ripped. Huge swathes of America were resisting in 1968. Pro-civil rights, anti-war and anti-capitalist protests were many and frequent in Washington, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Birmingham and all across the country. As the free market capitalist state matured from the middle of the century it inspired resistance in many parts of Western society, particularly among people who did not fit into designated roles created to help the functioning of the materialist orthodoxy. The arts became the successful media of heterodoxy and conveyor of a message of resistance.
disco music spread the anti-capitalist message with seductive beats and subversive message. It wasn't just 'underground' music which preached resistance, either. By 1968 even Tamla Motown had encouraged its pop superstar roster to record 'message' songs such as 'Love Child' by The Supremes, and the psychedelic 'Cloud Nine' by the Temptations. On the night following Dr King's murder of April 4, James Brown was called upon by the mayor of Boston to talk down expected rioters before performing a live televised concert. It worked and Boston was 'saved' from flames of indignation and resistance. In August that year he released 'Say It Loud—I'm Black And I'm Proud' and launched a raft of great early disco recordings in which black pride, anti-capitalist and pro-civil rights messages are forced home with a funky beat and honking horn sections.
events in London reminded me of the anti-materialist revolution of the 1970s (which went on to include punks and post-punk funkers of the 1980s), but not in a good way. It's depressing to watch 'rioters' using the cover of an ostensibly legitimate protest at police and state repression in order to ransack stores for products which they can't afford to pay for. The looting is inevitable but the people risking their lives and liberty for shoddy shoes made by slave labor in China do so in order to either show off their swag, or sell it on eBay. Everything taken by looters should have been piled high on the police cars burning in the streets. Why is there no real questioning of the status quo going on here? The London rioters are not volubly questioning the ruling doctrine of capitalism, and in their pilfering they are acting in support of a value system which gives material goods precedence over dignity. The rioters who looted acted like customers who have, for no reason of their own, malfunctioned and are unable to carry out the only role for which they are trained; to consume. Their crimes however are nothing compared with the bankers, politicians, businessmen and strategists who ensure that the 'free market' orthodoxy persists even in the face of obvious evidence that it is failing.
slums which people were forced to live in because of their economic inability. The result was a rebuilding of homes and a focussing on the problems faced by residents of those areas. Riots on retail streets such as those of yesterday will only see plans to exclude the economically distressed from those streets drawn up by owners of the retail outlets. We might see plans for the reduction in police budgets ripped up when businesses scared of losing income by forced closure bring pressure to bear on the government of England which no-one voted for. They'll need to increase 'security' in retail areas.
As Teddy Pendergrass puts it in his spoken word riff in Be For Real; 'don't make your own brothers and sisters feel bad…as long as you live, as long as you with me; be for real'.