A documentary by Zilla Minx of Rubella Ballet featuring women punk rockers, journalists, authors and photographers. This film includes interviews with Poly Styrene & her bodyguard, Mary, Gee Vaucher, Eve Libertine, Gay Black, Vi Subversa, Julie Burchill, Caroline Coon (manager of Slits & The Clash), Zillah Minx, Helen Of Troy and more.
And here, on the other end of the spectrum, is Crass, one of the most essential bands of the UK Anarcho-Punk scene (though I’d also recommend Conflict, Flux of Pink Indians, Antisect, and my personal favorite, Subhumans). Crass is one of those bands that’s remembered best for everything except their music. Which is a shame, because I’ve never heard a Crass record that wasn’t a helluva lot of fun to listen to.
Addendum: I remember reading an interview with Stza Crack, and he was asked whether he preferred Crass or The Clash. It was a tough choice. He finally admitted that he would have picked The Clash earlier in life (they were by far the superior band, musically speaking at least), but in terms of advancing the culture of Punk—the progressive politics, the DIY ethic, the anti-authoritarian and anti-commercial stance, et cetera—Crass wrote the fucking book. Sometimes there is a lot more to music than just the music.
I won’t burden you with my problems, but this song meant a lot to me when I left the Army and found that nobody wanted to hire me, or even grant me an interview. I remember thinking: I’m a veteran, I’ve got a bachelor’s degree, I’ve got years of work experience and a list of glowing references on my resume—what kind of country would let me go hungry? Isn’t this supposed to be America?
But I’m obsolete now. I’m one of the 99%.
Which is why it pisses me off when the Fox News crowd ignores or belittles the Occupy Wall Street movement and similar protests. They want you to believe that the protesters are just a gang of halfwit agitators. They aren’t. They’re patriotic citizens who still believe that America should live up to what they were promised in their grade school civics classes: a classless nation where everyone gets a fair shake, and everyone willing and able to work can earn a living—not just survival but a living, that American Dream you’ve heard so much about.
That isn’t the country we’re living in today, is it? But it’s the kind of country we can have if we’re willing to fight for it.
Read your history books—or rather, read between the lines, past the hype that masquerades as history—and you’ll see that the bastards in charge never gave anything away for free. You’ve got to earn Freedom, and you don’t do that by putting on a uniform and following orders—you do it by making yourself heard, by raising your voices so loud that the bastards can’t ignore you. As a veteran it shames me when people thank me for “fighting for us,” because I know damn well that we actually fought for OPEC and KBR and Halliburton and scores of bankers and chickenhawk politicians. You want to know who’s really fighting for your freedoms? More often than not it’s some kid with a bullhorn, or a laid-off factory worker waving a sign, or an overworked and underpaid nurse who’d rather risk her job by going on strike than let her bosses continue to shortchange her and her coworkers and her patients. Your truest defenders are the protesters who have such a deep and abiding faith in Democracy that they’re willing to leave home and stand in the rain and risk arrest or another beating from the cops, just for the chance to be heard. Those are your real heroes.
If you want to fight for your country, I suggest you pick up a sign and walk downtown. And I can promise that you won’t be alone.