Saturday, February 9, 2008

mrr column 3

i forgot to post this one.

What was it that brought you into punk? was it just the music or that you couldn't fit in. Was it so much anger inside of you that had no way out? Was it the emptiness of pop music and looking for something more. Was it rebellion, pure and simple? Was it because you had a punk crush? Was it because it was cool? What has it grown into? Was it because punk was the only thing that could keep you alive.
What brought you into it, and what are you going to do now? The reasons we start aren't always enough to hold us steady. We have to constantly rethink what we want from where we are, and how are we going to move forward, once we have treaded water long enough, once we have learned how to swim. We have to recreate what punk means in our lives so we don't just turn our backs on it when we grow.
There is so much pushing on us, so much capitalist bullshit standard beauty crap what makes us worthwhile what shit our parents shoved at us what shit our schools did, and the magazine adds and the shitty music and lack of culture or patriarchial culture, and shoved at us "why don't you smile", and meaningless debates where they don't even begin to ask the right questions, and lovelessness and alienation and despair.
So yeah, it makes sense to define ourselves as other. as against all that regardless of whether or not we know what we're for. But I want to know, someday, what you want to create. I want to know what's the revolution we're gonna make? Because it's Us vs. Them? but who is them exactly? Is it my 91 year old grandma? who was talking to me about the gay rodeo. She said "I used to think gay people deserved to die, but now I just can't imagine what my problem was!"
Is them my mom, who never made it out of the suburbs, and couldn't figure out a way to resist beyond school boardes and unshaved armpits, and teaching us daughters that we could do anything. who it took 13 years to get out of an abusive relationship, and by then it was too late, the aftershocks killed her.
Is them my older sister, events coordinator at Dartmouth college, who is too afraid of the world to let her kids play outside, and whose method of survival requires holding tight to forgetting and denial.
Is them the kids who aren't punk enough or the kids who are punker than thou. the ones who don't care about anything other than drinking and fucking shit up, or the ones who are so self righteous in their politics you can't even talk to them. Is it the old punks for leaving or the young ones for repeating the same actions and making the same mistakes. And what is the difference between critique and infighting?
In Andrea Dworkin's book Heartbreak: The Political Memoir of a Feminist Militant, she says "I learned never to ignore the reality of power pure and simple. I also learned that one could get a bunch of people to do something brave or new or rebellious, but if it didn't come from their deepest hearts they could not maintain the honor of their commitment... nor can rhetoric create in people a sustained determination to win".
What is the revolution we're going to make? What is deepest in our hearts? I know that sometimes all we can do is figure out a way to stay alive, but after that, what is it we're feeling and what are doing just because it's been set up for us to do. I want us to think hard and often about what it is we're trying to create, what is deepest in our hearts, and not just what we hate or what's simple.
A friend of mine recently came out to me as being not an anarchist. She said she thought people were inherently lazy, and I know I live in my own little bubble of denial in my head, but I cant believe that's true. I think so many of us work really hard in a world that is so against us. I've seen so many people work hard just to live. people doing the hard work of surviving incest, surviving rape, surviving partners who tell them they're shit, surviving being beaten, being ignored, being not believed. And if we are doing this hard work, there's got to be a deep desire in the rest of us.
Right now. I want you to think seriously about what kind of world you want, and how we can take steps to get there. I want us to talk with our friends about real things, and cut the bullshit. Like if you talk shit about women, what are the reasons behind it? what is the benefit for you? what do you think might be the actual real ways it hurts us. If you dismiss people who are trying to change the world, I want you to challenge your dismissal, and to think seriously about what it is you don't like about their ideas or tactics, and what it is you think should be done differently, and how can you work to make that happen?
It's time to work hard. I want to uncover our secrets and our lost abilities. I want us to stop making fun of each other. I want us to feel deeply and to love and to learn to trust our bodies and to learn which people we can trust and who is trying to trick us.
I want us to stop worrying so much about whether or not we feel like we belong, stop trying to prove ourselves. Nothing is comfortable in this world even if we can find bits and pieces of it, bits and pieces of community. I want us to be able to agree to disagree on things. I want us to encourage a diversity of identities and a diversity of tactics. I want us to study. There is an embarrassing lack of political knowledge and shallow political rhetoric that doesn't sustain us. I want us to embrace challenge, and to fight for what we belive, and to stand up for each other, to learn how to live in different worlds. I want to sew it all together, the ways we fight and create and think, not a single thread all mashed together in fake unity, but a net of identity, culture, resistance, community, and family, to catch the ones who are falling. to break their fall.
At the Black Bear, Butcher Wolf, Red Herring show, Chris Somerville from Black Bear says into the microphone, "This song is about the problems that arise when people are divided from the natural world." and if the basement had been packed and the amps had been louder, the force of the music could have pushed us all together and the violin bow as a needle could have sewn up the divisions and the revolution would have streamed out through everything. As it was, I could only stand there with my hand on my heart, trying to hold it in.

1 comment:

isabel said...

i've never identified as punk at all but a lot of this still resonates really strongly with me. even though i'm more like your friend the not-anarchist. what you said about refusing to believe people are lazy because so many people do the hard work of living lives they care about even in the face of so much hardship--that really struck a chord. because you're right. that does happen and somehow in my cynicism i always manage to erase that, which is a pretty huge discredit to a lot of people i know, now that i think about it.

i guess maybe i forget--even though i spend so much time complaining about how everyone else forgets, heh--that the desires and attitudes and motivations that people have in this society that happens to be the one i live in and happens to be the most powerful in the world, are maybe things people are brought up to have, not necessarily some intractable part of human nature. thank god for anthropologists.