For some reason I find this funny as hell: dueling websites from lefty and righty punks, fighting for the souls of the punky masses:
- Pierced and tattooed rockers are in for a mosh-pit civics lesson this year. Nearly 200 bands are lining up to lambaste President Bush and try to register a half-million voters through the Punk Voter coalition.
These bands say they can harness votes from the average liberal-leaning but disenfranchised punk-rock fan with a combination of politically charged lyrics and constant reminders about civic duty in a time of war.
“If you don’t find yourself in the voting booth you may find yourself in combat boots in the desert,” said Justin Sane, guitarist and singer for Anti-Flag, one of Punk Voter’s most vocal members.
The bands are drumming their message home by inviting liberal groups like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the abortion rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America to their concerts. A Web site offers election news and commentaries from former Dead Kennedys singer Jello Biafra, Jay Bentley from Bad Religion and Jim Lindberg from Pennywise.
Punk Voter’s roots stretch to the 2000 elections, when NOFX bass player Fat Mike suffered from insomnia after the Florida recount, where Bush defeated Al Gore by just 537 votes to win the presidency. He began calling colleagues in the music industry and soon launched a group with the dual purpose of motivating punk fans and unseating Bush in 2004.
….But Fat Mike’s approach rankles some fans. Nick Rizzuto, a 22-year-old publicist for a New York radio station, has been a punk fan for a decade and a conservative since the 2000 elections. His Web site offers an alternative on the right, featuring commentaries from punk stars, like former Misfits singer Michale Graves, and its own take on the upcoming elections.
“I always thought that conservatives were underrepresented,” Rizzuto said, “not only in punk circles, but in music in general.”
Rizzuto said he has received dozens of supportive e-mails from other punk fans who have felt out of place at concerts and in conversations with friends.
“For the most part, they remain silent because they know they’re so outnumbered,” he said. “It doesn’t really pay to voice any dissent in a crowd of a thousand people or more.”
….In spite of MTV’s Rock the Vote campaign and other initiatives, only 29 percent of the 8.4 million people aged 18 to 24 cast a ballot for president in 2000. Turnout has been in decline since 43 percent of young people voted in 1972.
Gans said the upcoming election likely will see high turnouts because of strong responses to Bush’s presidency driving groups on both sides. [AP]
Here is PunkVoter’s manifesto:
- The progressive principals that parallel the punk movements’ guiding strength drive Punkvoter. This is the time for the punk scene to unite around issues we all care about and that we have all sung about. We must all stand together as one voice in shaping the future of our country. This is not about who is a sellout, who is too hardcore or who is from the west coast, etc…This is about getting everyone to mobilize as a block of concerned voters. Punk bands, punk labels, and punk fans must form a union against the chaotic policies George W. Bush has put in place. He must be exposed.
Even amongst this coalition of free thinkers, we may not agree on every issue. Nonetheless, we are united around these four basic principals and feel it is time to stand together in questioning our current administration’s policies
….All of the musicians’ reasons for joining Punkvoter are as diverse as the many types of music they play.
However, we all agree that this administration is moving our country in the wrong direction and we want our opinions heard. We believe in a progressive political umbrella. We have united under the fact that something must be done. Our basic issues include protecting our personal freedoms, restoring our environment, overhauling our current Department of Justice and demanding economic responsibility.
Protecting Our Personal Freedoms
Punkvoter is working to fight to defend our personal freedoms and inalienable rights. We will be the loud, clear voice for the many minorities in our society. Our government was created to protect us not harass us. We want to make sure our government continues to guarantee all of our reproductive freedoms, and all of our rights to our own personal privacies. We believe equal rights under one set of laws should be paramount in any modern society.
Restoring Our Environment
Punk voter believes our government has an important role in standing up to the big businesses and special interests that are currently trying to dictate disastrous environmental policy.
Overhauling our Justice Department
We want to send a very clear message to Washington, DC. It is time to modernize our society to match the rest of the free world. We must ban government sponsored executions and stop long-term imprisonment of non-violent criminals. It is time to repeal the Patriot Act and restore our first Amendment rights, repeal the Rave Act and restore our Freedom to Assemble, and rewrite our countries archaic and in- humane drug laws.
Demanding Economic Responsibility
Why is our government making decisions to spend $87 billion on a war in Iraq instead of providing universal healthcare coverage, improving public education, and providing assistance to the 8.9 million unemployed?
ConservativePunk says screw you hippies:
- A Statement of our Mission
At Conservative punk, our mission is threefold:
1. To inform today’s youth that identify themselves with the punk scene with the facts, rather than rumor and conspiracy theory.
2. To encourage today’s youth to register to vote and become engaged in politics.
3. To encourage youth voters to draw there own conclusions rather than indoctrinate them into a certain way of thinking.
Punk music has been, and still is, one of the most heavy-handed genres of music there is. Unfortunately the topics of such heavy-handed songs are almost always seeped in left wing propaganda, bumper sticker rallying calls and oversimplifications of otherwise complex topics. Unfortunately the websites established by such bands to further their political views don’t offer much more by way of information and truth than the music does. We at conservative punk mean to be the foil to this trend. We plan on filling in the gaps. We will offer our own views while still urging young punks to search for their own conclusions. Hopefully in doing so we will energize and excite young people enough to become engaged in politics and exercise their power at the ballot box.
The “Right” Side of Punk
As of January 31, 2004, ConservativePunk.com officially launches. The site has been created to educate, inform and increase the little known demographic of the Conservative Punk. This is not C-SPAN meets MTV; this site boasts conservatives from well-known artist Michale Graves of Gotham Road and former lead singer of the Misfits, to conservative talk show host and former rock jock Andrew Wilkow, to the average person on the street…
This site has been created to counteract the multiple liberal punk sites on the web, which are run by only a small number of punk artists who are choosing to make up the minds of thousands of voters.
ConservativePunk.com will finally allow conservatives who have decided to keep their punk ideals alive a place to air their thoughts on government, liberal counterparts and music. It is being released this year to help inform America’s youth about the upcoming election and let them make up their own minds, rather than push liberal sentiment down their throats. Nick Rizzuto, the founder of ConservativePunk.com hopes that this site will energize and excite young people to come to their own conclusions and hopefully register to vote this year. He hopes to inform young people of more conservative ideals and hopes that they will be unafraid to say that they are a “conservative punk”.
Since 1992, multiple outlets for America’s youth have tried to get them more involved in politics and in voting; the only similarity between all of these channels is that they support left wing ideals. ConservativePunk.com is hoping not to change this trend, but to give today’s young people a way to view politics from a different perspective.
What is the “true” essence of punk? Perhaps this conflict itself.