Rebel Riot: Buddhist anarcho Punks

Rebel Riot, first of all, is an incredible anarcho-punk band from Myanmar. But not only do they incorporate Buddhist themes into their music and activism, but they do not hesitate to criticize the ways mainstream Buddhist leaders and institutions in the country have supported the oppression of ethnic, religious, sexual, and gender minorities and have supported the military in last year’s coup and crackdown on civilian resistance. Their album (and song of the same name) “Fuck Religious Rules/Wars” brings heavy hitting criticism, riffs, and beats against Burma’s conservative religious institutions, and includes other bangers like “Fuck Fascist Monks”.

They recently released an epic cover of the famous anti-fascist partisan song Bella Ciao, with additional lyrics that attack the military regime and support the revolutionary movement against them. Rebel Riot and the punk scene in Myanmar appear to be very effective vectors of anarchism in the country, as blocks of protestors in punk clothing and waving anarchist flags can be seen in many photos of marches and riots from last year. Definitely a band worth listening to for the message as well as the music. We would do well in other countries to reimagine our own Buddhas as anarcho punks and rebel rioters.

I highly recommend the documentary about Rebel Riot and the punk scene in Myanmar, “My Buddha is Punk“, as well as their song of the same name.

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