After 2 1/2 years of blood, sweat, and tears and countless hours of writing, organizing, performance, political repression, frame-ups, and reflection Strife's first solo album "No Honor Among Kings" is finally here. Consider this album a wake-up call to the peasantry that we still live under the iron fist of tyrants and that when backed into a corner, storming the castle yields infinitely better results than giving up and crawling onto the dead-pile.
We live in neo-feudal times, an age of peasants & kings, tenants & landlords, mansions & castles, guilded gentry pushing gentrification, commoners foreclosed from their meager hovels, aristocrats in business suits and knights & vassals in digital camouflage aiding mercenary armies who engage in armed conflict across the globe to secure access to ever-dwindling resources.
To understand the concept of my first solo album, "No Honor Among Kings" you have to understand that capitalism as we know it today succeeded in abolishing feudalism by instilling the belief in the poor, that if they worked hard enough that anyone could “pull themselves up by the bootstraps” and become a neo-feudal tyrant. Despite this oft-repeated rags-to-riches fairytale, the end of feudalism was never an end to the social relationships between kings and peasants or masters and slaves. Feudalisms demise brought about the beginning of the poisonous and elusive promise that tyranny could somehow be democratic and that aspiring to accumulate vast amounts of property and power were valid means to achieve personal freedom at the expense of our collective survival as a species.
Capitalism taught us that it is unimportant how many people you exploit, betray, or enslave in the process of climbing the social ladder as long as you end up on top, even if you lose your heart in the process. The wealthy convinced the poor to compete against each other for smaller and smaller portions of crumbs of the pie that we all baked in the first place and convinced us of our freedom prematurely, but there is no such thing as freedom when others are oppressed and the word rings hollow without true equality.
Most of us work our whole lives away trapped in life sentences of poverty with an iron fist around our necks and a boot-heel dug deep in our backs if we step out of line. As a result, instead of pursuing our collective self-interest by cooperating against those who oppress and rob us of our labor we choose to keep our heads down, distracted by symbols of consumer bliss, numbing ourselves with the mas-media spectacle, too focused on the happiness that a endless supply of possessions will supposedly bring, to realize that human connection is the most important thing that we have on this earth and exactly what we sacrifice in our shallow pursuit of products, status, and prestige.
Trans-national corporate power has increased exponentially since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, the invention of the assembly line and the spread of neo-liberal globalization which was an extension of feudal and colonial models of economic extraction and exploitation. This unprecedented trend towards efficiency and mass-production has had a very serious consequence of dehumanization of the workers who created these vast sums of wealth in the first place but it also meant that C.E.O.s. and shareholders now amass personal fortunes and collect political influence that would even make a king jealous.
This stark economic reality is coupled with the expanded executive power of the federal government in the U.S. and the militarization of police forces who have become increasingly brutal in dealing with social movements who aim to challenge the widening wealth gap (as witnessed by the coordinated crack-down on the Occupy Wall Street movement). The newly minted powers of the Department of Homeland Security that have been granted by the National Defense Authorization Act of 2011 would make George Orwell roll over in his grave insofar as the U.S. empire has sought and been granted the power to lock up and indefinitely detain anyone suspected of "supporting" a very ambiguous definition of the word "terrorism" without knowing the charges, without a trial, or even access to a lawyer for daring to demand their rights as human beings and refusing to be treated as merely a means to an end. We are living a new dark ages, a time of grand jury witch-hunts of political prisoners, service sector alienation or sweatshop enslavement, drone-strikes and pre-emptive mass-murder, a time where our technology has outpaced our conscience and we are sliding ever closer into the abyss of fascism.
This album is a weapon to sharpen your mind and a call to sharpen your sword and prepare for the inevitable clash with the powerful that is on the horizon.
Peasants Arise! Commoners Awake! To the Barricades! Storm the Castles Before it's too Late!