Sober Living for the Revolution: Hardcore Punk, Straight Edge, and Radical Politics

REVIEW – Sober Living for the Revolution
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And, as Graeber has pointed it out, activists who participate in demonstrations against global summits agree with this view. The challenge however is to come up with ways to overcome the disconnect between middle class activists who tend to be the brains behind demonstrations against global summits and poor and oppressed communities.

Graeber does not convincingly explore this particular issue in this book. And, in my opinion, this is the main weakness of the book.

Nevertheless, the book remains a very important contribution to the study of global justice movement. It is the most comprehensive account of what issues activists consider and argue about when planning street protests against global summits. References Michael Albert. The trajectory of change: Activist strategies for social transformation.

Boston: South End Press. Contact: majavums AT gmail. This edited volume takes up the challenge of creatively thinking through the analytical issues emerging from these changes. Focusing on the fascinating case of South Africa, it draws attention to how these innovations in media practice and communication affect notions of citizenship in a post-revolutionary society torn between tendencies towards authoritarianism on the one hand, and the renegotiation of notions of movement activism on the other.

The book is primarily targeted at scholars and students in communication and media studies. As the discussion is chiefly about South Africa, students, media professionals or activists dealing with this country will find it most interesting but it also contains valuable information and debates that will be of interest to people from other African countries. For scholars from industrialized countries the book will be extremely helpful in understanding how new media practices can have transformative impacts even under conditions of sometimes very limited internet access and resource scarcity.

The book is divided into two parts. The second section discusses diverse forms of community media — radio, television and newspapers — and their economic, political and cultural underpinnings in post- apartheid South Africa. The first section starts with a systematic review of existing approaches to new technologies and citizen journalism by Hayes Mawindi Mabweazara.

He also synthesizes these approaches into a more comprehensive framework encompassing professional imperatives as well as social organizational, cultural and political factors that shape the possibilities and constraints in the deployment of new technologies p. In reality, however, the practice of citizen journalism is contingent upon the perception of its functions and meanings by different actors in the media sector. In this context, the differences but also intertwinements of citizen journalism and traditional journalism as discussed in several contributions are significant: Amongst traditional media organizations there are tendencies to absorb citizen participation into classical formats e.

The authors emphasize that this may undercut the emancipative potentials of citizen journalism in constructing counter- publics and in reconfiguring the interface of democracy and the public sphere by weaving horizontally instead of top-down organized webs of communication.

Hardcore Punk, Straight Edge, and Radical Politics

Mabweazara also points to the need of adapting existing, mostly Western, research agendas to African realities, particularly with regard to access to technologies and political conditions. The chapter by Dumisani Moyo on SMSing and citizen journalism in Zimbabwe addresses these such specificities in a particularly lucid way. Here, because of extreme poverty and the political repression of most mass media, SMSing became a primary means of building up a counter-public in the wake of the elections and the withholding of its results by the regime.

Instead of private information, SMS became widely shared news sources pointing to the public use of supposedly private mobile phones. What matters is that the notion of citizen journalism ties in strongly with specifically African cultural traditions of orality, in which the use of public places by ordinary citizens for face- to-face debates on politics often served to challenge print- or emission-based publics.

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Interestingly, in social contexts where traditional professionalized mass media rarely constitute hegemonic formations, citizen journalism may therefore be much less of a novelty than elsewhere. These discussions skilfully rehearse seminal scholarly interventions such as those by Bayley et al. As they appear in many chapters, they sometimes become redundant, which is a pity if one reads the whole book but helpful if one uses selected chapters for course work.

This becomes a somewhat dry exercise at times, especially because of the tendency to assemble lofty criteria for community media only to find out that the cases under consideration rarely meet them. What is much more interesting are the ways in which the notion of community is rendered political by its deployment in political discourse and practice.

Ku and Khwe in the Northern Cape province through vernacular programming. Simultaneously, this was no community radio at all as none of the structural criteria ownership, decision-making, public participation in content generation was met. In the contribution on community newspapers by Thalyta Swanepoel and Elanie Steyn, the political and structural meanings of community almost evaporate as it is equated with locally or geographically limited readership while the great majority of the community newspapers under consideration are owned by big media corporations.

Little mention is made of how such newspapers may contribute to the challenging of power relations. It also seems, however, that its own shortcomings point to greater gaps in research practice. One major problem is the apparent lack of a methodological agenda. A fair share of the contributions that are based on empirical research are rather descriptive and the sociological and political significance of some of the new media practices e.

This, in turn, makes it difficult for the reader to grasp the political dimensions of these media transformations and, by implication, their role in facilitating social movement activism. As most authors rightly state, for most alternative media groups the end of apartheid in came as a watershed leaving them not only with little resources and foreign funding but equally importantly with questionable legitimacy.

The fact that they are part of both the state and of civil society makes it possible for them to criticize government and at once sustain it while blurring the boundaries between power and resistance. Unfortunately, these questions are only touched upon in this volume.

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Skip to main content. Copyright Peace News - See our reprint policy See our privacy policy Disclaimer: the opinions expressed in articles by named contributors do not necessarily represent those of Peace News. She rejects integration. But the arguments the authors raise about the complexities of utopian visions are certainly clear, and relevant to contemporary movements. What is it trying to communicate? His aim is to illustrate what sort of issues activists argue about when planning such demonstrations. For me there were two common threads within the collection that I think are worth highlighting in a little more detail—how memory and tradition are constantly reworked within social movements and the relationship between hope and radical thought.

This means that it is less valuable for those who want answers to these questions but extremely valuable for those looking for an analysis of media practices in terms of context information and for analytical tools to engage in further research themselves. Understanding Alternative Media.

Contact: marian. Sober living for the revolution: hardcore punk, straight edge, and radical politics. He interviews participants, includes manifestoes, and compiles an introduction situating this movement emerging from s hardcore punk. Five sections comprise this collection. Introduction Kuhn notes his decision to expand sXe coverage beyond white, male, American contexts which dominate conventional media. Radicals tend to dismiss the movement as dogmatic, exclusive, and privileged.

However, Kuhn acknowledges his focus aims at politics, not sobriety or culture. Bands Ian MacKaye logically begins the interviews. That is, the choice remains for the punk to think through the ramifications of this pledge. These encourage selfishness, blurring awareness of the present moment.

They also diminish willpower, break down defences, and weaken potential for positive change. But, as a movement, sXe contained its own dogmatic danger. This intolerance within sXe sparked a backlash from the hardcore scene, as violence among supporters and deniers led to sensationalist treatment from political activists and the mainstream media.

The straight line equals common equality.

Sober Living For The Revolution: Hardcore Punk, Straight Edge And Radical Politics

Food, water, air remain, with sex as the imperative for survival. ManLiftingBanner, a Dutch communist band, presents here the clearest allegiance to a standard political philosophy. Many contributors cite them as a major influence. While the U. Scenes This evolution offers a counter-reaction to three earlier sXe stages.

As a political idea, the Straight Edge of ebullient refusal to the decadence of our times is not that of an ascetic anchorite in the badlands of western civilization or of religious purity. Both my Straight Edge and my activism are strongly rooted in this passion, and neither is dependent on whether we will reach this different reality or not. This context may weaken vegan sXe acceptance by European or Latin American radical fellow-travellers drawn to socialist or leftist aspects.

Yet, all two dozen contributors appear to thrive on vegan diets and radical ideologies. However, this affirmation of connections between sXe and radicalism provides an encouraging collection for those seeking exactly this compendium. Manifestos While Refused and Point of No Return in their extensive liner notes produced manifestoes in all but name reprinted earlier in this anthology, a separate section matches three lengthy pamphlets with their authors, who reflect years later upon the impact of their messages.

Under the aegis of Alpine Anarchist Productions, XsraquelX repels conservative punk reactions to veganism with DIY ethics grounded in personal choice rather than ideological duty. For the CrimethInc. While many entries remain worthy for their unstintingly committed determination, the moral tone at such an elevated register, over hundreds of pages of similar-sounding justifications, may weary the less ardent.

Let us brew nothing but trouble! She rejects integration. She seeks utopian space beyond the state or the conventional network of the firm, the market, the press, or the broadcast. Mainstream media will never see underground culture as anything but new, fresh meat to make profits. They are part of a capitalist and consumerist culture of blood-sucking zombies.

They take without giving anything back. This is not a base to build radical movements on. Hurley rejects leftist participation in politics and power.


For all its open- endedness, this concludes this section with a relevant portrayal of how an activist works towards his own truth. He moves from Melville and Turgenev to Tolstoy and Lenin within the context of hardcore; he cites Zapatista liberated zones which have banished alcohol—without appearing pedantic.

He sketches out a nuanced position, that sXe has faltered by its anti-intoxicant and animal rights definition while neglecting the larger struggle against all capitalist exploitation. Gomez does not retreat from his own ideological agreement with abstinence, but he reminds his audience that the imperative fight against oppression endures. Three veteran activists end this collection with their own rallying cries.

Mark Andersen brings the entries back to their Washington D. He champions collectives as a logical foundation for incremental change. This triumph waits, Andersen wraps up this volume, by reaching out beyond sXe. This anthology does preach to the choir.

Within these parameters, the collection succeeds, for what will likely remain a small, but committed audience seeking social and political change by principled transformation of their own appetites and desires and by communal solidarity. Dharma punx: a memoir. San Francisco: HarperOne. Marshall, Peter Related article: One for the Resistance?

Oppression, Anarchism and Alcohol. I think it's clear from browsing this book, how far off the timeline is about the emergence of the Hardline Movement and Vegan Straight Edge generally, and quite frankly the obvious and blatant ignoring of the Hardline Movement's and Vegan Reich's contribution to politics in the Straight Edge and hardcore scene and the very formation of the entire Vegan Straight Edge scene, that the author knows next to nothing about the Hardline Movement and it's origins. He would be well served with reading the interview with Sean Muttaqi in Burning Fight just as a starter.

Nevermind the historical revisionism of the likes of Kurt Catalyst Schroeder on the importance of Hardline in the introduction of comprehensive political and ethical ideas in the straight edge hardcore scenes of the US and Europe. In the Hardline Movement was the only outlet for a comprehensive political and ethical platform in the vegan straight edge scene in the United States In Hardline would be officially disbanded with some ousted members moving on to do more environmental education projects the short-lived Education for a Sustainable Future or ESF , and those that converted to Islam formed the Ahl-i Allah People of Allah and later Taliyah al-Mahdi Vanguard of the Mahdi groups.

Both groups reached out to a greater number of minds than HL, or vegan straight edge for that matter, because it was detached from the hardcore punk scene it had originated in. Both groups have faded quietly partially from governmental pressure and partially from internal strife, but those who were drawn to them have tended to remain directed on the same platform of what HL called the "One Ethic," that all innocent life is sacred and should be liberated from oppression. Disagree as some might with the Hardline Movement's ideology, particularly as relates to sexuality and abortion, it's role in bringing radical revolutionary politics to the forefront of the straight edge scene in the US and in parts of Europe cannot be ignored without being factually and historically inaccurate.

Hardline, in fact, was the only group within the hardcore punk scene that specifically stated it's abstinence from drugs and alcohol were tied to it's politics. Most straight edgers become politicized as a secondary consideration to becoming straight edge. Hardline's purpose in being drug and alcohol free was a reaction to the often drunken stupidity of the anarchist movement and to the lessons learned from past revolutionary groups destroyed by drugs and alcohol.

One could, and probably should, consider Hardline to be something distinct from vegan straight edge and not merely the "more militant" version of vegan straight edge simply because Hardline had a very specific platform and was not a mere sentiment as is vegan straight edge and was indeed an organization with chapters and memberships. Furthermore, to this day there are people all over the world There are numerous kids in European countries starting up new chapters and making discussion groups on MySpace and Facebook for the purpose of rallying around Hardline and these kids have no connection to the Hardliners of the 90s.

I never knew anyone that wasn't inspired by Hardline in part or in whole, even those that disagreed with Hardline's position on sexuality and abortion.

To ignore and mock that is to ignore and mock one of the most important contributions to the politics of the straight edge, especially vegan straight edge, scene. Especially in the US.

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Furthermore, when politics seemed to really fade from US hardcore scene and the vegan straight edge scene shrunk so fast it made your head spin in the late 90s-early s Hi Dave! Take care, Gabriel. I found this to be a great book.

I've always loved PONR politically and musically and really enjoyed reading the parts on them. Only point I didnt really enjoy was the featuring of Man Lifting Banner. While they rightly critiqued right wing, apolitical sxe and hardline; I found them distastefully linked to authoritarian socialism political groups. They were even Russian Revolution fetishists - listening to red army marching songs on the car stereo outside the venue whilst waiting to play a gig.

I believe the vocalist even mentions the authoritarian socialist groups that he was involved in. I think he even mentions that he had travelled over to London to attend a festival held by the SWP. Activists act from below while the SWP try to impose its aims and means from above. These groups, such as the SWP are authoritarian, hierarchical, self serving and in essence counter revolutionary. In short, alot of these socialist groups see us activists and anarchists as the enemy.

Gabriel, You may or may not read this response, as obviously it's been about 13 months since you responded to my first comment on this. I agree, Hardline could have stood to better articulate their positions vis-a-vis abortion and homosexuality in so far as how they would relate to those effected by their views. To my knowledge, which is pretty good, they never used militant language towards homosexuals or threatened violence to homosexuals as a group or as a point of reference for their behavior towards the gay community.

I had never known anyone in that group to have held such views.

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They merely held the belief that homosexuality was contrary to the Natural Order, the authority for which they turned towards Abrahamic traditions and Taoist sexual yoga. Thus the idea that if one wished to join Hardline and consider one's self a Hardliner, homosexual behavior was out of the question. Which went hand-in-hand with their attitude towards sexual licentiousness of any kind.

They did use militant rhetoric regarding abortion, and that was aimed exclusively towards providers when it was employed.

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Which was almost always pretty much tangential to the main thrust of their militant rhetoric, which was animal exploiters, racists and the capitalist system in general. Unfortunately, Hardline suffered from never effectively articulating their message on abortion, how they Legislation would be a hard issue for Hardline to address, being generally against the system. I'm sure there were some, but as an organization I think more important to them was fostering a conception of the sanctity of all innocent life under the "One Ethic. Then again, what can one expect from mostly teenagers?

Who were often responding to equally vehement teenagers who chose to focus on issues that were arguably tangential to the main thrust of Hardline's message. A message that caught on well enough to cause a massive spike in people who considered themselves vegan, straight edge and politically conscious. I don't believe that in the early 90s, heck even today considering some of the totalitarian language employed by vehement anarchists, feminists, etc that anyone would legitimately fit your definition of "working to form egalitarian communities.

The blog you linked to alleging the author s using Hardline in a neofacist context I cannot verify, because it no longer exists. Add to basket. All listings for this product Buy it now Buy it now. Any condition Any condition. See all People who bought this also bought. Non-Fiction Books. About this product Product Identifiers Publisher. Additional Product Features Author s. Show more Show less. Ratings and reviews Write a review. Most relevant reviews. Very Good! Best-selling in Non Fiction See all.