I have decided to write this because I think it is important to lay out exactly why I have left a subculture that I have been a member of for over thirty years. This will be a warning to those who want to enter the subculture; the truth as to what is going on within it right now. I know I am not alone in this and that there are others who feel that the subculture is heading down a road in which there is no return; protecting those who have an ideology that wishes harm onto others within the subculture.
First I am going to give a history lesson as to what I went through and witnessed back in the late 80’s and the early 90’s as to show exactly where I am coming from. Back then I lived in the San Francisco East Bay and there was a sizeable and well known group of neo-Nazis called the WAR (white aryan resistance) skinheads. Led, and created, on the US West Coast by the now dead Tom Metzger their goal was to push their way into punk spaces and take them over. As you can imagine this did not go well for the WAR skins because the punks and SHARPS(skinheads against racial prejudice) fought them every step of the way and eventually drove them completely into extinction. However, there were some spaces that they were more successful, and that would be the alternative clubs in which the emerging goth scene morphed out of.
The Twilight Zone was an all ages alternative club in Alameda in the San Francisco East Bay and it ran from around 1987 to late 1992. Unfortunately it had a bit of a WAR skin problem. I was tiny back then and weighed 110 lbs soaking wet and I had a good sense as to what I should and shouldn’t do in such circumstances. You have got to understand just how violent the WAR skins were; they had actually killed people of colour in Portland Oregon and in Olympia Washington. So, they wouldn’t have hesitated to beat the shit out of me if I had confronted them on my own and nobody at that club probably would have stopped them because they simply couldn’t be bothered to do the right thing. Because of all of this I started to stay away from there and attended 924 Gilman, the punk club in Berkeley, instead.
924 Gilman has always been a volunteer run club and the dude who headed it at that time was African American. I, and others, told him what was going on at The Twilight Zone and he actually listened to us and took what we said seriously. Everybody at Gilman had experience dealing with the WAR skins. In fact I witnessed the whole club emptying out one time, chasing them down the street and then beating the crap out of them. So, he and some others, showed up one night at The Twilight Zone and just sat there as a group; watching and waiting. Since there were obviously no cell phones back then I think somebody went to a payphone, called up the WAR skins and told them to not show up that night. In fact the WAR skins never showed up there again because of this show of force. That is all the WAR skins understood, there was no talking to them because it was useless.
So, when I see literal white nationalist sympathizers such as Madi Danger being accepted as a ‘force of good’ within the goth subculture I understandably get upset. We went through this shit over thirty years ago and nothing was learned from it? Nothing was even learned from the whole Sonsombre incident? Some are calling me a hypocrite because I originally had defended Brandon Pybus of Sonsombre. However, the moment all of the evidence against him was brought together in an cohesive manner on video I stopped supporting the band, destroyed all of their merch and I even made a public apology on this blog about it. That is what adults do; apologize when they are wrong. The HUGE difference between the two scenarios is that white nationalist sympathizers, such as Madi Danger, knew exactly what kind of band Burzum was from the very beginning. They didn’t just stumble upon Burzum, they made a concerted effort to listen to them and support them.
The major reason I have decided to leave the subculture is because of all of this. I cannot in good conscience be a member of a subculture that excuses these kind of beliefs away as if they are nothing more than a bothersome mosquito. Anybody with a pair of eyes can see that there has been a HUGE uptick of racist white nationalists entering the subculture lately. Those who choose to ignore it and say nothing are just as horrible in my opinion. There is a saying that is very apt right now. If there are ten people sitting at a table hanging out with a Nazi then there are actually eleven Nazis sitting at that table. You are the company that you keep.
Another reason why I am leaving is because of the do nothing attitude that is very prevalent in the subculture right now when it comes to kicking out rapists, racists and various other pieces of shit. Even though there has been documented proof that bands such as She Wants Revenge and Bella Morte have sexual predator members within them they are still booked for shows and people still pay to see them. Complaints are still being made against people such as DJ Panic. He is allowed to be a booker and promoter of shows in the Washington DC area despite credible allegations of mental abuse, among other things. I had run-ins with that asshole twenty years ago and it fucking sickens me that people still refuse to lift a finger to stop him.
The final reason I am leaving is because of all of those who talk the talk but straight up refuse to walk the walk when their help is needed. I left the Sounds & Shadows community on Facebook the other day because quite frankly I can no longer take the bullshit excuses as to why some people there refuse to lift a finger to challenge the rise of racist white nationalists within the subculture. Afraid that it might hurt the feelings of others? Do you know what? Fuck the feelings of racist white nationalist sympathizers and the people who coddle them. The thing that pushed me over the edge in that community? When one of the people in charge there got pissed off at me for tagging them in a post on my Facebook page all about how the band Ashes Fallen was supporting Madi Danger. There were screenshots and yet I am the bad person for pointing this crap out? How dare I prove my case! How…dare…I? Apparently staying friends with people who have very questionable morals is more important than supporting antifascists. Go figure.
I have MS so my health has actually been negatively affected by the stress of all of this crap going on. My health and life are more important than those of racist white nationalist sympathizers and those protecting them so I am bowing out. The paradox of tolerance states that once the intolerant are tolerated within a group of people the intolerant will quickly take over said group. That is what is happening right now to the subculture. I will still listen to and support certain bands, but I refuse to take an active part in a subculture who thinks so little of protecting its most marginalized members.