Chicago punks, Palestine solidarity activists, disenchanted rabble-rousing youth, and everyone in between should clear their schedules and/or plan on skipping work to make it to this year’s 3rd Annual Black & Brown Punk Show being held in Chicago on August 24th and 25th. Mark it on your calendars! Hip-hop and punk acts from the city as well as out of state will be gathering for this event “about rebellion, DIY, survival, and strength in the face of adversity”, as well as “north/south side solidarity”, and of course, playing some kickass music! Wear your moshing shoes.
We would like to say a few words about why we are coming out supporting the local scene like this, as well as why you should get off your ass and go if you can!
We understand the intimate connections between struggles and the need to work at the intersections between global solidarity and concrete, local organising to support communities being targeted by the state. In this sense, Punks Against Apartheid would like to express our full support and endorsement of the show. We share with the organisers the understanding that survival is about creating the spaces we lack or that were stolen from us to work towards a more just future. No one will give us these spaces; they have to be made, taken, and defended.
In the best of the radical punk tradition, the work being done by the organizers of the 3rd Annual Black & Brown Punk Show has shown an understanding that we cannot simply be passive in the face of racist, sexist, homophobic/transphobic society, but that we must create safe spaces—spaces of liberation—within it. The same week that three Palestinian youths were nearly lynched in Jerusalem, Donta Gooden, a transgender woman, was found stabbed to death in an abandoned building in a West Side Chicago neighborhhood—this only a few months after Paige Clay met a similar fate, not to mention the now well-known nearby case of CeCe McDonald. The same month that undocumented youth discovered over a hundred low-priority or DREAM-eligible cases in a single detention center they infiltrated, word also got out that the Zionist brother of Rahm “Slashy McSlash-Slash” Emmanuel (who himself served in the Israeli Occupation Forces) was pushing for Lollapalooza 2013 to be held on the ruins of a Palestinian village ethnically cleansed in 1948, and a known neo-Nazi who managed to entered into a Sikh temple killed 7. This not long last month’s revelation that police have executed over 100 black people around the country (including Chicagoland’s Stephon Watts and Rekia Boyd) since the beginning of 2012 alone.
The list of indignities, brutalisations, outrages—from Palestine to Chicago—are unfortunately endless. But the common threads are clear: erasure, ethnic cleansing, slow-death of occupied communities. These acts of violence are neither isolated nor individual: they are connected to broader systems of power, white supremacy, and capitalist/colonial domination which enable and sanction them. We are left, then, with two options: defend our communities or go on the attack. We here at PAA are thrilled to support the grassroots gathering on the 24th & 25th, because we’re certain it will be a little bit of both!
Anyone who has bummed around the punk scene for more than a minute can tell the difference between the (literally) whitewashed, apolitical testosterone-pumping parties that pass for ‘shows’ and the kind of principled, grassroots music that serves as a form of movement building and community empowerment. This year, money raised for the show will go to three community organizations: an inner city youth organization, Connect Force, “that teaches (predominately) black and brown youth about true hip hop, graffiti and breakdance”, the Dream Gala Committee, which provides undocumented youth with funds for college, and the Justice for Rekia Boyd Campaign, fighting for an unarmed Black womyn who was killed by off duty police officer in April in the Lawndale neighborhood.
We will be there selling zines & patches (hot off the presses!) and trying to help raise as much money as we can for these organisations (1/3rd of our proceeds). We will also be letting people in on some exciting actions happening down the line in Chitown. And of course we will be there, fists raised and feet swinging with loving rage.
Viva Palestina! Up the punx!