The following is an essay written by two ravers named Duane Linstrom and Tim Schwartz,
in the summer of 1994.

Party Politics

(or the Politics of Partying)



As the rave scene matures, it still remains unclear what it is exactly. Is the rave scene a movement (either social, political, or religious), or is it just a party scene? There are factors that lend evidence to either perspective. At present the rave scene is in limbo between being a viable movement and being a passing hedonistic trend.

Although there is a certain inherent morality present at rave environments (for example: acceptance of alternative life styles, non-elitism, and friendliness), there is no clear articulation of the values and principles that make rave-culture unique. Rave culture cannot become a movement of any sort without a consensus as to what it stands for and what it hopes to accomplish. To achieve this consensus, the rave scene needs its own media forum where ideas can be discussed. The rave scene will also need a spokesperson to articulate and express its intentions to the world. Indeed, the rave scene seems to crave a spokesperson (witness the adaption of Terence McKenna as case in point). The rave scene needs people to stand up and take the lead in order for group consensus to be achieved. Ideas can be presented and shot down, but the dialogue needs to begin somewhere. In the end, it will be the strength of the values that the rave scene supports that will decide its fate, and not its leaders- so we shouldn't worry too much about one individual grabbing control of the thing. As long as dialogue is maintained, truth will continue to emerge and be the driving force.

There are various mindsets in the rave community that are preventing it from developing into an actual movement. One of these mindsets is a fear of hierarchy that makes those who try to step forward subject to ridicule. Ravers want equality, and fear that any semblence of hierarchy will destroy this equality. The truth is that people in the rave scene attain whatever acclaim they have from their merits, and any leaders will thrive or fail on their merits. Another mindset that prevents any clear consensus from emerging is the fear of calling something wrong. The rave scene is interested in being open and accepting, as it should be, but the mindset is taken to the extreme of accepting behavior that is detrimental to the scene overall. For example, abuse of crystal methamphetamines and alcohol. It's easy to condem crack addiction, but it is difficult to condem speed addiction when your friends are the addicts. Fear of religion is another crippling mindset, limiting any discussion of spirituality beyond superficial slogans, but who hasn't walked with God on the dance floor?

The novelty and initial adventure of the rave scene is gone, and unless we define ourselves in a more specific way we will not continue to grow. Any organism that stops growing starts to die. People who complain that raves are not what they used to be are right. It is time to move on to the next level.

The rave scene is currently an excellent marketplace for music and fashion, and good music and new fashions emerge quickly. What we need to do is make it a marketplace for ideas- political, social, and spiritual.


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