 fanfic)

Spaceship Dispatcher's fanfic site
 
rojkerr1
Little to support his actions except the totalitarian nature of the federation, its corruption and evil, as personified by Tarrant in the way back, and travis. Servalan says that Travis is an advocate of totAL WAR, an enemy does not cease to be an enemy even when he's given up, so kill him anyway, she is not surprised by this, seeming to accept it as a maxim. And as for Blake himself, hardly surprising he is a little bit flaky, as he was tortured, destroyed and rebuilt by the feds as a symbol of rehabilitation, he pursues his goals singlemindedly its true, because he has very little to hang onto, except the fight itself. He is after the federation because of what it did to him, and he's not even sure of that! He comes over as driven and intolerant, because he is frantically trying to hold onto a very fragile sense of identity, without this fight he is nothing so no wonder he pursues it irrationally at times, really it is all he has left, Avon is alternately drawn and repulsed by him, so even in this damaged state he is still a compelling figure
 
Spaceship Dispatcher
rojkerr1 wrote:

Little to support his actions except the totalitarian nature of the federation, its corruption and evil...

A subjective view of the Federation as presented by Blake and his supporters, or at least those politically like-minded.

...as personified by Tarrant in the way back, and travis. Servalan says that Travis is an advocate of totAL WAR, an enemy does not cease to be an enemy even when he's given up, so kill him anyway, she is not surprised by this, seeming to accept it as a maxim.

The very few ruthless individuals that we see, and of course their actions however callous, are not proof that the entire society they live in is as described above; unless you take as given the say so of someone we already know has a biased view like Blake, whatever bad experiences caused that bias. If the whole of Space Command really was like Travis then why did Servalan go so far out of her way to employ him, against all opposition?
Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow. I bet that means something. It sounds great.

Blake's 7: Trojan Horse (s4 fanfic) - Blake's 7: Through the Needle's Eye (s2 fanfic)

Spaceship Dispatcher's fanfic site
 
peladon
[quote]Spaceship Dispatcher wrote:

@ Peladon - You make quite a few points and statements, so I'll try and answer them in turn:


Ok, I will also try to answer in order:

Re other rebels – there clearly are other rebels and have been for a significant period of time, you will recall that Control was moved several decades before PP and had been subject to multiple attacks before that move, well before Blake’s offensive. The only ones we meet in any depth are in TWB, Countdown and Pressure Point; however we are given 3rd party reports at regular intervals, from Servalan, from Federation officials, from Travis, and from those outside of Federation politics that tell us he is not a lone dissenter. In fact the Federation takes the action they do in TWB because he still has support even though he doesn’t recall events.

That leads to your second point, Blake is not a private individual as such, and it is made clear right at the start that he was a political figure, part of a political party within the Federation system. That is part of the context of B7 universe. That status remains despite his later loss of memory. Your comment suggests that your personal view is that war can only occur between States not from within factions within a State and therefore civil war is not possible, history would appear to disagree with you.

As for canon evidence of the objective, rather than subjective, status of the Federation – how many instances would you accept? Shall we start with:
• Subversion of the rule of law for political ends
• Manipulation of due legal process by agents of the state for the repressive purposes of the state
• Grievous harm to some of its most vulnerable members (children) to support that subversion
• Killing of unarmed civilians for dissent
• Torture of a political figure for the purposes of discrediting opposition
• Use of civilians for fatal weapons testing
• Attempting to force non-aligned planets into Federation alliance by the use of threat
• Interference in the affairs of other sovereign states for the purpose of fostering Federation dominance
• Alliance with criminal organisations for the purposes of social control
• Refusal to accept the rule of interplanetary laws and the subduing a colony by virtue of the threat of mass destruction

Those are just the organisational, and therefore obviously State influenced ones, to that you have to add the evidence of personal corruption on the part of State officials.

As for the nature of Blake actions, I reiterate, we see no sign of anything that would be defined as anything other than standard military. His targets are military, the reason for attacking them is strategic in military terms, the objective is neither fear in, or coercion of, the civilian populations but disadvantage to Federation military systems and control, the destruction appears proportional to the advantage gained; he does not appear to break the rules of the Geneva Convention. The only reason I can see that are suggesting his actions are not military is that he is acting against the status quo, implying that you consider any armed struggle against a statefrom within to be terrorist regardless of the nature of the actions taken or the State involved.

Given the nature of the Federation and the back story we are given it would be interesting to know why you consider the case against the Federation to be unproven and subjective
 
Spaceship Dispatcher
peladon wrote:

Re other rebels – there clearly are other rebels and have been for a significant period of time, you will recall that Control was moved several decades before PP and had been subject to multiple attacks before that move, well before Blake’s offensive. The only ones we meet in any depth are in TWB, Countdown and Pressure Point; however we are given 3rd party reports at regular intervals, from Servalan, from Federation officials, from Travis, and from those outside of Federation politics that tell us he is not a lone dissenter.

The terms used in his defence earlier were that he was part of a 'unified' and 'organised' movement; what you describe above does not add up to this.

...Blake is not a private individual as such, and it is made clear right at the start that he was a political figure, part of a political party within the Federation system.

Even you only say that he 'was' a political figure; now he is neither political nor part of a military organisation.

Given the nature of the Federation and the back story we are given it would be interesting to know why you consider the case against the Federation to be unproven and subjective

Because the Federation is a huge place and we don't see very much of it; if it really is that bad, why does Blake have so much trouble trying to locate fellow rebels? We actually do meet moderate people who live and work for and in the Federation, as well as the intolerant ones.

The whole appeal of Blake's 7 to many is that it's about shades of grey where everyone is both good and bad in different measures, much as in real life; imo it works against the series strengths to whitewash the rebellion as heroic or to blacken the authorities like they are the Empire in Star Wars.
Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow. I bet that means something. It sounds great.

Blake's 7: Trojan Horse (s4 fanfic) - Blake's 7: Through the Needle's Eye (s2 fanfic)

Spaceship Dispatcher's fanfic site
 
peladon
Spaceship Dispatcher wrote:

peladon wrote:

Re other rebels – there clearly are other rebels and have been for a significant period of time, you will recall that Control was moved several decades before PP and had been subject to multiple attacks before that move, well before Blake’s offensive. The only ones we meet in any depth are in TWB, Countdown and Pressure Point; however we are given 3rd party reports at regular intervals, from Servalan, from Federation officials, from Travis, and from those outside of Federation politics that tell us he is not a lone dissenter.

The terms used in his defence earlier were that he was part of a 'unified' and 'organised' movement; what you describe above does not add up to this.

...Blake is not a private individual as such, and it is made clear right at the start that he was a political figure, part of a political party within the Federation system.

Even you only say that he 'was' a political figure; now he is neither political nor part of a military organisation.

Given the nature of the Federation and the back story we are given it would be interesting to know why you consider the case against the Federation to be unproven and subjective

Because the Federation is a huge place and we don't see very much of it; if it really is that bad, why does Blake have so much trouble trying to locate fellow rebels? We actually do meet moderate people who live and work for and in the Federation, as well as the intolerant ones.

The whole appeal of Blake's 7 to many is that it's about shades of grey where everyone is both good and bad in different measures, much as in real life; imo it works against the series strengths to whitewash the rebellion as heroic or to blacken the authorities like they are the Empire in Star Wars.


Define unified and organised in your terms. By my terms the long history of dissent, the wide nature of it, and its continuity in the face of organised suppression, defines it as both. The form of Federation society, and the episodic nature of canon, does not make unreasonable that we would not see the continuity in any detailed form. Though there is a thread of continuity highlighted repeatedly, from TWB to MtD and the comments in SLD, the actions of Avalon and Servalan’s comments that ‘nothing is safe any more’ to Control and Albian, This is a continuous stream of evidence of Federation corruption and resistance against it.

As for Blake as a political figure – well when does one stop being one? Past tense is only in the formal sense. Certainly the Federation fears him as a political catalyst in TWB long before his acquisition of Liberator and the start of his military campaign.

Moderate people – of course there are some, there are in any regime however corrupt. In fact I tend to think of the Federation as us gone wrong but not fully realising just how wrong. In the military there will be those who hold to the formalities, and to a concept of honour and service/duty, but aside from them who do we see that is of that ilk? Not many. Certainly not the law givers, politicians, police/security services, doctors, scientists, or the consular officials. Even amongst the citizens most of the ones we see are corrupted to some degree, for example the minor official who gives the information that betrays Blake’s, honest lawyer. One of the tragic elements of the B7 universe is how so many are shaped by that corruption but do not see it. So much casual corruption is not possible outside of social structure that is itself essentially corrupt.

As far as I can judge I have not tried to whitewash or blacken anything. The grey remains – only the shade may have changed a little. I merely stated that Blake’s actions did not count as terrorist, and that the rebels considered themselves to be at war against a corrupt regime. I think I also pointed out that Blake was not a truly ‘white knight’ and that by virtue of what he was attempting there would be times when he was ruthless, I don’t think I have contradicted that statement.
 
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