I always considered the Punk movement a close relation to Communism. I'm curious about the SE community's thoughts about this...
When I was in High School I hung around with a bunch of punk kids, we would all skip class (the one right before lunch) and walk three blocks to Winchells. It varied on different days as to how much money we each had, so we would all pitch in and divide up whatever we got equally, no matter how much money we threw in. Money, pens & pencils, cassette tapes and walkmans, and whatever else we had was pretty much communal property. You would get it back at the end of the day, but you might bring a walkman to school and not see it until school was out.
We were all anti-authoritarian too... Mainly anarchist, although some of us just did it as a general act of rebellion and not necessarily with hate for the power structure. An example... One time we got a hold of a screwdriver set. We each took a screwdriver, and went to our respective classes. Whenever we saw something we could use a screw driver on, we'd take out one of the screws. By the end of the day maintenance had a crisis on their hands.
Oh, good times! Anyway, what do you Komrades think of this? Is it a form of Communism, or were we closer to something else (Anarchy?) Then for that matter, perhaps Anarchy itself is a form of Communism, or vice-versa?
Punks aren't communists. If you can pin an ideology on them, it's anarchism, since they love chaos at everyone else's expense, until they do something stupid like getting a screwdriver stuck in their head and have to go to the hospital to get treated by 'the man'. You weren't ideologically motivated -just kids running wild and having fun.
"The thing about capitalism is that it sounds awful on paper and is horrendous in practice. Communism sounds wonderful on paper and when it was put into practice it was done pretty well for what they had to work with." -MiG
Yes, I suppose so. We thought we were... 'something' though. Maybe just not sure what.
I haven't encountered any "punks" during my time in school. But I agree that is just typical teenage behavior to be rebellious for no ideological reason.
Considering the fact that swastikas are pretty popular amongst punks I think many of them don't have much of a clue when it comes to politics.
Rebellion and Attention seem to be the main objectives much of the time.
Depends on the punk. I'd venture to guess a large majority of them want to be seen as radical though they might not know where their political associations lie. Other punks are deeply political, spiritual, or religious in nature. It really just depends....
I would say many of the punks I've met in my lifetime were just wasteoids with little thought of the way they are. Many I've met were just nihilists who felt like they got a raw deal early on and are just pushing back against what they feel is an oppressive system they never had a chance in to begin with.
Other punks i've met were very committed to do it yourself and helping those around them to become as self-sufficient as possible. Many of these punks push for sexual equality, wealth redistribution, empowering & feeding the poor, providing mental and emotional support to those in need, as well as educating and showing the population a better way of life through cooperation and empathy. Many of these punks are aware of the social and economic systems they currently live in and they're working to change it by helping those around them. There is generally a rejection of authority including religion , political repression, and social norms... these people are anarchists or libertarian socialists and express their political ideology through their actions.
As they grow older and decide to raise families, they generally get involved in Union activities and advocate for workers rights, collective action, and putting their efforts and energies into little victories within' the system while teaching the younger generations and letting them take up the cause of radical action that they can no longer afford to partake in.
Your example above isn't really communist or anarchist.. the cooperation is there to some degree, but it sounds exclusive to your group, and the action of unscrewing things around school does little to endear people to your political or social causes. If anything those actions are counter-productive to any sort of social or political ideology with the exception of maybe nihilism as your actions put your desires above the welfare and safety of everyone around you.
As far as your other question in regard to anarchy and communism, they are both similar as they both aspire to the same goals... They just disagree on how to get to that goal. I think everyone here is some what aware of the split between Stalinism and Trotskyism... but long before that conflict there was another one.. it was a split between Karl Marx and Mikhail Bakunin. After the split Marx went on to become the ideological father of Communism and Bakunin went on to be the ideological father of Anarchism. You can read plenty about it on the internet but suffice to say Bakunin was opposed to a vanguard party or a dictatorship of the proletariat as he felt it would only lead to a degenerate workers state where those in power oppress those below them and instead of moving towards a socialist society only work towards further cementing their power.
It's important to remember that Bakunin died 41 years before the Russian Revolution. He like Marx never lived to see a national Communist Society... but IMO he did predict many of the problems that have plagued every communist country that currently does and has ever existed.
"Where the state begins, individual liberty ceases, and vice versa."
you can read his works at the anarchist archives:
http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/Anarchist_Ar ... chive.html
@ Redgoast - Yup, this is more what I was referring to. A lot of us (I wouldn't say all, but maybe 85%) were into what CRASS was doing, and there was another local group that had a squat (punk house) that was more or less communal (not sure if that = 'Communist'). They came up with the idea of putting out a vegan cookbook, which you can still buy on E-Bay. (The cookbook outlived the group that put it out.)
I think I was just bored all the time, but you are right - a lot of the other kids were very artistic, some were politically minded. I saw a lot of creative stuff going on...
Food not bombs is a loose organization supported by many punks. IT continues today and may even exist in your town. The vegan cookbook sounds very interesting, it would be cool if they released it on the internet in pdf format for free, or someone bought it and gave it to the food not bomb organizations around the country.
Even if you're not an anarchist or a communist (as you've said you're not) food not bombs is a great organization and they're worth supporting or helping out if you have time and want to give back.
They take food that would be thrown out in restaurants and use it to cook vegan meals and serve it to anyone who shows up. When I worked in food service I'd often take about 10-12 loafs of bread and lots of sliced cucumbers and onions on a daily basis to food not bombs, and the local soup kitchen. If it was too late in the evening I'd hand the bread out to people sleeping on the street on the way home.
I wish I knew more about communist oriented community outreach groups, but I know of none sorry.
Last edited by Redgoast on 21 Dec 2011, 18:17, edited 1 time in total.
Oh yeah, Food not Bombs, I remember them!
Cookbook can be found here. It's good, I recommend it. It's not too much to look at, it's a typical Zine (photocopies stapled together), but there's a lot of good info & recipes in there. It's worth the money, definitely.
I'm happy as a Free Market type of guy, I have no interest in converting, but I also have no interest in undermining what you guys have going here. I like it too. Communism is interesting on an intellectual level, just not my cup of tea politically speaking that's all.
If you know the person who owns the rights to this zine, you should ask them about donating copies to various info shops and libraries all around the country. I know my local infoshop would be happy to add it to their lending library. I'd be happy to pay for shipping or copy costs... if I can get their permission to copy and distribute it.
Unfortunately I don't... But knowing the HippyCore guys, they probably didn't bother with copyrights simply because they probably would have WANTED people to copy it & pass it around. The guy on E-Bay selling it might know better than I do though, maybe you should ask him about it. HippyCore isn't around anymore, they disbanded, but you might still be able to get in touch with someone that was in the group, I dunno...
Thanks for bringing it to my attention I'll look further into it after the holidays
Maybe I spoke too soon... Google search reveals two interesting URLs that I believe are the same guys. It might pay to investigate further.
Hippy Core zine I remember from back in the day.
Message boards??? I remember them hanging around with Straight Edge Skins... This might be them.
The punk subculture contains diverse political opinions, plus those whom are politicly apathetic. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punk_ideologies An example of an overtly left-wing punk band was The Clash. Also Jello Biafra, lead singer of The Dead Kennedys, has run for public office as a Green. But on the flip side, some punks, such as Johny Ramone are Republican/conservative. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4509654/ns/politics/t/conservative-punks-its-about-equal-time/ But I also think that it's hard to agree on what exactly constitutes punk. I mean I consider myself to be a redskin, which is a subculture which can include some punk influences too, but some people might still find me to be a poser.
Could you imagine punks giving a speech at the party Congress?
Happiness is in your ability to love others. - Leo Tolstoy
Political Interest wrote:
Sure why not?
However: The vast majority of you weren't born when the movement began (1976).
I was 14 then - and thus a true member of the X-Generation.
So - as a first generation punk I can tell you a few things.
The movement was originally non-political and nihilistic. The music and lifestile were
opposed to the hippie culture and every authority in general. Violence and achieving the maximum shock-effect were paramount. Favourite targets and enemies were the cops and the hippie - Fraggers.
You may find all of that juvenile - but it wasn't (at least not altogether).
As to 'Anarchy': Yes. But not Anarchy in the political sense - but 'Anarchy' by destroying, fighting in the streets, offensive behaviour, excessive drinking etc.
'Anarchy' and No Future were the main battlecries.
Punx had no ideology. It was just: Express yourself in the way you please. Do it yourself. And frag off.
So if you see of pics of Sid Vicious and Siouxsie Sioux with Svastika T-shirts: It was just to annoy and insult people...
If you wanna understand what 1st generation 'Punk Philosophie' was: Click on the link. It's a short clip - 2 minutes or so, still: It changed my life forever.
Johnny Rotten Interview 1977
I won't go into the music and other things. Punk was commercialized pretty soon - but never completely. By 1982 there had been 3 waves of slightly different Punk mini-movements. The music changed - the horizon got broader.
The Oi! movement was the beginning of the Skins. 1st generation Skins were non-political also - but the fascists in Britain tried to attract them and that was the beginning of the Nazi-Punks/White Skins.
They didn't understand the ideologie but those skins became racist. At about the same time the Red-Skins emerged - they didn't understand the leftist ideologie either...
BTW: To this day you can identify the different Skins by the colour of their laces on their Doc Martens: White: Nazi-Skin, Red: Commie-Skin, Black: Non-political skin
So: White Skins fought Red Skins, Punx fought both, the Police fought all - and all fought the Police. Those were the days...
Musically Punk evolved to or started musical styles such as New Wave, Trash-Crossover, Speed Metal, Goth, Visual Kei (in Japan) etc.
So, back to the topic: The Punk 'Anarchy' has nothing whatsoever to do with Bakunin, Kropotkin etc.
In those days I myself had a mohawk, and jeez... the procedure to get it spiked up took hours.
Now - as an old Punk I have earned the privilege not to spike the mohawk up anymore. The basic haircut however is still the same...
Me and my gf back in those days:
Great pic there RS
Bands like the Sex Pistols were basically nihilistic and the message of destruction for it's own sake will always find a degree of appeal as a generation rebels against its elders.
Personally, I thought The Clash managed to combine the punk spirit of rebellion with a more politically constructive message than some of their rivals. Though at least the Pistols didn't promote the Tories the way The Jam ended up doing.
As far as selling out goes, it's hard to go past P.I.L.'s "This is not a Love Song" for a mercenary statement:
Note the bits in bold which most people seemed to miss.
Whoops! I meant PS. They don't give you long to edit your posts around here :[
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