Where am I getting at with this? The very nature of "punk," as I conceive it, is that it cannot ever truly reject the dominant culture, capitalism, not if it, as a movement, expects to survive. Here you might ask: what is "punk?" You would be right to ask that.
Punk originated, somewhat, in music in the 1970s or so, as many have claimed. True punk, the real, commodity-rejecting monstrosity that emerged quite literally as a counter-culture rather than a subculture, was largely a response to globalization, urbanity, and post-industrialization, an inherently commodity-rich point in our history that readily acknowledged the corporation as almost human. Curious as that may sound, it seems to make sense, because as capitalism began to spread across the globe, largely not by its own steam, but through the hands of those with the guns, so to speak, it gave new powers to the corporate entity to represent itself as a thing that could "speak for itself." More curiosity abounds here as to why it took hardly any time at all for something inhuman in nature, almost robotic, to assume the vocalized subaltern without having had to shed blood in the process; well, at least not the corporate blood, but certainly the blood of pre-nationalist societies consumed into globalizing nationhood.
Punk, to try to simplify here for brevity, invented for us the teenager as a market niche. Now, once relegated to the status of children, the budding adult had a place of his or her own, a place of music, bad or good, you pick, and protest against the "man." How silly, then, that punk itself vied to create its own subculture as a consumer aggregate, with no real interest in affecting change at all. In its non-conformist nature, punk literally created a subculture that would eventually have its own marketplace, its own capitalist structures a la Hot Topic and other such gothic-ally obsessed teen hideouts. And teenagers bought into it, hook, line, and sinker, not necessarily through some malicious attempt on the part of punk itself, but because punk provided a place for them to go, where their voices could be heard by someone, even if that someone could do nothing to alleviate the perceived issues of society itself.
Punk was at the cusp of subcultural America/Britain/Australia. In some ways, it was one of the first to take off, to become like a living thing embodied in the mind. It rejected the establishment (monarchy, democracy as fascism, etc.) and sought to ironically being non-conformist by conforming to non-conformism itself (and that might take a moment to contemplate, because punk's survival relied quite literally on non-conformism to be a form of conformist thought, without reservation). You might view all this as a push against the nation state, a sort of anti-intellectual, anti-authoritarian monster with a chip on its shoulder. It is, because punk's response to the world of the 70s and 80s relied almost exclusively on a resistance to the hierarchical structures of the nation, a rejection of what the nation state was doing or had done, and where it would go in the future.
Punk style is forgettable, but its history, its move from a seemingly obscure subculture to universally recognized and commidified almost-dominant-culture, is not. It sat at the dawn of the invention of the goth, the black honky-tonk, the Christian rock movement, the punk music we are familiar with today, and various other movements that otherwise might not have existed if punk itself had not seized capitalism by its throat and wrangled the life out of it until the two could finally agree that they could work together. Too bad that punk got the raw end of the deal, because, after all, for something so dead set against capitalism and the nation state, punk has easily assimilated, if not without the occasional angered retort, into the dominant structures of nationhood and commidification.
That is what punk is. It is not Green Day, for the punk music scene is nothing more than a dilution of what used to be legitimate attempts as subversion complicated by contradiction.
Perhaps that question rises again: where am I going with this? To understand cyberpunk, biopunk, greenpunk, steampunk, salvagepunk, and all the other punks that fans and literature enthusiasts have come up with, one must know where the suffix "punk" comes from. One must know the the mouth of the beat before knowing the beast itself.
Any questions or disagreements?
Read Part One (Punking), Part Three (Cyberpunk A), Part Four (Cyberpunk B), and Part Five (Cyberpunk C).