First and foremost, my apologies for basically disappearing from the PE world in recent months. I hit a huge wall as far as writers’ block, and I was sort of stuck in my usual bout of self-doubt, self-loathing, and that sort of thing. The never-ending cycle of mental shit that I’m too [whatever] to look into.
But that’s not why I’m here today!
I’m here to ask a simple question of the DIY punk scene. What the hell happened? Why is it that in arguably the most horrific period of this generation, there is virtually no response from the youngest and least jaded punks? Have we as a subculture accepted defeat already? Has the political punk scene become so stale and reliant on old cliches that we cannot adapt to new challenges? Or has the stupid mindset of punk being “just music, maaaaan” taken over for good?
The world is absolutely fucked right now, and things are only getting worse. From rampant climate change, to reckless predatory capitalism. From Nobel Prize-winning presidents’ beloved assassin drone acceleration to Russia’s state-sponsored criminalization of an entire group of people. From the ongoing war of terrorism to the war on First Nations’ people in Canada. From rape culture to the scourge of fascism in Greece. And that’s just the first few examples from the top of my head. This is all right in front of our faces right now, and we’re fiddling while the planet burns.
In the last couple of years I’ve seen political discourse in punk drop sharply, as I’ve seen sub-sub-subgenre revival trends come and go. Instead of thinking about current or relevant issues to sing or write about, it seems that these revivalists would rather ape their beloved punk heroes word for word (or in the case of seventh-rate American raw-d-beat attak bands, even write their lyrics in broken English as a gimmick). After all, the fashion and sound is much more important than having anything relevant to say these days!
I’ve even noticed this apathy in the punk scene in the reviews section of Profane Existence! It’s become so rare that I see a review that mentions a band’s lyrics, let alone challenges a band on anything. Reviews are always the most boring part of a magazine (and yes, I still do reviews here), especially when they are nothing more than a short puff piece for a record. Maybe I’m alone here, but I think a review should cover more than just what a band sounds like. What are they singing about? What are the lyrics like? Is there something dodgy in the art or the lyrics? Let us know! Something strike you as amazing, or as horrible? Speak up! There is a major difference between Profane Existence and other major punk zines. Profane was founded as a blatantly political magazine and label. An alternative to punk scene apathy. A place for the anarchists and radicals to exchange ideas and listen to some killer tunes at the same time. If the anarchopunk community can’t rise above lazy apathy, what’s the point in continuing? We’re anarcho-punks for a reason. Anarchy still isn’t about hanging out on the internet and paying 600 dollars for an old record.
Am I calling for a “PC police” or whatever ignorant bullshit term is going to be thrown my way when this gets published? Give me a break. I’m far from perfect, and frankly I’ve never met anyone who isn’t. I love the DIY punk community, I love anarchopunk, and I hate the state of the world. We’re all in this for a reason, and we should all take a moment to think deeply about why we’re here. Do you give a shit? Or is this just another fashion for you? Have you ever stopped to consider any of this before?
Activism takes many forms, and you can still rock the fuck out while educating or making a difference. Punk can be a huge part of the revolution, as long as we let ourselves!
-Doomed Society Radio still exists. It’s also growing, and becoming a label. I’m putting on a couple of benefit shows to help pay for the first release, which will be a much-beloved Canadian anarchist band. It will be co-released with their label and a couple of others. http://doomedsocietyradio.wordpress.com
-I’m not trying to alienate people with this column. I’m just sick of punks not challenging the status quo.