Originally pressed in 1996 PROFANE EXISTENCE is bringing this quintessential anarcho punk masterpiece back in circulation.
In 1996 AUS-ROTTEN released their first LP “The System Works For Them” on an unsuspecting punk scene. It spread like wildfire in a pre internet era within a genre that mostly depended on tape trading. (at least is was pre internet for us penniless punks) “The System Works For Them” was the perfect mix of anger and intelligence that the scene needed at the time (and still does today). It was like a wake up call that opened the eyes and ears to many punks the world over. The messages where crystal clear and most us were hooked as soon as the beginning shouts of “Boycott” bellowed over the speakers. I don’t believe any of us ever expected their message to resonate so well within the scene, but even more surprising is how the songs are just as relevant today as on they the day they were written. Which is why PROFANE EXISTENCE has decided to repress this record. We feel that that messages that AUS-ROTTEN brought to the table are to powerful to ignore. We feel that this LP is important and therefore should be highly available and priced affordably.
PROFANE EXISTENCE has worked out every last detail of this release with the members of AUS-ROTTEN whom have been involved from step one. All tracks have been re-masted by Jay Matherson at the Jamroom studios. To be 100% honest we didn’t want to do a complete re-master of what we already considered a good recording. However when we opened the tracks on protools we noticed a few balance issues that required fixing. These fixes resulted in a tremendous upgrade to the overall quality of the tracks. We painstakingly scanned, puzzled, and photoshopped the original artwork to make sure that it was as close to authentic as it could possible be. We then went for broke by pressing in three different vinyl color combinations! Overall to say that we are pumped to release this would be an understatement, we are absolutely ecstatic to bring you this LP on PROFANE EXISTENCE!
To top this all off we worked with AUS-ROTTEN vocalist Dave Trenga on redrawing the classic “What Good Is Money, When There Is No One Left To Buy” design for a T-Shirt to concede with the albums release. This is a fresh take on an old image to create a new and original design.
Vinyl options are…
1. Standard black vinyl
2. “The Battlefield is Still Red” Bloodsplatter vinyl.
3. See through “Smoke”. – Available at SKULLFEST only
Silence are a highly active post-punk/peace-punk band from Pittsburgh, PA. “The Deafening Sound of Absolutely Nothing” strives (and succeeds) to achieve the perfect balance between peace and post punk. By taking influences from The Mob, Bauhaus, Zounds, Killing Joke, Amebix, Crass, Conflict, Internal Autonomy and Joy Division SILENCE have created what can only be described a brilliant debut LP. At one moment this record is dark, heavy, and atmospheric and then the next moment it makes you want to dance and sing along. Lyrically SILENCE are much closer to the anarcho side of the previously listed influences. Lyrics focus on a variety of topics but often have a strong focus on the way punk and activist communities deal with political struggle in our current political climate.
“The Deafening Sound of Absolutely Nothing” comes with a 16 page magazine size zine containing lyrics, personal writings and song explanations. Designed, printed and assembled by the band themselves in true D.I.Y. fashion.
Silence will be having a record release show in their hometown of Pittsburgh PA at the Rock Room Friday April 22nd with SHADOW AGE and SKELETON HANDS. Then later this month SILENCE will embark on a full United States tour to support “The Deafening Sound of Absolutely Nothing”. Here is a list of dates. Be show to check in with the bands “bandcamp” or “Facebook” page for show updates.
When all that remains is a world in flames. Is that when they’ll say the wars are finally won? That wars are finally done?
They’re beating on the drums again, they’re fueling up the planes. The congressmen fall into line and sing the old refrain. In the name of peace they’ll burn the land and drop a thousand bombs.
Meanwhile we’ll just stay at home and go back to our sitcoms. It’s the same old song, we’ve heard it before. They’re beating the drums and they’re calling for war. What it’s supposed to accomplish, no one is sure But the victims are always the hungry and the poor.
Once the drums of war begin it’s hard to make them stop. The noise silences the dissidents once the bombs begin to drop. All those who call for peace will be mocked and pushed aside. In 10 years they’ll admit we were right after many thousands more have died.
Finally after many delays from the pressing plant the WARWOUND Demo’s LP “A Huge Black Cloud” is out and copies are moving fast!
Recorded in 1983, this record contains 15 songs from 3 sessions. With a few different takes you get a total of 25 blistering tracks. For those unfamiliar with WARWOUND, they are a UK band formed in 82. WARWOUND recorded 3 demos in 83 before disbanding and members went on to join THE VARUKERS and form SACRILEGE. These demos never received an official release… until now! Highly influenced by DISCHARGE, WARWOUND is one of the first bands ever to take D-Beat Punk to a raw and intense level. Recently reformed in 2015, original guitarist Damian is now joined by Ian Glasper on bass and Rat Varuker on vocals. After a few gigs in the UK word is spreading fast of the relentless onslaught of a live show these veterans put on. WARWOUND have also recently hit the studio to record for the first time in over 30 years. Needless to say WARWOUND is back with a vengeance!
Yes! Finally, after what turned out to be a gigantic task of moving the PROFANE EXISTENCE distro from Minneapolis to Denver, transferring tons of data, and rebuilding the web store, we are finally set to open back up. To access the new store follow one of the many links from profaneexistence.com or access it directly at http://profaneexistence.storenvy.com
The first official PROFANE EXISTENCE title of 2015 is out and ready for order! We are proud to bring you the RIFLE DIET – “NO SOLACE”LP
Rifle Diet’s No Solace is a 12in 45 that combines the Classic Minneapolis crust sound with Swedish hardcore, D-beat and Epic crust (think somewhere between Servitude and Wolfbirgade, with hints of Tragedy and Fall of Efrafa). The beautiful cover art by Hannah Benoche sets a bleak mood for the dark music within, plus a cover of His Hero is a Gone – Chain of Command (ex-members of InDefence and Garmonbozia) This LP is a joint release between PROFANE EXISTENCE and BLOOD OF THE YOUNG RECORDS
To honor both the opening of the new store and our first release of 2015, we are giving a free copy of the RIFLE DIET – No Solace lp to everyone that spends more then $50 from Monday January 12th to Monday January 19th!!! This deal is for one week only. DO NOT MISS OUT!
*Note*Rifle Diet are playing a record release show 1/17/15 at the Dogplex in Minneapolis with Kontrasekt, Aziza, and Fucking. To coincide with that show all orders that contain the RIFLE DIET – No Solace lp will be shipped out on Monday January 12th.
The next release in the works is the new full length lp from APPALACHIAN TERROR UNIT – “We Don’t Need Them”.
We Don’t Need Them is the second full-length record from West Virginia punx Appalachian Terror Unit. ATU have become known throughout the years as being one of the most politically charged bands in the current punk scene. This new record is an all out attack on today’s society that takes ATU to a new level of intensity both lyrically and musically. The combination of the beautiful and thought provoking gatefold cover art designed by Stivart along with the brilliant recording and mastering job by Jay Matheson at the Jam Room take this record even further. Song subjects include the horrors of war, police brutality, destruction of the environment, rape culture, consumerism and much more. Expect a very heavy and much angrier approach from a band that has been around the block and matured their sound. Seven raging new tunes including the epic fourteen and a half minute track “We Don’t Need Them”, a song that will one day be ranked among similar greats as the SUBHUMANS “From the Cradle to the Grave” and AUS ROTTEN “And Now Back to Our Programming”.
APPALACHIAN TERROR UNIT – We Don’t Need Them will be pressed in the United States on PROFANE EXISTENCE & in Europe on SKULD /RUIN NATION
WARWOUND – “A Huge Black Cloud-The Demos 1983“
Another record we are very excited about is the upcoming WARWOUND – A Huge Black Cloud-The Demos 1983. Recorded in 1983, this record contains 15 songs from three sessions. With a few different takes you get a total of 25 blistering tracks. For those unfamiliar with WARWOUND they are a UK band formed in 82, and released 2 demos in 83. Members went on to join THE VARUKERS and form the almighty SACRILEGE. Warwound are one of the first bands to take the politics and d-beat influence from DISCHARGE and combine it with the blown out sound of CHAOS UK to achieve total destructive raw d-beat ear bleeding chaos!
WARWOUND – A Huge Black Cloud-The Demos 1983 will be a split release between PROFANE EXISTENCE and ORGANIZE AND ARISE.
It will be available in the spring of 2015.
Other records and projects we have in the works for 2015 …
VASTATION (pdx formally night nurse) vs WAR//PLAGUE Split EP
KRANG are a new band birthed from Chicago’s DIY punk underbelly. They play a brutally powerful brand of thrashy riff-laden crustcore and have an intense live presence. They have recently recorded for a few vinyl projects, including PE’s own 7″ singles series. Check ’em out!
Interviewed by Brian Poulin (NEGLIGENCE). All photos by Adam DeGross.
PE Who’s in the band and what does each of you do?
AUSTIN: guitars / backing vocals / song writing (synth & keyboard on 12″)
ADAM: bass / backing vocals / song writing
BRENDAN: lead vocals / lyrical content
DEVAN: drums & percussion / backing vocals
PE: What’s a brief history of the band and how did you guys form?
Austin: We started circa 2009. We had an additional guitarist: Louis C. He went on to start a blackened crust band called Welkin Dusk, based in Chicago that he plays drums & lead vocals for. We used to have an additional lead singer as well: Hannah B. Hannah was a part of our first two releases: the out of print “Onward Desolation” demo tape, and also the out of print “Bog of Eternal Stenchcore” 7″. Hannah is now the front-woman in a band called Despise, based out of Minneapolis. Our original drummer, Brett, is on the two recordings I mentioned before, as well as our “Sounds of Death” 12″. Brett now drums for a Chicago / northwest Indiana band called Asphixiate. Devan is now our permanent drummer and he will have his first appearance on the “Broken Waves” 7″, released by Profane Existence, which is coming out in June. Devan will also be on our next 12″: “Bad Moon”, which we are writing right now. I, as well as Krang, are totally stoked on Devan and really happy to have them. Devan is active outside of percussion as well with assisting in writing, assistance in lyrical content & structure, and the internet stuff. This line up has been solidified for over a year and is totally fucking Krang! It just works perfectly.
PE: You guys are based out of Chicago. What are your favorite parts of the scene there? What are your least favorite things about Chicago’s scene?
Devan: Chicago’s an interesting place. I feel like the pros and cons are often directly related to one-another. For example, the mere size of the city. There are so many people – new to here, young, old, whatever – that there is basically always something going on and a handful of solid DIY spaces at all times, regardless of whether people leave or places get busted or whatever. The downside is that the physical structure of the city makes it difficult and/or terribly time-consuming to navigate. Especially if you don’t have a car. And even if you do, parking sucks. Anyway, as a result of the city being as segregated as it is, people are often inclined to just stick to what’s going on in their neighborhood and it results in a lack of exposure or attention paid to some really cool things. It’s unfortunate. But then there are some events like the annual Black and Brown Punk Show (shout-out to Monika!) or other fest-type shows where the attendance is crazy and bullshit is minimal. It’s rad.
Austin: I used to live in CHI. I reside in northwest Indiana (NWI). It’s really close. You can compare it to how close Jersey is to NYC. The rest of the band does live in CHI. My favorite things about Chicago is the “don’t take shit” attitude that at least me and the scene we’re involved with has. We’ll kick you out if your a piece of shit human or kick your ass if we have to. I also like The Void Haus in NWI for gigs. My personal least favorite things are cliques, hype, division, etc… the things that you see in every rather large city, I suppose.
Adam: I love Chicago’s unspoken rule of everyone being down to get down when shit hits the fan and nobody lets bogus comments or derogatory gestures fly. My complaint for the longest time was how there is the same hierarchy that we all hate in daily life at a lot of the gigs. It seems like those “in crowd” wanks have come and gone though, or maybe I just don’t surround myself with such fools anymore. My main complaint, and I know I am sounding super negative, but for such a large city there is a lack of bands playing what I am into personally. There are a lot of great bands doing great things…but that doesn’t necessarily mean I am into them musically. Haha! I have a particular taste and its not being fulfilled. I usually go to shows to hang out and have a good time and just show support but its rare that I actually shit over a band that I see locally. I do really, really get down to Population though. White boy can’t dance but when I see this band I start doing shit I didn’t know I was capable of.
Brendan: Chicago is simultaneously the best & worst place to live; which I’d imagine is a critique most other big-city dwellers share. There is no shortage of great folks, bands, eats, cool nerd-haunts (comic & record collectors rejoice!), and beautiful neighborhoods/communities in which to live. The same is true for all of the awful yuppies, gold cost bourgeois, & assholes who get your friends hooked on hard drugs. A lot of the time I wish that I lived in a vast expanse of lush nature with no human presence save myself. When I’m not wishing for seclusion, I’m loving how hard of a time I have sorting out which of the 5 awesome punk shows I get to go see any given night. Chicago has everything I love & hate at once; most of the time its worth it.
PE: Musically what are you guys going for?
Devan: I’d say sincerity, first and foremost. In sound, words, and delivery. And the connections we can and have made with people based on that. My musician’s answer would be just to write the best songs we can and perform them at the highest level at all times.
Austin: I just want to stick out and be a little different sounding. I still want to have that essential formula for great punk. I personally believe we found the introduction to our sound with the “Sounds of Death” 12″. We have two formulas: triumphant, galloping crust metal and simplified, pissed off, to-the-point stuff.
Brendan: Initially we formed with the idea of writing over the top odes to crust circa late 80’s/early 90’s; stuff you could flail your overgrown dreadlocks around to. We all fell into a groove with each other over time, where we don’t really need to define what we’re gonna write before we do. We approach releases with general outlines (theme,length, format etc.), but when writing songs I’d say we aim for mean, earnest & impactful.
Adam: I think naturally all being into different types of musical backgrounds, our finished product ends up being a thing of its own, but we all have similar enough interests to where we end up with the result that we initially were trying to go for. I personally am really into trying to sound like the bands I am into. It doesn’t end up exactly that way which is good but I love when bands obsess over old school sounds/bands/records and try to make their contemporary music sound as authentic as possible whether it be tone or style or whatever. At the end of the day we are trying to sound pissed, like we worship the 80s and have our music sound anarchy as fuck!
PE: What bands inspire you the most?
Austin: I listen to EVERYTHING. I don’t know where to begin but musically, keeping personal interest aside, I think we’re inspired by 80’s UK crust and a lot of Japanese stuff as far as writing collectively. This is something me and you will have to nerd out on when we’re in Boston next. Haha!
Adam: For Krang, bands that influence the writing process for me are Masskontroll, Deathraid, Sacrilege, Hellshock, Deviated Instinct, Sodom, Axegrinder and Amebix as well as Instinct of Survival. Personally I am all over the water but my all time 2 favorite punk bands have always and will always be Discharge and the Dead Boys.
Devan: I could go on a long rant about every band I’ve ever loved and how they’ve all stuck with and influence me to this day and blah blah blah, but I’ll spare you the cost of ink and just say Sacrilege, Crude, Amebix and Discharge. That said, we are quite the eclectic bunch.
Brendan: Musically, anything running the gamut from Paintbox to Elliot Smith. I enjoy a lot of soaring Japanese hardcore with that Burning Spirits feel, 90’s screamo, early black metal & hip hop. Any band that has a way with words gets me going, but mostly I enjoy music that you can’t help but feel.
PE: What are most of your songs about? What inspires the lyrics?
Brendan: Lemme preface by saying that Discharge is rad & “The More I See…” could be the soundtrack to my daily tedium… but i think punk rock has much more potential than to rehash our dogmatic & oftentimes simplistic politics. Having been a few places where the punk scene eats itself inside out with depression, addiction, & apathy towards the struggles of those around us, I think its real important to allow ourselves to be more open in the way we express all of the things exploding in our minds. I am not blowing my own horn, or any horn for that matter, but I really enjoy taking the personal route when it comes to writing & am constantly attempting to better address the common threads that run through all of our lives. Our first wave of songs covered some of our political leanings in regards to vivisection, arms manufacturing, rape culture & the willful destruction of our Earth. The “Bog of Eternal Stenchcore” 7″ reflects on the weight of stagnation on the “politically motivated”. “Sounds of Death” is the result of an obsession with death and a years worth of hurt; friends making irreversible decisions in regards to their lives & some of us falling into those spirals ourselves. There is absolution in acceptance though & I think a glint of hope in such dark subject matter. Our upcoming 7″ deals with cycles of change in our lives, moments of mania & madness; a counterpoint to our last 7″. The songs we are writing & playing now are an extension of that, focusing on moments of change in our lives, wanderlust & really just form one big, loud, pissed love letter to the DIY community, punk rock & time spent on the road. Inspiration comes from any human I’ve met that has dared to be open, honest & shameless about it.
Devan: Passion in all its forms and extremities is what inspires us. Totally.
PE: You guys have done a few extensive tours. What’s your favorite city you guys haveplayed in? What’s your least favorite?
Austin: I love Boston. Detroit, New Orleans, and the Twin Cities (Minneapolis) are up there too. I don’t really have a least favorite. We have had some bad experiences, though. I will give them the benefit of the doubt and not mention them. Hopefully things will be better when we return.
Devan: New Orleans is my favorite city ever, and our most recent gig in Boston totally ruled. I’d have to say, though, that many of my favorite shows have been in non-major cities. Birmingham AL was awesome, Asheville NC, Cincinatti OH, Grand Rapids MI…basically anywhere with a really tight-knit but wide-ranging DIY scene in terms of age, music, spaces, projects, etc. It’s always super encouraging to see.
Brendan: I’ll echo the others in saying that NOLA, Asheville, Cincy, Birmingham, Boston & Baltimore all kick ass. I’m usually super appreciative of all the towns we’ve been lucky enough to play in, though of course we’ve played in towns that seemed to embrace the anti-PC attitude/sense of humor that I am so fucking sick of. Some cities are really 50/50 because you’ll either play an amazing show with bad-ass folks & have the time of your life, or you might end up wanting to eviscerate some fuckhead who only listens to GG Allin & doesn’t get why a confederate flag hanging at a show space might ruffle some feathers.
Austin: We as a band aren’t about making sure we are politically correct all the time, but we definitely are hellbent on showing one another respect and are willing to give respect back to those who are legit. No single city is bad. Like I said before, sometimes there are some bad experiences. Fuckheads are everywhere.
Adam: Yes, Cincinnati, Birmingham, Boston, but most of all NOLA and Minneapolis. New Orleans and Minneapolis…no other city can live up to the debauchery that is expected to happen when we arrive in these two places. We need a week of recovery after being in either place for just a day. Also I love playing Madison a lot. Fuck, I love touring. So many amazing friends are being missed right now as we speak.
PE: What are some of your favorite bands you guys have played with?
Lord Krang: Scum from Detroit, Appalachian Terror Unit, Antisect, In Defense, Nu-kle-ar Blast Suntan, Kontrasekt, Cognitive Dissonance, The Skuds, Coelacanth, WrathCobra, Wartorn, Negligence, In Ruins, and definitely D-Clone; but honestly, it’s great to play with anyone and everyone who aren’t assholes and give a shit about “punk rock”.
PE: What are some of your favorite local bands from Chicago?
Lord Krang: Asphyxiate, Decay After Death (Decay A.D.), Cemetery (RIP), Culo, Die Time, Slag, Escalofrio, Sex Bunker (RIP), Birth Deformities, Gas Rag, Welkin Dusk, Daylight Robbery, Dirty Surgeon Insurgency, The Breathing Light, La Armada, Black September, Kontaminat, Ooze, Tensions, The Busy Sugnals, Population, More that we’re forgetting to mention….
PE: What does the future hold for Krang?
Devan: As Austin mentioned earlier, we have our “Broken Waves” 7″ being released in June, at which point we’ll be doing a small tour with Coelacanth. Also, as previously stated, we are well along in the writing process for our next full-length LP. Look for us around the Mid-west this summer and keep up-to-date and get in touch via the following:
crustardpunx[AT]gmail.com – krangcrustards.bandcamp.com – krangcrustards.blogspot.com
Austin: More touring, more albums, more blood spit nights, more everything! We’ll do a more extensive tour when the new LP comes out.
Brendan: “Bad Moon” 12″ – Skull Fest – Split(s?) – Self-Destruction With A Gusto
Lord Krang: Record labels that are interested in helping us with our next 12″ (which is more than half way written) get in touch with us!!! It will be even more galloping, pist, and triumphant than our still available “Sounds of Death” 12″!
OPPOSITION RISING – DISASTER STRIKES – US TOUR 2014!
07/10 Buffalo, NY @ The Lair
07/11 Detroit, MI @ Trumbullplex
07/12 Chicago, IL @ Cobra Lounge – GOONFEST
07/13 Cherry Valley, IL @ Take 20 (2-6pm)
07/13 Madison, WI @ The Vault
07/14 Minneapolis, MN @ Memory Lanes
07/15 Fargo, ND @ New Direction
07/16 Missoula, MT @ Stage 112
07/17 Seattle, WA @ F.B.K.
07/18 Portland, OR @ Slabtown
07/19 Eugene, OR @ Black Forest
07/20 Eureka, CA @ Ink Annex
07/21 Reno, NV @ Ground Zero
07/22 Richmond, CA @ Burnt Ramen
07/23 Sacramento, CA @ The Colony
07/ 24 Long Beach, CA @ Di Piazzas
07/25 Hemet, CA @ The Wheelhouse
07/26 San Diego, CA @ The Yard At Stronghold
07/27 Tempe, AZ @ Yucca Tap Room
07/28 Flagstaff, AZ @ Taala Hooghan Infoshop
07/29 Albuquerque, NM @ The Launchpad
07/30 Denver, CO @ Seventh Circle Music Collective
07/31 Salt Lake City, UT @ Kafeneio Coffeehouse (without DS)
Today has been a big day for those interested in or involved in Indigenous resistance and anti-colonial struggle. It is also a good reminder of how much work remains to be done.
In an interesting symbolic gesture, the city council of Vancouver voted to formally acknowledge that the land which the city is built on is stolen Indigenous lands that remain unceded. This means that no settlement or land treaties were ever made for the territories; and that the city council is now recognizing the Indigenous people have never given up their sovereignty to the land which Vancouver now occupies. In many respects while this move is only a symbolic gesture, many consider it an important first step down the road to ending colonialism. Yet the mayor of the city went out of his way to make it clear the gesture was entirely symbolic and “wouldn’t effect land owners.” So don’t worry, the white supremacist colonial systems and the institution of property are still intact. I am also reminded that when the Occupy Movement was on the rise a few years back, that even this type of symbolic gesture was considered too much by many of the white activists who were occupying already occupied lands for their own struggles.
In what I hope is a more meaningful act, the Supreme Court of Canada – one of the most powerful bodies that make up the nation state -has ruled in favor of the Tsilhqot’in Nation who have been fighting for legal recognition of their Aboriginal title over their traditional lands. The Tsilhqot’in are a Indigenous nation in what is now called Norther BC in the colonial tongue. For those unfamiliar with the history of BC, colonial settlement began here in the early to mid 1800’s, and when the province became part of the Canadian nation state, there still remained almost no treaties between any of the Indigenous Nations and the colonists. This was a violation of both the British colonial laws for settlement, as well as the laws of the new Canadian nation state. In 1862 Small pox broke out through much of the territories desired by the settlers, radically reducing Indigenous populations to only a small fraction of their previous numbers, which allowed for the colonists to usurp the governance of those lands and settle areas which only months before had been inhabited by Indigenous villages. Many Tsilhqo’tin have always stated that the small pox was brought to them as an intentional act of genocide, and the recent work of author Tom Swanky appears to confirm their story. Today’s court ruling doesn’t go as far as acknowledging that the theft took place through an intentional act of genocide, but it does give a place to begin, and gives much greater legal clout to the Tsilhqot’in in future matters pertaining to their lands, waters, and any potential resource extraction. ‘It only took 150 years, but we look forward to a much brighter future. ” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip in one statement.
This decision also sets a legal precedent that other Indigenous Nations may be able to use in their own land claims and challenges to the state; including possible avenues for those seeking to stop pipelines, mining, fish farms, and other exploitation of the land and animals by industry.
Resistance to fracking, pipelines, and other resource extraction will only continue to grow, as will repression by the state of Indigenous land defenders and any other groups which challenge state and corporate interests in a meaningful way. We need to support those who are inprisoned for their actions to defend the land, animals, and other people. The warriors from Elispogtog, as well as other long time Indigenous prisoners such as John Graham, Oso Blanco, and Leonard Peltierneed our continuing support, as do the various other movement prisoners who have risked their lives and freedom to stop this monster.
I would like to end off by posing a few questions directed towards any non-Indigenous (settler) readers; questions I have been reflecting on myself for a few years.
For those of us who do not recognize the state as legitimate and dream of a world without nation states, capitalism and industrialism; how will we engage with the history which brought us to this place?
If we ever succeed in taking down the monster, the Leviathan, in overthrowing the state will we continue to ignore the terms of settlement negotiated in the previous treaties (where they exist) as the state has done before us?
Will we continue the colonial legacy of occupation and white supremacy that the state was birthed from?
What will the treaties signed between the Nation States and Indigenous Nations mean to the decedents of the colonists who wrote them once the Nation State no longer exists?
If we were to negotiate new terms of relationship, how would we do so while still recognizing the imbalances from which those negotiations begin?
Will Anarchists return lands stolen by our ancestors and recognize sovereignty?
Will we leave a particular territory if we are asked by those who have lived there since time and memorial? Or will we continue to act with entitlement once our common enemy has been defeated?
It’s easy to call ourselves allies, and to claim solidarity in our current context – but what happens when the context has changed and the systems mutually oppress all of us have been overthrown – yet other systems of oppression that may benefit us at anothers expense still exist? If we truly seek to be in actual solidarity instead of just claiming we are, than these are questions we need to be asking ourselves and each other. It would be easy for anarchists such as myself to simply delare that since the treaties were agreements made on our behalf without our involvement by the nation state which we have denounced and declared our enemy, and that we reject their laws as well as the very concept of law – that those treaties do not apply to us. However to do so would be to continue in path set out for us by the existing the legacy of colonialism. If we truly seek to be allies, or accomplices, than we need to figure out how to position ourselves so that our actions and contributions will lead to a future that is different from our current structures in meaningful ways. A world where we don’t dictate the conditions to Indigenous peoples, or benefit from their subjugation and their displacement. Whether we are anarchists, punks, crusties, vegans, animal liberationists, straightedgers, or whatever; we need to answer difficult questions like this in order to ever hope to see a world where our resistance will actually lead to real freedom from oppression and exploitation.
So seeing as the last article was something more along the lines of an introduction. I thought I would dive right in and give something more like a proper first. I want to lay a solid foundation, so I am going to deal with the issue of labor law right off the bat.
So the primary law governing labor activism in the United States ( the body of law I am most familiar with ) is the National Labor Relations Act, commonly referred to as the Wagner Act. The law is without a doubt intended to restrict our rights as workers especially since it was amended in 1947 by a piece of legislation known as the Taft Hartley Act. That piece of legislation was a response to a militant strike wave that threatened the ability of corporations and capitalist institutions to govern profitably. Understanding this from the outset does not mean we can realistically ignore the law, any more then it means we have to helplessly and futilely obey it. It just means knowing what we can do legally and what we are not supposed to do, as well as what your boss can and cannot do legally. But be aware, if he/she is threatened, make no mistake, your boss will be prepared to break laws to achieve his/her objectives.
So what is the significance of the NLRA? What many labor activists throughout history recognized is that the difference between slave labor and free labor hinged on the right to strike. The right to refuse work. If you are unable to refuse work then a situation exists no different then involuntary servitude. Hence the frequent reference to wage slavery by labor movements even prior to the US Civil War. But just being able to quit your job has no meaning if that means you substitute one horrible boss for another. The ability to quit work only has meaning collectively as that is the only way to effect a company or employer. The NLRA acknowledged this in law and so recognized the right to strike. It was a piece of legislation that merely rubberstamped what the workers at the time had essentially already legalized in practice, through many mass strikes. The intent was to concede just enough to prevent revolution. Just after World War II, and during, workers were striking on a mass scale again. This time Congress sought to reign that activity in by passing legislation to restrict strike activity. All of this legislation is still in effect today. Which means our strengths and weaknesses are still institutionalized in current labor law.
The key language in the NLRA for our purposes is section 7 a which states that
“employees shall have the right to self organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective-bargaining or other mutual aid or protection, and shall also have the right to refrain from any or all of such activities except to the extent that such right may be affected by an agreement requiring membership in a labor organization as a condition of employment as authorized in section 8 a 3 ”
The issue here is that workers with or without a union, in any workplace, has the right to organize and take actions ( strikes etc ) and cannot be retaliated against. In theory at least. But subsequent legislation and court decisions have severely restricted these basic rights. For one thing, striking in sympathy with another group of workers at a different company is not protected by law. Though many have done just this and won, it has been in spite of courts that they have had their victories. Certain picketline activity is unprotected, such as mass pickets that physically prevent strikebreakers from going to work. Though again, many have used this tactic and won. Again in spite of the courts.
Other activities have also been restricted. Deliberate slowdowns have been found by courts to be unprotected. And again, see above. Do you detect a theme here? We cannot rely on courts to protect our rights. We have to get knowledgeable about what those rights are, and vigilantly defend them against unjust laws that have amended them to the point of being meaningless.
So what are the restrictions on employers? For one ,they, by law anyway, cannot retaliate against you for participating in or initiating actions to improve wages or conditions of work. This applies to union and nonunion alike. It is known as concerted protected activities. Leafleting, meetings, strikes, demonstrations all fall within this concerted protected activities category. They cannot knowingly Institute any kind of surveillance or otherwise try to control or influence a group of workers wanting to organize. We all know that without a force capable of enforcing the law on bosses, the law goes unrespected. So on to our next topic.
What sort of tactics do employers use to squash attempts by workers to improve their lot? Number one, divide and conquer. They like to create a segment of the workforce that is loyal to management, and use that force to create fear and dissent amongst and between those that want to organize and those who are undecided. They often like to back this up with discipline against labor activists and/ or promises to improve the situation of undecided workers. One common tactic is the ” captive audience meeting “, in which the employer brings everybody together to either scare and intimidate, or to build sympathy towards management. Most employer tactics fall under the categories of the carrot or the stick.
So how do you respond to these tactics? In a word, intensifying activity. People do not organize for the sake of organization, actions organize people. A strike is not just an event, it is an organization. Actions that neutralize the employer’s ability to discipline can take the stick away from him/her. And if that carrot is too small, our actions can make the boss come back with a bigger carrot. If after a leafleting action one activist is written up for a petty offense in retaliation, a group of workers can respond with a two hour strike for instance. Making it known that retaliation will not be tolerated. This lays the groundwork for future actions. You have to judge the forces at hand, and work hard at building those forces continuously in order to pull off progressively more daring actions. But that topic is for a future article.
So in conclusion, there is law on the books that is useful, if severely limiting. But we need to know it. And we need to know how to and how not to use it. We need to be organized enough to at least defend these minimum rights if we are to advance towards bolder ones. Punks can play an important role since we are not predisposed ,on the average, to taking the bosses word for it. My next article will cover the issue of building a core organization at the workplace capable of at least enforcing minimum rights. So bear with me. Cheers and solidarity!!!
Over the past twenty years a lot has happened in the world of work, and by extension the labor movement. We can use the passage of NAFTA as a convenient marker to assess where we are at currently, since the Zapatistas wisely understood that things would never be the same. I won’t be going over the history since that event, but will merely give a brief overview of some issues that have developed since then that directly affects the punk community and why I think punk and labor issues are related, thereby (hopefully) justifying why a punk labor column is needed.
Firstly, all the avenues the punk scene had created for itself to refuse wage labor, or at least provide a basis for struggling to resist the worst aspects, have one by one been narrowing or closing all together. From the institutional schemes ( unemployment benefits, welfare, student grants etc.) to the autonomous DIY ones ( labels, bands, squats etc.), “the scene” has been torn apart and restructured just as much and in parallel ways to industry and society as a whole. So the punk scene is being forced out of it’s enclave ( an enclave not without it’s problems ) and into the labor market. That is not to say that punks were not “in” that market before, but if many a song were any indication, it was obvious that a job was a necessary evil at best, and one to be avoided if it were possible at all. And many found ways. But neoliberalism has changed the game on us. From a potentially liberatory file-sharing phenomenon, Napster ,through the courts had become a means of attacking one of the pillars of our communities’ infrastructure. The independent labels. Once central institutions capable of coordinating ( along with zines, clubs etc ) our activities, today it is more and more difficult to financially sustain them, with the predictable effect of less new labels being formed on the old models, and more existing ones being either driven out or coopted. New, effective models have yet to be found to counter and overcome these attacks.
Secondly, punk has always had a militant direct action strain that the labor movement could sure as hell learn something from if it wants to actually achieve any of it’s goals and demands and not just sit atop it’s rhetoric. It is clear that the capitalists have no interest in negotiating with a “partner” or loyal opposition, so that route is a dead end from the start. Labor leaders who try to sell negotiations and compromises are already obsolete. What we need to look to are models like Earth First!, the old IWW and direct actions today that are providing models of how to win, by any means necessary. What strike tactics are effective in shutting down production? How can a small group of workers on a job make the greatest impact in slowing production to a trickle? How can we build solidarity with groups outside our workplace, in the community, so we are a political ( not in terms of elections, but in terms of the power to make sure all hell breaks loose if we are screwed ) force. These are questions we need to be asking if we are to build the kind of world we want to live in.
So with that said, I’d like to move on to a more positive note. Obviously, it’s not all doom and gloom. People ARE resisting. Maybe it hasn’t reached the point of critical mass on the social level, but there are plenty of local examples right now to point to. One of the most significant, in my opinion, are the recent waves of fast-food strikes. Really taking off in 2012, these strikes are momentous for what they signify. One section of the working class that has been used as a threat against the established and more powerful sectors of the class ( “Don’t lose your factory job or you could be flipping burgers” ) has increasingly been refusing to play that role any longer. This signals to the corporations that the old game won’t work any more. If nothing would be the same for us after NAFTA, then nothing would be the same for them after these strikes. Several companies have acknowledged that they have been effective, and though none have actually achieved the demand of “$15/hr and a union” yet, several cities have been forced to consider giving in by raising the minimum wage. And the movement does not look to be withering anytime soon. These developments directly involve the punk scene since no doubt some of our brothers and sisters will have been involved directly or indirectly, and so we should be keeping our eyes on expanding and supporting their efforts, as well as initiating more of our own.
So, in the future I will be writing some articles on practical nuts and bolts issues for punks who want to organize at work. Topics such as how to organize to win specific grievances. effective tactics and structures. Legalities and theory, etc. Hopefully my writing will improve with time. I would greatly appreciate any correspondence and feedback going into this. Cheers and Solidarity!
In recent weeks there have been a number of mass shootings throughout North America which is becoming increasingly normalized in modern society. John Zerzan has written and spoken extensively about the phenomenon of shootings, never shying away from the difficult subjects and questions that many others actively avoid.
PE: I remember you once saying on your radio show that when the media talks about mass shootings they use a set of buzz words and often present it as though these acts are incomprehensible. Can you explain what you meant and why this is problematic?
Zerzan: First, let me say that my focus has been on the unprecedented rise in what are commonly called “random” multiple shooting; those that, as you say, are presented as incomprehensible. Of course they are not incomprehensible and speak to the nature of modern mass society. They are deeply symptomatic of the growing isolation, a product of the disappearance of community. Society becomes rapidly more technological and – contrary to the propaganda claims of the tech agenda – people are ever more adrift and lonely. With less and less to hang on to unspeakable things happen.
PE: Often mass shootings get blamed on mental health, yet many of these killers had no history of known mental illness?
Zerzan: Yes, most of the shooters have no history of mental illness. More often one reads what has become a kind of cliche description: ‘he was the quietest guy, very nice, never missed work or made trouble, etc’
PE: A while back there was an article about kids being bored by mass shootings. Do you think they have become part of the spectacle? Or are they the cracks?
Zerzan: It’s possible that as these multiple homicide acts become almost daily occurrences events they are tuned out or even become boring. Think what else is routinely tuned among the common horrors of civilization…
PE: I saw a feminist blogger recently write that all these shootings have one thing in common, that the perpetrators are all men. What’s your take?
Zerzan: Not all the shooters are male. A horrible part of of the phenomenon in recent years has been family slaughters, including mothers murdering their children.
PE: I have heard you say that mass shootings are a phenomenon that appears to be unique to both the modern times and certain parts of the world? What is the connection between privilege and this type of violent act?
Zerzan: Roughly speaking, these rampage killings happen in the more technological societies and are spreading from the US to other technologically advanced countries. Thus one wonders how ‘advanced’ or ‘privileged’ these places really are. In terms of individuals it is less often poorer people committing theses acts, more likely white suburbanites, with some exceptions.
PE: Ever since Chris Dorner opened fire killing a couple cops, more people are beginning to target the police. As an anarchist, what do you make of this?
Zerzan: Police brutality and the militarization of the cops seems to be increasing. So, not a big surprise that more folks would strike back.
PE: Another interesting aspect of the more recent shootings, starting with Dorner – is that the killers used facebook or other social media to post statements before committing their killings. I am certain this will justify increased profiling and surveilence. What’s your thoughts on this?
Zerzan: Social media usage is of course extremely widespread so we see more use of it by shooters e.g. the Isla Vista killer recently.
PE: Layla AbdelRahim writes about how politeness and manners are a form of civilized violence that helps to hide the violence of our society. We live in a horribly violent culture that pretends the violence doesn’t exist; what do you make of these outbursts of very public violence in the spectacle of polite society?
Zerzan:Layla refers to how domestication represses the violence, if less effectively these days, eh? The violence is less hidden than ever but denial reigns and the ‘solutions’ put forth are very superficial. For example, gun control laws which miss the basic reality. That is, guns have always been very prevalent in this country, since colonial times in fact. But the shooting rampages as a common phenomenon is quite recent historically. A year before Adam Lanza killed twenty-some children at a school in Connecticut he called Anarchy Radio to tell of a chimpanzee who attacked its owner. The chimp had been dressed in human clothes, fed human food, provided with TV – and snapped because of the degrading domestication it was subject to. The bitter irony was that Lanza himself snapped and killed two dozen people about a year later.
PE: When Ted Kazcinski was arrested as the Unabomber, you wrote him letters and visited him in jail; how do his acts of violence differ from these others? Is it simple a difference in ideology?What can we learn from “Uncle Ted’s” actions?
Zerzan: Kaczynski’s acts were in no way random. They were part of an exclusively anti-technology campaign.
PE: Is there a connection between how we as a society treat animals and the land with this type of violence?
Zerzan: I think it’s quite reasonable to see the mass cruelty of industrialized agriculture – to use a big example of how animals are treated – as cheapening life in general and thus contributing to these explosions of violence among humans.
PE: I remember when the Columbine shooting happened which seemed to be one of the first; followed by another highschool shooting in Taber Alberta not far from where I grew up only a week or two later. As a kid in a highscool that was tormented and bullied nearly to the point of committing suicide myself; having a couple kids pick up guns and shoot back was something I paid close attention to. But things didn’t seem to get better in the aftermath, rather kids like me were treated like we were all potential psychopaths and nothing else really changed.
Zerzan: Bullying is one triggering factor in some of the mass killings. But bullying is nothing new whereas there is something unprecedented going on as mass society shows such pathologies. I went to a rough high school where, in addition to beatings by some of the priests, there was a fair degree of bullying. No-one brought a gun to school and started blowing folks away.
PE: Fredy Perlman described civilization as a monster that keeps growing and consuming, while telling the story of people who either resisted by running away until the monster caught up to them or by fighting back – often becoming more like the monster they resisted in order to stop it until it collapsed and they took it’s place as the new monster. How do we resist without becoming recuperated into the machine we seek to destroy?
Zerzan: Civilization must be attacked at a deep enough level to hit its target. Activism that lacks critique, lacks a qualitatively different vision or paradigm is doomed to be quite limited in my opinion. This means, among other things, that we must not shrink from embracing property destruction, which is hard to co-opt.
PE: You have argued that technology alienates us further. Are these shootings a symptom individualism? Capitalism? Lack of nature? Or something else?
Zerzan: It’s all these things even if technology is major – and generally overlooked. Domination is a totality and needs to be seen as such to avoid single-issue reformism.
As Adorno put it, in terms of causes: “It is idle to search for what might have been a cause within a monolithic society. Only that society itself remains the cause.”
PE: You have written about hope, where as the trend seems to be moving towards nihilism. Where do you find hope in times like these?
Zerzan: I am hopeful because I see the energy of resistance alive in many places. It has not gone away. And because I think that the system of domination is actually quite hollow and weak. It is plainly losing the allegiance of many on many levels, has no answers to the myriad problems it has created.
If you are interested in more of John Zerzan’s work check out his radio show Anarchy Radio, live every tuesday at 7pm PST. You can also read many of his writings at: http://www.johnzerzan.net/articles/
I’m back in Calgary after an excellent trip to California. And since I’m back, I decided it was time to bring forth a brain-spankin’ new episode of my crappy podcast, Doomed Society (which you can catch streamin’ every Sunday at 4pm EST over at Brutal Existence Radio!)!
And lemme say… this might be my favorite episode yet. I’ve got a wide variety of filth for you. A “Celtic Crust” set, a post-punk set, an East Coast 90s set, plus the usual crust and anarchopunk you’ve come to expect.
So please! Have a look, and download the latest episode! Oh, and tell all of your friends… especially those who hate punk. I find that sort of thing funny. Tee hee.
I don’t know why everyone is claiming to be “so shocked” by what was found in the recent Mercy For Animals investigation into the dairy industry. There is nothing shocking going on, all of this is standard practice in industrial farming.
It also bugs me that the employees are being scapegoated; I mean, I am not defending what they did but I hear person after person on the radio saying how they should be charged and we need more harsher animal welfare laws. Yet there is nothing unique about what they dd it is common practice in animal agriculture .
There were open sores on the animals, and yet the owners of the farm claimed to also be shocked and not know what was going on. I mean, I guess if I was the owner, I would probably tell the media that too. But lets not be stupid here, they knew. So the employees are fired, and might be charged – but the industry continues milking on, the owners continue to profit from this, and the cattle will still be milked tomorrow. The employees were fired, how will them being charged help the animals they abused?
They keep saying we need more animal welfare laws, stricter laws and more punishment. But we have animal welfare laws right now which clearly don’t work as one investigation after another, in one animal industry after another shows the same patterns of abuse. How will having more laws make a difference when people just ignore them anyways. This is a standard response; when the thing they refuse to question is proven to not be working, the response is to call for more of that thing. More laws cause the laws don’t work. More people jailed, and of course it isn’t the owners of the farms sitting behind bars, it never is. Meanwhile in the USA industry has been trying to lobby politicians to pass Ag-Gag laws that would criminalize this type of investigations to hide their abuses even more.
I grew up on a small family run beef and dairy farm in the prairies. This goes far deeper and is far more wide spread than 8 workers at one farm in BC. This is not about a couple bad apples, it is a bad industry.
When they say we need more animal welfare laws, stricter, what they are saying is the first priority is making sure the dairy industry can continue to use animals for capitalist gain. Never question the existence of the institution, only the minutiae of how it works.
Not skipping a beat since being back from tour “La Armada” is hosting their Release show for the “Crisis EP” this Saturday the 14th at Prosper Skate Park with some south side Chicago Staples like Sin Orden, Animalia, Brick Assasin and new comers Foreign Policy. Don’t be an asshole, go support if you’re in the area.
Will: Well I’ve been going to the gym regularly since I was about 17 and my routines always involved some kind of weight training but I did not focus primarily on serious lifting until four years ago.
P.E. How did you get into fitness?
Will: Honestly? Poor body image. Like a lot of punks, I was something of a misfit throughout grade school and middle school. I ate poorly, never left the house and primarily just wanted to play video games and be left alone. I was pretty big in middle school and drank and partied a lot through high school. I knew I was entering the prime of my physical health and I just hated the way I looked with my shirt off; I had to change something. Switching to vegetarianism helped quite a bit but I was embarrassed to go to the gym. I thought it would be very “un-punk” of me. But once I got over myself and started doing something personally rewarding, it slowly became a larger and larger piece of who I am.