I was listening to The Shape of Punk to Come at work today and I had a lag in activity and read the liner notes and they nearly bring me to tears. When i first read them years ago i was startled by how well they expressed ideas that were half-formed and totally inarticulate in my head. I continue to be amazed at how clearly these punks recognized the relationship between art and politics, how they expressed that relationship in their music, and how they seemed to be LIVING it.
Anyway, read the liner notes here: http://www.burningheart.com/refused/refmanifest1.htm
Refused broke up after this album. (read their equally inspiring "final communique" here: http://www.burningheart.com/refused/refmanifest5.htm) They split up and did other things, some of wich (TEXT) blow me away as much or more than this album does. Others of which (the international noise consipiracy) seem to have focused on the anti-capitalist sloganeering politics at the expense of the ideas, and the music.
I guess, what i'm looking for here, is: how can we do better? This band is who i'm talking about when i talk about a "movement we're participating in" as opposed to "my ideas". Refused were the creative class working with uncompromising dedication to acheive things overtly outside of the capitalist system. Many others are as well. Refused did it really well and overtly with, self-awareness, and a spirit of not only optimism, but inevitability.
Then they failed.
They failed because they couldn't escape commodification or the roles our society puts artists into.
Paint the Town is in some ways the most severe and violent play I've written, but it's also my first attempt to just come out and say what I'm trying to do on stage (as opposed to criticizing the two maintsream approaches and passively offering my ideas as an unspoken alternative). I've finished the first draft and at all the key points I've replaced phrases like "the future" "utopia" or "progress" with "[something that isn't cliche]" or else i've just let cliche's in as irksome placeholders that I hope to replace with words that hold real content. That, to quote Refused: "demand revolution here and now, and not in some vague future that all reactionary leftist fundamentalists and reformists are talking about."
Is this even possible? Or has our language been too thoroughly co-opted and sanitized by the mass media and the ruling class it serves?
2 days ago