Power in the Darkness

This year I seem to be fascinated by the late seventies... I was very young then (10-12 years old), but my brother was playing all this great punk and new wave stuff. One we really liked was the Tom Robinson Band (TRB). These were the days of "Rock Against Racism" and other such againstisms.

Interestingly, me, my brother and our friends used TRB's "fight the power" attitude against the left and far-left who ruled Portugal in those days. Punk was a great device against late-coming, bearded, May of 68 school teachers. They wanted us to listen exclusively to folk music, we wanted Punk and Disco! Yeah, that's right. Punk and Disco were both great ways to piss them off. In the Portuguese context of the time, one was a right-wing anarchist jab, and the other a hedonist flirtation with materialistic life. Since 70's marxists were very interested in re-engineering youth towards the orderly following of authentic culture -- as dictated by the intelligentsia -- anarchist hedonism was not at all what they expected from us, but that's what they got.

Anyway, I digress. It is interesting that we used TRB's leftist tunes against the leftist Portuguese establishment of the time. Context is everything. But in some sense it does justice to Tom Robinson's music and stance. He was supposed to be some kind of Gay Protest Song Leader, but was actually living with a woman with whom he had a child. He became enslaved, as it were, by the community he was "liberating".

Both left and right have a tremendous capacity to reduce individual freedom. Indeed, Power in the Darkness is again very relevant. Ultimately it is not at all about left and right, but about standing up for our freedom. I don't say rights because I don't believe that anyone is born with any kind of rights given to us from above, or from some ultimately meta-physical concept of dignity. We, as individuals and groups, construct our moral and social possessions, such as freedom. And we better believe that we have to stand up to have and to keep them.

So here is TRB's 2004 Remix of Power in the Darkness(mp3). I much prefer the original...Don't take no for an answer (quicktime video)!

good old days. the 70's.

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