Thursday, July 21, 2016

Do Non-Left Politics Have a Place in Punk Rock? pt 3

Continuing, some right politics are incompatible with ideals that could broadly be applied to punk, which should include the humanity and dignity of everyone.  Without fully diving into that can of worms, extreme nationalism could categorized as such, although nationalism in and of itself isn't necessarily bad.  We championed the sovereignty and identity of the Scots when they voted on the issue of independence, and we celebrate indigenous heritages worldwide, but often malign American pride, which had a firm place in early hardcore.  Warzone, Agnostic Front, and others would be examples of that.  That isn't without its thorns, of course (America has a rough history), but arguably there are some ideals Americans equate with being American that are worthy of a place in the discourse.

Early hardcore and oi often pushed back against anarchism and other strains of Leftist thought in the scene, but I don't think that makes one more "punk" than the other.  Quite to the contrary, both sides embody that spirit of rebellion that makes punk what it is.  Both are taking issue with structures that they feel are unfair, or that misrepresent their interests and the well-being of others.  Furthermore, that tension between the two is absolutely vital to real discussion.  As Noam Chomsky said,

“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum....”

Passivity and obedience, or complacency, is commonplace within any social group, punk included.  Without deviant politics, it's all a sham.  That doesn't mean we allow extremist behavior or thought, but it does mean that we become acquainted with what makes us uncomfortable.  By narrowing the range of views that are socially acceptable, we strangle the life out of the very reason that many of us turned to punk in the first place.  This may take you into ideologically scary territory.  It may have you confront your own logical inconsistencies, biases, and prejudices.  To me, that's perfect.  

This is where the provocateur has its place in punk, no matter what ideological direction it comes from.  Stir the pot, get shit started.  Embrace satire, sarcasm, and shock value.  Without it, we might as well return to the mundane flow of birth-to-death, which is just a waiting game.  

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