By Eric Struch
Punk has turned into a reactionary caricature of itself. I was an anti-Nazi skinhead back when I was like 17, but everything was really different back then ('89-'90) in Chicago. There used to be a ton of Black and Latino skinheads who really ran the scene, and it used to be about crushing Nazis on the streets.
There was a group of revolutionary anarchist skins from Minneapolis called the Baldies that would make road trips to Chicago to try to set up a chapter of Anti-Racist Action here (politics similar to AFA in the UK), and they actually had some analysis of white supremacy-- they worked with the John Brown Anti-Klan Committee, which was set up by the Prairie Fire Organizing Committee, the aboveground Weather organization.
A few of the Black skinheads drifted away from ARA/AFA-style politics, and one ended up joining Kwame Toure's All African People's Revolutionary Party, and another couple guys ended up becoming Rastafarians, but after most of the Black skins left, the whole scene just went to shit.
There was the rise of the apolitical trad skins, which opened the door for people to start wearing the U.S. flag on their bombers again, which in turn opened the door to everyone starting to listen to Skrewdriver and all the RAC bands again.
An older Black skin told me a few years ago that looking back, he feels like that undercurrent was really always there, that the white skins were just waiting for the Black skins who ran it to just drop out so they could just go full-on right wing with no opposition.
And really, the racism in the skinhead scene didn't start with the National Front in the late '70's or early '80's, the whole skinhead culture was really just white kids ripping off the style, music, and look of Jamaican immigrants. Skins in 1969 used to go bash south Asian people all the time, do they want a medal for leaving Black people alone?
There was never any real anti-imperialist analysis or respect for the right of oppressed nation people to self-determination on the part of the majority of the ostensibly "anti-racist" skins and punks anyway. I don't listen to any punk anymore anyway. How far can you go musically with three chords anyway?