A spectre is hanging over the punk and Oi! scenes; the spectre of fascism. Back in the 80s, neo-Nazi bands such as those involved with Blood & Honour and Rock Against Communism enjoyed a brief spell of easy living, before they were rightly kicked out of the scene and forced further underground. Since then they’ve had to plan gigs in secret, not releasing details of the venues until the last minute to avoid further reprisals from committed anti-fascists.
Until now, that is. The same old faces that plagued the scene back in the 80s are back, except this time they’re being a bit sneakier about it. They’re in new bands, marketing themselves as ‘Real Oi!’, and claiming to be ‘non-political’, but you only need to scratch the surface to find out the truth. Many of these bands still attract the same sieg-heiling nutjobs that they did back in their heyday. Their views haven’t changed. Hiding behind ‘patriotism’, they protest immigration and multi-culturalism, embrace far-right political figures from Enoch Powell all the way up to Hitler, and call for the dominance of the white race.
To add an extra layer to this already concerning problem, there has also been a rise in the number of ‘fence-sitting’ bands. These are the bands who whilst not fascists themselves, will happily share stages with bands that are. They again cry “No politics!”, but these people need to realise that anti-fascism is not a political stance. It is a moral one.
The fact that Nazi bands and their Nazi fans feel comfortable enough to try and worm their way back into our scene is indicative of fundamental failings within the anti-fascist movement. We’ve become too complacent, and it’s time to step it up a gear. The glory days of Anti-Fascist Action may be long behind us, but we need to draw on those experiences to prepare ourselves for this new fascist invasion.
We can start by boycotting the bands themselves, both the fascists and the fence-sitters. Who wants to go and listen to Nazi or Nazi-friendly music anyway?
In addition, we also need to be boycotting the venues who are happy to host these bands. If you see a gig advertised with a dodgy band on the line-up, contact the venue to politely let them know what that band stands for. Sometimes it’s just a case of the venue being unaware, and once made aware and provided with evidence, they will pull fascist bands from line-ups. However, if they still go ahead with the gig despite being made aware that they’re hosting dodgy bands, then it’s time to boycott that venue.
In more militant terms, fascist attacks on anti-fascists/anti-racists are increasing. We need to face this by being prepared to physically defend ourselves and to use force to once again rid our scene of fascists. It’s ugly, and it’s unfortunate, but it’s necessary. Hitler himself said that the only way the rise of the German Nazi Party could have been prevented was if its enemies had realised what it really was at the start and smashed it in its infancy with utmost force. This is how we defeated the fascists in the 80s and this is how we will defeat them again. There is no room for complacency or fence-sitting here. We need to take action and we need to do it now.