Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Weather Warning: Shower of Shit expected over Islington

Guest Post by James Cavanagh

[Since this was posted various other groups started to campaign for the cancellation of the gig. I have commented on those campaigns in a subsequent post-AS]

On 25th June this year a concert will be held at a venue in north London by bands long associated with fascism and the far-right. The Slimelight in Islington is famous for its goth, darkwave, industrial, martial and electro-clash events and has built up an international reputation. People travel from around the world to London with the expressed intention of joining and visiting the membership only club.

The bands playing on 25th June are Sol Invictus, 6 Comm, Joy of Life and Freya Aswynn. It is well-known that Sol Invictus leader Tony Wakeford is an ex-member of the National Front, was a founder-member of fascist bands Death in June and Above the Ruins and continues to move in fascist circles, as this concert demonstrates. Andrew King, long-time collaborator with Wakeford and member of Sol Invictus, recently recorded a virulently racist version of David E. Williams' song 'Wotan Rains on a Plutocrat Parade' under the name Second Amendment with its lyrics; "monkey men... banging on the bongo drum, I'll pick them off one by one... you can kill the Aryan body but you can't kill the Aryan soul", and featuring sample declaring Hitler as the second coming.

Patrick Leagas aka Patrick O'Kill of 6 Comm was also a founder-member of Death in June and responsible for their use of Nazi imagery which he carried over from his previous band Runners From 84. He also made music with and shared a flat with hardcore neo-Nazi Gary Smith from No Remorse. (Smith also played in Wakeford's Above the Ruins, who donated a track to National Front benefit album "No Surrender Volume 1").

6 Comm
The concert is a celebration of Leagas' last appearance with 6 Comm. He has a new project called 'Schrage Musik', which refers to a type of fixed machine gun used by the Luftwaffe on Messerschmitt fighters in the second world war. (In other words a bit more Nazi fetishism).

Gary Cary of Joy of Life has also collaborated with Death in June and While Angels Watch and has been produced by Douglas Pearce (DIJ). The band employ an abstracted swastika-like logo.

Joy of Life logo
Dev from While Angels Watch has worked with H.E.R.R. (renowned fascist Troy Southgate's band), and collaborated with Joseph Klumb from Nazi band Von Thronsathl in Sagittarius alongside members of Allerseen and Troy Southgate. The band also appeared on the "With Friends like These" compilation put together by Tony Wakeford and released on his label Tursa in collaboration with the Kaparte label. The compilation includes contributions from Hitlerist and Nazi occultist Richard Moult and Italian fascist band Rose Rovine e Amanti, amongst others.

Freya Asswynn has worked with Leagas on many occasions, as well as with Les Joyaux De La Princesse, a French far-right band desrcibed as having "an increasingly crystallized, extreme right-wing ideology” by Christoph Frangeli in Datacide. She has a reputation for being aggressively racist, and was directly involved with a racist campaign against Black opera singer Willard White, organised by far-right magazine Scorpion in 1989. Here she is in an interview with right wing nutjob William B. Fox on the overtly racist, far-right America First Books website, indulging in a bit of racist musing:

"My immediate impression, what struck me immediately, is that the streets are so clean. Some parts of the subway are dirty, but the streets themselves are so much cleaner than in London. I also was pleasantly surprised to see a substantial amount of white people in New York. I didn't expect that. I expected New York to be pretty well dark."

The DJs for the event, working under the name of DJ Patientfront, are in fact Stefan Schwanke and Taro Torsay of Ironflame, who have released an industrial/neofolk compilation called Statement 1961 featuring tracks by fascist bands like Von Thronstahl, Grey Wolves, and Der Blutharsch.

The concert was organised by the mysterious Gaya Donadio, an Italian promoter (Hinoeuma the Malediction) and power electronics artist working under the name ANTIchildLEAGUE. She has worked with Suttcliffe Jugend, Genocide Organ, Kirlian Camera, Allerseelen and many others in a similar vein. She is also the woman behind Hagshadow Distribution who promote a lot of these bands. She is certainly one of the most prominent and active figures in the fascist power electronics and neofolk scenes. This comment in an interview with Vita Ignis: Corpus Lignum gives a clue to where she is coming from:

"I saw a documentary about a very orthodox sect of Jews; each of the women having nine children because they want to take over the planet. The same scenario happens with other cultures around the globe." 

She appears to be suffering from that typical fascist affliction - anti-semitic paranoia.

The Slimelight, which is owned and directed by someone called Bernadette Murphy, has serious form when it comes to putting on fascist and neo-Nazi bands, and the underground music press has covered the subject on previous occasions. An article about a gig by American fascist bands Luftwaffe and Non (Boyd Rice) on 31st October 2007 titled 'Fascist Concerts at Slimelight, London' was posted by Mute on 30th October 2007, the day before the gig was due to take place. Indymedia published the same article a few days later on 11th November. The article flagged up the "cultural war of position" being prosecuted by these bands and the wider milieu, taking their cues from the political tactics of Italian fascists in the 80s and 90s. It also threw light upon Rice's well-documented history as a neo-Nazi, Social Darwinist and violent misogynist.

Boyd Rice
The article hit a raw nerve with regulars at club nights at Slimelight and fans of the neofolk scene, and the thread of comments on the article as it appeared in Mute took up three pages and included responses from Patrick Leagas (6Comm) and Lloyd James (Naevus, Sol Invictus), both claiming that these bands had nothing to do with fascism or neo-Nazism. But no explanation is given by either of them as to why bands that play with Nazi imagery, and promote Evolian and Nouvelle Droite Eurocentric politics are not themselves fascist. When someone comments that Albin Julius from Der Blutarsch had publicly expressed support for Jorge Haider (he was close friends with Haider incidentally) and therefore can be legitimately described as a fascist apologist, Lloyd James' retort is "I have met and corresponded with Albin Julius on numerous occasions and never have I heard him display or utter anything that might conflict with my Socialist Libertarian principles." Albin's band Der Blutarsch were banned from playing in Tel Aviv for their use of overtly Nazi imagery (the Sig rune, the stylised "S" in the SS insignia, and the Iron Cross have both served as logos for the band.) Israeli MP, Yossi Sarid, explained the reason for the ban like this to the Jerusalem Post: "It is clear why Der Blutharsch wants to perform in Israel. They want to be legitimate, have an 'Israeli passport' and then become persona grata everywhere else. Against their critics, they can then say 'Who are you to call us fascists? The survivors of the Holocaust invited us.'"

However the main response the article provoked was a torrent of abuse directed against novelist, artist and anti-fascist activist Stewart Home, who has written at great length about the latent and overt fascism of the scene, despite the fact that he did not write the article. Home simply passed it on to Mute (he wrote for them from time to time) from another source. His well-argued defense of the article in the comments threads produced an eruption of inarticulate fury from fans defending the bands. Many of the comments are from people who apparently spend their lives denying the fascist element in neofolk, power electronics and industrial music on various sites across the web.
One person who attacks Home in a particularly stupid and ill-informed way calls herself SnoW.White. She blames Home for the fact that she was unfortunately attacked at the concert, apparently by anti-fascist activists. Unable to grasp the fact that Home had not written the article and was not present at the gig, she blames him for labeling the concert a fascist event and thus indirectly encouraging anti-fascists to attend the gig, thereby causing her to be assaulted.

SnoW.White makes regular appearances on neofolk/industrial-related websites, as she does on the Slimelight forum in one thread defending someone who turned up at the club dressed as Hitler.  I make mention of this person because she is pretty typical of a lot of the fans of the scene in that she dresses up like a fascist, defends bands that promote fascism, and makes music herself about which she is sensitive enough to add her familiar disclaimer:

SnoW.Wwhite music is intended for entertainment purposes only. SnowW.Wwhite does not advocate any type of government, not even the most or least appealing ones. No ethnic, racial or other minority has been hurt, harmed, maimed or killed in the process of music making. ODDR!"

The concert has already caused anti-fascists to raise objections on Facebook, to Islington Council and elsewhere.The usual feeble denials will probably be made by the musicians involved. And if they can't be bothered you can be sure that armies of neofolk fans will there to defend them on the website barricades, in between getting their jollies listening to their heroes intone dreary visions for a fascist Europe. Anti-fascists everywhere should be making their objections loudly, with the certain knowledge that these closet fascists, despite their endless denials, are liars.