Patriarchy, Civilization, Militarism and Democracy
Gwynne Dyer (1994)
This documentary traces the development of patriarchy around 5,000 years ago, which Dyer links to the consolidation of agricultural villages into empires. Simultaneously in Mesopotamia, Central and South America and China, hierarchical political systems formed under a single male dictator who controlled their subjects via absolute terror.
This transition from autonomous villages into heavily militarized states was always accompanied by strict control of women’s behavior. Dyer maintains the ultimate goal of controlling women was to increase the birth rate and produce more male subjects for the rulers’ armies. In Mesopotamia, the formation of new religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) glorifying a single male god was the crowning achievement of patriarchy.
According to Dyer, Egypt was the last ancient empire to fully adopt patriarchy. Owing to natural barriers (the Sinai desert and the Mediterranean) that protected it from foreign invasion, it was the last ancient empire to militarize and adopt strict laws restricting women’s freedom.
The 40 minute film is divided into four parts. Parts 2-4 start automatically when the prior part concludes.
The War Against Democracy is about the US colonization of Latin America, specifically the role of the CIA and the US military in systematically overthrowing democratically elected governments in Central and South America. In each case, the US installs hand picked right wing dictators who forcibly expel indigenous peasants from their land and privatize publicly owned assets and resources for the benefit of US corporations.
Australian filmmaker John Pilger begins by focusing on the US war against Venezuela’s democratically elected government, carefully debunking Washington and media lies depicting former president Hugo Chavez as a communist dictator. In addition to tracing the massive popular movement that brought Chavez to power, the documentary also features dramatic footage of the failed US-sponsored 2002 coup.
Pilger also highlights the 1954 coup in Guatemala, the 1973 coup in Chile and the Bolivian revolution that overturned Bolivia’s right wing government and bring the country’s first indigenous president (Evo Morales) to power in 2003.
Pilger’s interviews with former CIA agents who helped orchestrate some of these coups are priceless.