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Film Clips, Chapter 2

Finding a Common Vocabulary: Political Concepts

How I Became a Separatist

Twice Quebecers voted in a referendum on separation from Canada. Twice the separatist movement was defeated, but both times by narrow margins. Former Quebec premier Jacques Parizeau is known as one of the most ardent sovereigntists who pushed for separatism. He stepped down from politics after the second referendum failed in 1995. The story of his rise to power and his embracing of separation is also one of the separation movements in Quebec. This video from CBC archives puts his political vision in the context of the sovereigntist push.

The Top Threats to Civil Liberties after 9/11

The Patriot Act (discussed in Chapter 2) was just part of the US government’s effort to make the United States more secure after the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001. But were these efforts too strenuous? What kind of power do governments have now? In this video from AOL news and reason.tv, Mike German of the American Civil Liberties Union (and a former FBI investigator) discusses changes to laws in the US that now make it easier for governments to get information about its citizens. He feels this weakens the freedom of citizens.

Global Power Shifts

Joseph Nye, American political scientist and former US assistant secretary of defense, is known for his arguments about “soft” power—the rise of ideology, ideas, culture, and media. In this TED Talk, Nye puts soft power in the context of global influence today, notably the rise of China in the modern world.

The Fall of the Soviet Union

An integral part of the power of communist Soviet Union lay in its leadership. Cult of personality kept leaders like Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin in office, but eventually the economic, political, and cultural underpinnings of the country began to fail. In this musical/art video, American songwriter and comic book artist Jeffrey Lewis describes the fall of the Soviet Union. Bad leadership, external forces, political uncertainty internally all contributed to the end of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Lewis captures the story in his acoustic, street-side performance.