Originally published in ‘zine issue #6, 1993
R. Mason did the following interview with one of his favorite bands.
Resist is an anarcho-HC band from Portland, OR. The band has a godly album out now, The Solution…, available for $6 through Ward. Thanks to him for the interview.
D.U.: During your European tour, did you feel that Resist was somewhat of a novelty item, or experience any “worship” being an American band?
Ward: Yes, in a way, because it was clear from early on in the tour that most people didn’t know who we were. They just knew we were “American HC.” American punk/HC is pretty popular there, and a band can go over there and tour successfully when they can’t do it in the U.S. I didn’t sense any “worship” or whatever just because we’re American, but it did get a lot of people interested in what we were like. I know a lot of people like NYHC-style bands in Europe. One club even put “from NYC” on a flyer of ours.
“There’s nothing wrong with a little profit.”
In another interview we did, you said that Resist was more Marxist in philosophy than anarchist. However, Profane Existence has sort of embraced Resist as an anarchist band. Do you feel this is sort of strange considering the obvious differences in philosophy between Marxism and anarchism?
In that interview I was just describing my personal views, which for me are almost equally influenced by anarchism and Marxism/socialism. Overall, Resist is probably more anarchist than anything else. I don’t think PE’s off much by considering us anarchist.
As for the differences between anarchism and Marxism, I think both groups have an almost equal number of drawbacks. I think both groups spend too much time listening to only one viewpoint. Sure, the RCP is silly (and homophobic), but I’ve never heard a Marxist ridicule anarchists, and I’ve met many “anarchists” who are totally against anyone Marxist, and it’s too bad, because in Europe the left is a lot more unified and the different groups work together, instead of just sitting around, talking shit about each other.
In an anarchist society, music, nor anything else, would be reduced to a commodity by business/profit. In the sense of being true to anarchist ideals, do you think an anarchist band could justify selling records, t-shirts, etc.?
I guess. I mean, bartering/trading is going to be awfully difficult to implement in an anarchist society, and right now, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with selling records or t-shirts, as long as the prices are relatively non-profit (although there’s nothing wrong with a little profit).
In reference to the last question, since anarchist bands do sell their material, that in itself is a compromise to The System. Do you then agree that possibly it is valid to destroy The System within the infrastructure?
Not really. Money spent in the “underground punk scene” is, nine times out of ten, not taxed. It circumvents “the system.” Anything (books/‘zines/records/etc.) that requires money to do will most likely have to be funded by money. How many printers will trade anything for a print job?
Then is voting or even signing to a record label justified in this sense?
Voting isn’t totally a compromise. Some things can only be changed by participatory democracy. Bricks through a bank window won’t decide who sits on the Supreme Court. We make compromises every day. It’s up to the individual to decide how many (or few!) to make.
Do you think that a state of anarchy (i.e., utopia) is truly possible or an ideal that we strive for with no true expectation of witnessing?
No chance. How many people could handle something like that? Only some of my friends, and fewer of my relatives, and none of the dumbshits I work with, would be able to adapt. It’s human nature—most of us humans are ignorant, stupid, and selfish, even if many are well meaning. That does not mean that a better world is not possible, but we shouldn’t expect something unrealistic.
Anarchist philosophy claims that man is inherently good, corrupted by governments. What are your thoughts about this?
Man is corrupted by anything and everything. Governments just do an unfair share of the corrupting. I think most people would say they “mean well,” but hell, so did Adolph Hitler and a lot of other assholes.
Do you believe that abortion would exist in an anarchist society?
I sure hope so! Abortion, drug use, etc., are issues of personal liberty and self-ownership of one’s body.
On your album, the song “Sellout” refers to Napalm Death, Youth of Today, etc. What exactly is your definition of “selling out”?
It’s not anything easy to define. Someone like Nirvana, say, never claimed to be a DIY punk band, while Napalm Death and Youth of Today actually once did. Ray Cappo (YOT) was on Donahue complaining about big business/major labels and how they “rip off the scene,” and only months later they get $20,000 from Caroline. (So did Warzone! Would you even give $2 to those dorks?)
Do you foresee an insurgence within the next 20 years as certain social/political analysts have predicted?
Yes, because one, a swing to the right (i.e., the last 12 years) is usually followed by a swing to the left. Two, things are going to get much worse before they get better. Twelve years of Republican spending/programs have only just begun to hit us. But for right now, I’m not too sure how/when it will happen, because the left is pretty disorganized in the U.S.
Any last words?
“Goodbye cruel world!” “I’ve been shot! Gurgle … sskt …” [laughs] No, but seriously, thanks for the interview, Mason, and thanks for asking good questions! We like to get mail from anyone, anywhere. We will have a new LP out Spring ‘93, so keep an eye open for it. Anyone interested in LPs or t-shirts should write to us or Profane Existence, because Media Blitz has been flaking on people who order stuff. Take care, everybody. Get in touch. ■
Photo: Resist (courtesy the band)