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Passions in Poetry

When Does Rebellion Against the Establishment Become the Establishment?

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fractal007
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since 06-01-2000
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0 posted 09-01-2002 10:29 PM       View Profile for fractal007   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for fractal007

Perhaps I am somewhat naive, but it is only quite recently that I have noticed a widescale rebellion against the establishment[whatever that may be] in both our media and the attitudes of our youth.  But, as I've thought the idea through I began to come to a startling thought.  Rebellion against the establishment, when carried out by the masses becomes, itself the establishment.  Perhaps a better question, before I go any further, is what constitutes the establishment?

I suppose that the establishment could only mean the law enforcing authorities of the state.  But in that case why isn't there widescale crime all over the place and riots errupting in every city because it's cool to rebel against this law-abiding/enforcing establishment?

Anyhow, I'll leave you to ponder this for a while before I write anything else...

"If history is to change, let it change. If the world is to be destroyed, so be it. If my fate is to die, I must simply laugh"

-- Magus

Stephanos
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1 posted 09-02-2002 12:32 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

There are two sides or categories of things which keep a government or "establishment" in power.  Firstly there are things like wealth, power, charisma, arms, and all the emotions these things can impose on the masses of people as leverage and control, such as fear, hope, ambition, etc...  These things can greatly be abused and turned for ill... such as in totalitarian regimes.  Secondly there are the more ethical cosiderations of justice, equity, and morality as expressed through stable laws.  (especially for Ron... yes I know that morality cannot be adequately enforced through law, but I see that it can be expressed through law)  I do  understand that these are ideals and nowhere perfectly expressed in government.  


But it seems like to me (and history bears this out), wherever civilzations have been built on the power alone, that they still fail miserably.  Rome is a great example of this.  Very prosperous and powerful,  her demise was internal.  The Barbarians as carrion only came to get what was already dead.  Totalitarian governments are awaiting an overthrow of some kind.  They can go on power for a long time... but length does not always adequately define "success".

Only establishment defines the "establishment".  What gets us there can be ill or good.  Just laws, and uprightness of government along with the play of prosperity and power.  This may explain why anarchists will never rule, they always lack a satisfactory "form" in government.  To use the ideas of Francis Shaeffer ... their "freedom" is not balanced with form.  True freedom is only maintained with the balance of proper form.  If rebellion overthrows a government, it better have something truly superior and not just the blind thirst for personal "freedom", or chaos will ensue.  


I also see alot of similarities between the U.S. and Rome.  I think we may be headed for a similar demise.  We have lost the moorings for justice and absolutes in government ... we have lost wisdom.  A man who hits a ball with a stick (Hey I like baseball too!) gets paid astronomical figures while teachers, nurses, and many many others who are the grassroots foundation of our community get far less.  Our priorities are wrong... and much of it is due to our current belief of "personal truth" or worse still "no truth".  How can we dispute any trend adequately?

I know I meandered there.  But it's late.  I'll come back to this one later after you guys have posted about 30 posts.  lol.
Stephen
serenity blaze
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2 posted 09-02-2002 12:47 AM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

I think it was the 1980's...
Local Rebel
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3 posted 09-02-2002 12:09 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

No Serenity -- the 80's was ANTI-rebellion conservative (christian and politician) heyday with Ronnie, Jerry (Fallwell), and even Micheal J Fox's dopey character on Family Ties (and the Cosby's too).

Counter culture became culture (officially) when Bill(Clinton no Cosby) made it big... first boomer Prez.

I'm wondering though if Fractal is referring to a revolution against the counter-culture??  I think he is.  But to an effect.. rebellion is the culture -- so how would one know if one is rebelling against it or embracing it?  eh?  I think that is the question.

Or are we just old?

scuse me please -- I have some lines to colour outside of -- and in the words of Churchill -- ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put.

[This message has been edited by Local Rebel (09-02-2002 12:14 PM).]

serenity blaze
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4 posted 09-02-2002 12:19 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Oh...heh heh...I was thinking on a more personal level, Reb... Okay...yeah...it was late eighties though.

Amd I bow out of the rest of the discussion,as I am too politically naive and too historically forgetful to add much, but I'll be reading with interest.
fractal007
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5 posted 09-02-2002 03:34 PM       View Profile for fractal007   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for fractal007

Stephanos:

I don't think we're functioning on the same wavelength here.

I was talking more about the point at which rebellion occurs against the current cultural movement.  Often this takes place with brand names or musical bands.  The ironic thing is that the means of rebellion against the state or the establishment often become the thing to which people[especially the youth] conform.  When one dons a WWF[ok, so it's WWE now, but I grew up with the WWF logo] t-shirt one is functioning as a walking billboard.  So when does a cultural movement become the object of rebellion?  When does it become a part of the establishment against which people rebel?

Local Rebel:

"to an effect.. rebellion is the culture -- so how would one know if one is rebelling against it or embracing it?  eh?  I think that is the question."

A very good point.  That is prettymuch the issue I am discussing here.  

All:

At the same time, however, rebellion often occurs at the center of government as well.  We just call it political reform, if I'm not mistaken?

"If history is to change, let it change. If the world is to be destroyed, so be it. If my fate is to die, I must simply laugh"

-- Magus

MidnightSon
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6 posted 09-02-2002 04:20 PM       View Profile for MidnightSon   Email MidnightSon   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for MidnightSon

it was the late 80's. watch "pump up the volume" with christian slatre.

this all reminds me of the shirt that says:
i was uncool before it was cool to be uncool.
Trevor
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7 posted 09-03-2002 12:04 PM       View Profile for Trevor   Email Trevor   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Trevor

Hello all,

According to Mirriam-Webster:

establishment
Main Entry: es·tab·lish·ment
Pronunciation: is-'ta-blish-m&nt
Function: noun
Date: 15th century
1 : something established : as a : a settled arrangement; especially : a code of laws b : ESTABLISHED CHURCH c : a permanent civil or military organization d : a place of business or residence with its furnishings and staff e : a public or private institution
2 : an established order of society: as a often capitalized : a group of social, economic, and political leaders who form a ruling class (as of a nation) b often capitalized : a controlling group
3 a : the act of establishing b : the state of being established
FRACTAL:

I'm gonna assume you are talking about Western society and N. America in general.

"but it is only quite recently that I have noticed a widescale rebellion against the establishment[whatever that may be] in both our media and the attitudes of our youth."

Actually I've noticed just the opposite and I'll cite continual increases in consumerism as my example. Buying a $20 Rage Against the Machine CD, ten dollar hacky-sack, $200 dollar Sean-John sweat pants, $300 skateboard, learning to spit while hanging out in the park and cursing, "F. the establishment" hardly constitutes rebellion in my opinion. Personally I believe that in the above example it is the wide grip of the established "allowing" the general public to believe they are rebelling when in fact they are just adding to the power of the established. If you want to see a true revolution in N. America then disconnect the cable for a few hours and watch the burning sticks alight. I think to see a better example of social and cultural revolutions and rebellions, its best to look away from N. America and focus on Asia, Middle East and Africa.

N. American media, on whole is still a mandated tool by the established and even though we all get to see great corperate gimic lines like, "Image is Nothing, Thirst is Everything", I don't think you'll see anytime soon the major media players slagging themselves for uncontextual material, paparrazzi attitudes, the steady rise of Bruckhiemerian(sp?) films and a repetition of show ideas that "shock" us into staring mezmorized by the daunting escapades of hopeful contestants. "XXX", right now is the number one box office draw...is it rebellion that makes people go see this or conformity? In my opinion there is no real current counter culture happening because it is being controlled by the very people that they are rebelling against. The same companies that give you Celine Dion also give you Limp Biskit(sp?). Ah well, its not like the good old days where a counter culture revolution meant we'd chop the heads off the ruling class then kill each other to see who would rule next. I will say this though, there is more "underground" literature these days that confront the established and "hold them responsible" for their actions, then there have ever been before.


"But, as I've thought the idea through I began to come to a startling thought.  Rebellion against the establishment, when carried out by the masses becomes, itself the establishment."

I agree with you but only if the rebellion is "successful" and differs in ideals than the previous rulers. For N. America, I believe we are a consumer society and as I was saying before, buying things that say something else than what you used to buy but still being peddled by the same or similar corperations, in my opinion does not constitute rebellion. ie. Switching from Gucchi to Fubu, Britney Spears to Korn and a home cooked meal to pizza pockets isn't riding against the grain. To me rebellion in this society would have to be a non-consumer one. Buying as little as possible to remain as independant as possible from a society that is subtley controlled by large industries. Constant mergers by large corperations into even larger corperations seem to make the trickle effect a fast fading notion and makes it feel impossible to escape from adding coins to their coffers. Even for example, you wanted to start an underground newspaper to slag on the media and status quo, you'd still have to give them your money as you rent an office, purchase a computer/printer or whatever device you decide to use for mass production, then you'd have to get a business license and so forth and so on. So it seems that even to rebel you first must support the people you are rebelling against. For me, to rebel in this society I would guess someone would have to try and limit their consumer actions and become a minimalist....either that or find a way to become responsible capitalist by not gouging the consumer, paying a good wage, being environmentally friendly and giving back to the society they leech off of...them even paying taxes would be a good start.

"Perhaps a better question, before I go any further, is what constitutes the establishment?"

In my opinion it is the status quo, that which is the norm in our society, the common idealogy followed, or forced to follow, which "propels" our society that constitutes an establishment, basically it is the ruling class of society...in Western society I believe that to be big business - ruler of the consumer and of a patronaged government that hides far behind the word democracy and the phrase "for the people". Yes, I am a bitter whiney man or am I a realist?  

"I suppose that the establishment could only mean the law enforcing authorities of the state."

In some countries yes, in N. America I don't believe this to be the case...though occasionally intrusive, I don't think the law, law-makers or law enforcers of N. America control the masses but rather more or less react to the masses. They'll let you demonstrate then arrest you, rather than arrest you before you can demonstrate. Actually I believe the police authority is the tool or fist of any modern establishment except in the case where it is the establishment itself. Sometimes its used to strike down and other times, such as the case in N. America, it is usually used as a deterrant. The way a society is run really reminds me of basic economic theories regarding how much you can charge for something to maximize profit through sales. The law finds ways to constrict the average person and elevate existing establishments  while the businesses find ways to let you "escape" your confinement... thereby keeping the blinders on that you are part of the ruled and not part of the ruling class. They push you far enough to continue their cycle and maximize their gains but not far enough to break you and cause a true rebellion. I think they have this down to a science.

"But in that case why isn't there widescale crime all over the place and riots errupting in every city because it's cool to rebel against this law-abiding/enforcing establishment?"

Don't forget that rebellion isn't the only naturally occuring mass practise in society. There has to first be oppression, either physically or mentally, (or at least the belief that one is subjected to this), for there to be a rebellion. Oppression and allowing oneself to be oppressed can be as widespread as any revolution and probably came before it as well. Sometimes it's so covert that people don't know its happening until its too late.


"When does it become a part of the establishment against which people rebel?"

In my opinion it never does become part of the establishment but rather it becomes the establishment itself. It doesn't perpetuate the doctrine of the established but rather sets up a "new shop". In our case consumerism to non-consumerism. To me switching what brand of t-shirts you wear and what wrestling show you watch is a far cry from an example of rebellion. What would be rebellious is to not wear a bought t-shirt promoting other's establishments or beliefs but rather making a t-shirt from scratch(or refusing to wear one) that has in big bold letters your name on it....but you'd be an outcast for that because our fashion magazines haven't told us that's cool yet. Example...People would probably say, "Cool shirt" if Brad Pitt had a shirt that had a big old "BRAD" across it, but if I had a shirt that said "TREVOR" on it people would go "huh? Look a that nerd"...unless of course "BRAD" t-shirt had already come out, then I would be fashionable but only if it was made by a good label...why? Because in a consumer driven society we are all shown and told that it is better to buy than to make and we are outcasted by fearful people scared of being uncool if we don't try to comply with consumer "guidelines"(I believe that book was written by the Jone's). Everything in our society seems to be cultivated towards getting people to buy something and then hooking us to think it is a need rather than a want.....even in school there are now coperate advertising and in many states kids are forced every morning to watch 15mins of TV ONE, I think that's what its called, can't remember the name, where 2/3 of it is advertising and the rest current affairs....or is the advertising the current affairs and the other 1/3 the residue?

Anyways, this is just my babble...angry babble at society, my opinion but like always my bark has no bite and I'll keep typing away on my IBM while drinking my Pepsi cola inside this heavily mortgaged house because I am too cowardly to do anything about it or to live any other way.

Thanks for the thought provoking statements,

Trevor

[This message has been edited by Trevor (09-03-2002 01:57 PM).]

fractal007
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since 06-01-2000
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8 posted 09-04-2002 06:21 AM       View Profile for fractal007   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for fractal007

Trevor:

Good points.  

What do you, and others, think the relationship is between the big corporations, that put out CDs for bands like Rage Against the Machine, and government?  

I liked your initial comments about buying all the "cool" stuff and cursing F. the establishment, lol.

"If history is to change, let it change. If the world is to be destroyed, so be it. If my fate is to die, I must simply laugh"

-- Magus

 
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