Music is at its best when people are facing heightened social or political struggles; and history has shown that musical movements form and evolve as countercultural responses to these struggles. Donald Trump’s presidency may pose dangers so intense that we may be faced with the next wave of musical renaissance.
In other words, this is the perfect time to reap the angst and start a punk band.
“What is punk if not the cry of the working class?” asks Rudy Martinez, philosophy junior and drummer of the local political punk band, The Jeffers.
Bands like The Dead Kennedys largely exemplify Martinez’s idea. The very nature of the name was not to mock John F. Kennedy’s assassination, but to bring attention to the decline of the American dream in a nation ruled by Ronald Reagan and rising neoliberal ideology.
Similarly, the British saw a mass punk uprising under their Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher. Thatcher’s England was plagued with double-digit unemployment, war, nuclear tension, neo-Nazi sentiments—and the brilliant music of The Clash and Sex Pistols.
Unfortunately, anger, frustration, fear and existential dread will soon wash over our country again—if it hasn’t already.
In his plan for his first 100 days in office, Donald Trump has called for the deportation of more than 2 million immigrants, the halting of refugees finding asylum in America and lifting restrictions on oil among other incredibly destructive proposals.
Trump’s presidential campaign was largely centered on the strengthening of the hetero-patriarchy, white supremacy and capitalism, all of which feed the oppression and exploitation of most of the working class all over the world.
Disenfranchised people all over the country must find means of resisting oppressive institutions, and punk culture is a radical form of resistance.
I’m hopeful that the content of music will become significantly more substantive—not because of pretentious reasons or because music today isn’t good enough—but because the solidarity and conversations that can be built from music are immensely important.
So pick up a guitar (you don’t even have to play well), get together with some friends, make inexplicable and innovative sounds, and let the political anger flow into an authentic expression of struggle and resistance. It’s a terrible time to be a working class American—but a great time to start a punk band.
– May Olvera is a journalism junior