GREY MATTER: UNITY
[Originally published: Issue #3, circa 1987]
By Paul of the band LÄRM
Unity is a word you hear a lot these days, and personally, I’m pro-unity ’cause I truly believe that united we’re stronger and united we can win and really change things while divided we fall and lose.
Still, I have my criticism on certain forms of unity or how people interpret it.
Let me explain.
In my opinion, there are many wrong and stupid things happening under the flag of unity here in Europe and also in the U.S.A. You
see punks and bands unite with let’s say Nazi punks/skins, right-wingers, etc. all in the name of unity. Let’s be kind to each other, stand together.
Yeah, great bro, or so it sounds. Sorry, but I can’t be friends or unite with racists, right-wingers, sexists, Raabo-lovers, etc. No way. I won’t compromise or sell out my own ideals or views just for unity’s sake.
But you actually see this happen – let’s unite and forget our political/ideological differences, just put that aside and stand together. I don’t like that! I can’t stand shoulder to shoulder with someone who hates blacks or someone who thinks girls have no rights or a supporter of Reagan or Rambo, ’cause I would wonder against who do we stand together? Myself?
Unity would become an empty phrase then, and that’s not what it’s supposed to be. In my opinion, it also means solidarity, love, caring, and sharing. But how can you do that with a racist or a right-winger? They have such opposite ideas toward a better world. Their ideal world is certainly not mine!
For example, I know a bunch of sexists who are into UNIFORM CHOICE and YOUTH OF TODAY, and they always speak about unity. But I can’t stand with sexist punks, so I have to make a choice. And I choose my ideals/views! And I think that bands who sing about topics like unity and taking a stand should make more clear what they mean with that. Do they include racists? Think!!!
Now a lot of readers will say, “You just want people to think the same as you.” Well, that’s not really true because I would never tell peoole how to think, act, or live. I just say my opinion.
But deep in your mind and heart you have ideas aoout what’s right and wrong, personal feelings, political views, and things you truly believe in. And one of those things is punk/hardcore. And to me, punk was always a rebellious thing with its roots in left-political movements (anarchisy, socialism, etc.). So I think Nazis, racists, sexists, and conservative types don’t belong in it. I, as a punk, have always considered these people as my enemies, not as my friends, and that’s why I would never unite with them.
If you don’t agree with me, well that’s your choice! I only want you to ask yourself – which side are you on? What does unity mean to you? And for what kind of world are you fighting for?
Then there’s another thing about unity; united scenes, crews, or whatever. Don’t misunderstand me, if your scene is united that’s fine by me. But it’s NOT if within the scene/crew there are conformist rules. Then you’re just a clique, an elite, or even worse, a gang.
In my eyes, unity is not limited to certain areas – bands, cities, scenes, etc. It must be more.
We must work towards a nation-wide form of unity, or even global unity! Now you see a lot of “unity” concentrated around certain bands (7 SECONDS crew, U.C. crew, Suicidal Army, K-Town Mosh Crew, Shake Gang, etc.). Is this real unity? Or an elite of good friends? Or just plain conformity?
Personally, I’ve found that this kind of unity leads to narrow-mindness. You get stupid things like punks from one united crew fighting punks from another united crew. If that’s unity, count me out! And you can see the same things with united scenes. Of course there are scenes that work together, but I don’t think that’s happening enough.
Actually I think we also must unite with non-punks – people who think the same as us and also want to change things.
A lot of punks just don’t like to work with people who don’t like punk/HC. Well I think that’s stupid if music is the barrier for real unity because if we REALLY want to change things and if we REALLY want a world of unity, solidarity, sharing, caring, love, peace, and freedom, we have to work together with other people, such squatters, students, commies, anarchists, etc. In some places in Holland, it did work!
If you REALLY want to take a stand, you must look further than your own little scene or crew. It’s about time we turn our slogans about unity into real action because words are not enough!!!
So next time you scream for change and unity, think about what you mean with that, because as I said before, unity is not just within a scene or being good friends with everybody. You must draw a line and decide which side you’re on. And don’t get involved with Nazis, racists, sexists, patriots, right-wingers, etc. Well, at least that’s what I think. If you agree or don’t, please write.
Thanks for reading!!!