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Old 12-12-2009, 09:37 PM   #1
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 28
Default Let me tell you what Punk really is and why it's important

In this thread I will attempt to explain what I believe to be one of the most noble artistic movements of our modern time, in its current form it arised in the late 70s and still exists to this day, it influenced countless artists and thinkers around the world, it encompasses music, art, poetry, writing, protest, manifestations, stencil, street art, performance art, and pretty much any other way in which you can express its message, it has been kept alienated from all forms of mainstream media and capitalistic enterprises since its inception(by CHOICE), it's probably one of the largest underground movements and it inspires a passion like no other in the people that are part of it, you won't find it on TV, the radio, newspapers, magazines, or anywhere else that a mainstream minded person would think of. Before the internet, it found its vehicles in live performances and tape-trading for music, DIY zines for writing/expression, stencil art, graffiti, and primarily word of mouth, somehow it proliferated all over the world in the 80s, long before the internet, and of course the advent of the internet brought on a whole new way to share and interact, because mainstream media would never be a proper vehicle for this type of music/art/thinking, but WHY you ask, what makes it so special?

I'm speaking about something I call the Anarchist/Radical DIY Movement, I define this way because although anarchism is a key part to the ideologies of many artists, it is not imperative and a lot of artists who don't label themselves as anarchists are still DIY, are still very radically minded and are part of the movement, what is DIY? It means Do It Yourself, it's one of the key ideologies of the movement, and it means you do everything yourself, if you're a musician, it means you(or you and your band/friends/collective) write, you compose, you record, you design, you press, and you distribute. There are no managers, no companies, no contracts, no corporate influence of any kind, that's essentially what DIY means. This is why you'll never see it in any store. The movement tries to distance itself from capitalism as much as possible, but money is still necessary to fund projects so often times the musicians/artists/writers will sell their work for a few dollars/pounds by themselves or through very grassroots/underground distributers(distros) and labels that are mostly built on word of mouth and networks of activists, every major urban area has its own "scene", which basically just means the large group of activists and sympathizers in that area, within the scene there can be concerts, festivals, clandestine art shows, distribution of zines/books/writings, everything has to be very grassroots and very underground to avoid disruption from outside influences, the bigger scenes will have as much as entire anarchist bookstores/cultural centers from buildings that have been squatted in, donated, or otherwise obtained by no capitalist means, every scene has its own touch, its own story to tell, its own 'legends', its own problems.

Now, what are the ideals of anarchism and radicalism that are so important and urgent to put in music or writing and disitribute? Well I will attempt to explain anarchism in my own words first, if you were coming from a mainstream background and you heard the word "anarchism" or "anarchy" you might think of chaos, buildings on fire, people throwing stuff, terrorists, etc.. that's no coincidence, and that's exactly what the system would want you to believe.

But anarchism actually is a very beautiful philosophical way of thinking that stems from centuries ago, in which the individual pledges no allegiance to any outside organizations/forms of power, attempting to return the individual to its most purest, untainted state, in other words, the anarchist wishes to see a place with no governments, a place with no flags, no countries, and no religions, the anarchist can't be caught up in petty issues like race, gender, orientation or nationality, anti-homophobia, anti-sexism and gender equality are key ideals of the movement, the anarchist attempts to live in this capitalist world by consuming as little as possible and participating as little as possible in mainstream society. Most anarchists are extremely creative, artistic and expressive people so they choose to embark in projects in order to express these radical thoughts, whether it be musical,written, or whatever else, it's always done in a very humble, very underground way, always with a "those who want it will find it" point of view, the projects will be shown/distributed to the local scene and from then on it'll seep to the global scene as a whole, through word of mouth mainly, with the internet it became much easier for things to be distributed, and now underground blogs, sites, etc.. serve to connect scenes a lot, there are no hierarchies within anarchism, no leaders, no presidents, organization is always based on mutual help/responsiblity, it's a mini-utopia of sorts.. who knows if this could work on a larger level for the entire society, but as an art movement it mostly serves to educate and inspire.

If you're familiar at all with spirituality/conspiracies you'll know that the only way to be 'enlightened' is to discard all petty distractions of mainstream life, for they have been created by outside forces, to never trust goverments, media, or religions, to see all artificially imposed borders and distinctions for what they are, to find out you're your own god , to discard money and currency, basically the purity that we all seek, now you see why anarchism is important? it advocates those exact things, except it doesnt come in some campy new age video you paid 20 bucks for and if you're on this site then youll understand the urgency of these people to express these messages and the need for their thoughts to be expressed the way they are.

Now onto some actual artists... Let me begin with what I believe are the catalyst for our modern radical movement.. this was a band/collective that started in the late 70s, it was the first of its kind, it was the first punk band, they were anarchists, they were activists and they set the blueprint for anarchist collectives, if you come from a mainstream background you might be thinking "sex pistols", the answer is absolutely not, that was the systematic, mainstream response to 'punk', which of course was nothing but a mockery, a farce, it distorted and bastardized the meaning of the words punk and anarchy forever which of course is what the system wanted.

The first punk band was named CRASS. They employed the ideals of anarchism, not mindless anarchy/destruction, from their inception they had several ideals that would never be broken, they were never to be related in way to any corporations, companies, or record labes, they were never to be on mainstream media of any type, they were going to design, produce, press, and distribute their records all by themselves, they were a collective of people that included artists and filmmakers, their live performances would be composed of music, a film projection, and distribution of written anarchist material to those who attented, their music would be extremely underground, their lyrics would relentlessly denounce all systematic oppression as much as they could in every song, no time was to be wasted, they were rabid, they also had female members, which brought on another dimension to the band and established one of the cornerstones of the movement, gender equality,sexism was angrily tackled by crass' female singer eve libertine, in fact one of their records was called 'penis envy', crass had a male singer and a female singer, which would became a customary tradition for a lot of bands to come, they would sell their records by themselves for a meager amount in order to finance their cause, they formed in 1977 and from the beginning announced they would end in 1984, but not before changing the world forever.

It's not that CRASS' music was life-changing or earth-changing, although it was very avant-garde and it helped to spawn the much more elaborate and heavier genres of hardcore punk, anarcho punk and crust punk, it was the way in which they did things that inspired and influenced people, anarchism existed beforehand, but never as a musical/art movement, this brought it directly to the YOUTH, which clinged on to it with upmost passion. Anybody could start a band, group or collective, anybody could write a zine, anybody could distribute, anybody could stand up and protest and express dissent, this brought on a whole new generation of DIY musicians and artists, all around the world. Crass are the fore fathers of anarcho punk, but the movement influenced many more genres and forms of expression. Crass' own scene had plenty of key-artists that collaborated with crass, who made their own underground record label in order to produce and distribute all this material, many records were produced, many performances were made, and many people were inspired. Crass did break up in 1984, but by then, punk movements had spawned all around the world thanks to mainstream punk becoming widespread, and it wasnt long before anarcho-punk movements spawned within those scenes. The anarcho punk sound evolved into crust punk, a much heavier, much brutal form, which in turn fused with underground metal and evolved into grindcore it also helped to spawn many other subgenres of punk such as dbeat, power violence, stenchcore, sludge, doom, and pretty much any type of DIY radical music.

Now, one of my favorite aspects of this genre, or movement, is its art..I'm an artist myself, and this type of art just speaks to my heart, its urgency, its blunt look, its underground origin.. the music is very very heavy at times(although also melodic/mellow somtimes) so I would say it's mostly inacessible unless you enjoy punk/metal music, but the art can be looked at by anyone, so I will post a few pictures of album covers and other anarchist art, keep in mind there's quite possibly hundreds if not thousands of examples, mainstream society would have you believe "punk" is some stupid genre of music about little kids with spiky green hair, skateboarding, throwing things around, silly stuff, who knows what else , in reality its the most widespread global form of direct activism through art/protest and all that with no mainstream/capitalist influence whatsoever.

Crass/british anarcho punk imagery 1977-1984:

The british anarcho punk scene was pretty much the blueprint, but scenes sprung up all around the world, and exist even to this day, now some examples of things from other countries:

Atrocious Madness - The Uses of HAARP - 1997 - USA

Desobediencia Civil - Cuanto Tiempo Mas? (How Much Longer?)- Mexico

Aus Rotten - And Now Back To Our Programming... - 1999 - USA

Antisect - In Darkness There Is No Choice - 1983 - UK

Antisect - Peace Is Better Than A Place In History - 1993 - UK

Anthrax - Capitalism Is Cannibalism - 1982 - UK

Atoxxxico - Tu Tienes La Razon (You Have Reason)- 1990 - Mexico

Fusiladxs Por La Democracia - Argentina - 2008

Active Minds - Capitalism Is a Disease And Money is An Addictive Drug - 1991 -UK

Contravene - Forever In Struggle - 1999 - USA

Antischism -All Your Money Stinks Of Death - 1988 - USA

Desacato - Lucha Por Tu Libertad (Fight For Your Freedom)- 2006 - Uruguay

Psicosis Social - El Punk Es De Los Explotados (Punk Is From Those who are Exploited) - 2001 - Bolivia

Barrakas - Que La Realidad Te Lo Explique Mejor (Let Reality Explain It To You Better) - 2008 - Costa Rica

Masskontroll - Will You Ever Learn? - 1995 - USA

Acefalo - Transito De Los Muertos (Transit of The Dead) - 2007 - Chile

Swasticarcass - Lowest Display of Humanity - 2007 - USA

His Hero Is Gone - Monuments To Thieves - 1997 - USA

Profit And Murder - Self-Titled - 2006 - Germany

Anyway, I hope I have given you a little insight into something that we aren't generally exposed to, something that is portrayed as something entirely different by mainstream society/media, if there's interest I could post more album covers or even song lyrics to further explore this very interesting genre of music/art/protest.

Last edited by powerviolence; 12-12-2009 at 09:42 PM.
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