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Will the Revolution Be Televised?

Will the Revolution Be Televised?

That depends. Will we have water? Electricity? Who will revolt and over what?

Helmeted cop with automatic weapon in the air stands in the middle of an intersection as smoke from arson fills the sky.
The Detroit Rebellion of 1967. In the course of five days, 43 were killed, 33 black and 10 white. 1,189 were injured and 7,200 people arrested. National Guardsmen fired over 150,000 bullets during the riot.

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You will not be able to stay home, brother
You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out
You will not be able to lose yourself on skag and
Skip out for beer during commercials
Because the revolution will not be televised

In 1971, Gil Scott-Heron released the song The Revolution Will Not Be Televised from his album Pieces of Man. It was a ground-breaking song, a precursor to rap backed by the great jazz bassist Ron Carter, but more importantly it was a politically charged protest with relevance today, a cry against oppression, and an expression of anger against the mass media which was co-opting the civil rights movement while the Vietnam War raged on.

Gil’s sarcastic indictment of commercial culture at a time when the oppression of systemic racism blew up, rings true today, in the age of 24/7 brainwashing. The commercial-industrial entertainment complex races on, if anything more pernicious than 53 years ago, with journalism weaker than ever, and a proliferation of malevolent outlets of outright lies and propaganda, pioneered by FOX “news.” AM radio is filled with fringe lunatics. I occasionally turn it on during long car drives to get a pulse on crazy, and the internet is littered with similarly unhinged outlets.

Aerial view of four blocks of destroyed Detroit, one block roofless rubble, the rest smoldering.
Aftermath of Detroit riots.

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