Pussy Riot are a reminder that revolution always begins in culture

<table><tr><td>From <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/01/pussy-riot-reminder-... UK</a> - by Suzanne Moore

<em>Vladimir Putin is right to be frightened by Pussy Riot. They are essentially a concept and you can't stop a concept</em>
<p>Some people have their eyes on the prize. A prize beyond medals. That prize is freedom, freedom of expression, freedom to <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/protest" title="More from guardian.co.uk on Protest">protest</a>. I am talking about <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/pussy-riot" title="">Pussy Riot</a>, who are drawing the eyes of the world to what is happening in <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/russia" title="More from guardian.co.uk on Russia">Russia</a>. <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/pussy-riot" title="More from guardian.co.uk on Pussy Riot">Pussy Riot</a> – crazy punks, yeah? No, they are not crazy, daft or naive. They are being tried for blasphemy in what is still, nominally, a secular state. They are highlighting what happens to any opposition to president Vladimir Putin and, indeed, they do look fabulous. If you want to see protest as art or&nbsp;the art of protest, look at these women and their supporters.</p></td><td><img title="The most dangerous thing is to do nothing at all" src="http://anarchistnews.org/files/pictures/2012/Pussy-Riot.jpg"></td></tr><...
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<p>Described as punk inheritors of the <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2011/jan/20/riot-girl-20-years-anniversary" title="">Riot Grrrl</a> mantle, they are so much more. They are now on trial in Moscow for a crime that took 51 seconds to commit. <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCasuaAczKY" title="">Please watch it on YouTube</a>. They mimed an anti-Putin song in the main Orthodox cathedral wearing their trademark balaclavas and clashing colours. For this "hooliganism " and "religious hatred", the three women have already served five months in jail. They now face a possible seven-year sentence, in a country where fewer than 1% of cases that go to trial end in a not guilty verdict.</p><p>Pussy Riot function symbolically as the head of a&nbsp;protest movement in Russia that is being shut down. Bloggers have been arrested, and people are scared to express any anti-Putin sentiment. Only state-sanctioned demonstrations are allowed. The slide into dictatorship is apparent and, significantly, one of the biggest benefactors has been the church, which has performed a massive "land grab". Pussy Riot exist to draw attention to precisely what is so disturbing, a totalitarian nation where the church and state are become one. Some have warned that Russia is becoming a new entity, a Christian fundamentalist state. Members of the Orthodox church have said the separation of the secular and the spiritual is "a western idea". This what Pussy Riot are up against.</p><p>The women have been called Satanists by state prosecutors and various priests, though their supporters paint them as sweet young mothers. Doubtless they are, but they are also cleverly using long-established forms of anonymous anarchic protest. The balaclavas mean anyone can be Pussy Riot. The <a href="http://www.guerrillagirls.com/interview/index.shtml" title="">Guerilla Girls in the Art World</a> did this. An anarchist "strike" once involved all of us writing with the byline Karen Eliot. Occupy does it. The dull and respectable left too often ignores the genius of these forms of dissent.</p><p>Indeed, as Tobi Vail of Bikini Kill, one of Pussy Riot's inspirations, says, these methods of protest cannot be jailed. Their name itself is to oppose the idea of the feminine as "receiving"; instead the female sex organ, they say, can "suddenly start a radical rebellion against the cultural order". These women have read everything from Simone de Beauvoir to Judith Butler and Rosi Braidotti. They know what they are about.</p><p>No wonder the patriarchs of Russia are worried. Pussy Riot have spread the word, and the word is that their "great leader" resembles a Gaddafi or Kim Jong-un. They have done so through a series of cunning stunts and are now recognised as prisoners of conscience by Amnesty. Sting has worn a Pussy Riot T-shirt, though I would prefer to see all the rock stars in balaclavas and for Madonna to get one as soon as possible.</p><p>What Putin cannot stop, though, is a concept. Pussy Riot are essentially conceptual artists. This is what makes them threatening – it is not possible to imprison a concept. The celebration of rock and punk as anthemic that we saw last week was lovely, but Pussy Riot are a reminder that revolution always begins first in culture, in the radical act. In the society of the spectacle, that act – Pussy Riot's sporadic performances – get YouTube hits and retweets. In these days of Twitter shallows, remember it is the virtual world that has pushed Pussy Riot into the spotlight and in the real world they are in prison.</p><p>If ever we needed an anarcho-feminist protest, it is now. But I would say that, wouldn't I? Sure, the unimaginative can reduce this to "Punks against Putin" and say these women have no manifesto. They are up to something else altogether: making complicated points look simple. They are the opposition and they are girls with guitars and knitted hats, not men with guns. This is wonderful.</p><p>For some, anarchism has always been an inherently feminist philosophy as it opposes relationships based on power. Pussy Riot come from the country where Bakunin argued against Proudhon for the equality of women and against the authoritarian family. It is also the country of another woman who walked the walk: Emma Goldman. She saw anarchic protest as a legitimate opposition against government control. Of such protests she said: "It seems to me that these are the new forms of life, and that they will take the place of the old, not by preaching or voting, but by living them."</p><p>Pussy Riot are these new forms of life, even as they sit in a cage – an actual cage – facing these ridiculous charges because Putin is threatened. He should be. It cannot be said enough. We are all Pussy Riot.</p>

Comments

They are not heros, they are idiots! They came to the church and started singing in punk style, mocking the church goers and asking The Virgin Mary to get rid of Putin. Of course, churh people got pissed off. Now Putin is trying to imprison that for offending the Church, but if fact for protest against him. They should not be imprisoned, of course, probably fined. If they seriously wanted to protest they have chosen the wrong place. Millions of Russian went to the streets in mass protests, they got beaten, injured, arrested, abused. But only these stupid girls got fame! Scandal - is the best way to get famous! That has nothing to do with culture, but everything with stupidity. However, stupidity is not a reason for being imprisoned, otherwise 95 percent of humans should be in a jail. Without parol.

IGTT 10/10

more of this, pls

Yes yes yes absolutely. I wouldn't call them "idiots" just because they are facing real repression now for what was a totally inconsequential action that no one should be punished for. But if they weren't in prison I probably would call them idiots. They are just a performance art group and the fact of the matter is is that Russia is so repressive and terrible that tons of people that don't even do anything against the power structure get trampled.

But yes, our solidarity should be extended far more to other Russians getting beaten in the streets and antifascists and anarchists being literally murdered (At least one a year, and that's just the ones we hear about). This anarchist kid who worked as a construction worker was murdered by fascists like 6 months ago in Russia. Where's all the media and feminist love for him?

NO no no ideologies should be burned, yes! Artists must feed themselves, yes! Fascists must be burned, yes! Very easy, very fucking easy!!Underdeveloped post-colonial regions must be enriched reciprositely! All the wealth drained from them is hidden and recorded in dusty tomes of commerce the capitalists hide! We will find them and reimburse.

:-)

They wouldn't have done that in a fucking Catholic Church, and that's because they are NATO's darlings. Of course, there's some very good reasons to be against Putin's regime, as much as there are to be against any fucking corporate regime in the West

In Quebec, the riot band of crusties "Mise en Demeure", who really played a significant role in the student uprising, where forcefully censored from playing at the national day/summer solstice, celebration, and were indexed massively by the same fucking mainstream media that lauds Pussy Riot as defenders of free speech. A bunch of activists were detained for days just because they had their poster in their kitchen, fer chrissake! Putin? Yeah... big fucking deal.

"Vladimir Putin is right to be frightened by Pussy Riot."

Actually, no. He's not right to be frightened by them, isn't that the point? They are not a threat at all to anyone. They're actually innocent people that didn't do anything worth hearing about. And I'm not saying that in the same vein as when we talk about our prisoners as innocent puppy-loving family-having people despite their offensive crimes. I mean they literally didn't do shit, so the fact that they're in prison is more a testament to how crazy Russia is than how righteous they are.

america has plenty of similar things going on. you just don't hear about them because the state department isn't going on a full-blitz PR spree about them to try and make the US look bad like they are doing against Putin.

it makes me NOT GIVE A MOTHER FUCK. plus its in fucking russia! what the fuck are you going to do about it?

figure out what to do in your neighborhood and stop giving a fuck about pussy riot you moron.

Although I'm not a troll, and the girls enjoy notoriety and possibly fame and fortune on their release, as an artist I'm going to say something disgusting but which Pussy Riot would laugh at themselves most likely, so brace yourselves,,,,,,,When they are in the showerblock naked I'm sure that some of the Russian screws will get hard-ons, and Putin will receive video footage and masturbate to his meglomaniacal fantasies, cos we know what politicians are really like behind closed doors?!!! There, I got that off my conscience, all clear now thank god.

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