Gimme Violence, Gimme Changeby Max Barashenkov / 25.01.2012
The young man sits sipping coffee. He is good looking, talented and smokes too much. He has adopted the aesthetics of past social movements – he is part hippie, part French New Wave auteur – yet he’s failed to internalize the ideals that fueled those movements. Revolution is on his lips, but not in his heart. He has hash-tagged protest, cast-out activism to the Internet, trended change. He is aware, but he is not angry. He is the future, his mind is ready, but it will take blood to make him abandon his chair.
Zuccotti Park is empty now, the Occupy asses got cold and the eviction notice served as final proof of what the bankers knew all along – peaceful protest, by its very nature working within the ‘system’, is futile. The greed pigs looked down from their offices, spat and laughed at the fools sitting on the pavement, much like they spat and laughed at world when they fucked it. “They took it then, like little bitches,” they triumphed, “they’ll take it now and they’ll keep taking it.” The Occupy movement flexed its muscle, showed us all that there is global solidarity, that we have achieved a certain critical mass of awareness, but, in the end, it resulted in an empty wank-fest for the intellectuals. The movement is alive on the web, the organizers whimpered. Like fuck it is. The trend has passed, back to the work, you plebs, have your words; we’ll keep your dollars. Oh, how different things would have been if just one brave idiot threw a Molotov.
Radical regime change has never been peaceful. The system needs to be destroyed before it can be rebuilt, and that is exactly what we need, a ‘rebuild’ instead of a ‘fix’. Look at the Socialist revolution in Russia, followed by four years of bloody civil war. Look at the fall of apartheid, preceded by decades of violent struggle. The Arab Spring begs a mention, but its success is still debatable – we are talking about total system change, not just replacing one corrupt government with another. Of course, global change is an issue much more complex than one country’s revolution, but the thesis holds – only through violence (the concept of ‘violence’ is important and is explored later, so hang on) will anything be achieved. An overthrowing of the current world order will mean suffering for all, it will mean bloodshed, the loss of loved ones, the destruction of the comforts we are all used to. It is a hard ideal to commit to, considering it is only our children who will taste the fruits of the struggle. Words and theories will never move the masses to fight for the future, but seeing friends and innocents die might. Until we have real martyrs, we will just keep clicking the Facebook petitions, aware that we are being fucked, but too complacent to do anything. Martyrs are born out of utter rage, out of total commitment to the cause. Yet, as it stands now, the anger, that the Occupy movement showed us exists, is far too deep under the surface. Social revolt needs to enter all facets of public discourse. We need to get pissed off and violent.
Violence, here, is used as a blanket term covering all acts of active contestation between the people and the state. Physical violence, that spark that will start a worldwide rebellion, can only stem from this, call it, ‘civil violence’ and its constant presence in our lives. It already exists, in small pockets, and is illustrated best in the recent wave of cyber-attacks by Anonymous, the now-defunct LulzSec and other hacker groups. The noose around the freedom of the Internet, that bastion of free speech, that angel of hope for world change, is tightening. SOPA, PIPA and other scary acronyms are creeping up, Megaupload is down and who knows how long Pirate Bay will last. The ‘system’, it seems, begins its active fight against the people and the online community is responding in kind.Wikipedia shuts off human knowledge for a day. Binary blood is being spilled. Calls to digital arms flood Youtube. If we are ready to actively defend ourselves online, then why not offline? What is needed is the transportation of this resistance from the Web to physical reality, the birth of a cross-continental, cross-class, cross-cultural social revolt.
Things need to be called their own names – politicians cunts, bankers thieves. Before the revolution can happen, the discourse must be revolutionized. Culture itself must become a weapon, in the hands of the people instead of advertising agencies.The media must grow balls and teeth, get angry and venomous, realize their true duty to civil society. The artists, the musicians, the filmmakers must become conscious of the cultural power they hold and refuse to be instruments of hegemony. The youth must be politicized on terms that are relevant and engaging to them. The graffiti must shout words of change. The young man, with his coffee and cigarettes, he must unleash the creative beast, let it fuel and inspire others.We need to be surrounded by the ideal, and it’s up to those with the talent and the means to speak to the people to bathe us in it. The need for mass anger has never been as grave as now. Give us violence, give us change.