the revolution will not be televised

The revolution will not give your mouth sex appeal.

The revolution will not go better with coke.

The revolution will be no re-run, brother.
The revolution will be live.


(…because it’s easier to run
easier than staying and finding out
you were the only one
who didn’t run).

(…because running is the way
your life and mine
will be described).

–Gil Scott-Heron (1949-2011)

3 thoughts on “the revolution will not be televised

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  1. The reason your capitalism image is false is because that’s a communist image from Mao’s socialist communist take over of China. It has nothing to do with capitalism.


    1. I tried for a long time not to respond to this, but this page has been getting some traffic lately, so I’m going to say a couple of things.

      1) The man with the gun in that photograph is the chief of police of Saigon, executing a suspected Vietcong prisoner in the street, in cold blood, shortly before the regime finally fell and the Americans pulled out for good. This has absolutely nothing to do with Mao’s Communist China, except that it has everything to do with it, which leads me to the second point:

      2) It is impossible to talk about Communism without talking about Capitalism. Rightly or wrongly, both systems set themselves up as diametrically opposed and absolutely incompatible forms of government, and this was the excuse in most communist countries to justify the purges and solidification of autocratic power, rather than the withering of the state hoped for by Marx. They saw themselves, perhaps cynically, privately, but straight-faced publicly, as wartime nations exercising wartime powers over their populations during a global struggle. And in fairness to them, there is a lot of truth to that. Coca-Cola, et. al. were waging a (sometimes) shadow war on any and all forms of wealth redistribution, up to and including communism, via lobbying, advertising, and manipulating the political gears of the American state. This corporate capital class also fought a very public war with the virulently autocratic form of communism that came to dominate those states (i.e., The Cold War), for the benefit of _their_ bottom line. Not yours.

      3) That war is over, won definitively by Coca-Cola And Friends, and the wealth gap world-wide has ballooned unchecked beyond the limits of comprehension (It’s nearly impossible for the human brain to picture the actual physical scope of Bezos’ wealth, to name-check an ostensibly liberal member of this class). That gap is no accident. Note the death of American labor unions at the same sweep. McCarthyism rose, snarling, in this same contest, and enemies of what is now the Mega-Yacht/Private Jet Class were targeted everywhere. Corporate America went for broke, and they broke the workers. The class war is over, we regular folks lost, and most Americans today don’t even know a war was fought at all.

      4) I’m obviously not advocating another run at global communism, certainly not in a world run by these people, but next time you look askance at your dwindling paycheck that doesn’t keep up with inflation, or wonder out loud why we are the only developed nation without universal healthcare, or serious labor unions, this is why. You being knee-jerk angry at the word socialism is exactly the world they want to live in. We are currently protecting corporations’ “freedom” to oppress and exploit the rest of us. Is that actually freedom? Not for me it isn’t. This is obviously a nuanced conversation, with no easy or quick fixes, but big picture/broad strokes? Despite what we’re told, Autocratic Communism and Utterly Unregulated Market Capitalism are not the only options: Democratic Socialism with a free market that is transparently regulated to prevent and break up monopolies would improve your quality of life, straight up, immediately, at cost to Coca-Cola And Friends’ pockets. Not yours.

      5) The Mega Yacht And Private Jet Class run the American government for their own benefit, quite obviously and openly, and the very people they oppress vote for them, religiously, and it makes me despair for this beautiful republic.

      So there you go. That’s my answer: I studied political science, I’m very, very sad about all of it, and though that picture is not in any way Chinese, it has everything to do with capitalism. And I suppose, finally, I just want to say that I’m not your enemy. I’m really, really not. That’s maybe the saddest part of all.


      1. “Government of the people, by the people, for…”

        …Goldman Sachs? Wait, that can’t be right. Disney? Frito-Lay? Purdue Pharmaceuticals? Comcast? Northrop-Grumman? No, no…


        for the…

        Shit, who even remembers anymore.


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