Guest article written by Em Johnson.
Do you know what bores me? The left fighting the left.
Why do we burn our calories about Corbyn vs Blair and then sleepwalk into a Boris Johnson cavity of hell?
Why do punk kids bicker between themselves about sub-genres when the entire concept of ‘influencers’ has been allowed to become a thing?
Why do vegans turn on each other about honey and palm oil in Facebook wormholes when corporations are burning the planet?
This week The Guardian brought to public attention the defamation claim brought against five women by Jonny ‘Itch’ Fox of The King Blues, a band who were the darlings of the punk scene soon after their formation in 2004, but latterly shunned by many due to persistent rumours about Itch’s behaviour and character – often in relation to women. Five women now stand accused of a ‘persistent campaign of harassment’.
Reading about bands such as Petrol Girls and The Autonomads in The Guardian is almost as surreal as imagining punks facing punks in a courtroom. Hiring a barrister is hardly peak imagery – and is certainly unfathomably more costly than the sweaty basement gig existence that most of the UK underground scene is built on. So costly that the five women have been crowdfunding support for their cause since 2017.
Today I’m remembering that sometimes the left fighting the left is important.
In the wake of ‘Me Too’, which still has much more ground to cover in the music business, staying silent is not acceptable. Women are already marginalised in alternative music, and particularly in a punk scene that can be unwelcoming, snobby and occasionally dangerous. This case threatens to financially and emotionally cripple five women who have tried to do what is right, however hard it might be, and whatever risks it might pose. If they are beaten, the ‘dangerous’ part of our small scene will get even bigger. And the numbers and confidence of women within it will get smaller.
On the face of it this might be punks fighting each other, but what is bigger than all of it is the solidarity of everyone else involved. We must come together. We must lean on the values and passions that we share, and collectively oust those who threaten our community.
We. Must. Win.
You can support Solidarity Not Silence here: https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/solidaritynotsilence/
This is a guest article written by Em Johnson. She used to pretend to be a cool ska/punk DJ, but now spends most of her free time eating cheese and walking her dog. She also writes for one of our favourite online music hubs, Apathy & Exhaustion.