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The Power of Words / the Contradictions of Consciousness Raising

  • If you are a “fiercely political” band that claims to speak for “the people”, be nice to the people and that means your fans. Outside Sneaky Dee’s having a smoke with Joel I noticed a band member from Anti-Flag rudely and arrogantly ignore a fan. She tried to say hello or talk to him and he just walked on by. I said to Joel, “who is he? Is he a singer or something? Why is he so arrogant?” Later that night, that same guy walks up to the stage and plays with said political band.
  • Know the intent of your words. If you call us “mother fuckers”, that is fine, I get it, it is punk rock, but if you are “political” punk rock band, why not pick apart that word for its gendered/sexist meaning.
  • Addressing the audience as “guys” does not bode well with gender based activism. I did this when I started a class the other day and I apologized noting the way addressing a group of people as “guys” makes male dominant and female invisible. It also brings to mind the history of women not considered people. Why reinforce this?
  • Address your privilege. If you have the “choice” to attend a protest, this is a privilege. Some people are not as fortunate as activists that can choose to attend a protest. Some people live and work on the streets where these protests take place and they have no choice in the situation. Protests also cause an unnecessary and dangerous amount of violence to people who have no place to go.
  • When talking about war, recognize that some wars are not a result of choice and some people fight in wars due to circumstance and reasoning we may never understand. Again, this is privilege. To choose to not fight in war; to even sing, write, and scream about war, is a privilege.
  • There is more room to explore when you are a band that writes without said political intent. If you claim to be more political than other punk bands, I will notice how you are not socially conscious. In fact, I have enjoyed myself more with bands that are not labelled political, and being part of this, is actually a political act.
  • Never underestimate the power of the fan to make or break you. We buy tickets to your shows, buy your albums, wear your shirts, and advertize your music for free.
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