20 years ago Anti-Flag released Underground Network on Fat Wreck. This album was and still is deeply influential and important to me. I was 18 and had been into punk for about 3 years. I was already deeply political and dissatisfied with most media but this album drove it further. I obsessively read the liner notes and did further studies based on the subject matter. The idea of an underground network existing outside of the mainstream to present information and entertainment is what led to this blog and for me to want to do a political podcast that is now happening. Also this album was the beginning of Anti-Flag coming into their own sonically and production wise. For me, this one still holds up musically and ideologically. My standout track on this is Bring Out Your Dead, but the whole record is fucking solid! So go check it of you never have, or rediscover it if it’s been awhile.
As a reminder, the mainstreaming and growth we’ve seen in hate and right wing extremism isn’t over. The frequency and severity of incidents will likely increase. A large part of that is an irresponsibility to address Nazis in the underground. Over the past decade I’ve seen more punks seeming to have no problem with em at shows and seem more interested in partying than addressing racism and racists in the scene. There’s plenty who still do the work, but not enough to send these fuckers scuttling to the darkest corners of ideological existence. So as they’re able to gain increasing passive existence, they’re now free of the leash of Trump acceptance and they’re angry at any progressive victories. Also the extreme right has evolved from the standard swastika and shaved heads. We have the Proud Boys who were a complete joke now being the flagship as they’ve been able to become a multiethnic hate group. Ideologically they are white supremacists as they fight for the supremacy of the white male dominant paradigm that has ruled America since its inception. They proudly wish to be colonizers, sexists, racists and classists. The fact that Tucker Carlson (Q Anon/ Infowars light) is the most popular news show in America lets us know that these viewpoints are no longer underground. I’ve gotten stared down plenty by proud and boog boys at the grocery store. If we don’t take sides and actions, I believe the right will be paving over culture from the underground to main street. This is the call to action, this is the line in the sand.