Russian Feminist Protest-Punk Heroes Pussy Riot Share Jarring New Track, ‘Police State’ [Video]

first_imgBack in 2012, a group of Russian feminist protest-punk rockers known as Pussy Riot garnered worldwide mainstream notoriety after five band members were arrested and held without bail for staging a performance inside Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior. Their show was deemed to be “sacrilegious” by officials of the government and the Russian Orthodox church officials–both of which are heavily and clandestinely influenced by president Vladimir Putin himself. The arrests prompted widespread support for the girls, much of which focused on celebrating their defiant free speech and expression in the politically precarious atmosphere of Putin’s Russia.Pussy Riot Protest Against Sentence of Russia’s Opposition Leader In New VideoToday, as a tongue-in-cheek nod to the anniversary of The Russian Revolution–as well as the anniversary of Donald Trump‘s election–the self-described “feminist art collective” has shared a topical new song, “Police State”, and an official music video starring actress Chloe Sevigny. As the band explains in a statement, “The moving picture sums up the current state of affairs of authoritarian leaders like Russia Putin and America’s Trump: Actress Chloe Sevigny, who plays a law-enforcement officer in the video, is carrying a baton for riot control. Today’s youth is strapped stuck to watch political leaders run and ruin the world. The ballet dancer’s grace is juxtaposed by police being fun-stoppers.” The jarring visuals play the grace of ballet dancers off of the violence and aggression of “the law”, and the song’s lyrical and thematic content serves as a counterpoint to its seemingly sunny, sing-song melody.Watch the video for Pussy Riot’s “Police State” below from the band’s YouTube page:Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova worked with GRAMMY nominee Ricky Reed on the song, and the video was created director by Matt Creed and director of photography Sean Williams.This week, Pussy Riot will perform their debut live music performance in Berlin on November 9th. They will come stateside to play their sold out debut in Los Angeles on December 13th, before heading to Houston’s Day for Night Festival on 12.15. Nadya Tolokonnikova will also speak on a panel alongside fellow high-profile political dissidents Chelsea Manning and Laurie Anderson at the festival. More live shows are scheduled to be announced at a later date.Lastly, from 11.14 until 12.24, Nadya Tolokonnikova is co-creating and producing the immersive political theatre production Inside Pussy Riot alongside Les Enfants Terribles and Bird&Carrot, which runs at London’s Saatchi Gallery. You can get tickets to Inside Pussy Riot here.For more information about Pussy Riot and their upcoming and ongoing projects and initiatives, head to their website.Below, you can read Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova’s full breakdown of the meanings and political sentiments behind the new song/video, “Police State”:“Pro-authoritarian trends and autocratic, conservative, right-wing leaders are spreading around the world like a sexually transmitted disease. What can we do?If we find a way how to act together, be articulate, focused and persuasive, we can shift mountains. Look back: people did it before. Soviet dissidents were fighting against one of the most oppressive governments on the planet and shared their own diy magazines (samizdat) via secret networks. Labor union leaders and civil rights activists were dying for their beliefs in the US. And it actually did make our world a better place.“Think about 120 years ago. There were children working in factories, losing their fingers. People fought back. They fought to create unions. Think about the women’s movement. Think about the civil-rights movement. You’ve got to jump in and start fighting.” – Bernie Sanders reminds us.When Trump won the presidential election one year ago, people were deeply shocked. What was in fact blown up on 8th of November 2016 was the social contract, the paradigm that says that you can live comfortably without getting your hands dirty with politics.But we’re more than atoms, separated and frightened by TV and mutual distrust, hidden in the cells of our houses behind screens, venting anger and resentment at ourselves and others. If you have to point at an enemy, our greatest enemy is apathy. We’d be able to achieve fantastic results if we were not trapped by the idea that nothing can be changed.What we’re lacking is confidence that institutions can actually work better, and that we can make them work better. People don’t believe in the enormous power that they have but for some reason don’t use.We do fight with the police state in Russia; since we’ve been released from jail we started an independent media outlet Mediazona (zona.media) that covers what’s happening in Russian courtrooms, police stations, prison, labor camps. With lawyers of “Zona Prava” (Zone of Justice) we’re fighting for prisoners – helping them to get medication and better conditions, get out of jail, open criminal cases against guards and cops who break the law and abuse their power.Actions are more important that opinions and comments. It’s crucial to build alternative institutions, establish alternative power structures and networks, especially when your government sucks. There’s a lot that can be done and should be done. Putin will not disappear tomorrow, but we can show our fellow Russians how corrupted, damaging and ineffective his rule is. If everybody who denounced Trump on social media showed up on the streets and refuse to leave until he’s gone, he’d be out of office in a week. What it takes is just to abandon our learned helplessness.[Cover photo via Pussy Riot website]last_img

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