The statement why we have to cancel our appearance at "SAWA Festival" - Wasted Youth

wasted youth

We are sad that we have to announce that we won't play on this year's Sick As We Are Festival in Croatia. We've got some information about the band Ground Zero from Novi Sad, who are also playing at the festival, which makes it simply impossible for us to share the stage with them. We also shared these information with the promoters, but as they don't see it as a reason to kick out Ground Zero from the line up, we are forced to cancel the show.


One of the guitarists of Ground Zero used to play in a nationalist fascist black metal band called Wolf's Hunger, who describe themselves as a patriotic black metal band with lyrics about Serbian mythology and history (what that means, you can check out in this Youtube clip Members of Wolf's Hunger are also known fascists who founded, for example, the organisation "Rasonalisti Srbije" some years ago, for which they were spreading flyers on concerts. Although that organization wasn't really active and doesn't exist anymore, they are registered as neo-Nazi organization in Serbia and their message is clear. Among other things, their program is about “natural order”, which is based on one-race societies, racial separation and repatriation of all non-Europeans and their descendents, no matter if they are “pure” or “mixed”. Homosexuality, abortion, drugs and racial mixing is strictly against the “order”, as it is written on their flyers. There are many other things they were promoting, but that's not the main topic of this text. The explanation we got, why Ground Zero should be fine, is that the guitarist is just apolitical , as the whole band is. Is it apolitical to play in a band that is spreading fascist and nationalist ideas? The guitarist of Ground Zero can't be called even "greyzone" anymore, he used to be active for the very obvious cause of Wolf's Hunger, so he chose his side.


The guitarist was playing in Wolf''s Hunger, during the time when Ground Zero were taking a break and not playing, but that doesn't change a lot for us. Also, at the time when he came to Wolf's Hunger, the “Rasonalisti Srbije” had allegedly already fallen apart and all those songs like Great Serbia had already been written and recorded so he didn't participate in it. For us it doesn't mean that everything is fine if he simply didn't play at the same time in these two bands and things are not disappearing at the day he leaves Wolf's Hunger. The transfer of one from such band back into some hardcore scene should be a progress which should end with closing his connection with the people of Wolf's Hunger and the right wing scene in general. We don't think that it is what happened here, because he was seen with Caslav, the current singer of Wolf's Hunger, who was also playing before and who was actually personally distributing Rasonalisti flyers at their concerts in Belgrade, for example, as we found out. As a matter of fact, they were together at some concerts organized by Rebuild Collective.


Another point was that Ground Zero is a band recommended by that Rebuild Collective, a collective of different people and bands which owns a bar and organizes concerts in Novi Sad, in which Ground Zero are members too. That's also a problem. Rebuild Collective has built some reputation in the hardcore scene and very good contacts, so with them standing behind, no one would ever consider the fact seriously that there could be something wrong with some members of Ground Zero, which will always make it possible for this band to play everywhere, which is probably what happened with the promoters of SAWA festival too.


Nevertheless, there are some things about this collective which we want to say as well. Their motto is “We're making our own unity through our diversity”. If we take a closer look at that unity, it's pretty simple, there are a lot of hardcore bands with more or less the same style and the same fashion, so where is that diversity? Yes, there is some, in still stereotype things like, there are straight edge bands, bands that support animal rights or even hare krishna, everything that is so trendy at the moment in most of European HC scene, but you can also see , the same as with the most of hardcore scene in the rest of Europe, that the diversity is not including a real political or at least antifascist stand. It seems like all that matters is the image, the style and the fashion. As long as that fits, one can be a part of the crew, so it's easy to unite with people like the guitarist of Ground Zero or people who are openly members and support conservative political parties and even with some fascists if they come to the bar which you run (in that case the bar Crna Ovca run by the Rebuild Collective). From that you can come easily to the extremism theory which is mostly spread by the conservative middle class politicians, what a wonder the Rebuild Collective is proclaiming it too, as they used to write at their event pages: "be lead by common sense and not by some left and right ideologies". So now let us explain what's wrong with that.


Left wing critics on society is an essential part of a democratic analysis, like questions of participation and social justice are the main topics of the development of politics. Those who put left wing critics on society at the same level with racist master race ideology, prevents consciously a democratic dispute about fundamental issues of politics and assults everyone who stand for social justice and democratic participation. Those who are not only fighting against Nazis but also against the racism of the middle, against the economic system based on exploitation and who attack the categorizing of humans as useful and useless should be the same as Nazis?


Since 1990 Nazis have killed 150 people in Germany and the murderer of the NSU is just the sad highlight of a much bigger story. Nazis and their marches are a threat to our society. Putting left and right on a same level is harming fascism and leads to a criminalisation and intimidation of opponents of fascism. One more point is that it's revisionism of history. It was the Nazis, in support of the bourgoise who overthrew the Weimar Republic and destoyed the working class movement. Who puts the antifascist resistance like social democrats, socialists, communists, unionists and many others on the same level with the delinquents is harming the barbarism of national socialism. This issue of putting left and right at the same level is very important in ex-Yugoslavia too, like everywhere else. Yugoslavia had the biggest antifascist movement in Europe during The Second World War, where more than one million people of all classes, gender, nations and religions joined the Partisans in the struggle to liberate the country from occupation. Is it possible to put the Partisans at the same level with Nazis and fascists who they were fighting against? For a lot of people in countries like Serbia yes, it is unfortunately possible, since anti-communism has gone so far that communism and fascism and so, Partisans and Nazis or left and right are being equalized. The point is that punk or hardcore subculture, as traditionally left wing movement, should be not only out of the mainstream right wing politics and revisionism, but also fighting against it and judging it.


The issue of the so called greyzone is mostly only discussed within the skinhead scene although hardcore has a huge problem with it too, but most of the people are just closing their eyes. The political aspect of hardcore nearly dissapeared and the main focus is set on listening some good music, having a lot of tattoos and wearing the coolest clothes, but in our opinion hardcore is more than a fucking fashion show! The slogan “hardcore is more than a music” which has been over-used in last years, for most of the people doesn't mean more than straight edge and maybe animal liberation (which is also often minimized to just being vegan or straight edge for many, without any political aspect of it, which naturally exists), while the politics got lost somewhere on the way. There are stickers, buttons and slogans everywhere saying “Hardcore against racism”, “Love hardcore, hate homophobia”, “Love hardcore, hate racism” and so on, but it is just superficial for most of the people in the scene, and it is also somehow part of the trend. In the beginning hardcore was a pretty political movement, bands like for example Minor Threat or Gorilla Biscuits took a clear stand against racism and fascism and tried to stop Nazi skinheads from coming to their concerts. 90s hardcore was marked with bands caring about wide range of political topics like Trial and Los Crudos and spreading different literature on their merch tables concerning animal liberation, environmentalism, abolishing capitalism, anti-sexism etc. We are not saying here that there is absolutely no one caring about politics in the modern hardcore scene, but the most of it is unfortunately like that and it became too tolerant. The time has come to show Nazis, their friends and spineless people that they are not welcome in our scene.


Just for the information a short definition of the so called greyzone:


The greyzone describes the point of intersection between apolitical and right wing. Greyzones are found in variouse subcultures like hip hop, metal, rock, punk and hardcore.


The greyzone can be divided in 3 categories:


a) the business man (labels, promoters etc)


For the businessmann first of all the profit counts, everything else is adjusted to the business. So you can find at the most recordshops and promoters bands from the far right to the far left. Already this is making the whole thing pretty difficult but its all about the money. Those people are giving the greyzone the possibilty to exist and grow and so they shouldnt wonder about accusations, but they are reacting mainly extremly agressive on that because they see their income in danger


b) the apolitical


For the apolitical guy and his not existing "ideology" it doesn't matter what the songs of bands are about, he's simply not interested in it. He also doesn't mind to be in one venue with some neo-Nazis even he always pretends to be antiracist. The main goal is to have a good time and a good party. That his own scene is infiltrated by the far right he's mostly not realizing. More important for him is the problem that he gets labeled as greyzone from the left and that makes him agressive. Those people are mostly following the conservative extremism theory. (right = left, antifa logo = swastika)


c) interest of the nazis in the greyzone


Nowadays it's not so easy for Nazis to organize their concerts without troubles and promote them easily. So they mostly label their concerts as apolitical too. There the greyzone from the right wing begins. The greyzone is a basic point for them to get new sympathizers. They pretend to be open minded and cosmopolitan. That they don't like the work against and the critics on the greyzone is self evident.


d) all are taking their profits from the left


From time to time there are left wing bands, who whyever are playing on festivals of the greyzone. From that the main actors of the greyzone are taking their profits and their discussion about the greyzone can be relativized. Due to that promoters and bands can use those bands to whitewash their image and use them as a fig leave. Free for the slogan: they wouldn't play here if it would be greyzone or we even offer left wing bands. So they can just ignore that there are right wing or greyzone bands in the line up. The apolitical doesn't care about it anyway cause he just wants to party. Sad but true, those left wing bands have the error of judgment that they can change something with antifascist assertions on stage and to convert someone in the audience. They don't realize how they are making a fool of themselves and just getting utilized. Actually they are doing the oposite: They are contributing active that the whole thing is getting more confused and losing hard earned borderlines.


In the end we want to publish the lyrics of the hardcore band Guerilla from their song Choose Your Side for all the people who were too lazy to read our short statement, it hits the bull's eye pretty much.


This is our shelter - A small community - To respect each other - Must be the mutual theme - It comes from the heart - You can step into - But take part or leave it - The choice is yours - Choose your side - Take up a clear position - Choose your side - There's no reason to unite - so choose your side - It's no shopping mall - Not a kind of entertainment show - We don't just accept the circumstances - No! we want more - The standard's to act - Not the way you talk - Non-conformist structures - Life's not a catwalk - Choose your side - Take up a clear position - Choose your side - There's no reason to unite so choose your side - Choose your side! - Conservative, consuming - Too drunk to discuss - Patriotic, mindless violence - You've got nothing in common with us! - ? with us! - ? with us! - Choose your side - Choose your side