Infobox Music genre
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Punk rock Street punk Rebel songs Drinking songs
Electric guitar- Bass - Drums - occasional use of other instruments
popularity=Underground, with some bands gaining a
Crust punk- Grindcore- Folk punk
Anarchism- Punk rock subgenres- music and politics- crimethinc- anarchism in the arts- riot grrrl- RASH- punk ideologies- Anarcho-skinhead
Anarcho-punk is a faction of the
punk subculturethat consists of bands, groups and individuals promoting anarchist politics.
Although not all punks support anarchism, the ideology has played a significant role in the punk subculture, and punk has had a significant influence on the expression of contemporary anarchismGeorge Berger - The story of Crass] ...In Which Crass Voluntarily Blow Their Own... CD booklet. http://www.southern.com/southern/label/CRC/ ] . The term "anarcho-punk" is sometimes applied exclusively to bands that were part of the original anarcho-punk movement in the
United Kingdomin the late 1970s and 1980s, such as Crass, Conflict, Flux of Pink Indians, Subhumans, Poison Girlsand Oi Polloi. Some use the term more broadly to refer to any punk music with anarchist lyrical content. This broader definition includes crust punkbands, such as Nausea, and d-beatbands, such as Discharge. The term may also include American hardcore punkbands, such as MDC, folk punkartists such as This Bike is a Pipe Bomb, or artists in other sub-genres.
Anarcho-punk has been highlighted as one of the social phenomena which took anarchism in the direction of "lifestylism". Some argue that style became an essential ingredient of the movement, sometimes obscuring other factors, although others would reply that the performers who aligned themselves with anarcho-punk in fact embraced a wide diversity of approaches in both format and ideas. This would appear to be borne out by the range of anarcho-punk artists and performers. As well, it is often argued that the fashion was simply representative of the ethics associated with anarchism, such as anti-corporate, do-it-yourself beliefs.
protopunkbands of the late 1960's had anarchist members, such as the German blues rock band Ton Steine Scherbenas well as English bands connected to the UK Underground, like Hawkwind, Pink Fairies, The Deviantsand the Edgar Broughton Band. These bands, along with Detroit's MC5, set a precedent for mixing radical politics with with rock music and established the idea of rock as agent of social and political change in the public consciousness. Punk rock was also influenced by music outside rock'n'roll, including the avant-garde, outsider music, reggae, traditional Irish musicand even Free Jazz. Penny Rimbaudsaid Crass owed more to the avant-garde (both musically and ideologically) than any rock'n'roll band or tradition, citing Benjamin Brittenand John Cagemusical influences.
Other precursors to anarcho punk include avant-garde art and political movements like
Fluxus, dada, the Beat generation, Popular Workshop, England's Angry Young Menlike Joe Orton, the surrealisminspired Situationist International, the May 1968uprising in Paris and CND. The hippie counterculture was a significant influence on anarcho-punk, especially the politically active Yippies. Jello Biafraof the Dead Kennedyscited the Yippies as an influence on his activism and thinking.
A surge of popular interest in
anarchismoccurred during the 1970s in the United Kingdomfollowing the birth of punk rock, in particular the Situationist-influenced graphics of Sex Pistolsartist Jamie Reid, as well as that band's first single, " Anarchy in the UK." However, while the early punk scene appropriated anarchist imagery mainly for its shock or comedy value, Crassmay have been the first punk band to expound serious anarchist and pacifist ideas. The concept of anarcho-punk was quickly picked up on by bands like Flux of Pink Indiansand Conflict.
As the 1980s progressed, two new punk styles evolved out of anarcho-punk:
d-beatand crust punk. D-beat was a faster, more brutal form of punk music, and was created by bands like Discharge and the Varukers. Crust punk mixed anarcho-punk with an extreme metalsound, and was pioneered by bands such as Antisect, Sacrilege and Amebix. Somewhat later on in the 1980s, grindcoredeveloped out of anarcho-punk. Similar to crust punk, but even more musically extreme, grindcoreemployed blast beatsand incomprehensible Cookie Monster vocals. Grindcorewas pioneered by bands such as Napalm Deathand Extreme Noise Terror. Parallel to the development of these subgenres, many bands in the American hardcore punkscene adopted anarcho-punk ideology, including MDCand Reagan Youth.
Anarcho-punk in the 2000s has been more musically diverse than in the 1970s and 1980s Fact|date=July 2007. In addition to previously established subgenres, anarcho-punk encompasses
punk bluesartists like Darren Deicide, pop punkartists such as Girlband, the Bus Station Looniesand Propagandhi, New Wave performers or groups such as Honey Bane, and folk punkbands such as The Weakerthans. Some anarcho-punk bands even incorporate indie rockor indie pop, such as the Nation of Ulysses. Fairly recently, bands such as Axiom, Destroy and Disrupthave fused the grindcoreand crust punksounds. Digital Hardcoreoften takes an anarchist stance in their lyrics, as typified by genre pioneers Atari Teenage Riot. Digital Hardcore mixes punk (and sometimes rap) vocals with elements of many different genres, mainly hardcore techno, thrash metal, and noise music. One of the earliest precendents for this diversification were Rudimentary Peniand TSOL, who eventually became deathrockacts. Chumbawumbaeven became more influenced by pop and folk music, leading to top 40 hits around the world.
Anarcho-punk bears very close resemblance to
anarchism without adjectives, in that it involves the cooperation of various different forms of anarchism. Some anarcho-punks are anarcha-feminists (e.g. Polemic Attack), while others were anarcho-syndicalists (e.g. Exit-Stance). The Psalters are an anarcho-punk band with an affiliation with Christian anarchism. Post-left anarchyis common within modern anarcho-punk. CrimethInc., one of the major proponents of post-leftism, is strongly connected to the anarcho-punk movement. Class Waris a British post-left federation with close ties to the anarcho-punk movement. Many anarcho-punks are supporters of issues such as animal rights, racial equality, anti- heterosexism, feminism, environmentalism, worker's autonomy, the anti-warmovement, and the anti-globalisationmovement.
Anarcho-punks have criticized the flaws of the punk movement and the wider youth culture in general. Bands like
Crassand Dead Kennedyshave written songs that attack corporate co-option of the punk subculture, people who are deemed to have sold out, and the violence between punks, skinheads, B-boys and other youth subcultures and within punk itself. Some anarcho-punks are straight edge, claiming that alcohol, tobacco, drugs and promiscuity are instruments of oppression and are self-destructive because they cloud the mind and wear down a person's resistance to other types of opression. Some crust punks also condemn the waste of land, water and resources necessary to grow crops to make alcohol, tobacco and drugs, forfeiting the potential to grow and manufacture food. Some may be straight edge for religious reasons, such as in the case of Christian, Muslim, Buddhist or Hare Krishnaanarcho-punks (see Anarchism and religionfor more background).
Although Crass initially espoused
pacifism, this is not necessarily the case for all anarcho-punks. Despite the broader punk subculture's reactionary antagonism towards hippies, the ideals of the hippie counterculture were an influence on anarcho-punk. Crass were explicit regarding their associations with the hippie counterculture, and this influence has also carried over to crust punk.
Anarcho-punks universally believe in direct action, although the way in which this manifests itself varies greatly. Despite their differences in strategy, anarcho-punks often co-operate with each other. Many anarcho-punks are pacifists (e.g.
Crassand Discharge) and therefore believe in using non-violent means of achieving their aims. These include peaceful protest, refusal to work, squatting, economic sabotage, dumpster diving, graffiti, culture jamming, ecotage, freeganism, boycotting, civil disobedience, hacktivismand subvertising. Some anarcho-punks believe that violence or property damage is an acceptable way of achieving social change (e.g. Conflictand D.O.A.). This manifests itself as rioting, vandalism, wire cutting, assault, hunt sabotage, participation in Animal Liberation Front- or Earth Liberation Front-style activities, and in extreme cases, bombings. Many anarchists dispute the applicability of the term "violence" to describe destruction of property. [ [http://www.american-philosophy.org/archives/past_conference_programs/pc2004/submissions/tp-2.htm On August 1999, a small crowd in the French town of Millau descended on a McDonald’s restaurant under construction ] ] [ [http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/anar01.shtml Fringe anarchists in middle of violent demonstrations ] ]
Some anarcho-punks, notably in North America, have sought to use the electoral process in order to bring their respective areas closer to
anarchism, although none of them ran for office as members of an anarchist party. Notable anarcho-punks who have run for office include Dead Kennedysfrontman Jello Biafrafor mayor of San Francisco; T.S.O.L.singer Jack Grisham, for governor of California(he became disillusioned with anarchism and became a social democrat[What I realized about anarchy is that we are not responsible enough to be anarchist. There’s no way possible. We’re not responsible enough to be that. That’s a heavy concept.] ); and D.O.A. lead singer Joey Shithead. Jello Biafra, argues that humans are not ready for anarchy, and that some form of government is needed until certain social changes are implemented. ["I am an anarchist in my personal life. I try to live my life in a way that I don't need cops or baby-sitters to keep me from infringing on others. But I don't feel we have evolved far enough as a species to make anarchy work in society itself. We still need government to transfer the wealth from those who have too much to those who have too little, to make sure important projects get done, and keep territorial humans from screwing over and killing each other."ndash Biafra, Jello (2000), " [http://www.alternativetentacles.com/page.php?page=green Jello Biafra's Statement for Synthesis/Regeneration Magazine] "] Many anarcho-punks vote, and several anarcho-punks, such as Propagandhi, Jello Biafra, and Thought Riothave expressed support for Ralph Naderand the Green Party.
DIY punk ethic
Many anarcho-punk bands subscribe to a "do-it-yourself" ethic. A popular anarcho-punk slogan is "DIY not
EMI," a conscious rejection of a major record company. Many anarcho-punk bands were showcased on the "Bullshit Detector" series of LPs released by Crass Recordsand Resistance Productionsbetween 1980 and 1994. Some anarcho-punk performers were part of the cassette culture. In this way, an attempt was made to bypass the traditional recording and distribution routes, with recordings often being made available in exchange for a blank tape and a self-addressed envelope. The anarcho-punk movement had its own network of fanzines or punk zines which disseminated news, ideas and artwork from the scene. These were DIY productions, tending to be produced in runs of hundreds at most, although there were exceptions such as "Toxic Grafity"sic.The zines were printed on photocopiers or duplicator machines, and distributed by hand at punk concerts and through the mail.
Musical style and asthetics
Generally speaking anarcho-punk bands play fast songs that are less focused on musical delivery than the average punk band is. The message is considered to be much more important than the music [ [http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=77:11374 allmusic ] ] . It is not uncommon for anarcho-punk songs to lack the usual structure of verses and a chorus. One of the bands to take this to the extreme was
Crasswith their release Yes Sir, I Will, a raging and almost free-form improvised musical backing over which the lyrics are shouted. However, there are exceptions to this. For example, later Chumbawumbasongs were more pop oriented and had a pop song structure that made their message more accessible, even gaining chart hits in the process.
With these exceptions, anarcho-punk is stylistically diverse with bands having different musical aesthetics.
Folk-punkbands sometimes perform ballads and traditional folk songs, often with acoustic and folk instrumentation. Already mentioned in "History", some bands could even be considered indie rock, such as The Weakerthans, Blyth Poweror Nation of Ulysses. Some members also play in indie rock or pop acts, such as Oi Polloi's drummer, Murray Briggs, going off to play in Aberfeldy.
Some anarcho-punk bands even subvert regular pop song structures, lyrics and pop music conventions either for artistic reasons and also to show how these are part of a repressive system of production and culture.Fact|date=July 2008
Some members of the anarcho-punk movement distinguish themselves from the rest of the punk subculture by adapting
punk fashionto represent their political beliefs. Anarchist symbols and slogans are common elements of anarcho-punk dress. Following the example of Crass, some anarcho-punks dress entirely in black, as well as wearing militaryapparel ( combat boots, bullet belts, military surplus clothes] ). Some anarcho-punks avoid leather, usually as an expression of vegetarianism or veganism, or other similar ideals. Other anarcho-punks such as Jello Biafraof the Dead Kennedyshave embraced the "anti-fashion" ethos that was prevalent in the early hardcore punkscene. However, other anarcho-punks and anarcho-punk bands have drawn on other fashion traditions. For example, Nation of Ulyssesdrew heavily on the dress of 1970's soul bands and politicised street gangs, like the Vicelords. Anarcho-punk music is popular with some anarchist skinheads, and some punk fashion influences have crossed over into the Punk-Skinheadsubculture.
Geoff Eley- "Do It Yourself Politics (DIY)", "Forging Democracy: The History of the Left in Europe, 1850-2000", chapter 27: "The Center and the Margins: Decline or Renewal?". Oxford University Press, 2002. ISBN 0-19-504479-7 p. 476-481.
* Ian Glasper - "The Day the Country Died: A History of Anarcho Punk 1980 to 1984" (Cherry Red publishing, 2006 ISBN 978-1901447705)
* Craig O'Hara - "Philosophy of Punk: More Than Noise" (
AK Press, 1999 ISBN 978-1873176160)
* George Berger - "The Story of Crass" (London: Omnibus Press 2006, ISBN 1-84609-402-X)
Anarchism and the arts
List of anarcho-punk bands
List of anarchist musicians
List of subcultures
* [http://www.gb0063551.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/anarchopunk/ Photographic archive of anarcho-punk bands]
* [http://www.uncarved.org/music/apunk/index.html A critical look at anarcho-punk] Links to a series of articles and interviews on the subject.
* [http://www.kansan.com/stories/2005/apr/27/features_kulture_counterculture/ Development of punk and counterculture in a college town]
* [http://libcom.org/library/letter-on-animal-liberation-gilles-dauve Giles Dauve's Letter on Animal Liberation from the Libertarian Communist Library Archive] On Animal 'Liberation' and the connection (or lack there of) between Punk, Anarchism and Revolution.
* [http://www.minimovies.org/crass/ Crass Documentary Trailers & download]
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