Punk music is helping me process things lately. I have been in Thailand for nearly a month and let me be clear– it is difficult to not be home with people right now. It is painful. It is shameful. I spend a lot of time crying in anger, if we are being honest.
So I turn to the things that have carried me before, and on the top of the list I find myself listening to songs that have always made sense to me (re: my love of anarchism) but are now more relevant than ever. To be clear, I subscribe to Noam Chomsky’s delightful and controversial brand of anarchism, not the kind you may be imagining (but like most things in life, punk culture is more nuanced than we care to admit but anywayyy).
One of the largest tenets of punk culture is centered on subversion. Subversion of the government, subversion of power dynamics, subversion of capitalism. We see this in the marches happening now. We see it with Black Lives Matter. We see it with Dakota Access. We’ve been seeing this play out for as long as we have been a country. It’s all connected. And the change is painfully slow– it happens over long periods of time. Microchange over periods of time leads to more concrete shifts. It’s how resistance affects change. This is how the work gets done.
And this is precisely how I frame my service with the Peace Corps (note: the irony of an anarchist working for the State Department is real, folks). I am not doing anything big, but rather I am doing many small things with great intention and love. The things I hold to be valuable (bodily autonomy, BLM, love, feminism, community) are important now more than ever. My work here just got a lot more complex because it’s not only about classroom education anymore– and maybe it never was– but now I am called to show up on a whole new level.
I want to show that my leader is unacceptable. Not because I am separate from him in some moral way, but because I am culpable for him. And I deserve better. We all do.
Songs for feeling angsty:
- I’m Against the Government – Defiance, Ohio
- People – Andrew Jackson Jihad
- Survival Song – Andrew Jackson Jihad
- Your Heart is a Muscle The Size of Your Fist – Ramshackle Glory
- This Year – The Mountain Goats
- Immigraniada (We Comin’ Rougher) – Gogol Bordello
- Raise the Knowledge – Gogol Bordello