David Bowie morphed from character to character, challenging every norm along the way. In his most iconic stage persona, as Ziggy Stardust, he stated that he wanted “to tart rock up.” Aladdin Sane was his next, often remembered for his lightning bolt portrait on the album cover.
In October 2023, when the cast of the iconic play Les Misérables performed at the Sondheim Theatre in London, they launched into their famous protest song, ‘Do You Hear the People Sing?’ as a part of their act. But what happened after that was entirely unscripted. The stage was abruptly taken over by activists from the Just Stop Oil movement as their t-shirts and banners proclaimed, while they chanted to the audience to ‘join the rebellion’.
In the West, and indeed most other places, we often perceive rebellion as an act which aims to overthrow or change the ruling system. However, this conception may be altogether unhelpful, or at least misleading, when analysing Chinese history. For most of Chinese history, the act of rebellion was internalised in the overarching dynastic system.
Ireland has often been described as England’s blueprint for colonialism. Since the 12th century, the kings of England have claimed dominion over Ireland and the Irish have been resisting British dominion ever since. If Ireland was England’s blueprint for colonialism, then Ireland has also served as a blueprint for anti-colonial resistance.
The Wars of the Roses were a series of wars fought in 15th century England between two rival factions of the royal Plantagenet house until the ascension of the Tudor house with Henry VII in 1485. It was during the Wars of the Roses that the bloodiest and biggest battle on English soil was fought: the Battle of Towton. Although some see the Wars of the Roses as beginning in 1455, this fails to factor in the many issues leading up to the first battle in 1455. It was these issues which set the necessary pre-conditions for Cade’s rebellion in 1450 and sowed the seeds of war within England.