Homage to Callylonia

By Jason Juneau

Aside from Blake, Cally alone represents true conviction and political idealism among the Liberator's crew. As has been pointed out, she was the only member who had a previous history of fighting the Federation before joining the Liberator. Its about that history that I wish to address.

I sometimes wonder about the labeling of Cally as a "warrior", based on her "companions for my death" attitude in Time Squad. For me, Cally is no warrior; she is a soldier and a revolutionary. She fights for a political cause.

On Saurian Major I think she was a volunteer. I know she said that she was "sent" to aid the resistence. But Auron was neutral, and I take her statment to mean that other militants sent her there where she could be most effective. I always wondered if Cally had other resistence contacts. She mentioned later hearing of Avalon. Was she in a Maoist style cadre or organization. Or was she an independent voluteer who made contact with an anti-Federation group that then sent her out.

The latter concept reminded me of another analog, besides the Maoist. Could Cally have been like George Orwell and the many others who went to Spain during its Civil War(1936-1939) to. Thousands of militants on the Left went to Spain to defend its Popular Front regime against Franco and the Spanish military, not to mention its chief backers: Germany, Italy, and Portugal. These "International Brigades" formed a potent element in the Republic's army and fought in most the major campaigns of that war. Of course, some, like Orwell, never served in those units, but instead fought in one of the various party militias. Many died in battle or were liquidated behind the lines. But the upshot is that many of individual conscience went to Spain to oppose what they saw as oppression. Does this not sound like our Cally?

The idealism that drove Cally to go off world and fight in such a cause is similar to that of an Avalon or a Bran Foster. Only Cally is even more idealistic; she could very well have stayed on Auron and never bothered with Federation politics. It did not take personal affliction to drive Cally, that we know of, to fight what she perceived as injustice, something not true of other members of the crew. I am not sure of Blake on this score. He certainly had endured much from the Federation by the time of The Way Back, but what originally drove him to become a resister is unknown. The same is true of Cally; we don't know what event or idea caused her to leave home and fight.

Like any revolutionary group, you have a mix. You have the believers (Cally) and you have the time servers (Vila) and the opportunists (Avon) as well. The enduring wonder of Blake's 7 is this perceptive understanding of the nature of groups and mixed motives. I think this is important. The show's very title is indicative that the whole crew are the heroes, and that much like a Victor Serge novel, we get a cross-section of resistance groups and Federation society in general.

I hope this is of interest.


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Last changed on 29th of September 2002