Continuing where I left off last time with values. I want to talk about activism and divisions within the punk scene. This is a difficult topic because everyone has different opinions of what kind of activism works. Some people also have differences on the exact definition of activism. For this column I’m going to broadly define activism as anything from setting up a show, releasing records, making a zine, along the more traditional efforts like organizing protests, distributing propaganda, or organizing within your district.
What is the end goal of activism? I think it should be to change something in this world for the better. We can debate all we want which tactics work, there are so many ways to confront different issues. I would say that non-violent actions are usually the most powerful. I also sometimes ask myself where to put my energy because no one person can take on every issue in this miserable world.
On the topic of larger issues that confront political change, or the reform of laws, ect, I will admit that punk has been pretty ineffective as a movement. In a larger sense though it can help. What I mean is that if you show regular people that even though you look different and live different that you have morals and standards that are important to you and strong, then you can effect their views and eventually their politics. Sure not everyone is gonna be accepting and open minded but those people have kids that might think differently someday. When punks segregate themselves from everyone else in society they will remain ineffective activists.
When I go out here, I usually see a lot of people talking together with other people who have the same dress code. Spiky punks together, Crusties together, Hipster punks all with their own kind. I like hanging around with people not involved in a particular subculture sometimes, and when I go out with those people I feel like punks in the scene here will ignore them if they don’t have the look. I don’t hang out with lame, shallow, conservative minded people, so I assume that the reason that they don’t care about these people, my friends, is because they haven’t adopted the dress code. This comes back to what I was saying earlier which is that you will never change anything if you can’t even accept people who are different than you, it’s a form of reverse discrimination. Popular struggle is the only way to change government and last I looked punks aren’t exactly a large portion of the population.
It has been said to me that many Europeans look at Americans as unpolitical and by in large uneducated about the world. This may be true in a lot of cases but remember that America has 307 million people, and Germany a bit less than 81 million. This means that Americans have 74.2% more ignorant people representing us. I’m sure most Germans wouldn’t want the average Bavarian representing them on political issues. Sure Europeans have a firm grasp on politics but I also see the populations as being somewhat introverted when it comes to world politics. People care about things which affect Germany but a lot of issues are bigger than just one country and I see a lot of focus going into directions I feel are a bit less important than major events that are effecting the whole planet.
Punk is about counter-culture and should remain so. Everyone knows that the mainstream has subverted the style, but they can’t subvert the politics which make people punks inside which is what is important no matter which sub-genre you like most. The best way to remain a threat to society is to put aside the differences between people and use the common goals as a basis for activism and change. People will have alternate views of what works, and which issues are most important to them, but if we put aside petty differences than we make a bigger group of opposition.
Here we stand with a passion for life, a world without hate, no violence no strife, see all there is to see, hear all there is to hear, know all there is to know, feel all there is to feel, a world without war where we can be free, our future, our earth begins with you and me, a search for life in this dirty world, a cry of pain and anguish for love. -Crucifix “Search for the Sun”