Archive for the 'Counterculture & Punk' Category

Prague’s massive Global Street Party action (1998)

czech-cover.pix“It was supposed to be a peaceful demonstration to draw attention to the effects of globalization on the environment. Up to 3,000 people attended the so-called Global Street Party on náměstí Miru on 16 May [1998], which featured music and dancing. The event was organised by Earth First!, Proti proudu/Rainbow Keepers, and the Czechoslovak Anarchist Federation, was authorized by police, and took place peacefully. But in the later afternoon, an estimated 2,000 participants, mostly youths, started an unauthorized march across Prague. Eventually the march wound its way down to Prague’s Old Town. At that point, a smaller group headed off for Wenceslas Square, where some participants started breaking the storefront windows of McDonald’s and KFC outlets in the square and on Vodičkova Street. After violent clashes, the police managed to disperse the crowd. Initially, more than 60 people were detained and 25 of them were charged with breaking the peace and other offenses. A handful of people filed official complaints about police brutality during the arrests. The entire incident, the first of its kind in the Czech Republic, has sparked a debate in the Czech media about the country’s youth and the police’s ability to handle such demonstrations. The following is a selection of articles that appeared in the Czech press after the incident.”

czech street party.pix= = =

from The New Presence: The Prague Journal of Central European Affairs, June 1998, pages 18-19.

RADICAL ARCHIVES note: The 1998 Global Street Parties were Reclaim the Streets actions held around the world. They were one of a number of events that were direct precursors to the Seattle demonstrations against the WTO in November-December 1999. The Prague one is of note for both its size, location in Eastern Europe, and the fact that it was explicitly sponsored by a self-identified Anarchist federation along with semi-anarchist groups.

Notes From Some Portland Anarchists (1999)

pdx @.1.imagepdx@.2.imageNotes From Some Portland Anarchists
#1 April 1999


This broadsheet is the result of a group effort arising from the Portland General Anarchist meetings. While this has come out of those meetings, it does not represent it. At the present our idea is simply to distribute this for use as a resource sheet. In the future we are interested in seeing it grow, to be used as a forum for a Portland anarchist network – a place for groups and individuals to share ideas, as well as information on gatherings and actions. A question that we had to answer at the outset of the project was whether we should try and draw an ideological line between anarchism and the Left in Portland as criteria for selecting items to print – does it even matter? We say it doesn’t. So while all of these groups are not specifically anarchist, they do express anarchist ideals and are part of the larger anarchist milieu in Portland. One more thing that should be noted is that we wrote all of the descriptions that appear below-please contact us if you would like to see things added, subtracted or generally changed in any way.


Sisters of the Road Cafe was founded on three principles: to be a safe public space, to offer nourishing meals that are affordable, and to offer work experience. “The entire community is welcome to eat in this little restaurant and break the myths that say we are so different from one another” – “come on down order, a cup of coffee, order up a meal and sit down with the rest of our customers.” You can also barter for the cup of coffee and the meal – this is based on Oregon’s minimum wage, which is around six dollars an hour. So if you come in and volunteer an hour of your time, you get six dollars credit to put towards a meal. “It ‘s not a dollar, it’s not a wage exchange, it’s an exchange of work for meals in the cafe.” (info from Street Roots, January 1999, v 1, n 1). Phone them or drop in, 133 NW 6th.

Laughing Horse Books Volunteer run collective sells used/new books and periodicals dealing with political theory, environmentalism, labor history, queer, gender, and minority issues. Offers meeting space for local groups. 3652 SE Division – Portland, OR 97202.

City Bikes 1914 SE Ankeny – Portland, OR 97214.  Monday-Friday 11:00am- 7:00pm, Saturday-Sunday 11:00am-5:00pm.

City Bikes Annex Worker owned bike shop. Sells used bikes plus new and used parts. Offers repairs and bike repair classes. 734 SE Ankeny- Portland, OR 97214.

Independent Publishing Resource Center For a small membership fee you get access to a zine library, computers, presses and inks. Everything you need to start a zine or make your own handbills. 917 SW Oak St. #304.

Reading Frenzy Volunteer run. Has a wide selection of independently produced zines, comics, books and pamphlets. Has a good selection of anarchist related materials. 921 SW Oak St – Portland, OR 97205.


Fifth Estate Publishing out of Detroit since 1965 makes this one of the older active anarchist papers. Inside are anarchist views on our national and international social/political/ecological & economic milieu. Available at Laughing Horse Books.

Earth First! Journal The radical environmental journal – or the forum for the no compromise environmental movement. National and international coverage of environmental actions and events from a deep ecology slant, as well as news on the corporate world’s maneuverings to destroy the blue planet in search of a profit. Available at Laughing Horse Books.

Anarchy Magazine (C.A.L. Press – PO Box 466 Columbia, MO 65205-1446) More theory than news. This publication has been around for awhile. Published quarterly and available at Laughing Horse Books.

Slingshot (3124 Shattuck Ave Berkley, CA 94705;  website – Anarchist paper published quarterly by the Longhaul info shop. Provides national focus on the Berkley/San Francisco area. A good read full of anger and humor. Available at Laughing Horse Books.

Portland Alliance (NW Alliance for Alternative Media and Education – 2807 SE Stark St Portland, OR 97214) Local Portland paper covers local/national, and international events with a socialist/leftist slant. Published monthly and distributed around town (Laughing Horse Books, coffee shops, Laundromats). Contains monthly calendar of events.


Cascadia Forest Alliance works to inspire non-violent grass roots involvement in the protection of the forests of Cascadia. Meetings are held on the first and third Wednesdays of each month at 6:30pm at the Activists Resource Center, SW 3’d and Burnside. You can also pick-up a copy of their monthly publication Cascadia Forest Roots there.

Portland IWW (PO Box 15005 – Portland, OR 97293-5005) Local branch of the radical labor movement that’s been agitating for social revolution since 1905. They distribute the Industrial Worker and have weekly meetings on Mondays at 8:00pm.

Anarchist Black Cross (Portland ABC (SG)) – PO Box 40660 Portland, OR 97240; 287-6467) Provides info on political prisoners and encourages support of prisoners through letter writing campaigns and pen pals.

Liberation Collective is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization dedicated to linking social justice movements to end all oppression. Focuses on nonviolent direct action and animal rights. Located at the Activist Resource Center- 2 NW 3rd Ave (corner of 3rd and Burnside) which houses their office and community activist library and low-cost merchandise. Mailing address PO Box 9055 Portland, OR 97207; website Meetings second Tuesday of every month.

Peace and Justice Works (PJW) is a nonprofit corporation whose main purpose is to educate the general public on important issues including but not limited to: peace, justice, the environment, and human rights. Located at the Portland Alliance office – 2815 SE Stark. Mailing address: PO Box 42456 Portland, OR 97242; website

Portland Copwatch, a civilian group (an outgrowth of the People Overseeing Police Study Group) promoting police accountability through citizen action. Publishes People’s Justice Report. Meets the second and fourth Mondays of each month at the King Facility (4825 NE 7tt. – rm. 142) at 7:00pm. Incident report line: 321-5120; website http://www.

Iraq Affinity Group Meets first Tuesday of the month at the P JW office at 7: l 5pm. Protests sanctions on and continuing bombing of Iraq by the US government every Friday in front of the Federal Building (SW 3rd & and Jefferson) 4:00 – 6:00 pm. Website

Portland Central American Solidarity Committee (PCASC) meets the second Wednesday of every month at 7:00pm at WOC office (8th and Burnside). Send mail to: 3558 SE Hawthorne Blvd Portland, OR 97214.

Cross Border Labor Organizing Coalition (CBLOC), a joint effort by PCASC and Jobs With Justice, meets first Wednesday of every month at 7:00pm at 5726 N Missouri. Address and phone same as PCASC.

Portland Jobs With Justice is a coalition of community organizations and labor unions that mobilize for all issues, mainly labor. Steering committee meets first Monday of every month, call for info and the more exciting sub-committees meeting times. Send mail to 815 NE Davis, Suite 200, Portland, OR 97232.

Fair Trade Coalition (anti-MAI) (anti-MAI) meets every second Thursday at 6:30pm at AFSCME, 815 NE Davis, Suite 200 Portland, OR 97232.

Emilio Zapata Anarchist Collective at Reed College – email [only]

Portland Free Mumia Coalition A group of concerned activists educating about the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal and demanding a new trial, as well as issues about the death penalty and political prisoners. Weekly meetings: Sundays, 3:00pm at PSU Smith Memorial Food Court.

Chiapas Urgent Call Education and tabling in support of the Zapatistas (EZLN) in Chiapas, Mexico. Officially recognized by the National Commission in Mexico – the legal, US wing of the movement. English/Spanish co-learning class, Friday at 6:00pm at the Ainsworth United Church of Christ.

Portland Cacophony Society Trouble. Fun trouble. Creating situations and chaos through the provocation and the absurd. Last actions were dressing in postal worker uniforms and going to a gun show soon after postal shooting, and videotaping Santas in the woods shooting stuffed animals. Meetings: last Sunday of every month, 6:00pm-ish at the Alibi (4024 N Interstate), they have a newsletter.


Food Not Bombs Serves free, hot vegetarian (usually vegan) food and groceries to protest militarism and the unequal distribution of wealth. Wednesday: 5:00pm under the Burnside Bridge. Thursday: 5:30pm under the Burnside Bridge. Friday: 5:00pm under the Burnside Bridge, by Max tracks. Saturday: 5:00pm, Park Blocks (Park and Burnside). Sunday: 6:30pm, Park Blocks (Park and Burnside).

Spurcraft has an ongoing free school with classes in math, massage, drawing, foreign languages, yoga, etc. Pick-up a schedule at the Activist Resource Center.

Direct Action/Civil Disobedience Training for groups of 8 or more in preparation of negative developments in Mumia Abu Jamal’s situation. Contact the Portland Free Mumia Coalition.

Critical Mass Mass bike ride to demonstrate/educate about using bikes for daily transportation instead of cars. Meet: last Friday of every month under the Burnside Bridge (on Waterfront Park – by the maze) at 5:00pm.

Send Off/Pre-Birthday Party For Mumia MLK & Prescott, community room of McCoy Building, Thursday, April 22 from 5:00pm to 8:30pm, donations accepted.

Anarchist Reading Group Know your roots. Held every Sunday at 3:00pm at the Activist Resource Center – readings provided.

Portland General Anarchist Meeting

Meets the first Thursday of each month at Laughing Horse Books (email us to make sure of location). Open meetings to discuss current events, actions, and to network and generally share ideas with other Portland Anarchists.

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A snapshot of what was going on in Portland, Oregon directly before the anti-WTO demonstrations in Seattle, which launched the anti-globalization movement. About one-quarter of the blockade groups there came directly from the Portland scene. Despite the dishonest claims of certain academics, the milieu that created those demonstrations was theoretically self-conscious of its political choices, and did not valorize “direct democracy” as a central idea — as this snapshot shows.

R.J. Lambrose – “Chomsky Unplugged” (1996)

As recently as the 1980s, the farthest an academic could make it in the world of popular culture would have been a brief appearance on the Today show to flog a new book. But cultural studies has changed all that. Now that professors have been churning out books and articles about rap, Elvis, and Madonna, the bemused performers are beginning to scratch the occasional academic back, or better, blurb the occasional academic book. Consider, for example, the quotes on the back cover of Michael Eric Dyson’s recent Making Malcolm, from Oxford University Press. In addition to the more predictable endorsements from Cornel West, Angela Davis, Jesse Jackson, and Carol Moseley-Braun, we also hear from Chuck D of Public Enemy: “With the situation getting more hectic, the real troopers come far and few. And with misinformation spreading, it is a necessity to follow Michael Eric Dyson. He’s a bad brother. Check out his new book Making Malcolm by all means.”R-468022-1118177447.jpg

The rappers’ reverence for cultural studies scholars hardly comes as a big surprise; Dyson, after all, testified on behalf of rap music at a congressional hearing in 1994. More startling, however, was the recent report that MIT linguistics professor Noam Chomsky is a major fave with top rock musicians. Rock & Rap Confidential magazine describes Chomsky—the embodiment, we had always thought, of old-fashioned leftist rectitude—as “a quote machine with all the rockers.” Chomsky’s anarchism has also made him a hero to punkers: Bad Religion put an entire Chomsky lecture on the B-side of one of their seven inch singles. And Maximum Rock’n’Roll, a leading fanzine with a circulation of 10,000, reprints Chomsky’s speeches for its Generation X readership. Other tributes abound: In 1994 an Austin-based band called The Horsies did a single they titled “Noam Chomsky.” U2’s Bono has called Chomsky a “rebel without a pause” and “the Elvis of academia.” And Peter Garrett, shaven-headed lead singer for the Australian rockers Midnight Oil, launched into a song called “My Country” at a Boston-area concert by invoking the following trinity: “Thoreau, Noam Chomsky, and…the Hulk!”

The Chomsky connection appears all the more remarkable when one learns more about the linguist’s own rather unusual relationship to mass culture. Because Chomsky can speed-read any document, he apparently grows impatient with the slowness of the fast-forward mode on a VCR. A friend who sought out a Chomsky blurb for a radical video was told by a go-between that the professor might consider wiring an endorsement after he read the script, but he refuses to screen films. He even declined to watch Manufacturing Consent, the documentary about him, and instead insisted the producers give him a transcript. (Unfortunately, he’ll never see Pulp Diction, Quentin Tarantino’s soon-to-be-released homage to Chomsky’s 1965 best-seller, Aspects of the Theory of Syntax.)

All of this raises the intriguing question of whether Chomsky has vetted the rock encomiums to his work. If he has, we would guess that this means that there are now two people who actually read rock lyrics: Noam Chomsky and Tipper Gore.

= = =

Lingua Franca: The Review of Academic Life, May/June 1996, page 10.

Murray Bookchin, in praise of hippie “Youth Culture” and “life-style” (1970)

hip cultureWe must break away from the traditional Marxian outlook, with its limited interpretation of the class struggle, of the motive forces for revolution, and of the revolutionary process, to understand the revolutionary implications of the Youth Culture. …

Nourished by the relative abundance produced by a new, potentially revolutionary technology, young people began to develop a post-scarcity outlook—however confused, rudimentary, and intuitive its forms—that has been slowly eroding the ages-old psychic complicity between oppressor and oppressed—a complicity that had made hierarchy, domination, patriarchy, renunciation, and guilt a condition of the human spirit, not only the institutional and psychological instruments of class-rule and the state. It is difficult to convey what a historic breach this emerging Youth Culture produced in the social desert that was once America. …

The explosion of the Youth Culture shattered this decade-long edifice and its mythology [i.e., the social conformity of the 1950s—RA] to their very foundations and, almost alone, is responsible for the massive alienation that permeates American youth today. For the first time in the history of this country, every verity not only of bourgeois society but of hierarchical society as a whole is now in question. Mere critique of the kind so endearing to the orthodox Marxists might have produced nothing more than a sense of cynical engagement, so similar to Salinger’s young hero in “Catcher in the Rye.” But the Youth Culture went further—into the realm of positive, utopian alternatives. In its demands for tribalism, free sexuality, community, mutual aid, ecstatic experience, and a balanced ecology, the Youth Culture prefigures, however inchoately, a joyous communist and classless society, freed of the trammels of hierarchy and domination, a society that would transcend the historic splits between town and country, individual and society, and mind and body. Drawing from early rock-and-roll music, from the beat movement, the civil rights struggles, the peace movement, and even from the naturalism of neo-Taoist and neo-Buddhist cults (however unsavory they may be to the “Left”), the Youth Culture has pieced together a life-style that is aimed at the internal system of domination that hierarchical society so viciously uses to bring the individual into partnership with his/her own enslavement. …

The Youth Culture has spread from the Haight-Eastside axis into the most remote towns of the United States, areas that no radical movement in the past could have hoped to colonize, disrupting all the time-honored ties, institutions, and values of these communities. Owing to its increasing influence on working class youth, the culture has now begun to rework the labor reserves of bourgeois society itself—the reservoirs from which it recruits its industrial proletariat and soldiers—until recently, perhaps the most intractable element to radical ideas and values.

= = =

Murray Bookchin, “The Youth Culture: An Anarcho-Communist View,” in Hip Culture: 6 Essays on Its Revolutionary Potential; Yippie, Third World, Feminist, Marxist, High School Student, Anarchist (New York: Times Change Press, 1970), 54, 55, 58–59, 60.

RADICAL ARCHIVES NOTE: Bookchin became quite well-known late in life for his scathing attacks on a bogeyman he called “lifestylism”—a ridiculous strawman composed of wildly disparate parts of the early 1990s anarchist milieu, united mostly by the fact that he didn’t like them. But Bookchin’s early, favorable view of the 1960s counterculture made a coherent argument in favor of its potential, and, if it had a failure, it was that it was too uncritical in its assessment.

When Taco Bell Promoted Fanzines (1993)

I’m not sure if it’s easier or harder to believe today, but in 1993 the grunge-driven corporate cooptation of the 1980s underground music scene – now watered down and repackaged as “alternative” – had reached such a level that even fast food was getting into it. Taco Bell issued a paper placemat, apparently based on a piece from Spin, so their customers could familiarize themselves with important aspects of the “alternative” culture, including fanzines.

‘Zines. Now that an entire overqualified-but-unquenched generation is firmly entrenched as self-hating clerical, word-processing, and proofreading drones (just ask Douglas Coupland), everybody’s getting access to office Xerox machines, fax machines, mail rooms, cool computers, etc. Technology has fallen into the wrong hands, and as a result, fanzines are everywhere – thousands of pointless, stapled pages of goo-goo-ga, written for losers by losers. Nor surprisingly, the best of the batch over the past couple years have not been music-intensive. It’s not yet a revolution, but it’s cheaper and more fun than therapy.

It was strange days, indeed.

Taco Bell - back

Taco Bell - front

Ron Asheton on New Order and Rock’n’Roll Nazi Chic

RON ASHETON [ex-Stooges guitarist, 1975]: I’d made contact in L.A. with Dennis Thompson of the MC5 and we put New Order together. I found a backer and guys started filtering in and we found a place to practice. The downside was the trend of music was changing so dramatically that we got caught in the middle of a shit storm. It was disco time, and people weren’t going for the hard-rock shit anymore, so it was like, “Uh-oh, screwed again.” Plus, we’d play gigs in front of my big swastika flag. I wasn’t a Nazi, the flag was just part of my collection . . . I had Jewish girlfriends and black buddies. It had nothing to do with promoting Nazism or condoning it. I just enjoyed flash uniforms. But other people freaked–they were like, “It’s fascist.” New Order didn’t mean to put out a Nazi vibe at all. I knew it was probably a bad idea … how not to get a record deal in an industry run by Jewish people. “New Order? Let’s sign ’em up right now.”

= = =

from Marc Spitz & Brendan Mullen, We Got the Neutron Bomb: The Untold Story of L.A. Punk (New York: Three Rivers Press, 2001), pp. 30-31.

RADICAL ARCHIVES NOTE: Nazi chic probably has a long history in rock’n’roll, especially via biker culture, but this is the first description of band I’ve run across that seemed to have intentionally presented themselves as a Nazi rock group, even if it was cartoonish play. [later RA note: I have since found at least one earlier band.] There is no reason to think that New Order was meant in an ideological way; Asheton’s Nazi fetish is well-known. But the circulation of Nazi imagery and themes in rock’n’roll had gone on at least for a good chunk of the 1970s — so when actual, ideologically neo-Nazi punk bands emerged at the end of the decade, was it really a surprise?

Not one to let sleeping dogs lie, after New Order, Asheton played in a band called New Race.

Interview with Nervous Gender (2015)

Formed in 1978, Nervous Gender was a pioneering queer synth-punk band from Los Angeles. They’re easily identifiable by their aggressive punk sound played on all synths, as well as transgressive sexual subject matter and visual style–the latter which presaged the goth scene. While many post-punk and new wave bands adopted synths soon after, almost none continued in the punk vein that Nervous Gender and the Screamers had originally explored.

The band went through a number of permutations before breaking up after the death of founding member Gerardo Velazquez in 1992. In 2007 the band reformed with old and new members, and I caught up with them in December 2014 after their first-ever show in New York City. We talked about the evolution of the band over the years, as well as former members like Phranc; their relation to the LA “art-damaged” scene as well as to No Wave, industrial, and goth/death rock; the question of fascism, homophobia, and what it meant to be queer in the ’70s LA punk scene; and their mention on the 700 Club.

They have recently remixed their 1981 studio album, and released three live recordings, documenting  different periods of the band, including a 1979 show with Phranc and a 1986 show with Wall of Voodoo members. These can be purchased via their website


Live at Target (Subterranean Records, 1980), compilation with Factrix, uns, and Flipper
Music from Hell (Subterranean Records, 1981)
Live at the Hong Kong Cafe 1979 (Nervous Gender Archives, 2006)
Live at the Whiskey A Go-Go 1980 (Nervous Gender Archives, 2006)
Live at the Roxy 1986 (Nervous Gender Archives, 2006)
Music From Hell, 2009 Remixed / Remastered (Nervous Gender Archives, 2009)
“Gestalt” / “Green Tile Floors” (Test Tube Records, 2011), 7″

This is an edited version of a December 7, 2014 interview at the Box Hotel in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Band photos are from Evil Tracey. Please contact her for reprint permission: eviltracey at yahoo dot com.

SPENCER SUNSHINE: So I’m in Brooklyn with Nervous Gender. What’s the name of everyone in the band today and what’s everyone’s history with the band?

Edward Stapleton

Edward Stapleton

EDWARD STAPLETON: Me and Michael Ochoa are the original members. Joe and Tammy were friends from the very beginning, but they weren’t in the band. [Turns to Joe and Michael] How many years ago did you guys start it up again?

JOE ZINNATO: ‘89? I’ve been in the band since ’89, Tammy’s been in the band about…

TAMMY FRASER: I was just the manager and then I became the fill in…

JOE: Like two years ago?

Michael Ochoa

Michael Ochoa

MICHAEL OCHOA: I had a stroke four years ago.

TAMMY: Was it four?


JOE: So she was in the band for four years

MICHAEL: So I wasn’t able to play, and they had a show, so they got Tammy sucked in.

Joe Zinnato

Joe Zinnato

JOE: Yeah and Tammy actually knows how to play keyboards…

MICHAEL: …which we don’t…

JOE: …and read music, so it was kinda no-brainer. We had a show lined up, so she became our pinch hitter.

SPENCER: So the band has an odd history. The original form was between ‘79 to ‘89, and then Gerardo—this is what I read online—had a trio from ‘90 to ‘92.

Tammy Fraser

Tammy Fraser

TAMMY: It was Joe, Michael and Gerardo.

JOE: The original lineup was from like ‘78 to ‘79. These two, and Phranc…

MICHAEL: …the lesbian folk-singer…

JOE: …and Gerardo. And Phranc left, and there was also a drummer, Don Bolles. That was the original lineup, which lasted about a year. And then after that, people rotated in and out. It was never—except for the first year—it was never a consistent lineup.

SPENCER: So that was one of my questions, there was so many members of the band, like Paul Roesseler, most of Wall of Voodoo, and an eight-and-a-half year-old boy named Sven, sometimes I wonder about bands—was it more like an arts collective then if people are just rotating in and out, or did it have the consistency?

Continue reading ‘Interview with Nervous Gender (2015)’


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