Let's talk about being anti-establishment.

I have this default attitude of challenging any sort of authority. The 'authority' often shifts from person to person.

At a young age, it was my parents and family who were the authority. In school, it was my teachers, in my job, it's my bosses or whoever is paying me.

And ultimately, the authority is now the Government.

But I've been wondering for a while what was the origin of this anti-authority attitude.

The first answer is in my childhood. I was a terrible af student, didn't really excel at anything and I always felt like adults hated me. So I hated them back.

Second answer is in power structures. Since I really didn't have any real power or felt like I had any, it was always a game of taking power away from others.

My attempt is to Redistribute that power to people who need it.

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Now I can detect a power hungry human being from miles away. Earlier I used to slink away and not really deal with them, but now I actively seek them out.

Now I try to chip away at that power they have accumulated over the years and give it to other people who don't have any.

In my head, nobody deserves to have insane amount of control over other human beings.

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Pretty much explains my attitude towards everything.

There is an element of saviour complex here, of course. But then I also think about how privileged I am that I am able to even think like this.

That too is power, in its own way. Knowledge IS power. So if you are an anti-establishment person like me, understand that you're not alone.


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Sidenote: This is the kind of stuff I'm going to use Mastodon for. Going to try and spark conversations like these as much as I can.

So please, do express your thoughts on being anti-establishment and what it means for you.

I'm listening eagerly!

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@Memeghnad I wouldn't know where I fall in the spectrum of anti-establishment, because I'm compelled to follow rules and procedures (bringing this point up because you said you were anti-establishment as a kid, against authorities like parents/teachers). But all of that respect/obedience toward that authoritarian figure goes out the window the moment I perceive them to be unjust to me or others.

But after years of conditioning to be a "good girl who listens to everyone", I'm still unlearning.

@Neeneen whatever little I've seen about authority figures, they start off with implementing rules and regulations but then start to twist those rules in their favour.

Most authorities, after the power gets to their head, start believing they're above the law and invincible. That's just how human nature works.

So before they get to this point, anti-establishment folks need to temper them down a bit.

@Memeghnad I agree. I truly admire people who actually take action to temper them down though. The fire in their eyes, the resistance to flinch.

@Memeghnad also, I just realized: all of that anger I feel towards an unjust/power-tripping authoritarian figure? I still don't know where to put it, so I end up cynical and bitter.

Speaking up means breaking out and *that* takes guts.

@Neeneen I redirect my anger and turn it into lame jokes. Heh.

I often find that when my anger builds up, I blurt it out on one form or another. The audience helps me temper it down a lot. It's important to speak up!

@Memeghnad In kindergarten, they asked me what I wanted to be as an adult and I said god, so I suppose we start there.
I'm with you - I can detect a power-hungry person from miles away. My instinct, still, is to avoid them. It weighs on my bandwidth to do what you do, so I avoid that as well. It's not something I'm particularly happy about. :)

@Memeghnad One could say that it's a result of being oppressed by figures of authority, and its resultant avoid-ing coping mechanisms. One could also say that awareness is the first step to mending something.

@Memeghnad Being anti establishment or anti anything is a good thing as long as it is not anti just for the sake of being anti. I would say I am more of a critical thinker and won't take anything from anyone especially those who think "because I say so"

@VivekT Of course. So I think if you're anti-establishment just to be anti, the authority actually gets more strength.

Effective anti-establishment attitude would be to understand the nature of authority and suggest alternatives BEFORE trying to chip away at power structures.

@Memeghnad Agreed. One doesn't want to be Nihlistic(at least I don't) That is the mistake the Communists made (not Marx but those who tried to implement his ideology) when they tried to destroy religion without giving a viable and credible alternative to God.

@Memeghnad I think as of now it's what is happening with cryptocurrencies, how they are set up with it being open source and decentralized thus challenging current structures. It's something akin to a meritocracy where you have recognition if it's earned through contributions to get more weight to call shots.

@Savil yep. And that's why the establishment hates it. To an extent where they're outlawing crypto even before people discover what it is.

@Memeghnad yep and hopefully people don't fall for that trick.

@Memeghnad Great initiative! In India you're given 'biscuits' for being obedient. Parents, elders, teachers, coaches, and tradition 🤮. As a child I was always the nice kid - not creating trouble, obeying rules. Because I thought that's how you win the game. Turns out I was wrong and that wasn't my personality. I became a rebel much later in life, still exploring that aspect of myself. Norms are shit, I question them all the time. I learned very early - absolute power corrupts absolutely (1/n)

@Memeghnad keeping power in check is the basis of a just society. Studies have proven that decentralized units where power and decision making is distributed are more efficient systems (not just on the Internet but also in public institutions 😅).

Hoping to keep standing for equality and challenge the status quo. (n)

@Shawshank @Memeghnad non rebellious, obedient ppl are often taken for granted, 'kuch bhi bolo ya karo' chalega attitude 2wards such ppl.

@CharismaticSal_ @Memeghnad yes, you're right! Rules are made so that the powerful remain in power.

@Memeghnad Too much emphasis on being anti-establishment. How about being pro-justice. That is morally less stressful for me...

@tariquesani "Justice" is often defined by the establishment. And the idea keeps changing depending on who holds the reigns.

You might have a different idea of Justice than I do!

@Memeghnad That is where individual discernment comes in. Would rather have my definitions than be blindly anti-establishment

@Memeghnad Jo anti-establishment na hua, vo janmya hi nahin!!

@Memeghnad same thoughts. I also have a degree of it. The more power someone has the more need to look at that person carefully and hold them accountable. By power, I also mean influence and reach - so you, Ravish, Rajdeep, Rahul - everyone counts but Modi trumps over all on that degree scale.

@Memeghnad I don’t know how anti-establishment I am but I sure do not fit in completely with the establishment as a queer person who is not afraid to speak her mind and question authority. I understand that I have a great deal of privilege and agency due to my background and this may be a major reason behind me being comfortable in my skin and forthcoming about what I think. If something feels wrong, I will point it out and certainly not be a part of it, if I can help it. Advocacy is my jam!

@Memeghnad idk man, anti-authoritarianism for me's always been the idea rejecting being forced to do anything. If I'm not in a position to reject, I just annoy the authorities w questions.

In the principal's office being told to cut my shoulder length hair:

"Ma'am aapke bhi to lambe baal hai"
"wo alag hai"
"Suspend hona hai?"
"Baalon ke liye?"
"Shibesh, get a haircut. This is not an argument"
"It can be a discussion"

This exact scene has played out at least thrice in my school life.

@Memeghnad While growing up as a kid, heard/read too many stories of Indian freedom fighters, and how they were anti-establishment. It was very clear that to stay on power, every person/family/govt will do all bad things possible & not everyone has the courage to question them.

Asking questions about the norm and doing things what I felt right caused enough troubles in school life, but, every time I felt good about it personally. The same attitude now still continues in life.

@Memeghnad The Internet helped to find and make connections with people who think different than the average friends/family.

For a person like who got laughed at for everything I did in my school/college/most of office life, finding and meeting those other people helped to think more about life in general, about the politics in general, and how governments. function.

@Memeghnad I wanted to become a politician, but, my father (who was heavily active in unions and politics) told me one day: "We never taught you to become so much morally low, you will not stay alive long in politics", that quote (and the family tradition of asking questions to powerful people) made me think more about the existing power structures, and how those effect people's lives.

@Memeghnad Do you think that in India anti - authoritarian stems from our collective hatred towards the so called elders in family and society who think they know everything?

@rthom I do think that is true to a certain extent. Opposing the beliefs of your family elders is the first step towards finding your own voice and having contrarian opinions.

@Memeghnad A lot of this has to do with the culture of our country also wherein we are constantly taught to respect and obey elders. I feel many of the ills of our society will subside if we are collectively taught to question our elders.

@rthom Today's generation doesn't believe in automatic according of respect; it questions, at least that has been my experience @Memeghnad

@KayKap @Memeghnad it is a good thing. Age is not equivalent to wisdom. And blind repetition is not expertise.

@rthom @Memeghnad In urban communities, especially among the middle-classes, this is changing. Hopefully, it will spread up and down.


Hmmm. I sometimes feel, if you're born queer, especially visibly, you have already kind of been enrolled into anti-establishmentarianism right away before your conscience even unfolds. I guess what it boils down to is how far you would push it, as you gradually locate your presence underneath your own skin (Or how far you'd go to shed it.)


Questioning the version of reality that we are constantly being gaslit with, is the constant anarchism of both transness and femininity...

@Memeghnad if it is a just establishment, I don’t seem much reason to go against it. I think I am more of a justice warrior than anti establishment.

@Memeghnad but how are you adding value? Will resistance to the establishment bring any succor to the disenfranchised? I guess creating something, adding jobs might help

@Memeghnad @Memeghnad Well, making the establishment accountable and transparent is the key.

Being anti-establishment everytime serves no purpose. Instead, make sure that they do what they are required to do.

Ask questions which puts them squarely in front of themselves.

@Memeghnad yes wouldn' t it be wonderful if there were no 'power over' and 'power under' structures and things worked on the basis of 'power with'....with everyone's needs and points of view being taken into consideration. Because everyone's needs matter. And everyone has a right to be heard and their needs considered....

@Memeghnad Yeah I kinda had a similar trajectory. Imagine my joy when I finally discovered anarchism - a whole political philosophy that mirrored my distaste for people having structural power over others.

@Memeghnad An aspect that has often bothered me is the privilege to intervene which originates from power. Just like you mention, "helping" anyone essentially elevates the who is extending the help relative to the one receiving. The dichotomy is often the piece that worries me even when the engagement is absolutely without malice or, ill intentions.

@sankarshan yeah. I understand where you come from. But there just cannot be a situation without power structures. Someone will always be more privileged over someone else.

The thing is about someone with too much power to control lives around them. That's the worrying part.

@sankarshan @Memeghnad St Vincent de Paul's written advice to his sister who formed a society of nuns was "the only way God may forgive your acts of charity on the day of judgement is if he saw love in your eyes when you gave bread to the starving and clothes to the naked

@Memeghnad The need to re-balance power comes from basic human wiring. Research on paleolithic human tribes indicates that one of the key aspects of successful hunter-gatherer communities was the way they kept power fairly balanced.
Quoting: "anthropologists report that many of the remaining hunter-gatherers are “fiercely egalitarian,” deploying humor to subdue the ego of anyone who gets out of line."
When you smell power, you're really smelling ego. And inflated egos are a danger to the tribe.

@hackiechan @Memeghnad I'm wondering when heady ego = strong leadership started to happen? By creating imaginary enemies?

@atm404 @hackiechan It's always been there TBH. I feel it has just become so visible that it allows us to see it right upfront now.

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