As some of you who waste a lot of time online instead of being productive at their jobs (myself included) may have heard, there was a bit of a scuffle at a Morbosidad show in Texas a few weeks back. Long running black/death metal band Morbosidad procured some cow heads from butcher as part of their stage performance. At the same venue, the legendary U.K. anarcho band Conflict were also playing. Allegedly, their singer Colin Jerwood wandered in where Morbosidad were playing, saw the cow heads and, as any reasonable person would do, threw a shit fit and (again allegedly) attacked someone in the crowd who (my lawyers are telling me to again use “allegedly”) was somewhat disabled. Then, as any hero would do in this situation, pulled a knife on an underage female in the crowd, thus instigating violence with two people who had exactly (to put it in English terms) fuck all to do with the situation in the first place.
The situation was exasperated when the singer of Conflict took to the best place to publicly display poor form: the Internet. From across the ocean he created pages of ranting and raving regarding the situation, much to a hilariously mixed reaction from friends and supporters, many asking him to step away from the keyboard for a bit to think through what he was trying to get across. Stateside, Morbodsidad showed class and kept to themselves. You’d think this would be the end of it, right? This article would be a few thousand words shorter if it were and you could take to the comments section and we’d all have a good laugh together. But it’s not the end of it. And here’s where it gets fucking crazy.
Morbosidad were planning a European jaunt around the time of the Nuclear War Now! Fest. Seems innocuous, right? Well, the singer from Conflict saw this and figured it was a golden opportunity for revenge or what have you. Suddenly, ANTIFA got involved and began contacting promoters and venues for the tour and, in their delicate fashion, had these shows shut down one by one. Did I mention Morbosidad are a band proudly made up of Mexican gentlemen and their lyrics are mainly in Spanish and also they have no connection to Nazis, fascism, misogyny, homophobia and the other things that ANTIFA fight against? They’re a black/death metal band—a damn fine one—with no association to politics whatsoever. And this is who ANTIFA have decided to fight. Regardless of whether you stand on the left or the right of things, you have to stand back and just admire the absolute inanity of this scenario. Conflict, since I’m giving backstory, have been around since the Crass days, stand very left and are (obviously) vegan and big supporters of the Animal Liberation Front. As a caveat, I enjoy both bands, but I can say as a fan of Conflict, I’m incredibly disappointed in them. This behavior comes off as childishly vindictive and unhinged. Obviously the cow heads ruffle their sensibilities, but to go to this length over it just seems like an attempt to make a scene over an easy target instead of going down to the butcher shop itself. Conflict in the past have taken part in animal liberation activism which, even as a non-vegan, I can respect because it’s putting your money where your mouth is and taking on targets with consequences. But this? And ANTIFA going after a band whose members are POC? 2016 is so stupid you’d think Donald Trump was running for president.
This isn’t just an outlier, as these events are occurring with more frequency. The issue with people whom the Internet fondly refers to as social justice warriors (herein “SJWs” for word count issues) is that they seem to regularly go after soft targets and strawmen. Why? Because it’s easy, they can be public about it and feel a sense of sickeningly sweet self-righteousness because they think they furthered their cause. It’s why you see people making groups of tumblr to shame a band, label, artist, etc. instead of going and attempting to do something positive in their community that has a real world impact on more than just the target whose life they’d like to ruin. You mostly hear of that sort of thing, never that they’re taking the fight to racist compounds out in the woods or causing corrupt businesses to close. The satisfaction of loudly doing something that, in reality, has very little positive impact to the culture or the real world seems to be gratifying enough that they can call it a day and rest the unhindered sleep of those who only pretend to have a conscience.
The problem with factions in ANTIFA or people like the singer from Conflict or the fabled “SJW” is that they are becoming what they fight against. I’m not saying someone from ANTIFA is going to start singing Johnny Rebel but they become the thought police. This need to control how people think, how they act, how they are both externally and internally, sounds an awful lot like fascism to me. You share some of their opinions, want to raise your voice with theirs but you don’t swallow every single morsel they force feed you? They don’t want to have a fucking thing to do with you and shun any idea you have like a petulant six-year-old holding their hands over their ears and humming. The idea that someone can share some of your beliefs but not all of them—the very concept that human beings can be complex with many different facets—is heresy. They mask their vendettas with a cloak of perceived nobility, their selfish immaturity with the guise of humanitarianism. But, and this is ironic, they only have those feelings for certain groups and not all people.
That’s not to say certain ideals behind these movements aren’t, in fact, noble and progressive. I believe in a lot of what bands like Crass and the anarcho punk movement preached. But this is not that—if anything it’s a perversion of those ideals. In trying to control thought and people’s ability to be rational and make decisions on their own they’ve flipped the coin and are no longer the counter culture but rather they have become the establishment they’ve spent years fighting. Is that the final goal of politics? To fight against the system only so that you can replace it and enforce your point of view over all? Or is this just because an old man got angry and made a string of bad decisions and publicly make a fool of himself and, because he has done impressive things in the past, a group is following him blindly into his crusade? This movement has grown so many factions that are just farcical; the goal no longer is to be advance people and create a better world, but to create the world they dictate. And that is the definition of irony.