Article: "Before Bakunin it was 2pac" by Menace 

Ask most anarchists who were/are their influences and they will give the classic answer: Bakunin, Kropotkin, Proudhon etc. But of course, that’s the norm; in reality most of us had earlier influences that moved us in this direction. Personally, a blend of poverty, racism and socially motivated music made me move into this direction. As the title suggests, the first thinker and "philosopher” in my life wasn’t Bakunin and the classical writers, or any other political scientist, it was 2pac and the social music that many similar to him created. Being a minority, born into a working class family in a post-Stalinist country, had a lot to do with being attracted to the social criticism that hip hop offered regarding my status as an ethnically oppressed and impoverished individual. 

The styling of hip hop music and especially 2pac made me realize the situation I am in its not limited to my neighborhood, or even the country as a whole. I soon discovered through such music, that the great USA, that most of us in the post-Stalinist countries looked to as a role model, faced in fact the same problems as I did in my own country. After the revolutions of 1989, a circus of so called "democracy” began in most eastern European countries, this circus began with crooked elections, false promises and shattered dreams. The anti-electoral sentiment that my country fueled me was echoed when I listened to one particular song of 2pac, in which he said: 

"I'm writin you because, shit is still real fucked up in my neighborhood Pretty much the same way, right around the time when you got elected Ain't nothin changed All the promises you made, before you got elected.. .. they ain't came true Me and my homies is wonderin'...what's goin on?” – Letter to the President 

Contrasting the two countries had a huge influence on my young mind; the dream of eventual prosperity was a lie for me and my social strata. If the "democratic” process didn’t really work in a country that had "democratic traditions” why it should work in my country? This was the catalyst that turned me off political parties and electoral politics, and I could say shaped an early embryotic anarchist. 

Even further pushed by the names dropped by various hip hop artists, names such as Huey P Newton, Geronimo Pratt, Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey etc. I started looking into these people and seeing a totally different world, even though Black Nationalist oriented it appealed to me as a victim of racism. As I was plunging even further into what people call today "political/conscious hip hop”, my political orientation started to form, a particular song by the hip hop duo Dead Prez helped me outline the initial phase of being an unconscious anarchist, the song’s introduction went like this: 

"You have the emergence in human society of this thing that's called The State. What is the State? The State is this organized bureaucracy. It is the police department. It is the Army the Navy. It is the prison System the courts and what have you. This is the State it is a repressive Organization. But the state and gee well you know you've got to have the Police because if there were no police, look at what you'd be doing to Yourselves -- you'd be killing each other if there were no police! But the Reality is the police become necessary in human society only at that junction In human society where it is split between those who have and those who ain't got.” - Police State 

This applied to my sentiment, because in my real life, as a teenager, the state authorities never protected me nor people like me, witnessing in real life how privilege and wealth dictates protection. From now and then, something started to change, coming out of a post-Stalinist country I couldn’t approach the Marxist themes the western activists did, so this anarchist sentiment fitted me well. 

Eventually, researching anarchism and studying anarchist philosophers crystalized my political orientations, but nevertheless the push was not initially Bakunin it was 2pac, Dead Prez, Immortal Technique and so many like them. Such kind of music made me aware that there is no problem in the system, the system itself is the problem. Before social networking, such methods globalized resistance and activism, these were the means people knew the problems were the same, this why my activism began with hip hop music.

Added by: Watcher, 10/Aug/20 | Comments: 2
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