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greengalloway

As all that is solid melts to air and everything holy is profaned...

Friday, October 27, 2017

Crass: innocent skinheads brutally attacked





Transcript of Crass statements printed in Kill Your Pet Puppy issue 1 , January 1980.

The first is the response by Crass to the notorious Persons Unknown benefit gig 7 September 1979. It is two pages long. The second is a response by Crass to the cancellation of a later gig booked for the Conway Hall.

The first one is rather strange since in it Crass pin the blame for the violence on the politicisation of punk by Rock Against Racism.

Several weeks ago RAR issued a letter to everyone in the music business demanding action  against BM/NF. On the surface it might have seemed a good idea, but take a closer look and it becomes clear that RAR are just moving in for the kill. They recommend the vetting of audiences at gigs, claim the right to throw out anyone with whom they might disagree, demand the right to assert their ideas at gigs but prevent the ideas of others, they are even preparing a folio of mug shots of people they believe should be ‘dealt with’. GREAT so much for anti-fascism. (We were asked by RAR to play on a truck outside the last Rock against Communism gig, we refused to do so, if RAR feel they have the right to promote their political ideology, they have no right to prevent others  from promoting theirs. Both communism and fascism have been responsible for worldwide slaughter, is one any better than the other?) POGO ON A NAZI is a blatant call to violence…. 

By the time the second response was issued the anti-RAR ranting had disappeared- the planned gig was cancelled due to conditions imposed by the Greater London Council not, Rock Against Racism.

For more, see previous post  http://greengalloway.blogspot.co.uk/2017/10/crass-freedom-of-will.html

RAR = Rock Against Racism
BM= British Movement
SWP = Socialist Workers Party
NF = National Front


YOU NAME, WE’LL COP IT

Rather than being broken up by the BM as reported in most papers, our last gig at the Conway Hall was stopped by an invasion by a group claiming SWP affiliation (they have since become known as the Cockney Reds or the Red Mafia). They brutally attacked any skinhead unfortunate enough to be standing around, no one was given their chance to state their political belief and a lot of completely innocent people got hurt.

The stupid assumption that anyone with a shaven head is a fascist is as stupid as saying anyone with long hair must be a communist, it is all bigotry and it only has one outlet- violence.

With absurdly romantic cries of ‘Forward socialist workers’ etc, etc, the attackers proceeded to smash the heads of an opposition they had created in their own minds.

WORKERS UNITE…WHAT A LOAD OF SHIT
There had been rumours all evening that the BM intended to break up our set, there are always rumours at gigs, but only once and for reasons other than our presence, have they actually come about.

(Since our Conway Hall gig the Poison Girls had a gig at Stratford stopped. It is hard to understand why as Poison Girls have always, as we have, remained  in a position of refusing to take sides in the present atmosphere of politics. In music they believe, as we do, that both right and left have exploited and misused the energy of music and made it into a political battlefield.)

Regardless of the what occurs, we believe   that it is OUR PROBLEM.  Not theirs, WE DON’T WANT ANYONE PROTECTING US,  nor however do we want gigs broken up, but we are not prepared to say either, "OK you boys can be our protectors" or "Sorry lads, you can’t come in".

We are attempting as a band and as individuals to find alternatives to the traditional (normally violent) solution to these problems; the siding of left and right has given us nothing but bloodshed. We believe that there are other ways, maybe they won’t work, but we  believe that TRUST is the best starting point and NOT as the political punters believe, policing, restrictions and counter-attacks; we believe that we ARE ALL RESPONSIBLE  and deserve the same treatment.

Why is man’s answer always  the gun, war, prick, always the same, same dominance, dominance, DOMINANCE.

We don’t want the SWP/RAR breaking up our gigs  any more than the BM/NF surely we have enough problems with police, bosses, etc, etc, why do we have to fight amongst ourselves as well? We are victims of an oppressive and unthinking state, slaves to a stagnant and corrupt system, if all we can do is get involved in political in-fighting, what hope is there?

The People of this country, be they right, left, woman, man, white, black etc etc are all prisoners of the same thing … THE SYSTEM.

WE REFUSE TO BLAME ONE SECTOR OF OUR CULTURE FOR THE PRESENT VIOLENCE/ IT WAS RAR THAT BROUGHT POLITICS INTO MUSIC AND IT IS VERY LARGELY THEIR FAULT THAT WE FIND OURSELVES IN THE POSITION WE ARE IN NOW.

A SHORT STORY OF HOW IT IS (if the left one don’t get you then the right one will.)…….

Several weeks ago RAR issued a letter to everyone in the music business demanding action  against BM/NF. On the surface it might have seemed a good idea, but take a closer look and it becomes clear that RAR are just moving in for the kill. They recommend the vetting of audiences at gigs, claim the right to throw out anyone with whom they might disagree, demand the right to assert their ideas at gigs but prevent the ideas of others, they are even preparing a folio of mug shots of people they believe should be ‘dealt with’. GREAT so much for anti-fascism.

(we were asked by RAR to play on a truck outside the last Rock against Communism gig, we refused to do so, if RAR feel they have the right to promote their political ideology, they have no right to prevent others  from promoting theirs. Both communism and fascism have been responsible for worldwide slaughter, is one any better than the other?)

POGO ON A NAZI is a blatant call to violence, at the first anti-Nazi carnival the organisers  told the rallying  masses to deal with Nazis "smash them into the ground", creative thinking by the great liberators! Suddenly anyone professing anything but leftists ideals was a potential victim for the ‘smash’em’ campaign, no matter if you never thought about it if you weren’t with RAR you had to be a ‘No Fun Nazi’ and if you didn’t like reggae (forget the sexist, religious wrap) if you didn’t like it you were a fascist pig.



Rock against fascism/ gays against Nazis/ women against fascism /skateboarders against… midwives against… against… against etc. etc.  WHAT ELSE?

WHITES AGAINST RACISM?
The RAR star became the platform ticket to instant approval, no matter if the train was a cattle truck, who cared if you beat the wife, banked with Barclays, took weekly confession, if you wore the star you were AOK…know what I mean?

Leftist whites got together with liberal blacks to confront racism, they achieved nothing; the blacks dropped away and the whites were left with guilt , paranoia and conspiracy theories. Almost single handed RAR has given an almost laughable british fascist movement legitimacy, the nation showed what it thought of the NF in the last elections, but, undaunted RAR persist, along with back-up from ANL and SWP in promoting the ridiculous ‘fascist takeover theory’, more, one suspects out of its recruitment potential than a genuine belief it might happen. It will take more than the NF or SWP to break through the British tradition of liberalism.

BOTHER BIG BROTHER…….
At its start, punk was a cry for anarchy and freedom, it was individuals doing their own thing, then the organised left moved in with RAR and once had what been once OUR playground became THEIR battlefield, the troops wore gaily coloured stars and anyone else retreated into confusion and sometimes anger.

Why had THEY chosen to make punk political, yes the Pistols had spoken about anarchy, but that was not POLITICS, it was PEOPLE; who cares a fuck about Marx, Hitler, Stalin, the whole fucking lots of them? What did any of them ever do for us?  All at once everything became either left or right, you had to be one side or the other… WELL THEY CAN FUCK OFF because we and a lot of other people AREN"T EITHER  and DON"T INTEND TO BE.

Wasn’t it supposed to be OUR music?  The music of the people? Suddenly it was THEIRS again, not the big business boys again but the POLITICOS, not the capitalist overlord but the socialist one. BIG BROTHER RAR is here to sell OUR music with THEIR message. Yet for all the propaganda and badges, nothing has been achieved but a terrible division of youth and the mindless violence that goes with that. You either supported the RAR/SWP angle or you were a ‘fucking Nazi’; no wonder there is violence at gigs now.

If people had fascist tendencies at the start of the RAR offensive  they at last had an enemy to fight and now we are all taking the punches. Meanwhile the black community stilly have to deal with lousy housing, shitty jobs, etc, etc plus the revitalised hatred of the right. Those that weren’t really interested either way wore the RAR star, because it was safer that way, it isn’t anymore and the stars have all but disappeared.

For those that sought their own way of dealing with the shit  there was the battle against  the increasingly aggressive  demands of the left to ‘play the game or pay the cost’. So RAR had moved in, they politicised punk, divided the audience and now they are demanding
Further division, they are demanding that the ‘opposition’ be eliminated.

When punk started we were ALL enjoying the party, then RAR gate crashed and now they are throwing their weight around at people they don’t like the look of…the sound of socialist free speech…GREAT! So here we are again, no gigs, fucking stupid battles raging between left and right, we’ll OK, let them get on with it, but WHY are those  that want NOTHING to do with it being caught in the cross fire?

We are ANARCHISTS because we think politics are a load of shit. We are sick to death of being told what to do by police/ teachers/ army/ preachers/ politicians/ THE WHOLE FUCKING LOT OF THEM. They don’t care  one fuck about US…

RAR is an organisation that PRETENDS to CARE about racism; WHAT DOES IT DO TO HELP? IT is nothing more than a front for political power games. BM is an organisation that PRETENDS to care about the BRITISH people; what does it do to help? It is nothing more than a front for political power games. RAR pretends to care and we all get the bottle for it.

We are tired of boring old farts sounding us out to do the dirty work, it doesn’t matter if it is a fascist takeover or a communist one  IT WILL BE THE SAME YOUNG MEN THAT DIE IN EVERY WAR THAT WILL HAVE TO FIGHT THE BATTLES…

WHY DON"T WE JUST TELL THEM TO FUCK OFF AND FIGHT THEIR OWN BATTLES…WHY SHOULD YOUNG PEOPLE DIE FOR THE WHIM OF FUCKING GOVERMENTS?



Right/ here we are again, out on the street/ the second time a Conway Hall gig has been cancelled and for us , the last time /we’ve  played three gigs here/ arranged six/ one fucked up/ two cancelled / count one that never even got beyond planning/7/

This gig was to have been out apology for last time, we’d hired three films for the breaks, got hold of a massive parachute to lower the ceiling  and make the place a bit warmer, made huge posters to stick around the wall, got Epilectics to come out of hiding again, the Poisons had new material that they had not used in London and we had our new set together.

We had also gone through two weeks of discussions as to whether we should employ security, we had decided to do so to protect the audience  from the kind of attack that occurred last time. We were happy that the people we had got for the job we’re not going to start knocking around anyone  and that their job was purely to protect  the audience from outside attack.

The question of security has always been a hard one, if people have different views to each other it would seem like a good thing. When it spills into violence  be it verbal or physical violence  it would seem to be fucking stupid.

We have all got a right to what we want to think but NO ONE has got a right to make us think THEIR way. So, the idea of security was to see that this didn’t happen, we think it would have been a good gig, (for the record it would have been 50p entrance).

THEN two days before the gig was meant to be on and after the music press was on the bookstalls the GLC made a series of demands  on the Conway Hall that made it impossible for us to play… SO HERE WE ARE BACK ON THE STREET AGAIN WITH NOWHERE TO PLAY.

A combination of trouble we have had with gigs  and our attitude to the music business as a whole  has made it almost impossible for us to play in London and DON’T THEY JUST LOVE IT?

It all seems so fucking stupid , we’ve tried to put on cheap, good gigs; we’ve tried to offer something that isn’t a political poison in a sugar coating; we’ve tried to redirect whatever cash we made at gigs towards helping the promotion of peace etc, or helping fanzines, or whatever, and here we are BACK ON THE STREET.

Yes of course we can play at the Music machine and you can pay £2.50 for the pleasure of getting knocked on the head by the bouncers for daring to pogo;;; FUCKING GREAT.

Yes, you are right, we’ll probably find another place, like we found the Conway Hall, and what will happen next? Probably the first one will be OK and then the politicos will hear that we had a good time, like we have had in the past at the Conway, and then they’ll be around to fuck us all up.

We’ll get the weekend anarchists as well, they’re the ones who think its fun to smash a few mirrors  and throw glasses at motorists outside. The ones that don’t understand that anarchy means thinking for yourself, not letting other people tell you who or what you are meant to be, but realising that your life is yours and no one has the right and that YOU RESPECT OTHER PEOPLE IN THE SAME MANNER.

Fuck it is it, really that difficult to get one evening sorted out together. CAN’T WE FORGET THE FUCKING DIFFERENCES FOR ONCE?

What a fucking mess. Conway Hall was a good place to meet, a good place to talk about what we have all been doing  and a good place to play… it isn’t any wonder that so many bands sell out.. YEAH … and see you folks on RSG, know what I mean?

So what was to have been a really good night is a wash out and we we’re all ON THE STREET AGAIN.

If you do see us advertised to play some commercial gig it will either be untrue or someone has allowed us to play there on OUR conditions and if we can’t find anywhere…

WE’LL BE BACK ON THE STREET AGAIN. DON’T THEY ALL JUST LOVE I? IT ALL SEEMS SO FUCKING STUPID.


Finally here is how The Leveller magazine reported the event in October 1979. Top right hand corner it does include a quote from Penny Rimbaud again blaming RAR and ANL (Anti- Nazi League) for 'polarising' punk audiences.



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