To most people hardcore culture will never hold any significance. Most people will in fact never even hear about hardcore, but that does not mean that our culture can’t hold a revolutionary potential. For one thing the scene could be a forum for radical ideas that then can be spread outside the scene, much like was the case of radical animal right in Sweden in the 90’s.
But hardcore is also an arena where we can explore new ways of relating to one another and try out new ways of getting organized. It’s a space that we can control ourselves and in that respect hardcore could serve as a kind of micro revolution. Just as a small strike by the workers on a certain company won’t overthrow the entire capitalist system but will serve as an important lesson about power structures to the people involved hardcore could help us in changing our own world view and our perceptions of what is possible.
Unfortunately today’s hardcore movement seem to lack any ambition when it comes to constituting an alternative to the way culture is done in the rest of our consumption driven society. We seem to be content with being passive consumers of a subculture instead of being active participants in something that we ourselves have created.
Participation on a grass roots level is what makes the punk and hardcore scenes so special. As long as it is us kids that dictate what is good and not, what is hardcore and not, we still have the power to control our scene. We choose what bands to support, sure, but it’s more than just about creating an alternative market. I’m talking about the active participation of creating the culture that we “consume”. The way I see it hardcore is only hardcore as long as we have the power over the scene, not letting corporations or media dictate to us what hardcore means or what we should listen to. This power over our own culture is only granted to us by a DIY way of doing things and when we look at it closely, DIY is really nothing else than a form of direct action. Direct action is often thought to be illegal actions for some political cause but actually anything could be direct action if it means that you yourself are setting the terms in cooperation with the other people involved without turning to someone in power (i.e. a politician). It could be anything from planting vegetables on your roof or creating a subculture to burning a car or smashing a window. In the long run so-called non-violent forms of direct action could actually be a bigger threat to capitalist society than those called “violent”. By starting a plantation on your roof you could teach people how secure their own food which in the long run could make them less dependent on wage slavery for their survival. This will not in itself start a revolution but it will change someone’s perception of where food comes from, that it is something that grows in the ground rather than something you have to pay for in the store.
In other words I would like to see a hardcore scene based in a conscious thinking about direct action and that wants to challenge what culture really is and how it is done. I want a culture that strives to challenge the world view of the people that come into contact with it and that show what is possible to accomplish if you set your mind to it.
Finally, it is my firm belief that a scene organized in this fashion would actually be an anarchist movement, whether it wants to or not. A flat movement working according to the principle of direct action to challenge capitalist society and culture is, if you ask me, as anarchist as movements come.
But the question remains: do we really want this change? Do we have the ambition to make hardcore into something else than yet another subculture with a certain way of dress and an alternative market where money circulate back and forth with demos, zines and shirts as the final products? Can we imagine another final product? No product? Can we think this far outside the box? Do we want to?
Written by Jens VSXE. The author resides in Sweden and plays in a band called Seeds in Barren Fields.
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