Mudcat Café message #3400838 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #146443   Message #3400838
Posted By: Spleen Cringe
06-Sep-12 - 11:31 AM
Thread Name: Free the Pussy Riot Three
Subject: RE: Free the Pussy Riot Three
Interesting points, Tony.

I don't know for sure that they are anarchists - I assume they are from their methodology and some of their statements... at the very least, some of what they've said and written demonstrates a keen countercultural/opposition intelligence (which some might argue is at odds with the punk/situationist shock tactics of their happenings).

Luckily most anarchists don't blow up buildings. The nihilist/terrorist strain of anarchism was mainly a 19th century phenomenon and even back then there were heated debates about both the ethics and effectiveness of such an approach. They are and were probably far more non-violent anarchists and anarchist pacifists than blowers up of buildings. Even most anarchists who aren't pacifists are opposed to that sort of thing (There was a wonderfully-titled pamphet issued in the 70s called 'You Can't Blow Up a Social Relationship'). There has been a fine tradition, however, of anarchist pranksters and I suspect Pussy Riot fit more neatly into this category.

I think polarising activity can lead to a consolidation of state power - especially where that will and tendency already exists on the part of that state (Putin's Russian being a case in point - Guardian journalist Luke Harding's Mafia State makes very intersting reading on this subject). I think the problem for me is that if we draw a line in the sand, where do we draw it? Or - one person's perfectly valid and mainstream protest is another person's polarising and therefore problematic stepping beyond the pail. It's obviously far easier for there to be a consensus of condemnation where the act of protest is something like the chicken incident (it was a pretty obscure and odd way of making a perfectly valid point) - but there again dadaists and pranksters rarely conform to expected norms! Or to put it another way, if signing petitions and writing to your MP isn't enough, what are the rules about what you do next? I imagine that unless one is profiting from the current regime, Putin's Russia can be a pretty desperate place to live: and desperate situations lead to desperate responses. One problem is, of course, that people in oppositon can sometimes naievely underestimate how far the state will go to maintain the status quo - but unless these boundaries are tested, suggesting that the state will clamp down invites accusations of paranoia.

As far as the career-launching thing goes, I'd say that being taken out of circulation as a gigging musician for two years is a pretty rubbish career move, especially in an era where the media and the music industry suffers from collective attention deficit disorder. But then, I don't regard PR as gigging musicians but political activists who use music as a medium. It's not like they were doing all the usual things musicians do to get a foothold on the industry treadmill. I've no doubt that there are industry people who'd like to market them as a real band - if they can make their rebellion safe and manageable and neatly packaged enough to sell it back to us as just another commodity. I hope this won't happen, but who knows?