?

Log in

No account? Create an account

What is Anarchy? - The Life and Thoughts of Zach

Sep. 15th, 2004

12:57 pm - What is Anarchy?

Previous Entry Share Next Entry

Another take on this question is to relate it back to the other highly important "tribe" in my life. What is "folk music"?

I said somewhere before that folk music is simply the stuff that folk music fans listen to. It's the stuff that folk musicians play. Folk musicians are the folks who get gigs at folk music venues. Folk music venues are the venues attended by folk music fans. We know it when we hear it. And we usually know that certain things definitely aren't it. And there's a bunch of other stuff that we aren't really sure about but we'll get back to you later after we've discussed it amongst ourselves.

Anarchism is that which is practiced by Anarchists. Anarchism is that form of social organization that exists in anarchist organizations. Anarchist organizations are those organizations that are organized by Anarchists. Hardcore Punk Shows, Independent Media Centers, Anti-Capitalist Convergence Centers, Critical Mass rides, Food Not Bombs, Anti-Racist Action, Reclaim the Streets Parties, Eco Villages, Squats, pirate radio stations, consensus based decision making, affinity groups, clusters, blocs, Chiapas, Barcelona, Paris, Djursland, the IWW. Anarchism is better defined by these experiences of radical community than by any coherrent unified principled philosophy.

I think the same frame could be applied to the question "What is punk?"

Is it any wonder that so many folk and punk musicians are Anarchists?

Comments:

[User Picture]
From:the_sween
Date:September 15th, 2004 06:40 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Punk, for me at least, is more easily defined than folk. It might have to do with their respective lineages in that folk has been around, well, forever and punk is still a relatively new branch from the tree of rock.

I see punk as raw (not that folk can't be, cuz it can uber-hardcore when wielded by the right person). It's usually based on three cords set in a non-complex style and almost needs to be plugged in. I've seen acoustic punk, and it just didn't work for me. The lyrics are about evoking an immediate response which you might think about for a while, but are generally no where near the level of thought one finds in folk (for example).

Don't get me wrong, I fucking love punk. The discovery of the Stooges, The Ramones and The Sex Pistols were the basis of my first experiences in counter culture and I was very happy to find it.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:zarfmouse
Date:September 15th, 2004 07:17 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Well there's punk and there's punk though. I mean is NOFX or Green Day really punk? Isn't Ani DiFranco (at least in her early stages) punk in her own way, in the stripped down DIY spirit of the thing? Bitch and Animal seem like they're definitely punk even though they play acoustic instruments. Asthetically and philosophically these folks are direct descendents of the punk movement.

There's a punk sound but then there's a punk ethos.

Isn't punk really just the music that is made by and that attracts punks?

Of course the real question is Gillian Welch. Personally I think she's the ultimate punk (I mean she grew up playing in a punk band in Los Angeles). Now she's got this shockingly different (among her peers) way of dressing (like a simple mountain girl) and she plays this incredibly stripped down astringent style of music (this incredibly authentic feeling appalacian acoustic music that actually is completely unique to her) and her lyrics are bitingly emotional hiding behind an almost deadpan delivery (much like the mono-volume screaming of a punk singer). But punks don't go to her shows like they do to Ani's or Bitch and Animal's shows.


(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:the_sween
Date:September 15th, 2004 08:58 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Early Green Day (just about anything prior to Dookie) was punk. The stuff that is played on the rock stations is just that: rock. And some Ani DEFINITELY smacks of punk, but I could never classify her entire body of work as such in my mind.

I agree though, the ethos is very similiar between the two and for me, it ultimately comes down to the sound and type of impact the music has on me. The lines are far more blurred these days between what I would call "progressive folk" and punk, but I can still see a band or listen to a song and be able to classify them...but the only realy classifications that matter are whther or not the band is good or shite ;)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:zarfmouse
Date:September 15th, 2004 07:20 pm (UTC)
(Link)
"raw, based on three chords, in a non-complex style" is a pretty good description of Woody Guthrie. :)

And then there's anti-folk which really is to folk what punk-rock was to rock-and-roll. Adam Brodsky and Ed Hammel are to Woody Guthrie what The Sex Pistols were to The Rolling Stones.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:the_sween
Date:September 15th, 2004 09:02 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Ahhh, but for me one of the key parts of the definition is the next part of that line: "and almost needs to be plugged in". But bringing up Woody does make me think...folk, for me, is also about story telling. It certainly not a defining characteristic, but you get a lot more of that with folk than with punk.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:zarfmouse
Date:September 15th, 2004 09:14 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Definitely. That is a good characteristic that I've thought of in the past and forgotten until now.

I'm so used to the music I listen to being stories that I forget that it isn't all like that. :)

(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:xymboulos
Date:September 18th, 2004 06:04 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I find myself agreeing with the sentiment of NoFX on this issue: it may be possible to define or even scale punk, but it probably isn't very punk to do so.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:jrstraus
Date:September 15th, 2004 07:44 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Have you ever heard 'Gangsta Folk'? That's good stuff.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:zarfmouse
Date:September 20th, 2004 05:25 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I haven't. I will have to check that out.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:jrstraus
Date:September 20th, 2004 05:33 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Okay, there's actually only one song, and it's draw is pretty much comedic. Lest you think I'm actually into something called 'Gangsta Folk'.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)