Tales From The Mexican Anarcho-Punk Movement
The Star And Shadow Cinema
Stepney Bank, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK

25 May 2014, 18:00-19:00

The Canny Little Library Collective will be hosting a talk & discussion given by comrades with experience of the Anarcho-Punk milieu in Mexico.The Mexican Anarcho-Punk Movement is one of the most important laboratories of experimentation of self-management practices in the country. We will talk about how the participants redine their way of doing politics and how they have related themselves to other political experiences such as the Zapatista movement; what social imaginary their music and aesthetics reflect; what meaning the Do It Yourself practice conveys for them; and in what way their ethical political positioning, such as environmentalism, vegetarianism, feminism, among others are manifested in everyday practices.English Anarcho-Punks are invited to share their experiences!

Tales From The Mexican Anarcho-Punk Movement

See the Facebook event page


‘They were the band who bridged the gaps between The Sex Pistols, X Ray Spex, and Crass.’ TylerVile Punk Globe Dec 2014.

Rubella Ballet formed in 1979, with the nucleus of the band coming from a gig where Crass invited the audience to use their equipment and finish the gig. The band toured with Crass and the Poison Girls before touring with many other punk and goth bands. Rubella Ballet hail from the Anarcho punk scene but are equally at home playing the Goth scene as they were a part of its early conception.

The band became infamous for creating the Day-glo Death Rock punk scene with their different and innovative style of music and the shock value of wearing ultraviolet day-glo clothes. Louise Gray, our hottest British designer, has credited Zillah Minx as an influence on her designs. “Zillah Minx of Rubella Ballet – she was one of the originators of punk in London. She wore colours and used UV paint to make her clothes and sets for gigs so everything was illuminated! I love her” – Louise Gray, Elle Magazine May 2013.

Rubella Ballet released their first single Ballet Dance in 1982 and also in the same year released their debut album, Ballet Bag, a creatively packaged cassette only album. They released a further two studio albums and four singles as well as various compilations. This will be their first album of new material since 1986’s If.

Sid and Zillah were inspired to start writing this album containing highly motivated and political songs about a variety of subjects such as: government brainwashing, the creation of new strains of flu virus to reduce human population, the police cover up of Hillsborough stadium disaster as well as a chance meeting with two whistle-blowing MI5/6 agents who had been monitoring their political activities in the 80s and were now working with William Rodriguez, a caretaker at the twin towers who had dedicated his life to telling the world what he believed really happened during 9/11.

Sid explains “The overriding message of the album is to not to believe every thing you hear on the news or read in the newspapers, as the very same people we are protesting against are those compiling the news.”

“Thank Christ for Rubella Ballet! Punk went from being this fun colourful place to be, to all these miserable bastards wearing black! I knew what I’d see there (Crass Gigs) I knew what I’d hear played there… and bands like Rubella Ballet where a breath of fresh air” – Steve Ignorant, Crass. The Day The Country Died

Punk Planet is released on Overground Records and is available on vinyl LP, CD and through iTunes.

Julian Brimmers. 2014. “Crass’ Penny Rimbaud on graffiti, jazz and John Lennon”, Red Bull Music Academy, 3 April http://www.redbullmusicacademy.com/magazine/crass-interview

‘There is no authority but yourself’ vs. ‘I don’t really know who I am anymore.’ Somehow, the wild ride that has been Penny Rimbaud’s time with anarcho punk/avant-garde ringleaders Crass is best displayed through the tension between these two sentences. While the former are the last words from the band’s penultimate album Yes Sir, I Will, the latter summed up the individual mind state of the Crass members before the group’s disbanding in 1989 [sic].

Just as Dial House was operated as a loose community without a lock on the door, Crass saw their musical activities as an extension of direct, political activism, and the band itself as a collective bigger than the sum of its parts. With slightly changing line-ups, the group recorded six albums, ranging from the undiluted, pissed-off early recordings Feeding of the 5000 and Stations of the Crass to the feminist punk manifesto Penis Envy, and the avant-garde and free-jazz leanings of their later works. Over the years, Crass and Crass Records became a synonym for actual, philosophically informed anarchy in the UK, creating an important counterpart to the nihilism and hollow slogans of some of their contemporaries. In this edited and condensed version of his recent interview for RBMA Radio, Rimbaud charts a course through his remarkable career.

A retrospective piece, by the author of this blog, following the decision by the Freedom bookshop collective to cease print production of the anarchist newspaper (first published in 1886) and go ‘electronic only’.

Freedom occupies a special place in my anarchist heart, because it was the first anarchist newspaper that I ever picked up, in 1980 at the age of 17 [...] As I read those first few issues back then, a lot of the paper’s frame of reference was pretty alien to me. The lyrics and wraparound essays of a Poison Girls or Crass twelve-inch record had more immediate anarchist resonance for me, than much of what appeared to be (from my teenage punk perspective) the frequently strange and arcane political and cultural preoccupations of Freedom‘s writers. [...]

But there was no doubting my affinity with the sentiments and aspirations which I saw motivating the paper. As I also discovered Black Flag, Xtra! and Anarchy, the range of the expanding anarchist press seemed (alongside the stacks of punk fanzines piling up in my room) to be an even more encouraging sign. The anarchist movement appeared to be multiplying.

Rich Cross. 2014. ‘What Does Moving Online Mean For Freedom?‘, Freedom [online], 2 April, http://www.freedompress.org.uk/news/2014/04/02/what-does-moving-online-mean-for-freedom/

The Rebellion Festival (Blackpool, UK, August) report:

We have a very special event to open Rebellion Festivals 2014 on Thursday in the Empress Ballroom.

In commemoration of the thousands on both sides who died brutal, pointless deaths in Word War I, Penny Rimbaud and Eve Libertine present a reworking of the Crass classic Yes, Sir, I Will complete with a six piece band. They are joined by Gee Vaucher who will be showing the classic film of the same name. As Rimbaud puts it – ‘It will be good to do Yes, Sir at the festival because it’s probably more relevant today than it was thirty-five [actually, thirty-one] years back, and all the more so for this being the centenary year of ‘the war to end all wars’ – will we ever learn?’.

Day tickets are available for this special one off performance – see day tickets for Thursday 7 August 2014 at : http://www.rebellionfestivals.com/tickets/

Yes Sir, I Will

Jim Donaghey, Anarchism, Punk, Cultures of Resistance & that ‘lifestyle’ vs ‘social anarchism’ debate, 12 April, 12noon, Liberty Hall, Dublin, Ireland – part of the Dublin Anarchist Bookfair 2014.

Anarchism, Punk, Cultures of Resistance  - Dublin Anarchist Bookfair 2014

Anarchism, Punk, Cultures of Resistance – Dublin Anarchist Bookfair 2014


This talk & discussion at the 2014 Dublin Anarchist Bookfair will examine the supposed gulf between ‘lifestyle’ and ‘social’ anarchisms, with a particular focus on DIY punk’s contested siting within this false dichotomy. It will consider several strands of punk engaged with anarchism – especially contemporary manifestations.

Those who subscribe to ‘workerist’ interpretations of anarchism (syndicalism et al.) sometimes dismiss punk as a distraction from serious revolutionary struggle. Equally there are those from ‘punk-anarchist’ perspectives who dismiss labour struggles, and work itself, as out-dated (CrimethInc. etc.). But are these caricature polar-positions based on any reality? What were/are the tensions between an emergent ‘DIY-punk-anarchism’ and the ‘anarchist establishment’?

Punk straddles the fields of both cultural and material production. To highlight the material aspect (and in opposition to its detractors) the anarcho-syndicalist principles of Rudolf Rocker (and others) will be mapped onto DIY punk. Certainly the means of production are taken into the hands of the producers in DIY punk, and communality and cooperation are key – but what are the limits of DIY punk as anarcho-syndicalist praxis? To what extent can punk and punk activism be understood as direct action? Does it merely create a petit-bourgeois group of ‘punk entrepreneurs’? Is it revolutionary?

And to reverse the argument, it will be highlighted that even those struggles vaunted by ‘workerists’ today were/are in large part culturally driven. That, in fact, a major underlying basis for successful struggle is a culture of resistance, and that this is something that DIY punk contributes to in the contemporary anarchist milieu. Of course, punk culture is just one among many resistance cultures – but punk is very often a clear coming together of political/personal, cultural/material, and can be a vibrant expression of anarchist resistance.


About the speaker: Jim Donaghey joined the Irish diaspora nearly 3 years ago, to take up a PhD at Loughborough looking at the relationships between anarchism and punk. The research for that has involved asking awkward questions to punks and anarchists in Indonesia, Poland, and all over the UK. Jim used to play with Belfast-based bands the Lobotomies and Pocket Billiards, and is now playing with Die Wrecked in Leicester. He is also involved with local activist groups including Leicester Solidarity Group, Food Not Bombs Leicester, Anarchist Federation (fellow traveller), Leicester Critical Mass, and the anti-fascist football team FC Kolektivo Victoria.


A new interview with Penny Rimbaud (2 March 2014) has been published on the PunkGlobe site. Entitled ‘The Conquest of Bread’, the interview, which ranges across Rimbaud’s career and life, is conducted by Tyler Vile. Discussing his work with Crass, Rimbaud suggests:

Everything I did in Crass was inspired by the idea of “be exactly who you want to be,” which we put into the song Big A, Little A, a practice of helping people to think about a world that they might like to see, to show them that they had the power to change a world where they’d been told they hadn’t.

Penny Rimbaud - PunkGlobe.com

Penny Rimbaud – PunkGlobe.com


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