Sad news out of the Pacific Northwest. Already Exile’s fascist tendencies and affiliations are garnering resistance, though. A show scheduled in the Bay area on August 2nd was cancelled after one of the bands promoted themselves as “Nathan Block’s neofolk project Ekstasis” and concerned parties alerted the promoter to Block’s shadiness.
A statement about the show being cancelled was posted on Anarchist News in the comments to this article and is also worth reading:
The show scheduled for Saturday, August 2 was being promoted by a person who runs a black metal label in the Bay Area. The band was being promoted as “Nathan Block’s neofolk project Ekstasis” (verbatim). If this is not Nathan Block’s band, then it is unfortunate that it was being promoted that way. Concerned parties would be well-advised to talk with the people responsible for the show’s promotion.
In regard to the response written by a band member, it is by no stretch of the imagination appropriate to call concerned people “fascists” for simply talking with the owner of the venue. The essence of fascism is not predicated on a foundation of neofolk show cancellations.
The insistence that it is “fascist” for people to talk to a venue about the nature of a show suggests that there is a fundamental problem with people alerting show spaces about problematic bands. This sentiment insinuates that regardless of a band’s racial politics it is wrong to contact a show space about concerns. In no way should people feel compelled to be silent about these situations.
If this situation was merely the result of confusion about the band’s membership, it is odd that this is mentioned nowhere in the response. It is especially strange given the fact that the band informed the owner of the venue that they did not know a “Nathan Block”. Instead of a clear explanation, we are presented with a long-winded, self-important rant riddled with great leaps of logic that leave more questions than answers.
It is unclear why this response states that anyone has declared what people can or cannot read. A few people calling a venue does not equate to a book ban. To be clear, there is no logical comparison to be made between Senator Joseph McCarthy’s state-supported campaign against the American Left and a handful of marginalized people calling a venue about a scheduled show believed to have white nationalist ties. The owners of the venue made their own decision based on what they saw and heard, at no point were they threatened or intimidated.
Conversations that people have had with some members of the band have obviously left them very concerned. It seems that the statement released directly conflicts with some of these conversations, leaving people unsure of what is really going on.
To be clear, we are not convinced that the faith of a white American exempts them from the possibility of being racist, nor are we partial to the “black friend” lineage of dialectics. If the band members are not associated with white nationalist politics, then this situation is unfortunate. We hope this is the case, yet this would conflict with conversations people have had with the band in the past.
Perhaps this situation should be better contextualized.
The old fascist forms have, for the most part, been superseded by contemporary reactionary movements in the social, cultural, and political spheres. It goes without saying that America of 2014 is not Germany of 1933, and that the character of white nationalism is always specific to the terrain. The handful of idiots still goose stepping through the streets with Swastika armbands have been marginalized even by the larger white supremacist movement. In Germany, the new fascist is a vegan hipster. In Russia, fascists run the streets in black blocs.
Today, racist movements around the world have used much of the theory of anarchism and imagery of punk rock to make themselves more appealing and relevant. This is the so-called “third-positionist” tendency. The reactionary movements of this decade will not look like the tendencies of years past.
Paradoxically, there are few 21st century racist formations in America who do not claim to oppose racism. The Minuteman Project, Keystone State Skinheads, Vinlanders’ Social Club, Bay Area National Anarchists, and Youth For Western Civilization all claim to oppose the oppression of other races and state they exist for the defense of their own people. Across the world, reactionary groups now hide their racism behind the facade of cultural preservation and “separate but equal” politics.
In the United States as in Europe, white supremacy has developed a political following in the cultural realm. The neofolk scene, tracing its roots to Death in June and Current 93, has always had a clear yet unfortunate association with white nationalism. Blood Axis, Changes, Fire and Ice, Waldteufel, Die Weisse Rose, Of The Wand and Moon, and Blood and Sun are among the bands in the white nationalist current of neofolk. Even Stella Natura, the giant neofolk festival held in the Tahoe National Forest, is sponsored by the white nationalist Asatru Folk Assembly. The racist Viking Brotherhood does security for the festival. The fascist publisher Counter-Currents tables the event.
As members of Ekstasis attend and play this festival, they are certainly well aware of the racial dynamics of that scene. In this context, it is not surprising that, when it is announced that a neofolk band with white nationalist ties is coming to play in Oakland, people would be concerned.
The presence of racism in the ecological movement is as old as the word “ecology” itself. The white nationalist tendencies within the neofolk scene are documented and well known. Conversation around these disconcerting issues is important and will continue.
-Some Bay Area Anarchists.