Dark, heavy, galloping crust from the streets of London. AGNOSY is back to present us with a ferocious beast of an album that can only be forged by the anger and frustration of living in today’s world. “When Daylight Reveals The Torture” aggressively attacks evils such the current rise of fascism and animal abuse. It intelligently and passionately touches on the Afrin invasion and the revolution in Rojava and shows nothing but utter disgust toward the arrogance of humankind’s lust for greed and power that will inevitably lead us down paths of war and environmental devastation.
While lyrically AGNOSY are much more politicly straight forward this time around than on previous releases, musically they have expanded on their sound to create a dark and moody atmosphere while at the same time staying crust as fuck. To say they know what they are doing would be an understatement from this band of vets whose members have played in HIATUS, HEALTH HAZARD, and BEGINNING OF THE END.
Long galloping intros are followed up by traditional d-beat, fierce solo’s are then meet with vicious vocals and pulverizing bass in a brilliant recording captured by Lewis Johns at The Ranch Production House and was mastered by Brad Boatright at Portland’s legendary Audiosiege. We then pressed on deluxe heavyweight 150-gram vinyl, printed on reverse board jackets, and included an 11in x 22in gatefold insert to bring you a high quality and truly epic record.
The legendary crust classic is now available once again!
Authorized and released in cooperation with MISERY, S.D.S., & MCR Japan & Remastered by Jack Butcher at Enormous Door Studio we are beyond proud to make one one the most rare and sought after crust records available once again.
Fuck the scavengers charging punks exuberant amounts of cash on ebay and discogs. We worked meticulously with both bands and with Jack at Enormous door to bring you an updated version that kicks major audio ass while maintaining the original authenticity.
Released on deluxe 150 gram vinyl. With an 11×11 inner sleeve. Black Paper Jacket. Reverse Board Jacket.
Earlier this year we re-issued this legendary LP and sold over 950 copies in just 4 short months. For this second pressing we pressed 490 copies on Krystal Clear & 485 on Grey Vinyl with Black Mist.
Stench crust the way it was meant to be played!
The UK crust scene of the 1980’s inspired band after band but no other band has ever reincarnated the sound of that time as well as SWORDWIELDER. Quite simply if you like crust, then this the album you have waited decades for.
Review by Craig Hayes from “Your Last Rites”… Swordwielder – System Overlord Heavyweight punk fanatics take note: System Overlord is a fucking triumph. The long-awaited sophomore album from Gothenburg stenchcore band Swordwielder is a brooding behemoth, constructed from the filthiest and heftiest strains of punk and metal. System Overlord shimmers with apocalyptic visions, and it’s overflowing with all the grim atmospherics and intimidating intensity that defines consummate crushing crust.
Too much hype? No way… And no apologies, either. Swordwielder deal in definitive stenchcore on System Overlord, and much like their full-length debut, 2013’s Grim Visions of Battle, the band’s latest release is a knockout. Swordwielder’s harsh, gruff and dark sound owes a significant debt to old school icons like Amebix, Axegrinder, Deviated Instinct, and Antisect, and they mix and mangle their influences and leave ’em to rot on the battlefield.
Plenty of hammering rage drives System Overlord tracks like “Violent Revolution,” “Savage Execution” and “Cyborgs,” and thundering epics like “Corrupt Future” and “Northern Lights” exhibit subtler strengths, mixing guttural growls and clean vocals with crashing percussion and dirge-laden riffs. Connoisseurs of corpse-dragging crust will love the brute-force belligerence of “Absolute Fear,” “Nuclear Winter,” and “Second Attack,” which rain down like merciless mortar barrages. As a rule, all of System Overlord‘s mammoth tracks chug and churn with grinding muscle, while reeking of squalor and decay.
Swordwielder exudes tightly coiled aggression from start to finish here—songs rise from the ashes of desolation, and resounding calls for action and resistance ring loud. If you’re a fan of heavy-hitters like Fatum, War//Plague, Carnage, Zygome, Cancer Spreading or (insert your favorite hefty crust crew here), System Overlord‘s trampling tempo and strapping sound are bound to appeal.
WILT combine old school metal and crust in a perfect hybrid that very few others have ever achieved. Prepare for a LP thats equal parts galloping d-beat crust reminiscent of bands like HELLSHOCK, and INSTINCT OF SURVIVAL, meets old school death metal in the vein of BOLT THROWER, MEMORIAM (old) SEPULTURA.
Here is a track from the upcoming LP
“Sermon for the Bootlickers”
Despite the inculcation of helplessness within each there remains great power. Ill at ease with such makes us ill. Learn to see the hand that feeds for what it is. You’ve been fooled if you think you’ve got no power. Refuse to be reduced to a consumer you’re a human being. Define yourself by more than wealth. Define yourself as a human. You don’t need what you’re being sold. Bend your knee to no authority but your own mind. You have the power to avoid the gilded trap. Avarice is what you’re conditioned for. Break the mold discover what’s really valuable to you.
Wed, July 12 Hanover / Germany / Confirmed Thu, July 13 Bremen Fri, July 14 Mulhem / Germany / Confirmed Sat, July 15 Gent, Belgium / CrustPicnic / Confirmed Sun, July 16 Paris / France or Amsterdam / Nederland July 18 North-East France or West Germany July 19 Freiburg / Germany TBC July 20 Winterthur / Switzerland Fri, July 21 Zurich / Switzerland Sat, July 22 Biel / Switzerland July 23 Lausanne or Geneva / Switzerland
July 24 Geneva / Switzerland or Grenoble france
July 25 Treviso (or Milano or Bologna or Verona) / Italy
July 26 Ljubljana Slovenia Confirmed
July 27 No Sanctuary chilling day
Fri, July 28 NoSanctuary Confirmed
Sat, July 29 NoSanctuary Confirmed
July 30 Ilirska Bistrica/Slovenia or Vienna/Austria or Budapest/Hungary.
July 31 Wiena / Austrai or Budapest or / Slovakia
August 1 Brno / Czech Republic.
August 2 Prague / Czech Republic
August 3 Finsterwalde / Germany TBC
Fri, August 4 Leipzig / Germany TBC
Sat, August 5 Berlin / Germany / confirmed
August 6 Dresden
August 7 Wroclaw / Poland
August 8 Warsaw / Poland
August 9 Poznan / Poland
August 10 Szczecin/Poland TBC
Fri, August 11 Rostock / confirmed
Sat, August 12 Hamburg TBC
Brace yourself for one of the most uncompromising hard hitting and politically outspoken records of this era. STORM OF SEDITION are an anti-civilization anarchist crust punk band based out of Victoria BC. Sharing members with the mighty ISKRA you can definitely expect some serious blackened crust, and yes a huge metal influence is prevalent however STORM OF SEDITION are a bit more reminiscent of bands like CONTRAVENE & NAUSEA. “Decivilize” brings a heavy anarcho punk dynamic to the table combined with over the top blackened crust grind thats littered with blistering solo’s, insanely powerful drumbeats, and thought productive lyrics that challenge our current state of human civilization. All in all this is an absolute monster of a release!
Comes with a 12 page booklet containing lyrics, notes, and song explanations.
STORM OF SEDITION WILL TOURING THE WEST COAST THIS SUMMER!!!
Keep you eye’s peeled for a list of tour dates soon!
Listen to the song “Disconnect” here…
Living a domesticated existence Starves people of meaning in their lives Everyone feels the void beneath the surface Of everyday activities and routines
Miserable, exploited, mass populations Feeding the industrial systems endless hunger Treated like machines, living beings Enslaved and kept passive in a technological noose
We live in these cages Made of concrete, glass, and steel A functioning human made hell Complete with natural scenery
Yet there is no community Deprived of connection with real people Technology perpetuates alienation But promises to connect us
And fill the void in our lives In constant need of escape and distraction From this fucking ugly world Technology creeping into our lives
Pop culture, pacifying shit Endless distractions to curb dissent A society of lonely domesticated beings Attempting social interaction behind a digital screen
Clinging to the feeling of connectedness Personalized profiles, mass communication tools Monitored and funded by pigs Spying on people, on movements While corporations profit off government control Microsoft, apple, fedbook Endless lists of corporations Infiltrating our everyday lives The NSA, the CSE Databases created from what you share Information for incrimination Millions of people on terrorist watch lists Technology’s a weapon used against us
Its function is to propel their ability To efficiently exploit us and the natural world While doing so capitalizing off selling us Gadgets to distract us from the lives we live and hate
Turn off that shit, enter the real world You are not connected You are alone staring into a fucking a screen
Get outside, meet with real people! Even if we use these tools We must never forget
Technology is a system created by and for those in power And it will only exist with Division of labor, exploitation, and death
Becoming connected through technology Is a sick fucking joke
PROFANE EXISTENCE RECORDS – PO BOX 647 – HUNTINGTON WV – 25711 – UNITED STATES
I have never written a show review before. This show was incredible, one of the best I have been to in a while. I know the review is a bit late, but I still wanted to post this cause the show was so good it deserved a review. Victoria has an amazing scene going on these days which has grown in some very positive ways over the years. I am glad to be here and be part of it.
I was feeling pretty anxious before the show, and if I hadn’t told a few friends I was going I might have skipped out. It has been a while since I enjoyed a show this much. These days I often get a lot of anxiety and so I end up skipping a show or just feeling really unsettled the entire time and unable to enjoy the music.
The show took place at the Rat Shack a local DIY venue, and it was packed. I missed the very beginning; I heard they started by talking about the Sinixt people and their struggle, and why it is important to support. I came in about half way through NotⒶCost’s set. They are one of Victoria’s newest bands, and this was their second show. They were well practiced, and definitely don’t sound like any other bands around here. A very unique sound – although not really my thing personally. Still their performance was impressive just in how together they are considering their all pretty young as a band, and for some this is their first real band. I know a few of these folks personally as well and know they are good people who are political, active, and in this for all the right reasons, so I look forward to seeing where they go as a band and as individuals as they develop more.
AHNA played next. I really love this band, if you haven’t seen them yet I highly recommend them as they are a real treat. Their set sounded like a wall of fucking noise hitting you, as it filled the room. Noisy, crusty, heavy as hell, AHNA is also quite unique though and seem to take influence from the noise genre as well as crust, sludge, and grind. Between songs there was still so much noise that it gave them a consistency that felt different from all the rest of the bands, and from most I have seen. AHNA is one of those bands that when I first saw them I could barely stand them, but the next time I saw them was about 2 years later in Calgary and I was completely blown away. I am extremely glad I gave them a second chance as they have become one of the few bands I look forward to seeing.
Storm Of Sedition came up next and picked up the tempo a bit with something a little closer to traditional crusty punk. They are a newer local band, formed of long time seasoned musicians who have played in numerous of my favorite bands over the years; and it really shows. With members who have played in Mechanical Separation, Leper, Mutiny, as well as a couple current members of ISKRA. Storm of Sedition is tight, and well practiced, they have great crusty riffs With back and forth vocals, female and male, and with that driving sound I love that usually only d-beat bands can satiate; but they were a little bit more complex than the average generic d-beat band. Aside from the music one thing I really liked about Storm of Sedition is that between songs when they stopped to introduce the next song, they made sure there wasn’t a bunch of feedback or anyone playing while they were talking – so you could actually hear what the songs were about. This is especially important with bands that have dirty sounding screaming vocals over heavy music. SoS had an anarchist-primitivist influence; even having a song about the connections between the culture of mass shootings and it’s connection to our alienation from nature. I fucking loved it. I loved their set, and look forward to their recordings. Every town needs a good straight up punk as fuck band.
ISKRA closed the show with a performance that would be near impossible to follow. They seem to be known for doing that. I have seen ISKRA play in vic since the first week I moved here in 2005 and I never get sick of hearing them. Few bands can bring what they do. Fast intense guitars and complex fast drumming with blackened riffs, incredible vocals, heavy as fuck and again great politics –over the years ISKRA has only become heavier, tighter, and more intense. They started off their set by reading a long piece written by a friend who lives and organizes on Sinixt territories, explaining about the history, the resistance, and about the connections between the traditional ways the Sinixt have always lived and many aspects of anarchist philosophy; everyone listened respectfully as Wolf read it out. After which they began their set. Like always ISKRA didn’t disappoint. They played some of their best stuff, a mix of newer and older. People were stoked when they introduced Acceptance Not Tolerance and dedicated it to all the queers and trans people; using it as a jumping off point to talk about how protections under law will never really liberate us because a few yrs later as we have seen in the US now and elsewhere – those laws can be changed again and repressive laws brought back in. They ended their set with UAV, a song of theirs about drones. When the guitars started it felt like the room was so full of sound the walls wouldn’t hold up. It was an incredible way to end, as UVA is an incredible song and they
played it to perfection. I think people were done after that, it was a lot to take in, as few people tried for an encore but the shouts and chants were a little less than usual. None the less ISKRA accommodated by playing one final song, a cover of Amebix to close the night. The punks in the room found it within themselves to get pumped for one last explosion of energy, and then the night came to an end.
I don’t know how much was raised in the end for the Sinixt, but I know they did decent. This is a great example of what real meaningful solidarity can look like. I was glad I could be there for it.
I don’t often talk about it, as it was only 1 night of my life and it wasn’t for any thing interesting or heroic. My experiences in a cell were pretty mild compared to many other peoples, but for some reason I feel like sharing them right now.
I had a warrant out for me for a failure to appear for shoplifting from walmart. Nothing too exciting, although kinda funny as the way I found out I had the warrant was when on Halloween in about 2001. I was in Lloydminster, which is half in saskatewan and half in alberta. I was dressed as a mobster and had hand made a Tommy gun complete with copper barrel and stained oak butt. Some bored cops decided to stop us to check if it was real, and took the opportunity to run our names for something to do. Low and behold a warrant came up for me, only problem was it was an alberta warrant, and I was about 10 feet into saskatwean. So the xcops just told me “you should turn yourself in sometime and get that dealt with.”
A month or two later I turned myself in, to a cop shop in edmonton to get the warrant dealt with. They started by putting me in a room with a phone and phone book to call a lawyer if I wanted. Through the walls I could overhear the cops saying how they could just let me go, but thought it would be more fun to put me through the entire processing to scare me straight. It didn’t really work.
So they took me to the main cop shop n edmonton where I spent the night in the pink cells. not to be confused with the punk cells.
They brought me in to be processed, starting with a strip search. It is in my opinion more a tactic of domination and humiliation than about actually finding contraband up your ass. I was told to strip naked, hand them my cloths, pull up my foreskin, lift my testicles, then turn around, bend over and pull my ass cheeks apart. Standard procedure for failure to appear on shoplifting I am sure.
After this I was taken to a cell. My cell was about seven foot by eight foot square, and about 20 feet tall. The walls were pink and made of cinder block, with a built in cement bench and a steel toilet with no lid. At the very top of the wall was a window that let in some light from outside, the window was impossible to see out of though since it was 15 feet up above the bench.
They took away my over shirt and long john so all I had was jeans and a t-shirt, and it was freezing fucking cold. They must have been afraid I would try to put something in my pocket and steel it while I was there since I was such a notorious thief.
There were 2 doors to the cell, one was a cage, with reinforced bars, the second was a door made of bars. they would close both to ensure you didn’t escape through the holes between, but because neither were solid you could still see out and hear. There wasn’t much to look at, just another cinder block wall in front of the cells, they were like a hall way with each cell beside the other. This way while you couldn’t see any of the other inmates you could still hear them. so you could hear people cry, complain, yell, and the ones high on drugs screaming and talking nonsense to themselves. Fun times.
After about an hour they came to get me for processing. They cuffed me then brought me down the hall to a room to be photographed and finger printed. For shoplifting… After this was over they brought me back to the cell where I remained until about 7am.
They came and cuffed me to walk me through the hallway. There is an underground passage leading from the cop shop to the court house in edmonton, so after I was cuffed I was escorted by 4 cops down the hall to a court room.
A couple things were immediately noticeable – as I kinda stood out. Most the other people awaiting to stand before the judge (were were all in a literal line up) were native. Most of them were there for petty theft, drugs, B&E’s, or fighting. Most of them seemed to be known to the court. I was just some random white kid on a first offense.
When I finally stood before the judge he didn’t even ask me anything. He just looked at my file, and issued me a new court date about a month away. I was then taken back to the cop shop, given my clothing, and released to the 7:30am down town streets of edmonton.
This was a lot of years back now, and I was a very different person then. So my memory could be a bit blurry, but I tell you I remember those pink bricks and blue pricks in a way I will never forget. They intended to scare me into obedience, instead they simply cemented my hatred for their system, for the cops and their prisons. I got off with 6 months of probation, and a bit of humiliation, if my skin wasn’t white I might not have gotten off so easily.
As I write this prison populations in this colonial nation state are at an all time high, with over 15,000 prisoners held by the Canadian state right now; and the population is disproportionately native. As I write this my friend Nyki Kish sits in an Ontario jail serving a life sentence for something she didn’t do – and the fact the cops ‘lost’ the surveillance tapes or that there is no physical evidence doesn’t matter. As I write this my friend Chusia’s dad John Graham sits in a jail in the US where he was illegally extradited for a crime I believe the FBI committed. Again complete with trail that contained no physical evidence where every witness had direct connection to the FBI, RCMP, or BIA. As I write this animal defenders like Rebecca Rubin and Marie Mason and Fran Thompson are serving sentences longer than some of the readers of this blog have been alive. As I write this, more prisons are being built to keep us in.
If this touched you at all, do me a favor and consider writing a post card or a letter to a prisoner. Even if you just say hi, or send them a picture of your dog, or your favorite poem. It will make their day a little more hopeful.
I fucking love baking, but in the last 2 years or so I have been getting more into health and fitness and so I have been experimenting with making food taste awesome but also keeping it healthy as possible. It is by this process that I decided to teach myself how to make my own VEGAN POWER bars.
Store bought power bars are fucking expensive and full of processed crap that aint good for you. Mine are far cheaper and taste kinda like a brownie. The recipe is hella simple, but you need a food processor to make it work and a few ingredients you might not already have in your cupboard.
I recommend listening to DROPDEAD while making these
Combine in a food processor:
Nuts (I use walnuts, almonds, cashews, etc. (whatever is on sale really) at least a cup, probably closer to 2
Seeds (I love Hemp seeds, chia, punk-in or sunflower)
Soy Protein (optional) -not to be confused with protein powders or soy protein isolate*
Raw cacao **
Vanilla flavored Vegan Proteins Plus ( 2 scoops) ***
Dates or raisins
1 tsp Baking powder (if you are doing the baked version)
1/2 tsp lemon juice or vinegar
* Don’t confuse it with protein powders, this only has one ingredient – Soy. I discovered soya protein because friend gave me some they dumpster dived. The reason I suggest using this shit is cause you can use it in place of flour, it reacts similar to flour and has roughly the same texture. In baking you can replace up to 1/3 of your flour with it.
** Raw cacao is unprocessed raw chocolate. It is super high in a number of nutrients including iron. The less you cook it the healthier it is for you. It’s not cheap, but it is worth it – and if you can’t afford it you can always shoplift. Also raw cacao will give you a hella energy kick which is great before a workout or if you gotta run from the cops or jocks
*** The reason I suggest Vegan Proteins Plus vanilla is cause it is less chalky and tastes better than every other protein powder I have tried by far, and is a bit cheaper. It tastes kinda like vanilla pudding mix, and will add a shitload of protein, which is mostly sourced from peas. It also will help with the consistency of the bars. But really it doesn’t matter which vegan protein powder you use, Sunwarrior, or Vega, whatever you think tastes best
At this point you need to decide if you want them baked or raw. After it’s blended, you may want to add some type of additional sweetner if it isn’t sweet enough for you. If the mixture is too wet, you can either ad a bit of flour (can be rice, quinoa, or whatever), ground oats or more soy protein until it is dry enough to stick together nicely like cookie or bread dough. Now add dark chocolate chips and stir them in with a spatula.
If you are a fan of RAW POWER veganism than don’t put in the baking powder or lemon juice and after mixing in the chocolate chips simply lump the batter into bar shapes on a well oiled pan and stick them in the freezer to set overnight.
I prefer my VEGAN POWER bars baked just slightly as it gives a more brownie like texture of soft chocolaty goodness. Make them into bars and place them on a well oiled pan, I bake them at about 350 for about 10-15m just to give them a bit more stability, then freeze them for a few hours.
These VEGAN POWER bars keep well once frozen and are loaded with nutrients. They make a great snack between meals to keep your energy up.
Most people would probably not use the word Posi to describe the band Amebix; but I would argue that despite their dark aesthetic they are actually a posi band.
Amebix – often called the first crust punk band with their dark artwork, sound and lyrics; would often sing about death, dying, nuclear Armageddon and the impeding apocalypse, yet there always remains a spark of hope in their lyrics and a message that this dystopia doesn’t have to be if we choose to stop it. With lyrics like:
“And when I’m dead
And when I’m gone
There will be one child born
And a world will carry on”
(Amebix, “The Darkest Hour”)
“So drink and be merry for tomorrow we may die
It’s better to laugh than it is to cry
Live for life’s sake, don’t let life pass you by
There’s more worth living for than meets the eye”
(Amebix, “Drink and Be Merry”)
The message of hope and resistance is a key component to their lyrics. Their message is anything but defeatist. If we compare this to the lyrics and content of a lot of prominent sXe hardcore bands which would normally be characterized as Posi, such as Mindset – I believe you will find the message is similar in some very important ways:
“I fuck up, you fuck up, we all fuck up
We all fuck up!
I fuck up, you fuck up, we all fuck up
We all fuck up!
Get over it, I’ve had enough.
Your attitude really sucks.
Oh man, it looks like you fucked up.
Get over it and get back up”
(Mindset, “You Only Fail When You Stop Trying”)
“I’m no pawn, And I wont play this game The end result is always the same. Break the cycle make my own way. Tomorrow can be a better day. Break the cycle. No turning back. Always moving, always growing, always looking ahead.”
(Mindset, “Tradition Dies Here”)
Or bands like R.A.M.B.O. which brings together all the elements of sXe hardcore and dark anarchist crust:
“it will never happen dismissed as childish
just another idealist
condescend all you want
circle that @ motherfucker
you’re too cool for politics
i’d rather live a fantasy than what you think is real
if i can dream it then why should i try for anything less”
(r.a.m.b.o., “Circle That A Motherfucker!”)
“They might have won the battle but the war’s not yet won
messenger bag full of bricks gonna have some fun
you may never smash the state
but at least you can give it a good smack
may not accomplish anything
but at least i try
better than the other option roll over and die!”
(R.A.M.B.O., “Smack The State”)
All of these bands might seem very different at first, but the more you look the more they share many similarities: the content of their lyrics is actually quite similar; often hitting themes such as anti-christian/religious ideals, and lyrics rejecting mainstream values which they see as self induced slavery. All bands primarily played in small venues to small crowds of disenfranchised kids like themselves rather than trying to make it big in the shitshow we call rock and or roll. But most importantly in all cases their lyrics tend to be angry yet have a positive message. They don’t ignore or diminish the problems, far from it, they sing about what concerns them, but come out calling on people to stand up to the bullshit and not let it keep you down. This is what Posi means.
These tenancies run through much of crust music, almost as much as they do through Hardcore. But that only makes sense – all of these countercultures were founded in DIY, in resistance to mainstream norms and expectations. All were founded in the ideal that we don’t need to accept the death we have been served for dinner, we don’t need to “eat shit and say thank you for the privilege” – despite what we are told we know a better world is possible but only if we are willing to do the fucking work ourselves. Aint no politician gonna do it for us. DIY punk, straightedge hardcore, crust, anarchism are all attempts at building community on our own terms. They might look or sound different, but who fucking cares!?!
More and more these days they seems to be a coming together and overlapping. I am an example of this as a vegan straightedge crustpunk who is a green anarchist and former street kid. I know more and more sober or straightedge crust punks and anarchists these days. I find this exciting and in it I see possibility. This of course doesn’t mean the rest of the world isn’t turning to shit, but rather that we are not going to passively accept it and submit.
If there is a benefit to all this, it is that maybe we can learn from each other, and in turn all grow stronger together. Both crust and hardcore have been extremely huge influences on my life in very positive ways. They are the reason I didn’t kill myself when I was younger and was a target of bullying, harassment, and other violence (including self violence). Crust and anarcho-punk helped me understand that there is systemic reasons why I was being targeted and that I didn’t need to assimilate to bullshit values. SxE helped me quit drinking – which in turn probably saved my life.One of the most important things I learned from straightedge was to stay posi no matter how shitty it gets. I am sure Amebix would agree.
“Live for life’s sake, don’t let life pass you by
There’s more worth living for than meets the eye”
It pisses me off when I see people posting pictures on facebook or whatever of some cute kitten or puppy doing something hella adorable. It’s not that I don’t like kittens, pups or other animals, in fact quite the opposite. I am Vegan, and have been for over a decade now. And I have adopted and cared for a number of rats over the years, and wish I could foster a dog. This is why the cute kitten photos have got to stop!
You see the interweb if full of adorable kittens and puppies. BUT SO ARE THE SHELTERS! Every eleven seconds a perfectly healthy dog or cat is put down because they haven’t been adopted (source Humane Society) and the shelters simply don’t have space and funding. So when people post pictures of some internet meme of a kitten all I can think is Hey, if you wanna post pictures of cats, why don”t you post the pictures from the website of your local shelter of an animal that needs a new home instead?
My dream is of a world free of animal enslavement and domestication; but we have a long ways to go to get there. In the mean time there is overcrowded shelters in every city full of domesticated animals that have been bread and trained to be incapable of living in the wild -never mind how many native species cats kill. Like a poster I once saw read “Keep the Cops out and the Cats in!”
We need to stop breeding animals, which means to stop funding those who profit from breeding by not giving money to pet shops and breeders. We also need to organize to shut down these breeding operations. I also believe we have a duty now to take care of the animals who were bred and domesticated simply so humans could use them (whether for food, or for companionship).
There is many ways to help, regardless of whether you have a suitable home to welcome an animal friend into or not. Shelters, sanctuaries, and rescues always need volunteers (which can be a great way to also learn new skills and get free training). They also need funds and fundraisers, and all kinds of other support. There is some really simple things you can do; whether it is putting up posters in your neighborhood of animals who need to be adopted, organizing punk shows as fundraisers, volunteering to walk the dogs, visit the cats, or simply reposting the pictures to your twitter, tumbler, or facebook page.
We don’t need more internet memes of animals when there are real, living animals sitting in cages right now. .
This interview was conducted over email by Comrade Black. Information on upcoming tour dates can be found at the end of the interview.
PE: For those unfamiliar with your past, could you introduce yourself?
YES SIR, INMATE #03895-000…oh wait, sorry, old habits…
Hi my name is rod and I’m from the desert southwest, but live in the great lakes bioregion now. I’ve spent my life fighting for the earth and animals and have just finished a 5 year period of federal supervision that prevented me from being involved in environmentalism or animal issues. I’ve spent a total of 6 years in prison for actions related to the protection of animals, and am now moving forward in my life with new strategies and tactics, that are both effective and legal. Though I walked a controversial and radical path, I no longer advocate illegal activity. That’s a personal decision that I made before with very intense personal consequences, so I’m not doing that anymore. I’m doing what a lot of people are doing now, and that’s struggling to find a way to help stop some horribly violent federal and state policies that currently are allowing for the killing of wolves and other wildlife.
PE: What have you been doing these last 7 years while on probation? Other than helping wolves, what else are you doing these days with your life?
Trying like hell to stay out of prison. When you’ve made a mark for yourself like I have in the law enforcement community, it gets real easy to get back into trouble. So I did what I had to do, I severed all contacts with the activist world, didn’t email, phone, write or do any social media with anyone with an activist past history and just worked my job at a brewery where I’m a server. I also was a big part of my children’s lives. I wasn’t in prison. I was a present father, raising children, teaching them to love life and nature. Loving life myself. I went kayaking when I could. We played in lakes and rivers, camped. I did what Geronimo and others like him had to do when they were forced to surrender and live on the rez. I will still be a father, but now ts time to stand up for the wild once again.
PE: It seemed for a while like every time you moved they were trying to put you in jail again. I had thought you retired to raise your child, What have you actually been doing during all the years where you seemed to disappear from the public eye?
No one will deny that federal law enforcement agencies had identified me as a target. Not only had I already spent 4 years in prison for Animal Liberation Front actions in the 1990’s, but in the ensuing years I had become a spokesperson for the group while continuing to organize with Earth First! And Stop Huntington Animal Cruelty. I even made it easier for them by hanging out with other suspects of federal investigations. So while I did have to go back to prison as part of a non-cooperative plea agreement, at least I didn’t get the 16 year sentence they threatened me with in trial. So yes, it was time to lay down my arms and think about my children and the future. I spent the last five years just keeping my head low and not traveling or seeing any close friends and only very restricted travel to see my family. I wasn’t allowed to visit my elderly parents in Portland, because my probation officer said all of the Northwest was off limits due to its history of radical environmentalism and animal rights activities.
Like so many other men recently released from prison, I focused on the financial survival of my family. I also got involved with my children’s school and met other parents raising children nonviolently who became friends. We tried to start a community garden near the school and introduced a zero-waste program that survives today. The last five years allowed me to be a part of my kid’s lives rather than only hear about it in letters.
Now that my federal supervision is over, I can think about acting as a responsible human being and organizing against the destruction of the wild. Here in Michigan that means stopping the recent sport hunt for wolves. That’s where the tour came in. Folks from the Hunt Saboteurs approached me offering to help build a broader grassroots campaign drawing from several movements. Not just against wolf hunts in the six states where they are now being hunted, but against contest predator hunts and control efforts by the USDA’s Wildlife Services program.
PE: A lot of people seem to see animal liberation and anti-colonial work as opposed. But to you they seem to be very deeply connected?
The connection for me comes with the concept of seeing an animal, person or mountain as part of something bigger, or whether they are just a resource to be exploited and dominated. That is the foundation for the invasion of planet earth and for me I’ll work with anyone fighting against that destruction. Here in the Great Lakes, the wolf is a sacred animal to the indigenous people. So you ave not only animal welfare and animal rights people opposed to the hunt, but the tribes as well. Combine that with environmentalist and even sportsmen against hunting and trapping wolves and you have the potential for a lot of solidarity which equals strength. The Idle-No-More movement s amazing and supporting indigenous peoples engaged in struggles against colonialism is vital or they are going to be marginalized and silenced. All us parties affected by the same Invader need to build stronger alliances and push back in the legal channels we have left.
PE: I asked David Barbarash, a former ALF spokesperson what he would want to ask you if he was interviewing you. He wondered if you regret any of the actions you participated in over the years?
Ahhh, the regret question. Who doesn’t have regrets? But if the interviewer is evading asking me more directly if I regret my illegal actions on behalf of wildlife, I’d have to say no I don’t. I could be cheeky and say I regret not sinking the third whaling ship with the watchman aboard, or finding more lion snares, but that’s kind of how I feel…I’d never want to hurt anyone, but with so many victories like wolf recovery being reversed, I wonder whether its less about “winning” and more about simply standing for what you believe even when its unpopular to do so. It wasn’t popular to take the actions I did, but I did them not with the intention of winning any popularity contests, but to save some lives…however temporarily that might have been. And I don’t regret that.
PE:David also wondered if you would share your thoughts on whether people’s activism may be motivated by past experiences of trauma or anger, and how that affects their actions?
I think this has to do with what I said about the connection between animal and Indigenous issues. A lot of people relate to animals and nature because they are ground up by the same machines. In that way, I think a lot of people are empathetic to animals and can relate to them because we all have a bond with animals some time in our lives and like children, we believe it is wrong to abuse them. But if your saying that such activism attracts unhealthy or unstable people, well I’ve seen that too.
PE: I have read that you became vegan and started working to defend animals after listening to punk music, in particular the song This Is The ALF by Conflict?
That’s kind of funny because its only partially true. Here’s the real story. I began working to protect animals when I was 12 and listening to Paul McCartney and John Denver. Punk music didn’t come until I went overseas on Sea Shepherd in 1985. I started fighting against whaling and the Canadian harp seal hunt after being exposed to both through dramatic direct action campaigns by Sea Shepherd and Greenpeace. In England, the Sea Shepherd crew included hunt saboteurs who were also vegetarian and vegan. They were the first ones to lead me to question my beliefs about all animals. I had tremendous respect for members of the American Indian Movement who were still fighting colonialism, then I witnessed nonviolent civil disobedience used in anti-nuclear protests, but these people exposed me to the principles behind the Animal Liberation Front, and that’s where “This is the ALF” comes in. After working on Sea Shepherd in port one day, some hunt saboteur volunteers had me over to listen to music. I couldn’t understand a word of what sounded like screaming, but they handed me the album cover which had the lyrics and I wanted to join. That’s when I went vegetarian and convinced I would start an ALF group.
PE:Did you grow up around animals? When did you learn your love for animals from?
I believe everyone has an inherent compassion for animals. It’s just the question of whether it gets repressed by institutionalized thinking that convinces us to see animals another way. I guarantee that if you switched babies between hardcore hunters and vegans, each child would be raised with the corresponding parent’s worldviews, at least while they were children. But if nature is allowed to prosper, compassion for animals will come to anyone. The only thing unique about me s that I chose a path of action that made my compassion more noticeable.
PE: Do you still see punk or other music cultures today as having radical potential to radicalize youth
I’m sure that’s true, but I don’t have my finger on that pulse. I’ve always had my movement musician favorites, Dana Lyons, Alice DiMicele, Jim Page, Joanne Rand, Casey Neil and many others whose music was a kind of soundtrack for my life in the 80’s and 90’s, but I don’t know who is leading that charge anymore. I believe that music is a sacred medium to reach people and I still love listening to any new song with a story sympathetic to animals or nature, because you know that we are not a minority and those kinds of songs are received well.
PE: What is hunt sabotage?
Hunt sabotage has evolved for me over the years. It began with my English friends who sabotaged British hound foxhunts with false scent trails and horn calls, then it evolved to similar tactics in America to interfere with desert bighorn sheep hunts. I’d say hunt sabotage is nonviolently interfering with the recreational killing of wildlife. I was arrested in 2004 for sabotaging a mountain lion hunt and went to prison for 8 months. Now hunt sabotage means something different for me. It means utilizing any channel you have available to stop not just individual hunts, but entire hunting seasons. Its very dangerous confronting armed men in the woods, but we can sabotage hunts by getting involved with the agencies that establish hunting seasons and begin to lobby to have the views of the non-hunting majority represented. These agencies are supposed to be following principles of conservation that recognize that wildlife is a public trust resource and as such the opinions of non-consumptive “users” matters. Presently the states where wolf hunting and
trapping was recently enacted, the state wildlife agencies have cosy relationships with sportsman’s groups. It’s not a unique situation. The hunters through payments for licenses and tags provide the budget for those agencies, so they tend to manage wildlife with the needs of hunters as a priority. So for me, hunt sabotage is any tactics or strategy that aims to stop the recreational killing of wildlife.
PE: What is the reason they are intending to kill the wolves? Can you talk a bit about the campaign?
In Michigan, the justification for the wolf hunt is that wolves are preying on livestock and hunting dogs as well as being seen in the neighborhoods of some rural towns. This is what was said leading up to the hunt and then when it began, we discovered that 90% of livestock depredations in Michigan were at one farm where the farmer practiced horrible farming practices. Cattle that died were left in pastures and when wolves were attracted they were blamed for the deaths and permits issued to kill them. This one farmer also received over $60,000 in compensation for his livestock losses and was recently criminally charged with animal abuse. One of the other justifications was the killing of “pets” which means dogs trained to chase down bears. Bear hunters place bait piles to attract bears, but they also attract wolves too sometimes or are placed in areas where wolves have their dens. These hounds are released to chase bears through wolf territory and occasionally get killed when they do this. But that’s not the wolf’s fault. Then we have the state’s wildlife agency lying to the media about the level of danger wolves were posing to humans in one town and those lies being repeated by a state representative to justify the hunt to the legislature. And on top of this, we have laws in Michigan which already allow hunters or farmers to kill a wolf they witness attacking their animals. In addition, the USDA’s Wildlife Services has been called in to kill over 20 wolves in recent years in Michigan. So that’s what we are fighting. We are opposed to the indiscriminate killing of wolves and we want to see wolves returned to endangered species listing.
PE:It seems a lot of people see wolves as a pest, or a threat to be afraid of. Do you find it is hard to convince people wolves need to be protected?
I don’t think its hard for people to get this issue. We’ve learned it before after we eradicated wolves the first time. Society as a whole has changed, but the agencies responsible for livestock and wildlife refuse to evolve and reflect those changes. And these agencies have little accountability. People understand that predators play a vital role in maintaining the health of prey animals like deer and elk. What I’ve been hearing is people asking, “why are people still killing wolves?” In addition to the role predators play in the ecosystem, I also believe they should be protected because we still don’t know a lot about them. The campaigns of persecution have continued literally since Europeans first arrived, and I think we should demonstrate a little human evolution by no longer waging such a war on wildlife. Wolves returning to the landscape is a success story in endangered species preservation that desperately needs to be defended right now.
PE:Anthropologist Layla Abdel Rahim writes about how the idea of a predator is a problematic construct, because the animals don’t see other animals as prey all of the time – but rather just as other animals most of the time and only as prey when they need to feed. I wonder what you think of this and if you think using scientific categorizations such as apex predator is at all problematic?
Well, let’s see where else do we use that word? To describe sexual predators! So undeniably, there is a negative connotation for some people. But yes, we allow science and taxonomy to frame our relationship to animals when the relationship can be so much more sacred. It’s a agreed upon concept to call some animal relations “predator” but we should also question our personal and spiritual relationship to animals. Not just because I am indigenous, but I also gravitated towards the way native people viewed animals. It was never demeaning, it was always on an equal standing. The animals were (and still are) people too, or people are animals too…Wonderful stories of mysticism and magic that sounded better than Bible stories to me.
I love to be educated and read wildlife agencies reports on wolf management, but at the end of the day I choose to see the wolf as my sacred relation. And as a resident of Maa’iigan’s homeland, I feel an obligation to speak up among the humans when the wolf’s future is at stake. Yes, because they are a apex predator who helps hold the ecosystem in balance, but also because they are the sacred brother/sister to the Anishinaabe who still call this place home, and wolves and coyotes and other predators are just mega-cool…
PE:How can we build bridges between Indigenous resistance and movements for animal liberation?
By first, not being so fucking judgmental of people who eat animals. Long before there was an animal rights movement, there were indigenous peoples defending the earth and her animals with their lives. And they still are! Just because they eat meat doesn’t make them the enemy. Until we learn tolerance we will continue to be disenfranchised. It doesn’t mean WE have to be like them, but there’s such beauty in diverse worldviews that all hold nature and animals on the same level as us. It is the oppositions worst nightmare for us all to be unified against their policies that destroy the same world we all love.
PE:How does being a parent change things now for you?
I heard this story where a young warrior wants to be at the front of the war party, in the thick of any fighting, but when you’re a little older, you let the younger warriors lead the battle, and then when you’re a little older, you’re fine being in the rear guard and when you’re a little older than that, maybe you’re crouching behind a tree or rock watching to see how things are going before jumping into the fray… I think it’s like that for me. I’ve been in enough battles, I’m not an adrenalin junkie doing this for the thrill. I’m a middle-aged man with kids dammit, and I have to take care of them to be a warrior, that’s why indigenous resistance exists, to protect our families and communities. It’s always been about protecting the vulnerable, the young and elderly, it’s the same way in our struggle.
We are trying to protect people and the environment for the good of all, so that we may simply maintain our right to exist. Being a parent has given me a deeper understanding of the need for a long-term sustainable strategy for fighting and living. I also know that those I might come into conflict with are also trying to do the same thing, eke out a living and protect their families. So that means not being so adversarial, and being less willing to fight, and more willing to try and work together first.
Having children has made me a better warrior, because I’ve realized when you’re willing to defend something with your very own life as many father’s are prone to feel, you understand the motivational power as it exists in nature where many creatures are driven by the same strength of love. Because that’s what it’s about for us, about defending what we love. And if we can’t experience that raw passion and love for something close to us, then we’re dead already. I’m not ready to give that up. It’s also why no struggle can be real unless its inclusive of people raising children. People with dominating, destructive worldviews have been breeding like crazy, we need some kids to be raised in the new old ways…
PE:You spent a lot of time in prison, and on probation over the years. Can you talk from your experiences about what is effective prisoner support, both when people are in prison and when they get out? Is there any advice you would give to people who might be looking at doing time?
First, advice to people looking at doing time. Don’t have children. Going to prison doesn’t just effect you, it effects those who love you, so be prepared to put them through incredible trauma and suffering too. Don’t think you can maintain relationships while you are in prison. The best you are doing is sharing your traumatic experience. There is nothing good about going to prison. It should be avoided at all costs.
Once you are in the system, your purpose is no longer the survival of your family and community, its about your own survival. That’s what I experienced and that’s why I’m grateful to be able to be organizing again and am very conscious to not step over that line into anything even remotely illegal. It’s simply not worth it. We have to constantly be doing a cost/benefit analysis of our modes of resistance and weigh whether its a sustainable strategy or not. If our tactics result in our bravest warriors being imprisoned for years, then its time to rethink. It doesn’t mean we condemn our past tactics or strategies, it just means we evolve to our changing environment. Like coyotes or wolves.
PE:There has been a dramatic rise in ALF actions over the last year, bands like Los Crudos and Earth Crisis are touring again, and now Rod Coronado is back on tour encouraging activists to get active; kinda feels like the 90s again. How do you figure the current state of radical movements compares to past decades?
I don’t think it’s a resurgence, it’s the survival of our struggles. Some of us might have gone to prison, but the need for organizing never went away, and thankfully brave people are following a very dark time for the radical environmental and animal rights movements and pushing forward. I don’t think we can compare this to past decades because twenty years ago 9/11 hadn’t happened and we weren’t labeled as terrorists. We have to evolve and recognize that there are strong forces out there that want to treat us like criminals rather than the harbingers of social change. So in that way, I can’t say what the state of radical movements is like because I don’t consider myself radical anymore, nor am I up on their progress. I hear about infighting, the debates on issues that distract us from being a broader more public movement that focuses on solidarity building issues with people we too often call the enemy. I’m just trying to share with the new generations of activists out there what I’ve learned and help them realize the cost-benefit analysis of doing actions that won’t lead you to prison. There’s a time and place for everything, but right now its time in the US to reclaim the public process in regards to wildlife issues and do something completely different. In a way, organizing in these old fashioned traditional ways can be very radical because its a strategy that has been left to very conservative people.
PE:Can you talk a little about your history with wildlife defense and hunt sab?
My first hunt sabotage actions were in England targeting foxhunts and badger baiting back in 1985. In 1987 we started a hunt saboteurs group in California to interfere with trophy desert bighorn hunts. A lot of my ALF actions were on behalf of predators, the most prominent being our actions against the fur farm industry and our Don Quixote-esque raid on the USDA’s Predator Research Facility in 1992. We destroyed the laboratory, but they just rebuilt it bigger, but at least a few coyotes got away that night.
I returned to opposing trophy hunting in 2002, going into the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge in Arizona to interfere with desert bighorn sheep hunts. We spent winter weekends searching out a handful of trophy hunters across a huge desert mountain landscape. The bighorn sheep hunt sabs were the perfect balance of effectiveness and experiential bliss, because the desert is beautiful in winter time.16 mile hikes looking for hunters, seeing the sheep themselves, and other wildlife, you are literally seeing what your fighting for. We also began going to wildlife agency meetings, giving testimony on hunts we were opposed to and documenting illegal hunting in the field.
It culminated in 2004, with the very public hunt interference against attempts to remove mountain lions from the Sabino Canyon National Recreational in the Coronado National Forest outside of Tucson, Arizona where I lived. Public opposition to the hunt was overwhelming, and the whole city knew the only thing standing in the way of the state and federal lion hunters was us Earth First!ers. We spread false scent trails with mountain lion urine, and I was chased down with a helicopter after we sprung a lion snare. I was sentenced to 8 months in federal prison for that one.
The most effective campaign we did was against the hunting of sandhill cranes which winter in southern Arizona. We would lay in cornfields between hunters in blinds and incoming cranes who upon seeing us waving our arms or reflective mylar would veer away from the hunter’s. The best part about it is that never once did we get caught. When we did interact with hunters, it was as fellow hunters as I always have the appropriate tags and licenses. We also documented the hunt, including cranes attempting to aid their wounded relations. We also solicited public comment on the hunt at birding events and repeatedly testified against the hunt on ecological grounds that it wasn’t sustainable or necessary. Once again, it was amazing just to be in the fields watching thousands of cranes flying overhead.
I had wanted to continue the campaigns against trophy hunts in Arizona, but then I was overtaken with my legal defense on not just the lion hunt front, but for a lecture I gave defending arson the same day an ELF fire caused a $60 million fire in San Diego. So that’s why now I’m jumping on board to help wolves now, because I think the same strategy can work, to participate in the process of changing policy by attending public meetings and calling on these agencies to reform to reflect the interests of citizens who appreciate wildlife as a working component of the environment, not only as some kind of resource.
Mike XvX has just released a new album. A World For All Species is Mike’s 6th studio album, 8 tracks – but not an 8 track – this is a digital album available for download off Mike’s website or bandcamp. This format mean you can listen to the album online for free or choose to download the album or individual songs as you like.
One of my favorite aspects of Mike’s music is that it doesn’t sound or feel like any other ‘folk punk’ I have heard, either musically or lyrically. I am extremely picky when it comes to folk punk, as after years of setting up shows as a DIY promoter, I have developed a strong distaste for generic and formulaic music, which I find a lot of folk punk has become in the last few years.
Musically Mike XvX hovers a bit more on the folk/acoustic side of the genre avoiding many of the cliches that have become all to common with folk punk now that every train hopper has a banjo or accordion. You won’t find a lot of blue grass influence or scratchy, twangy, or whiny vocals, nor will you find generic ballads about drinking under bridges, shoplifting, and hopping trains. Instead Mike writes in a way that retains the punk concepts lyrically with songs like his campfire cover of Cop Killer; while tieing in to the older American folk traditions of collecting and telling stories in the vein of Woody Guthrie, Buffy Sainte Marie, or Utah Philips. Mike XvX uses his guitar as a device to tell the stories of those he has collected over the years; however unlike his labor organizing folk-fathers, most of Mike’s stories are largely about the animals he has known over the years who have impacted his life, animals who are survivors of torture and exploitation at the hands of human animals.This way of writing about animal liberation and animal exploitation feels far more heartfelt and personal than the more usual punk songs on the subject which tend to be filled with statistics, graphic depictions and people yelling at you to Go Vegan.
Not all the songs on this album are only about animal liberation; there are songs like the Flood, and without a doubt my favorite track off this album is The Forest Near Your Old House which is about logging and environmental destruction and sounds largely like a much needed call to action
“I hear the chainsaws ripping through the ancient trees – I see good people doing nothing… …Simply asking them to stop is fucking useless – will they sit there and do nothing?”
My head bounced – one -two- three times off the pavement, as the ringing in my ears silenced all other sound. I laid there motionless, unable to move as I watched the world in slow motion through open eyes; for what seemed like hours. I honestly have no clue how long I laid there.
I often think I was both quick thinking and lucky to have managed to at last second moved my hand quickly under my head before his boot came down full force. But in reality it was him who was lucky. While I ended up with a severe concussion and probably some small degree of brain damage which took years to heal, he ended up with all my money on a nice sunny day – instead of a prison sentence for murder.
I don’t often tell this story; in part cause it leads to some uncomfortable questions. But primarily I don’t tell it cause it tends to make people uncomfortable to know it happened. Even worse, to know it happened to someone they actually know. Especially people who come from a background of comfort and privilege, who never had to deal with real violence other than on TV.
Most days I love my life, I look forward to my next day, my next week. But it wasn’t always this way – and there are some days where I think about these brutal experiences from my past which most people don’t know ever happened. The part of me very few people know about, or even want to. In some ways it helps me to keep a positive outlook and to love life, to know it as a gift. In other ways it alienates me from others who don’t share any understanding of violence and this type or level of trauma. This incident I describe was far from the only time I experienced extreme violence, but it stands out in my head.
As I lay in bed, my head resting gently against a soft pillow; I can not sleep. Thoughts of concrete keep me awake. I am not sure why, but I felt like I needed to write this, to share it, before I could rest tonight. Lately my memories of these experiences have been on my mind, hovering in that skull that only never cracked because of a last second reaction to protect it and put my hand under before the boot came down. I don’t know why this is on my mind or what I will get from sharing it with you – but maybe now that the words are typed I may finally sleep.
The Anishinaabe of what is now called Michigan state in the colonial tongue are opposed to the killing of any wolves on their territories, and wish to make their territories a wolf sanctuary.
This was the message that Rod Coronado (Pascuae Yaqui Nation) just toured speaking about. He is working with others to form a grassrroots campaign to stop the killing of wolves, and has begun working with the Anishinaabe to assist them in their efforts to protect the wolves within their territories.
From what Rod said, The Anishinaabe come from a deep spiritual connection to the wolf, and the wolf is sacred to them. Rod is hoping to help them raise funds to put up signs designed by the youth of the Anishinaabe community; declaring their territories a sanctuary and forbidding hunting. As well as hoping to help in many other legal ways. He, and the NW Hunt Saboteurs are doing talks and workshops around the country to protect wolves everywhere, and to build diverse strategies to save the wolves from both sport hunting, and from being “destroyed” by government departments which are funded primarily by hunters and ranchers.
I just followed 3 days of the Rod Coronado/Hunt Sab tour, and it was an amazing experience. I hope I can find ways to assist in their work, as well as ways to bring back what I learned from them to help in campaign in my own community.
The first time I met Rod, his brother was with him, and his brother asked me “so what do you hope to get out of these talks.” I had no answer – but I am glad he asked as I think it made me more conscious and receptive, and has helped me to remember this is not about what I can get, but what I can do with that to give back.
Watch for the upcoming exclusive interview with Rod on Profane Existence
Upcoming Tour Dates:
Tuesday February 25th Buffalo NY TBA Wednesday February 26th Buffalo NY TBA Thursday February 27th Boston MA TBA Friday February 28th Brooklyn NY TBA Saturday March 1st Philadelphia PA, at Wooden Shoe Book store. 704 S. st 7:pm Sunday March 2nd Philadelphia PA, TBA Monday March 3rd Saratoga Springs NY, TBA Saturday March 22nd Animal Liberation Forum (Long Beach CA) Sunday March 23rd Animal Advocacy Museum in Pasadena CA. Tuesday March 27th Humbolt State University
Yesterday I crossed the colonial imaginary line which divides the stolen territory claimed by one colonial nation state from the territory of another. My experiences crossing the border haven’t been too extreme, but they are interesting in the context of class,and how it intersects with race and gender.
A few months ago while on tour with Layla AbdelRahim, as I went through customs the guard asked how long I would be in the country, then proceeded to ask “what kind of job do you have that lets you take an entire work week off?” I replied that I am on disability, at which point he looked away, gesturing dismissively with his hand to move along. A bit surprised I asked unsure “were you still going to search my bag?” (which was open beside me). Again, continuing to not even look at me he waved his hand in a manner suggesting to “get away from me.” I didn’t argue and proceeded to Seattle. Layla later joked that he must have been afraid he would catch my disability if he continued to interact with me.
Last night as I crossed through from Victoria again on way to Seattle to see Rod Coronado speak. This time I had a bit more trouble at immigration than the time before. I was one of the first
in line in case there was any issues since I had heard horror stories from friends who had been interrogated for 6-9 hours when they tried to cross, so I wanted to be there early just in case.
The immigration officer this time was a woman of colour. She began with generic questions, and went to scan my passport, when her computer began having problems – so her supervisor – a white male- came to help. He was actually the same Immigration cop who processed me when I went through in October. As he was trying to help her with the computer, he asked why I was crossing; and as I said I was going to see Iron Lung and Despise You, he began talking to me about how much he liked metal, and the documentary Metal: A Headbangers Journey by Sam Dunn (a Victoria based metal head and film maker). He asked a bit about the bands I said I was going to see, and told me he once processed Lemmy crossing through on a flight at a San Diego border crossing. “He was an interesting guy” the cop told me enthusiastically.
Everything was going ok until the woman who was the original border guard asked what I did for work. I replied I was on disability. Suddenly she seemed to become hostile, and began asking how much money I had, if I had been asked for proof of Ties and Equities last time I went through, and so on. “So you don’t have much money for hotels, are you just planning to stay on the streets?” I told her 2 or 3 more times I had a friend putting me up. She continued asking if I had been arrested ever, to which I replied I hadn’t (even though I was a bit unsure if a few things would come up or not from when the Integrated Security Unit for the 2010 Olympics game was harassing me and following me, or when I was volunteering with SHAC Canada in 2006). to my relief nothing did and I continued to act as casual as possible. At this point she asked if I was ever arrested for drugs, to which I replied “no, I am actually what is called straightedge, I haven’t even smoked in 10 years.” Surprisingly to me, she didn’t drop the subject and persisted “have you ever received any treatment for your addictions?” and so on the questions continued.
The supervise was still near by, and came back over towards her, she told him she was concerned I didn’t have much money with me. “I don’t think there is any reason to deny him entry” he told her. So instead she gave me a controlled entry, which involved finger printing me, photographing, and telling me I had to return by the 4rth or else (what else I am not sure exactly).
How much did class, gender and race play into the outcome of this experience? I have to wonder if I hadn’t been a white male, if the supervise wasn’t also a white male, would I have been denied entry? On the other hand, if I hadn’t looked poor with my black patched cloths, tattoos and locked hair, and more so if told her I was on disability; would I have had so much trouble? Borders are an inherently racist construct; if I had told the guards I was coming over to see a Indigenous man speak about defending wildlife rather than to see some bands in a scene where one could safely assume they are likely white males – would I have been allowed to enter?
A year ago I was on welfare waiting for my disability application to be approved (and hoping it wouldn’t be denied). Until then, traveling wasn’t even a possibility I considered real. On $610 a month, I couldn’t even afford to put in the passport application, never mind ferry costs, bus, or food. The only travel I oculd afford was my thumb. The interplay of class, race, and gender – of privilege and oppression under capitalism; within a colonial civilization is complex and anything but just. My experiences were mild in comparison to what many racialized people and those who present in a way that is visually queer often experience, yet they served me as an interesting examination of power and privilege.
In the end I am reminded of a line by Crass ”
Are we really so dumb, so cowered into submission
That not only are we prepared to eat shit
We’re also prepared to say thanks for the privilege?”