Gil Scott-Heron explains "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised"

Originally published at:


As true now as it was then. Like all great poets, Scott-Heron distills a complex topic spanning centuries down to one poignant phrase.


A timeless song for a theme that will seemingly never end in this country.


Nah, it will be televized, streamed, stamped, facebooked, and on and on. However in the process it will be edited, commentated, twisted, jerked, and made to look like an excise for those that were to dismissed disregard.

Anyone here remember how thoroughly Occupy was mocked?


Yes. I also know that, despite the MSM’s attempts to dismiss and belittle that movement, and despite Occupy’s own deep flaws, the term “inequality” and discussions of class still became a part of the public discourse in a way that they weren’t before Occupy. As a society we have internalised and accepted what was once unthinkable to discuss in America. That’s Scott-Heron’s point.


My current and younger generations are also more prone to view capitalism with disdain, which to me accomplishes some of the more important things that Occupy sought to achieve.


I was thinking this morning about how that movement sputtered out as I was considering whether the current protests will do anything to put a dent the power of the police, rather than leave them with even more power.

The police aren’t the root of the problem. They are another symptom, which has been strengthened over time because the powers that be knew they would be needed to quell the population once they accelerated their rapaciousness.

As I was discussing with my relatives, another protest that needs to happen is a nationwide general strike. The only thing power will listen to is the sound of their money faucets trickling to a stop. Protesters get cops. Voters get suppressed. The rich stay rich. Unless the money is stopped.

I just have no idea how such a thing can be organized, or if enough people will participate for it to work. Maybe we are getting to the point where it can happen. But kids in cages didn’t get us there. I’m not sure this will either.

As for what Gil Scott-Heron is saying, I see that in myself and some others. I’m far more left leaning now than I was 5 years ago. My brother and one of my daughters have both embraced communism. While I’m not there, I’m now firmly in an anti-capitalist/socialist mindset.

What is going on now is not sustainable without complete subjugation of the lower classes. It’s what they want. How do we stop them?


A major reason why the Occupy fizzled was because it had no focus, and frequently poor organization. These protests have both an eminently clear focus, and the people are clearly getting organized much better.


As did a more specific term I often credit that movement with, “the 1%.” Sanders (who’s also to be credited with this kind of advancement) owed a lot to Occupy.


To me this is one of the lasting images of OWS. It was happenstance; the ad was some some stupid movie campaign from cinemax, but it fits so well.


More people have also been inspired to run for public office which is also important to have in parallel with organizing


Oh yeah, that’s huge. A lot of change happens on the local levels – and you need people gaining experience and expertise on those local levels, before they move onto state and federal levels!



Did you release the virus?? /s
Actually, I wonder if we could turn this moment to a “we won’t reopen until it’s safe AND FAIR.”

Somehow Al Gore couldn’t make the term stick:

[Edited some poor phrasing.]

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Mmmm… no. These protests need to remain focused on demanding that cops no longer harass and kill poc like it’s a sport. And they need to continue until something progressive actually happens toward those goals.

New protests about better working conditions with fair pay need to begin.

My wife’s restaurant opened today. What I’ve heard from her about it so far this morning:

So top manager tried to tell me and coworker that reservations were “suggested” and not “required” and we both argued with him. I looked it up and read it out loud and he ignored me, looking it up himself then saying “oh yeah, I guess reservations are required.” He was annoyed 2nd-top manager wasn’t having us wear the dresses and he just wants to open up like normal. Yet he left and he’s never here during business hours so he can suck my dick.

and then about an hour ago:

This whole thing is awful and horrible and some bullshit. It’s gonna kill me to keep doing this.

To be clear, they never shut down fully because they are “essential” and they found a way to pivot from dine-in and takeaway to curbside service. Which was also true of many other businesses around here.

The virus caused a hiccup in some businesses, while others – like bars – had to shut down, but didn’t cause the level of shut down that a general strike should.


Yeah, I fixed my statement as soon as I posted it. Or almost soon enough.

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This one’s stuck with me over the past year or so, and I suspect it will for a while:

This too: “B-Movie”, from the film Black Wax. (Video won’t embed but hopefully the link works)


The song is about a change happening in the mind


One of my favorite poets did a riff on it ten years ago:

The Revolution Will Be On YouTube

The revolution will be on YouTube
You will be able to watch it in the comfort of your home
You will find the link on a mailing list
You will embed it in your MySpace page and post it to all of your favorite forums
The revolution will be on YouTube
They will no longer be able to hide the beatings and the shootings
They will not be able to lie about what happened
They will no longer be able to get away with murder because the revolution will be on YouTube
The revolution, the revolution will be uploaded, downloaded, served and streamed, it will be viewed
The revolution will be on your web browser
The revolution will be transparent
The revolution will not be televised, for the revolution is not owned by Fox News
The revolution is public property
There will be no more secrecy
There will be no more renditions, redactions, distractions or secret transactions when the revolution is on YouTube
When you my sisters and brothers are the eyes of the world, information will be free
The revolution will be free
We will all be free when the revolution is everywhere and the revolution is, and the revolution is, and the revolution is on YouTube!

Thank you, Gil Scott-Heron.


^ This ^

My thanks to all on this bbs who create an intelligent and compassionate space.
You help make me wiser.

Along with “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” playing in heavy rotation, especially when I drive [and am alone in the car], I play this song also, which these days I find I cannot sing along to without crying.

What’s Going On
–Marvin Gaye

Mother, mother
There’s too many of you crying
Brother, brother, brother
There’s far too many of you dying
You know we’ve got to find a way
To bring some loving here today, yeah

Father, father
We don’t need to escalate
You see, war is not the answer
For only love can conquer hate
You know we’ve got to find a way
To bring some loving here today

Picket lines and picket signs
Don’t punish me with brutality
Talk to me, so you can see
Oh, what’s going on
What’s going on
Yeah, what’s going on
Ah, what’s going on

In the mean time
Right on, baby
Right on
Right on

Mother, mother
Everybody thinks we’re wrong
Oh, but who are they to judge us
Simply because our hair is long
Oh, you know we’ve got to find a way
To bring some understanding here today, oh

Picket lines and picket signs
Don’t punish me with brutality
Come on, talk to me
So you can see
Ah. what’s going on
Yeah, what’s going on
Tell me what’s going on
I’ll tell you what’s going on

Right on baby
Right on baby

Once I scrape myself together after listening to that, I can go on to this one:

As the great philosopher Eugene Hutz put it:
Revolution is internal. Help yourself at any time. Evolution isn’t over: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. We’re about to use our mind, yeah.