The new rebellion…
Images: with thanks to Eleanor Gault, Steve Mitch, Stuart McConville, Neil Macmillan, Rebecca McNaught Ross McCleann and Courtney Thomson
“You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us I say we will never forgive you. We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up. And change is coming, whether you like it or not.”
“Wear your eyes as dark as night
Paint your face with what you like
Wear your love like it is made of hate
Born to destroy and born to create…”
By the 1960’s, the rock n’ roll rebellion, a tearing down (or at least a cut in the fabric of) polite conservative society, had been subsumed by capitalism and sold back to “the kids,” as jazz had before that, and as has every youth rebellion since.
The last great Rebellion led by young people, en masse, that terrified politicians, was “Punk” and the various splinter rebellions resulting from that total rejection of society’s niceties, norms and idols.
By 1968, the 60’s rebellion had been sold, shot and jailed.
Punk died when America thought Billy Idol was the real thing. When Sid murdered Nancy. When John Lydon sold us butterish spread.
And all punk derived music rebellions died when brit pop packaged rebellion in a Tony Blair, conservative, middle England, blood sodden union jack.
Other rebellions continued, festered positively, and brought change slowly, almost imperceptibly, like the absolute rejection of the sect laws created in dust holes and caves in deserts millennia ago. Gender, sex, sexuality, slowly, painfully realigned with truth rather than the extreme asceticism forced on us by a stone aged fascist cult or two and Victorian Protestantism. And the scourge of racism was rejected by society (though in its fascist kick back death throes at present).
The best, most positive youth rebellion of them all began in Sweden in 2018…one NOT born in isolation, of course. One influenced by science, the victory and death of MLK, the Anti war movements of the past, the Anti-Apartheid movement, and the extremely obvious destruction around us. One matching the determination, the intelligence and the positivism of the young people rebelling against the guns in America. And one that takes inspiration from a young woman whose ability for clarity is often described as a disability, when it is the society around her and us that is disabled, choking, and psychologically aberrant.
Perhaps capitalism has at last found that anomaly within. It has created a generation who yes, like all of us are constantly sold images, slogans and instructions on how to think. Diced up into marketing terms and area codes matched with likes on social media.
But this generation seem to be a generation of people who understand that, and how they are targeted, herded, bubbled and branded. A generation who are so individual, and understand identity and their multitude of identities so well, that this rebellion, unlike those of the late 20th century, won’t be sold back to them… And if it is, it’ll be cut up, rebranded and thrown back in the faces of those who use marketing, fashion, bright lights and cameras to steal the thunder from the storm that is real world change, in a selfie, middle finger raised. Today’s youth have been brought up amongst rapid change. And that which changes quickly, is either throwaway, not valuable, or, it is change that makes a difference, like their tech. Like politics. Like the changes destroying the world.
They understand the difference. They understand the importance of real choice and the unimportance of the products targeted at their bubbles. And they understand the failure of the generations before them by not stemming their greed, avarice and in destroying what should be left to them, their children, and their children’s children. Their rebellion is not to be cool, it is not to be fashionably contrary… it is to save their life. It is to save the lives of the next generations. And to save the world as it is now.
While Greta Thunberg is the un-leader of the rebellion, and the horizontal non-hierarchies of XR prevail, this generation’s rebellion will not end up dying on the toilet, selling un-butter or having their symbols sold by Gap. This generation just might succeed where previous generations were subsumed by bills, competition, and the conservatism of the union Jack cloaked middle. This generation might well wrestle this planet from their elders and change it into a sustainable place to grow, dance and love.
Paint your face with what you like…
Born to destroy the old, decrepit, destructive order. Born to create a new, sustainable home.