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Pussy Riot's 'Police State,' Starring Chloe Sevigny, Protests Donald Trump And Authoritarianism Everywhere

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Pussy Riot has never backed down from a fight, and their latest music video for "Police State" is a challenge to do even more to resist oppression in the current political climate. In the new video, released on the anniversary of both the Russian Revolution and the Trump election, the Russian feminist art collective create a haunting dystopia where any form of joy or dissent is ruthessly suffocated. Actress Chloe Sevigny, who plays a law-enforcement officer in the video, carries a baton for riot control. The portrait seems bleak until the last scene, when a raised fist promises the resistance will not be silenced. 

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Last year, Pussy Riot released "Make America Great Again," a prescient yet tongue-in-cheek imagining of what the future could look like if Donald Trump became president of the United States of America. In the twelve months since, Pussy Riot's outlook has darkened even further. With "Police State," the band juxtaposes the images of children, toys and a ballerina with violent law enforcement. The lyrics bite with sarcasm:  "No problems in paradise/ we locked them up... shut the borders/ perfect order."

Despite the spread of authoritarian regimes, Pussy Riot's Nadya Tolokonnikova is hopeful that the power of the people can prevail. In a press release, she writes: "Actions are more important that opinions and comments. It's crucial to build alternative institutions, establish alternative power structures and networks, especially when your government sucks. There's a lot that can be done and should be done. Putin will not disappear tomorrow, but we can show our fellow Russians how corrupted, damaging and ineffective his rule is. If everybody who denounced Trump on social media showed up on the streets and refuse to leave until he's gone, he'd be out of office in a week. What it takes is just to abandon our learned helplessness."

"Police State" is directed by Matt Creed, director of photography is Sean Williams, and song producer is Ricky Reed. Pussy Riot's Nadya Tolokonnikova will play her first-ever live shows in Berlin on 11/9, in LA on 12/13, and at Houston's Day For Night on 12/16.

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Molly McLaughin is a writer who likes pizza, politics and poetry. In that order. She tweets at @mollysgmcl. 

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