Anarchistic bands/music - what does it achieve and is it internally conflicted?

Soldato
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Ive been reliving my youth a little lately by listening to alot of Rage Against the Machine. When I was younger I just liked their sound, I paid no attention to their political messages, Im quite conservative politically as ive got older. I wasnt as keen on their later albums.

It got me thinking though so I read up a little on them, and found out about their later incarnations such as Prophets of Rage (basically the original band minus de la Rocha).

Anyway, in my research Ive percieved what I think is an internal conflict in this type of music and so I thought it would be an interesting discussion.

Taking Rage as the example, they could be described as anti corporate America. So they oppose capitalism, yet they signed up to a huge record label and made their fortunes from that very thing. Rage themselves have addressed this criticism by saying that "When you live in a capitalistic society, the currency of the dissemination of information goes through capitalistic channels." - quote from Morello on wikipedia.

But beyond this there are other issues too. They appear to be anti middle eastern intervention, even Arab supporting. Yet the Arabs are one of the most conservative cultures in the world, oppressive to women, have quite barbaric capital punishment regimes, clear links to terrorism that has killed millions and are often strong dictatorships rather than democracy.

The Rage songs are associated with hatred against the police, images of rioting in their videos etc, yet those same types of people are also prone to heavy alcohol and drug use, use of violence etc. Quite the opposite from being 'anti system', these people are just signed up to an equally damaging and addictive one.

So are these types of bands simply internally hypocritical, or is there a bigger picture that Im missing? What other bands of this type have the same hypocritical issues and what are they?
 
Don
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To me this sort of message has always just been an appeal to the traditional rebellious teenaged mind, and due to that their main point is to be against whatever authority exists to them in their immediate environment. I don't think it's actually fully thought through like you're assuming, it's just a shoddy half constructed world view, which is bound to have inconsistencies just like the teenaged mindset I mentioned. Teenagers are so sure they know everything about the world, but often completely fail to acknowledge obvious things that contradict the narrative they believe.

Seeing rockers with this kind of young man's vitriol is a bit sad in my opinion, it's like they never really grew up.
 
Soldato
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Ive been reliving my youth a little lately by listening to alot of Rage Against the Machine. When I was younger I just liked their sound, I paid no attention to their political messages, Im quite conservative politically as ive got older. I wasnt as keen on their later albums.

It got me thinking though so I read up a little on them, and found out about their later incarnations such as Prophets of Rage (basically the original band minus de la Rocha).

Anyway, in my research Ive percieved what I think is an internal conflict in this type of music and so I thought it would be an interesting discussion.

Taking Rage as the example, they could be described as anti corporate America. So they oppose capitalism, yet they signed up to a huge record label and made their fortunes from that very thing. Rage themselves have addressed this criticism by saying that "When you live in a capitalistic society, the currency of the dissemination of information goes through capitalistic channels." - quote from Morello on wikipedia.

But beyond this there are other issues too. They appear to be anti middle eastern intervention, even Arab supporting. Yet the Arabs are one of the most conservative cultures in the world, oppressive to women, have quite barbaric capital punishment regimes, clear links to terrorism that has killed millions and are often strong dictatorships rather than democracy.

The Rage songs are associated with hatred against the police, images of rioting in their videos etc, yet those same types of people are also prone to heavy alcohol and drug use, use of violence etc. Quite the opposite from being 'anti system', these people are just signed up to an equally damaging and addictive one.

So are these types of bands simply internally hypocritical, or is there a bigger picture that Im missing? What other bands of this type have the same hypocritical issues and what are they?

Oftentimes hypocritical. A lot of it is simply marketing. Kid Rock affected this whole Trailer Park image but was pretty well-off. Gangster rappers often affect an image of violent street life but most of it is fake (sometimes not). No different with anti-authoritarian bands. Their primary target demographic are angry disaffected youth (or as they're also known, "youth"). You don't sell to that market with a message of "things are actually kind of okay". Other times it's simple naivety or ignorance. A rock star might be a perfectly intelligent individual, but if they were pursuing an active career in political science or economics, then de facto they wouldn't be a rock star right now, would they? So RatM start plastering Chez Guevara portraits on everything and likely never even read his writing where he talks about how "negroes are an indolent race" or gloss over the many people he executed by his own hand. And then you get some that are genuine in their beliefs and consistent. Though off the top of my head, only the KLF spring immediately to mind.

Most people like easy over hard. And signalling your virtue and activist credentials is easier than actually doing something effective. And I'm not talking petty acts of violence, I mean taking on big targets like Saudi Arabia. There are big forces aligned against that which would actively threaten them. If the kids want to jump up and down venting their youthful anger into shouting about "We don't need a key we'll break in", the corporate and media powers that be are fine with that. In fact, they'll make money out of it. But how do you imagine a band that rants about Arab and Islamic regimes would be treated? If the lyrics were "**** Mohammed, I wont do what you tell me!" ? I think you know the answer to that.

I like RatM when I was a kid. I knew (quite logically) a lot less than I know now. I still think they're music has a lot of power and I'm sure there's still a lot of political agreement between me and what they would say. I'm not a big fan of US imperialism. But like a lot of people with such political stances, they want a rallying flag to oppose what they see as injustice here and are quite happy to side with any opponents to it even if those opponents are frankly dreadful. Witness SJW / hard-left's love affair with Islam. Frequently they're simply dupes who would be quite shocked if the factions they champion ever actually came to power.

When I was 19-20, I was determined I wouldn't sell out my values when I was older like so many people I saw seemed to. What I didn't anticipate was finding that actually my values didn't change at all, but that my level of awareness is what would change. I didn't become less opposed to US imperialism when I got older. I became more aware that just because Chez Guevara opposed it, didn't mean he was a leader who should be followed. I didn't become less in favour of increasing the well-being of the poor. I became more aware that blowing up banks wouldn't bring that about. And so forth.
 
Soldato
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To me this sort of message has always just been an appeal to the traditional rebellious teenaged mind, and due to that their main point is to be against whatever authority exists to them in their immediate environment. I don't think it's actually fully thought through like you're assuming, it's just a shoddy half constructed world view, which is bound to have inconsistencies just like the teenaged mindset I mentioned. Teenagers are so sure they know everything about the world, but often completely fail to acknowledge obvious things that contradict the narrative they believe.

Seeing rockers with this kind of young man's vitriol is a bit sad in my opinion, it's like they never really grew up.

"When I was a young man, my father was so ignorant I could barely stand to have the old man around. Today, I'm amazed at how much he's learned in just 14 years" -- Mark Twain.

Or slightly less witty and accessible, but very insightfully put: "The trouble isn't your ideas. It's that you think they're new." --Noel Coward, This Happy Breed.
 
Caporegime
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It is mostly just virtue signalling, I doubt they live like say priest/vicars with a modest income (albeit often quite a nice house provided by the church that would usually require a professional's income to obtain.) Celebs tend to make the big donations, grand gestures etc.. re: charity once they've made plenty for themselves.

Ditto to celebs trying to promote being green, it becomes very much a case of do as I say not as I do... like someone with plenty of footage of themselves in private jets etc.. and a carbon footprint equivalent to dozens of mere mortals getting kudos for giving up plastic straws on social media: #MyEcoResolution etc.. On one hand even little helps, it is great that they are promoting being green etc.. on the other hand they still personally want to reap the benefits of excessive consumption, a higher carbon lifestyle aside from some virtue signalling minor changes, they just want the plebs to cut down.
 
Soldato
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I guess when you're young the concept of bringing down what your perceive an oppressive corrupt regime seems like a great idea. The problem is when you're older you realise it's your responsibility to build a better alternative. Often that's a lot harder to do than it seems at first!

Or slightly less witty and accessible, but very insightfully put: "The trouble isn't your ideas. It's that you think they're new." --Noel Coward, This Happy Breed.

I think that quote probably sums it up!
 
Soldato
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Interesting points guys, thanks.

For me this is part of a wider set of thoughts Ive lately being having. Im nearly 40, and Ive never been part of any 'movement', whatever it might be for. I was thinking lately whether I've missed out on life by not caring that much about things like this when I was younger. There are people I meet as I get older that seem to have done this, that and the other when they were students. Eg camping in front of parliament, marching against some pretty pathetic sounding cause for pretty weak reasons that made no difference. I said to one person, "I think you've just done this because all your friends were doing it and you didn't want to miss out".

If I had my time again, I'd probably try and infiltrate my way into some sort of student/youth movement. Not because I care about the cause, but because I think it would have benefited me socially and there would have been nice girls there that would be into me because they think I am genuine.
 
Soldato
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If I had my time again, I'd probably try and infiltrate my way into some sort of student/youth movement. Not because I care about the cause, but because I think it would have benefited me socially and there would have been nice girls there that would be into me because they think I am genuine.

See, I respect someone who is eagerly waving their Chez banner because they genuinely believe in fighting oppression and simply don't know much about who he actually was, than someone like you who just wants to fake a belief to lie your way into someone's bed. The first person might be wrong, imo, but at least they aren't lying.
 
Soldato
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Activist chicks be crazy

They're angry because they're fed up being accosted by the kind of virtue signalling latte drinking soy boys that are only at "protests" because they think it'll get them into their knickers :D
 
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Caporegime
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They're angry because they're fed up being accosted by the kind of virtue signalling latte drinking soy boys that are only at protests because they think it'll get them into their knickers :D

I remember someone showing me a tinder profile of some vegan, socialist chick, she wanted someone evil: banker, oil industry type etc.. to, in her words, "ruin her" for one night only.

Though I suspect a long term relationship between some supposed "alpha male" banker type and such a person isn't too realistic.
 
Associate
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It's natural. Youngsters want to be rebellious and see the world in simplistic terms. As you get older you realise the world is a pretty complex place with reasons why things are the way they are.

I don't mind it, it's the ultra conservative teenagers and anarchic 50 year olds I struggle with.
 
Soldato
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I love RATM, and Prophets of Rage. Mainly I love Tim Commerford, but the whole band in each case just does it for me.

As far as their political messages go, I think they make some valid points. At the time that RATM were at the height of their popularity, I would have thought that the political messages were much more relevant. I was too young to care when they were super popular, though did see them play at Reading in 2011 (I think). At that gig Guantanamo Bay was still a thing and they came on in orange jump suits and they stood in silence for a while.

Prophets of Rage is obviously completely modern, and they do make some valid points in those songs. "Legalize Me", "Drones", "Who Owns Who" etc. There's also all sorts of random conspiracy theory bits in the lyrics. Tim Commerford is a well known conspiracy nut, going as far as believing that the moon landings didn't happen, earth is flat (wtf!), and he's made some very direct points about Lars Armstrong doping etc.

I think I generally agree with the points here, though. They probably don't practice everything they preach, but they have worked bloody hard to be where they are today. La Rocha does seem to be keeping quiet though.

I've got tickets for Prophets of Rage on 12th August at Shepherd's Bush and I can't wait.
 
Associate
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Rocha does seem to be keeping quiet though.

I don't think that's through choice. His solo and collaborative stuff barely regiatered (I did love the Deltron 3030 track) and his political activism hasn't really been reported. Meanwhile Morello has been smashing it with Audioslave and now Prophets.
 
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