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Can a true act of revolt be rewarded by power?

+1 vote
Or in other words....can you cash out on weakening authority?

Epitaph records bands make money off anti-authoritarian ideas, but their music does very little to nothing in tearing down authoritarian structures, it's just "teenage rebellion", another neatly packaged capitalist niche. The fact that the song "fuck authority" by pennywise was a grammy candidate makes me doubt that pennywise really made anyone more aware of their surroundings. My question is....can you gain either wealth or recognition while at the same time destroying the system and creating anarchy?

Can you co-opt yourself into the system while simultaneously destroying it? If all the democrat politicians just magically stepped out of their posts, the republicans and some of the other old money barons might be capable of doing that without even realizing it

this is just a thought experiment, don't take it too seriously
asked Feb 23, 2015 by anonymous
edited Feb 24, 2015 by anonymous
the tags...i wasn't really thinking about it when i posted it, ill see if there are any that make sense. I think the question is pretty straightforward....

Epitaph records bands make money off anti-authoritarian ideas, but their music does very little to nothing in tearing down authoritarian structures, it's just "teenage rebellion", another neatly packaged capitalist niche. My question is....can you gain either wealth or recognition while at the same time destroying the system and creating anarchy?

It's just a thought experiment
Zach de la Rocha, vocalist for the band Rage Against The Machine once said "you have to be inside a room to destroy it" when asked how he reconciled the band's message with being signed to a major label.  While I think it'd be more accurate to add "you can of course destroy a room from the outside provided you have enough ordinance", that would've made the sentance decidely less catchy.

When I was 15 I started listening to Rage Against The Machine; none of them are anarchists, but that was the concrete beginning of my libertarian anti-capitalist journey, which brought me to anarchism.  I'm sure I'm not the only one they had an affect on, and while they made a lot of white men in suits considerably wealthier, capitalism is so expansive that I'd argue there's really no effective way to spread radical messages on the scale they did without making white men in suits wealthier.  Capitalism coopts (but not necessarily completely subverts) everything - if there were a revolution next week some enterprising fellow would no doubt sell bottle and rag starter kits on Amazon.com with Prime next-day delivery.
hmmmmm, would they? Has anyone sold rag and starter kits on amazon? More likely they would sell the old men and white suites within a 200 mile geographic radius prepper equipment and guns
I took a little hyperbolic license to be humorous ;), but both would take place - 'entrepreneurs' attempting to make a profit by sourcing arms and equipment for revolutionaries, and by providing arms and means of escape to wealthy preppers.  Actually the latter is already happening, apparently real estate prices for remote farms with their own airstrips in New Zealand are skyrocketing in response to demand.

3 Answers

+1 vote
I believe the answer is yes basically for situations similar  to the end of your story. Despite possible insincerity or completely different motives behind the making of the music it still holds the message of the lyrics. they may just beaking the same kind of compromise so many of us make in our day to day lives of having to participate in caplitalism to have access to resources but trying to pick a job that aligns with our beliefs (as much as that's possible for what it is). On the other hand Crimethinc made a point in days of war nights of love with a comic criticizing the mainstream that said something along the lines of if we put all of that time and effort into developing the underground  instead of getting big in the mainstream to spread a message then maybe we wouldn't feel like we needed it at all.
answered Feb 26, 2015 by DonnieDarko (490 points)
+3 votes
I'm usually much inspired by such questions, but I would only say that we shall ask another question so as to answer this one :
"Is there anything like a "true" act of revolt ?".

I mean, sincerely, I think that an act of revolt is true, or it's not an act of revolt.

Not trying to make some rethoric there.

Adorno once wrote that "Ideology tries to integrate even the most radical acts".

The situationists (of the I.S) turned that into "ideology tries to integrate even the most radical arts", which could answer your question about music.

They also wrote on walls something like "Ideology tries to integrate even the most radical gesture".

To put it in once as a thousand : power and ideology will always try to reward you for anything if that can be beneficial to it.

I mean, after all, even some of the biggest hackers, rebells, outlaws, thugs, or murderers have sometimes been recuperated, even after their death (as it's always easer to make the dead speak) : as snitches, police informants, computer security consultants, historical figures to put in some pantheon, etc.

It also means that an act of revolt is never to be taken out of context.

Guy debord also wrote that "since art is dead , we know that it is easy to disguise cops in artists". ;-)

The position of the situationists is general consisted in thinking that their is no rebellion that limited to the field of "art" and that there is no rebellion without "art".

I think that's what they meant by the "supersession of art".
answered Mar 6, 2015 by okapy (2,740 points)
+1 vote
julian assange might be an argument for a "yes" answer. but of course there are many analyses of that whole situation.

i guess my followup question would be:  how are you defining "power"?  in this culture, celebrity does bring with it a certain kind of power, and so assange does seem like a strong argument.
answered Mar 7, 2015 by funkyanarchy (12,300 points)
of course, another big question would be:

is power really a reward?

is power a desired result?

(ok, question*s*)
i would think the answer to those questions is no, nut sometimes i have some pretty absurd fantasies
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