welcome to the Skinhead Nation Hated by many, understood by few, the skinhead cult is a very different animal to that portrayed in newspaper headlines. Skinhead Nation takes you on a journey through the back streets of Britain, America and Europe to hear the skinheads' own story.

skinheads rule okay!
Ghost Town

Part One
The Big Apple Bites back

Part Two
Among The Mugs

Part Three
Bring Back The Skins

Part Four
No Mean City

Part Five
Here Comes Johnny Reggae

Part Six
Violence In Our Minds

Part Seven
Ghost Town

Part Eight
Neither Red Or Racist

Part Nine
One Law For Them

Part Ten
Tougher Than Tough

Part Eleven
No One Likes Us

Part Twelve
Us And Them

Richard Allen skinhead books - buy them here!

The book version of Skinhead Nation is not currently available, but you can buy other skinhead and youth cult books online and by post from www.stpublishing.com
Detroit, Michigan, is a city fighting for its very survival. It is known throughout the world as Motor City, home of the automobile industry, but today it is a shadow of its former self, almost a ghost town symbolised by a giant railway station that lies abandoned and derelict in what was once the centre of the city.

Inner city decline in the Detroit of the Fifties and Sixties was hastened by the so-called “white flight” after the riots of 1967 which claimed 54 lives. Those who could afford to move to the more affluent areas around Detroit did so, resulting in businesses closing, further decline, and more people leaving. The end result was a city that had lost half of its population and most of its wealth. Today, it’s a city of have-nots, three quarters of whom are black and captives of a form of racial segregation based on economics. In fact, many white people from the suburbs boast that they haven’t been to Detroit for years except to see the Red Wings or the Tigers play.

Like all industrial cities, Detroit has always been a tough, uncompromising place to be. It’s no surprise that its streets have given birth to world class boxers like Sugar Ray Robinson, Thomas “The Hit Man” Hearns and the legendary Brown Bomber, Joe Louis, heavyweight champion of the world for an incredible 13 years.

Another professional boxer and former Ford assembly line worker who went on to find both fame and fortune was Berry Gordy, whose Tamla Motown empire put Detroit on the musical map under the name of Hitsville, USA. Almost as if to underline the decline of this once great city, even Motown has vacated its premises and moved to the sunnier climes of Los Angeles. All that’s left are the memories and a museum. Not only has the heart of the city packed its bags and headed for the suburbs, but the soul has now gone too.

The sound of Motown was incredibly popular with the original skinheads, just as it had been with the mods of a few years before, and remains so today in traditional skinhead circles. The likes of The Miracles, The Four Tops, The Marvelletes, and The Supremes have a home in many a skinhead’s record collection, and of course many skinhead reggae classics are in fact covers of soul songs, including Bob & Marcia’s Young, Gifted And Black (Harry J) which had originally been recorded by Nina Simone and then Aretha Franklin. Indeed, it’s no coincidence that Motown enjoyed some of its best chart success in the UK during the skinhead’s golden era of 1968 to 1972.

In Detroit you won’t find too many people who would associate skinheads with their beloved Tamla Motown though. In fact, if the local media hysteria that surrounded a triple murder is to be believed, Detroit’s music beats a totally different drum as far as skinheads are concerned today. Move over Motown gems like Martha And The Vandella’s Dancing In The Street (which also appeared on Stateside) and Marvin Gaye’s I Heard It Through The Grapevine. And make way for new skinhead anthems like White, Straight & Proud by New Minority and Nordic Thunder’s Born To Hate.

The murder case in question concerned two skinhead brothers from Allentown, Pennsylvania, Bryan and David Freeman, who beat and stabbed their parents and younger brother to death in February, 1995. They were eventually caught in Midland, a town about one hundred miles to the north of Detroit, which accounted for some of the local interest. The media, naturally enough, looked for the sensationalist angle and from the press and TV coverage, you would have thought that the brothers’ main crime was their association with the skinhead cult - the fact that they murdered three people came a poor second.

Media portrayals of the two brothers made them look more like extras from The Hills Have Eyes than skinheads. Both had the word Berserkr tattooed on their foreheads which did little to enhance this image. Berserkr is the name of a white power metal band from Oklahoma which had risen from the ashes of the Mid-Town Bootboys, a skinhead band from the late Eighties whose progress had been abruptly halted when band members ended up on the wrong side of prison bars. It just so happened that Berserkr’s debut album, The Voice Of Our Ancestors, had just been released by Detroit-based Resistance Records, a label that from a standing start in early 1994 has quickly made its way to the forefront of the white power music scene.

Resistance Records was started by a 25 year old Canadian George Birdi, who goes under the name of George E. Hawthorne, and who is the singer with hard rock band, Rahowa, an abbreviation of the slogan Racial Holy War. The story goes that a farm was mortgaged to finance the label’s launch, but there can be little doubt that financial support must also have been forthcoming from other quarters to get the ball rolling so quickly and so professionally.

In fact the registered address for Resistance Records is no more than a small and empty office suite in Detroit itself. None of that takes away from the fact that for the first time, and particularly in the USA, white power music has a platform it can be justly proud of. Resistance quickly signed leading American white power bands like Detroit’s own Max Resist & The Hooligans, Wisconsin’s Centurion, and Maryland’s Bound For Glory. Since then, other bands have been added to the label’s roster, including Britain’s very own No Remorse. The music varies in style from Nordic Thunder’s hardcore-Oi! sound to Aggravated Assault’s “Racial Shock Rock” to New Minority who apparently sound like “Skid Row or Motley Crue” and aren’t embarrassed to admit it.

Rahowa’s latest album, Cult Of The Holy War, is described as “fascist neo-classical gothic metal” - try saying that after a few pints - but one thing they all have in common is the superb packaging that rivals that of any mainstream label.

In the UK, from the days of the Young National Front’s Bulldog magazine right through to Blood & Honour, white power music has been promoted in a halfway house format, somewhere between amateurism and professionalism. The same has been true of record and CD releases, although at least in this department standards have been improving over the years. Rock-O-Rama Records, based in Brühl, Germany, was until recently the biggest name in white power music (although they also sold other types of street music including punk, ska and reggae through their catalogue - a point rarely made in any circles), but the police raids during 1993 that formed part of the crackdown on German neo-Nazi activity, have had a definite effect on its output. That, together with the death of Skrewdriver’s Ian Stuart, left a massive vacuum - and one that is quickly being filled by Resistance Records.

The label also publishes the glossy magazine, Resistance - again a publication that wouldn’t look out of place on any newsagent’s shelves. A big problem for street music in general is that it tends to be confined to the realms of fanzine land. That’s all well and good for the faithful die-hards who can see beyond the often poorly photocopied pages, but the danger is that bands with the potential to reach a far wider audience don’t do so. Resistance magazine’s full colour cover, professional design and well written articles go a long way to making you think that maybe the bands are as good as its glossy pages would have you believe.

Just as importantly for anyone preaching white power is the fact that the quality of the product might help to persuade people that the articles on race and related issues just might hold something too. It’s no great secret of history that aspiring political movements have always looked to youth for support, and what better way to reach out to them than through music. Resistance Magazine obviously has a part to play in winning the hearts and minds of its readers, casual or committed, to the white power cause, again a role made all the more important following the demise of Tom Metzger’s White Aryan Resistance and Ben Klassen’s Church Of The Creator, the latter a white supremist organisation which declares that “our race is our religion” and advocates the Racial Holy War that gave its name to George Hawthorne’s band. Ben Klassen’s death has obviously affected the running of his church, and Metzger’s WAR was supposedly brought to its knees in 1990 when a court found Metzger and his son guilty of inciting the violence that led to the killing of an Ethiopian man in Portland, Oregon, by WAR skinheads.

The victim’s family was awarded a staggering $12.5 million in damages, and the Metzgers lost their family home and personal property as a result. WAR certainly hasn’t been put out of business as was widely predicted would happen, but it is equally true that it has lost much of its power, for the time being anyway.

That really leaves Resistance to fly the flag among the young, and it is doing so with considerable evangelism. It claims a circulation of 13,000 copies an issue for its magazine and uses its pages to promote its own and like-minded bands as well as the white power message. Next to interviews with No Remorse and Bound For Glory you’ll find features like an “Introduction To The Ku Klux Klan”, “Interview With A Black Separatist” and “Charles Manson: Has He Been Misunderstood?”. It makes for entertaining reading in the main, although obviously only one perspective is put forward, and truth, as always, is in the eye of the beholder.

One article claimed to dismiss the idea that the skinhead cult was born in the late Sixties by advocating that it had its roots in Oswald Mosley’s brown shirts of the 1930s! The same article also conveniently makes no reference to skinhead reggae, but hails Motörhead of all bands as a great skinhead band of the Seventies! This sort of nonsense may be believed in certain circles in the USA, but here in Old Blighty where people know the score, it just won’t wash. For the record, Motörhead are a heavy metal band whose only distant connection with the skinhead cult is that their drummer, Phil Taylor, used to be one.

The evangelism of Resistance's message also brings to mind the preachers that pollute American TV, bringing you the word of God in the hope that you’ll send them some money. Resistance doesn’t ask for donations as such - but they are keen to let you know that by buying their CDs, magazines and t-shirts you will be advancing the cause of the white race. All that said, if everyone in street circles did as much as Resistance to promote their own brand of music, we might not have to put up with the likes of Elton John and Cliff Richard any longer.

The media hasn’t been slow to afford Resistance Records massive publicity either. MTV’s Hate Rock special must have done wonders for Resistance bands like Aryan (who were filmed at their first ever gig), and CNN also did a 12 minute feature on Resistance Records which included footage of Rahowa in the studio. In addition to TV coverage, features in magazines and newspapers have all added to a wave of publicity, something that fuels the fires that burn deep inside everyone with a gospel to spread.

Being linked with the Freeman brothers might not be everyone’s idea of top dollar publicity, but when your music is being played on prime time TV any publicity has to be good. You also don’t have to have a degree in psychology to know that the forbidden fruit is the most tempting of all. “When I was younger, I always had problems with blacks at school, so I had animosity towards blacks and minorities, so the politics really attracted me,” says Chris of Baltimore. “And when I read about white power skins, it was something I wanted to do. It seemed like it was really good, like a brotherhood.”

The media’s focus on the underground, rebellious, volatile and extremist nature of white power music acts like a magnet for disaffected youngsters who rarely share authority figure concerns and desires. The fact that you can’t buy the records and CDs in most local record shops simply adds to the attraction.

A classic case of this was the hype that surrounded the 1992 Aussie film, Romper Stomper. Made with a budget of less than a million pounds (small change in movie terms), it was never really destined for big things - until that is the media, aided and abetted by anti-fascist groups, gave it the sort of coverage that money just can’t buy, resulting in lots of curious people wanting to see this film for themselves.

It wasn’t a film about skinheads. It was a film about an outsider’s impression of neo-Nazi skinheads. Most commentators and punters probably missed the distinction, but there obviously is one and a big one at that. Particularly for skinheads. A great many skins don’t see anything resembling themselves in the film, and as sure as night follows day, that will include a lot of neo-Nazi skinheads.

Romper Stomper was an action-packed journey into the world of a neo-Nazi skinhead gang based in Melbourne. As these things go, it was far better than the appallingly pathetic Greydon Clark’s Skinheads, but never got close to the likes of A Clockwork Orange in the cult classic stakes (although writer and director Geoffrey Wright had obviously helped himself to more than one or two ideas from Kubrik’s benchmark masterpiece). The chances are, Romper Stomper would have received very limited cinema exposure before being condemned to a life on the dusty shelves of video rental shop shelves. But rather than let that happen, the likes of the Anti-Nazi League organised an hysterical campaign against the film, saying that it promoted Nazism and would lead to copy-cat violence, blah, blah, blah.

The media then turned its spotlight on this shock horror film, and before you knew it, Romper Stomper was on release throughout the country followed by a long spell in the video charts. Efforts to ban it had ultimately led to the film’s success. The hypocrisy of the placard-wielding moral guardians standing outside cinemas in a bid to stop people seeing Romper Stomper was almost deafening. The chosen few among the protesters who had seen it arrogantly sought to deny the right of others to make up their own minds about the film. Most of them hadn’t even seen the film, and so didn’t have a clue as to what they were protesting about. A case of the blind attempting to lead the blind.

On Romper Stomper’s opening night in Copenhagen, Denmark, 23 skinheads were attacked as they left the cinema by around 100 demonstrators armed with sticks, iron bars, bottles and CS gas. The skins were chased into a nearby hotel where they armed themselves with chairs, beer glasses and fire extinguishers. A street fight raged before the police arrived and two demonstrators ended up in hospital - one after being thrown through a shop window, the other after his own CS Gas was sprayed in his face. If the skinheads had seen the film and then gone on the rampage, you would have heard about it in Timbuktu. As it was, only one Danish national newspaper featured the incident.

The media’s linking of Resistance Records to the Freeman brothers via dodgy Indian ink tattoos seems to be yet another example of tabloid journalism at its very worst. Like them or loathe them, Resistance Records had as much to do with the murder case as the makers of the brothers’ underwear did. Or for that matter, as much to do with the murders as the skinhead cult in general. As Ryan, a skinhead who lived near the brothers put it, “What does murdering your family have to do with being a skin? They did it because they were twisted losers, not because they’re skins.”

Skinheads are used to tabloid bullshit like this the world over. In March, 1994, Keith Wilkinson walked into a school in Middlesbrough and stabbed three young girls, killing one of them. Three days before Wilkinson attacked those kids he decided to shave his head. The tabloid newspapers in Britain had a field day because not only was this man a knife-wielding maniac, he was now a skinhead too! The implication being of course that the skinhead haircut had something to do with his actions.

Even their own articles made it clear to anyone with half a brain that Wilkinson was not a skinhead, describing him as a loner, who had never worked and never had a girlfriend, and as someone who spent his time in his bedroom playing computer games and listening to heavy metal. The Daily Star said all of this, and even ran a quarter page feature on his favourite band, Iron Maiden (a band with even fewer skinhead links than Motörhead). And yet this same newspaper refers to “skinhead Wilkinson” and has a headline that screamed, He Looked So Evil With Skinhead Haircut. In fact, a neighbour told The Daily Mail that “he looked the hippy type and certainly played heavy metal.”

The Sun too was at it with the heading, SKINHEAD LONER WHO LIVED FOR HEAVY METAL HORROR SONGS AND COMPUTERS, only they had his favourite band down as Sepultura, that well-known Brazilian death metal band. You could fill an entire book on how the British media has misrepresented the skinhead cult. And then you could go on to fill hundreds of others on how it had misrepresented other groups and individuals over the years.

But back to the States for the time being. The Anti-Defamation League, which monitors skinhead activity, reckons there to be around 3,500 racist skinheads in the USA. The media frenzy over their activities, particularly in the late Eighties when they were even appearing on the likes of The Oprah Winfrey Show and Geraldo, is totally out of all proportion to their numbers and actions. To put things in perspective, there are over 100,000 gang members in the Los Angeles area alone. Skinhead related violence in the land of the free is but a drop in the ocean of blood spilled every year in gang-banging, but it’s the skinheads who will get the column inches in the newspapers the next day. The kid in a body bag as a result of black on black violence will be remembered by graffiti on the walls of his ‘hood and on page 63 of the local newspaper if he is lucky.

I mean, for fuck’s sake. An estimated 135,000 juveniles carry guns to school every day in the USA. That should frighten the hell out of right-on America, but they’re too busy making placards for the next Nazis Out rally. Again, according to the Anti-Defamation League, 40 murders have been attributed to “racist skinheads” since the late Eighties. 40 murders is 40 murders too many, but why do the people who are so outraged by these deaths spend so little energy fighting gang violence which can clock up 40 deaths over a good weekend?

It’s almost as if black kids shooting each other doesn’t really matter. And it’s almost as if the biggest crime in the politically correct world of today is to hold racist beliefs. You can be a drug dealer, a rapist or a child molester, but as long as you aren’t a Nazi that’s okay. And you can drive aid convoys to Bosnia (as one BNP supporting skin did, risking his own life to bring food and comfort to a largely forgotten people) and you will still be classed as scum of the Earth by the right on brigade if you hold racist beliefs.

There can be no doubt that the acres of publicity donated by the media and anti-fascist groups to white power organisations like Resistance represents one of their biggest recruitment tools. So the very people who claim to be taking a stand against racism also supply the oxygen of publicity that guarantees its very survival and growth. There is also little doubt that the continuous media focus on skinheads - arguably the most visible and frightening face of white power beyond the hoods and gowns of the Ku Klux Klan - and their links with the extreme right has created the impression that all skinheads support racist or Nazi or white power organisations. And of course, journalists look to past articles and features for research material and continue to make the link to the point where the words “skinhead” and “Nazi” mean virtually the same thing in media circles. As Cock Sparrer sing (with tongue firmly planted in side of mouths), The Sun says, The Sun says, so it must be true.

Virtually everyone reading this has political views of one sort or another. We are certainly all affected by the world of politics, so it makes sense to have an idea of what the powers that be are doing in your name. Skinheads, just like everyone else, have the right to believe, say and do whatever they want, just as long as they don’t infringe on the rights of others to live in peace and do likewise. And if that includes buying white power records, then good luck to them.

Me, I’m the world’s worst. I’ve got an opinion on everything. Sit me in front of the TV news and within twenty seconds I’m moaning about this and correcting that. Deciding everything from doctors’ pay to who’ll be the next heavyweight champion of the world in seconds. The ultimate armchair dictator. Alf Garnett’s running mate. Why they pay politicians thousands of pounds a year I’ll never know, because I could screw things up just as badly for the price of a few beers. Every election, be it local or national, and I toddle off to the polling booth to cast my vote. Every election, come rain or shine, I’ll be there. Some issues I believe strongly in, some I couldn’t care less about. My beliefs and opinions have been shaped by my family, my friends, my upbringing, what I see, hear and read, and my experiences of life. They will continue to be so until my last breath on this fair planet.

But one thing that has never influenced my thinking - and this will come as a surprise to most journalists - is the length of my hair. Shaving my head does not change who I am. When the razor runs over your scalp you get a haircut, not a brain transplant. Nobody is born a skinhead (despite what the odd tattoo might tell you) and there is nobody from quality control standing on the door telling people who can and who can’t become a skinhead. Different aspects of the cult attract different people, and just as with any other group within society, you get a cross-section of views and opinions. Such is the spice of life.

There’s no doubting that there are racist skinheads, fascist skinheads, white power skinheads, what have you. But there is equally no doubting that there are anti-racist skinheads, anti-fascist skinheads, and skinheads who judge you by the colour of your football scarf and not by the colour of your skin. And then there are all the skinheads inbetween with their various opinions and beliefs, and there are plenty more who basically couldn’t care less about politics full stop. To some, a two pence rise in the price of a pint of beer is more important than a change of government, and who’s to say they’re wrong?

You pays your money in this life, and you takes your choice. And that’s true of skinheads, football hooligans, bus drivers, accountants, vicars, vegetarians or any other group within society you want to single out. The powers that be though, the powers that would like to be, and the mugs who hang on their every word, have every skinhead down as a “Nazi”. If you actually ask them what a Nazi is, most of them don’t have a clue, and it must be one of the most overused and misused labels of today. If you can’t even define the problem, don’t pretend you’ve got the perfect solution.

If you’re white, working class and wearing an England football top, chances are some fool somewhere has you down as a Nazi. Sounds ridiculous, but such is the misplaced hysteria of today’s politically correct tub thumpers. The riot in Dublin which caused the Ireland versus England friendly to be abandoned was a case in point. Even those who claimed football hooliganism was a thing of the past - either because they didn’t have a clue what they were talking about or because they didn’t want to upset the gravy train that Euro ‘96 would bring to England the following year - must have realised that there was the potential for trouble at such a game.

But, as is so often the case, the authorities were caught with their pants down. Not to worry though, let’s just blame “skinheads” and “extremists” and pretend we’ve got everything under control for the European Championships.

Very few skinheads were even at the game. There were a lot of people there with shaved heads because it is one of the most popular haircuts of today, but they aren’t skinheads and neither do they see themselves as such. Dressed head to toe in Armani, Ralph Lauren, Duffer and Adidas, it’s hardly surprising.

The extremists who supposedly organised the trouble were Combat 18, the London-based Nazi organisation that the media just can’t stop talking about. The reality of football violence in the UK though is that the vast majority of hooligans have no political affiliations whatsoever. And although some no doubt do support the extreme right, there are also others who are on the other side of the street with the likes of Anti-Fascist Action and Red Action.

Of course England fans are going to sing “No surrender to the IRA” at a match against Ireland, just like Scotland fans chanted “What’s it like to lose a war?” the last time Argentina came to Hampden Park. The Dublin songs were obviously coloured by events in Northern Ireland and mainland Britain, but to suggest they were all part and parcel of the extremists’ arsenal is complete and utter nonsense.

The Herald newspaper recently ran a photo that was taken at the Dublin game that claimed to portray “English fans with neo-Nazi symbols on their flags” giving sieg heil salutes. There are four flags in the photo, one Union Jack from Wallsend and three St. George crosses. The only visible symbol is the crossed hammers of West Ham. Some of the crowd, which includes a young kid and a few old men, have hands in the air, but all but one have clenched fists. Fans the world over pump the air with their fists as they sing, and it’s plain to see that this is exactly what was going on in this photograph.

Years ago, during a radio commentary of a Brighton game, the commentators were saying how sickened they were to hear sieg heil chants from the terraces. In fact, the fans were chanting “Seagulls!”, Brighton’s nickname. A not so funny anecdote when you read in The Guardian that a similar mistake was made by the police who mounted an eight month investigation into a Combat 18 style firm at the Goldstone Ground chanting Nazi slogans at every game who turned out to be ordinary fans getting behind their team. The same thing happens at skinhead gigs the world over. A chant of “Skinhead!” goes up, and nervous types immediately hear it as “Sieg heil!” and think a Nuremberg Rally choir has just started up.

A few short, sharp facts. Yes, there are skinheads with national socialist beliefs. No, not all skinheads hold national socialist beliefs - the majority do not. Being proud of your country and your heritage does not by definition make you a national socialist. Being a racist does not by definition make you a Nazi. Being pro-white does not by definition make you a racist. Being a skinhead does not by definition mean you are a Nazi, a racist, a patriot or anything else for that matter. Nearly all skinheads are patriotic. There’s nothing wrong with being proud of your country. There will be those who do see it as a problem though because they say it can lead to racism, but if you applied that sort of logic to everything, walking down the street would be a crime - because you just might throw a brick through a window.

Obviously, skinheads have the right to support whatever political beliefs they want to - just like everyone else. The freedom to think and believe is something that nobody can take away from you, no matter how oppressive a regime you live under. Only that’s not good enough for some people. Just because they believe in something strongly, they expect you to go along with it. They demand freedom of speech for themselves, but they want to silence you if you don’t agree with them. And in their simplistic, blinkered, idealistic, arrogant little minds, everything is viewed in black and white, when anyone living in the real world will tell you there are also millions of shades of grey inbetween.

To dismiss people solely on one aspect of their life such as their political views - particularly when you are acting as both judge and jury - is not only arrogant and ignorant, but also very dangerous too. You don’t have to be a great fan of the extreme right to realise that until the politically correct hysteria and bullshit is removed from the debate, few people will be any the wiser.

The extreme right are always portrayed as being stupid, ignorant and violent, and of course the word “Nazi” will be thrown in for good measure too. No doubt a few do live up to this stereotype (as do a few skinheads), but plenty more do not. The people behind Resistance Records may be a lot of things to a lot of people, but only an idiot would take them for mugs.

Not surprisingly, those who seriously advocate white supremacy and national socialism (and we’re not talking about the WOGS OUT spray paint merchants here) don’t see themselves as idiots. As they will tell you, it isn’t ignorance that has led them to their views and beliefs, it is the pursuit of knowledge and truth that is often denied to the general public (cue conspiracy theories about the media being controlled by the Zionist Occupational Government - ZOG for short, the Holocaust being a hoax and so on and so on).

White power music is also dismissed as being absolute rubbish by its detractors (and as with all music, some of it undoubtedly is). In his book, Skinhead Street Gangs, police officer and “nationally recognised expert on skinhead gangs” Loren Christensen, described it as a “hard-driving, thumping, screaming, banging, thundering explosion of the most god-awful sounds this side of hell.” If that really was the case with all white power music though, why do anti-fascist groups and the media go to such lengths to drive it underground? Why can’t you walk into your local shop and find the latest Skrewdriver CD in the racks between The Skids and Slade?

“The media and trendy lefties want to promote black pride, gay pride, lesbian pride, and anything other than white pride. You’re allowed to have a cop killer on TV programmes saying, yeah, buy my records, I’m a big black murderer, but you can’t have someone saying these are my records, I sing about white pride, pride in my race, I don’t hate anyone because of the colour of their skin, I’m just very proud of the skin colour I’ve got.” So says Paul Burnley, lead singer of No Remorse, a skinhead of many years standing, and a national socialist.

After a spell as vocalist with Public Enemy (no relation to Chuck D’s rap outfit you won’t be surprised to hear), Paul went on to form No Remorse in the latter part of 1987. Together with the formation of Blood & Honour the same year, No Remorse heralded a new dawn for white power music and a far more extreme stance than had been taken before, at least publicly, as Paul himself explains. “We said what we wanted to say without holding back anything. At the time, although it was a fairly big right wing scene, some of the bands were saying they were are racist, but not that extreme. It all changed when Blood & Honour came into force, and after a while other bands were doing what we’d been doing from the beginning.”

No Remorse’s open and avowed Nazi stance allowed them to quickly establish a name for themselves in Blood & Honour circles. Even compared to Skrewdriver and Brutal Attack, they appeared to be far more extremist than anything that had gone before, particularly in Britain where victory over Hitler in World War Two has guaranteed a lack of enthusiasm for Nazism ever since.

Draped in swastika flags, the band’s approach may have appeared basic and clumsy initially, but by 1990 and the release of the debut album, This Time The World (Rebelles European), No Remorse were one of the leading names on the Blood & Honour scene. Again, anyone concerned about censorship should ask themselves why you won’t find No Remorse CDs in your local Our Price or Virgin Megastore. Plenty of other material that is offensive and controversial for a multitude of reasons does get carried. Nobody is forced to buy it.

It’s really a question of freedom of speech, the right to say what you believe. It’s well known that both the extreme left and the extreme right are as quick to demand it for themselves as they are to deny it to others, but no free society should allow self-appointed censors to dictate what you are allowed to listen to. If it’s a matter of inciting racial hatred, then the law of the land should be brought into play.

“It’s a great sadness that this society chooses to blacklist anyone they don’t agree with”, comments Paul, while talking about Ian Stuart and Skrewdriver. “Anybody, right wing, left wing, you should have the choice to listen to what you want, and you shouldn’t be dictated to by middle class trendies in the music industry and over-zealous Zionists in the media. If his political views were so bad, why wasn’t he free to say them and be exposed for it? The fact that he wasn’t proves that he wasn’t talking rubbish or spreading lies.”

The Los Angeles riots that followed the not guilty verdict in the Rodney King police beating case saw Korean owned businesses singled out for looting and burning. Public Enemy’s Chuck D has called it “precision bombing”, black people hitting back at the Koreans who take money from the community, but give nothing back. Ice Cube has attacked Koreans for doing the same in his music. Both support Louis Farrakhan, the black separatist who is accused of being anti-Semitic and racist by the media. In fact all three are condemned by the mainstream media, but they are still given the opportunity to state their case, they are given credit for other more positive aspects of their work, and the music of Ice Cube and Public Enemy is still widely available. So why treat white separatists and white power advocates any differently?

Personally, I don’t have much time for white power music. Hard rock and thrash metal don’t do much for me, and neither do the lyrics. I also don’t believe there would be queues round the block to buy white power CDs if they were in the shops. In fact the forbidden fruit appeal would disappear overnight.

Michael Jackson is one of the biggest names in the music business today. He recently performed at the Brit Awards, regularly appears on TV around the world and you can’t turn the radio on without hearing one of his songs. This is the same man who was accused of sexually abusing children, but who paid millions of dollars to one alleged victim so that it would not to go court. To many people, that was not the actions of an innocent man, but walk into any record shop, and you can pick up his CDs by the dozen. That’s disgraceful, but where’s the outcry? Or is it just skinhead bands who have to adhere to the prevailing moral code?

Some will say that to allow racists to spread their message leads to racially-motivated violence, often with horrific consequences. The strange thing is the extreme right use the same argument against immigrants. Allow them into your country and it leads to muggings, drugs and other crimes, again often with horrific consequences. Both statements contain a truth, but not the whole truth. Only a tiny minority of racists are involved in violence, just as only a tiny minority of immigrants are involved in crime.

There is no free debate in today’s society. The extreme right, the Nazis, the white power merchants, the KKK, Tom Metzger, Resistance Records, No Remorse, they are all evil, bad, sinister and they’ve got it wrong. End of story. No questions asked. No platform for Nazis. Smash the National Front. And in place of free debate, we have media hysteria and related nonsense. The British National Party wants to hold a rally in a town hall and all hell breaks loose. Pickets, student marches, end of the world doom merchants. 100 drug related deaths in the city of Glasgow alone during 1995, thousands more caught up in a seedy world of crime, prostitution, poverty and violence to pay for their addiction. Where are the placard wavers? Where are the marches against the drug dealers and pushers? They are a far bigger threat to daily life than the extreme right will ever be, so why no Anti-Drug League?

In Moss Side, Manchester, drug wars have escalated into gun warfare on the streets. Every month or so, a small item on the news will tell you another person has been shot dead. Often they are just innocents, caught in the crossfire. Another murder. Another death too many. But why aren’t the same people who flood the streets to protest about a racially motivated killing out on the streets against the drug barons? Is one death more important than the other? Obviously so, at least to those who see racism as the ultimate evil. If all things were equal, the streets would be jam-packed after both events. Political correctness dictates differently.

It’s impossible to say what percentage of skinheads support Blood & Honour and related organisations. If you only attend white power concerts, only kick about with like-minded skins, and only read white power literature, then the chances are you believe that the vast majority of skinheads are like yourself. “Most skinheads are right wing,” argues Paul Burnley. “Possibly they aren’t right wing when they become skinheads, but they become right wing because they are in a position to see things as other people don’t. I think the right wing is growing at the moment, particularly in Scandinavia, Germany, USA and other places where there is a steady flow of people getting off their backsides and not leaving it to anyone else. These are young people taking the initiative to promote the things they want to see. In the past, the skinhead thing has been controlled by older people who maybe weren’t interested in anything other than making a profit, but now we can make our own CDs and produce our own records and things like that.”

Obviously a skinhead with no interest in the extreme right who goes to reggae and Oi! gigs with other skins just interested in having a beer and a laugh without the soap box politics will tell you different. In their world, most skinheads aren’t right wing.

The reality probably isn’t far away from 40-60% of the world skinhead population being supporters of what can broadly be labelled the extreme right. Whether they really are the majority is hard to say because it stands to reason that 40-60% of skinheads don’t support those views. Of those who don’t though, only around 5-10% are staunchly anti-racist (as opposed to non-racist) and support SHARP or similar organisations. It also has to be said that a fair number of right wing skinheads only become skinheads to outwardly express their racist beliefs and have no real love of the cult beyond that.

The media’s constant focus on the sensational aspects of the skinhead cult, be it politics or violence or whatever, inevitably gives the impression that all skinheads are the same. Thick fascist thugs. This drip drip effect has been non-stop since the first skinheads laced up their boots and walked out onto the streets in the late Sixties, and the damaged caused to the cult is now beyond repair.

Skinheads of course aren’t boy scouts. Most couldn’t care less what the media or anyone else thinks about them. You certainly don’t become a skinhead to win popularity contests. But constant media bullshit has created a situation where skinheads, together with football hooligans, new age travellers, single mothers and other tabloid targets, are the new minorities who can be attacked at will, regardless of the true facts.

There is obviously good and bad in every race, creed and colour, and minorities deserve to be protected from persecution of any kind, but when skinheads are wronged in the media, there are no pressure groups to stand up for their rights. Nobody shouts foul. Nobody gives a fuck to be honest.

During 1993, it seemed that you couldn’t turn on the TV in Britain without being confronted by one drama series or another touting episodes about Nazi skinheads. They were queueing up to pay script writers vast sums of money to come up with the same old tired story line. Between The Lines, a drama series that deals with corruption within the police force, was a main part of the BBC’s Autumn schedule. A trailer for the episode on police infiltration of a racist gang featured a skinhead doing press ups in front of a poster featuring skinheads with the words RACE IS OUR RELIGION above their heads. Pretty standard fair you would think, but the poster actually featured clearly identifiable Glasgow skinheads dancing away at a Laurel Aitken gig. Apparently, when a poster of Nazi skinheads could not be found, someone at the BBC thought any poster of skinheads would be fine once the racist slogan had been added. There was nothing to suggest the skinheads had any racist connection, and of course they did not, but that didn’t seem to bother anyone until complaints were made.

The programme’s producer, Peter Norris, was at first reluctant to edit the scene. After all, he had consulted the anti-fascist magazine Searchlight (a publication that rightly berates newspapers for its sensationalist approach to stories about immigration, black crime and the like, but regularly publishes skinhead-related material itself that is no better researched). Mr. Morris also thought that the fact that the poster only appeared on screen for 15 seconds meant that it would cause few problems. However, when it was pointed out that he wouldn’t have been too pleased to see his face on TV for 15 seconds with the words CHILD MOLESTER or MUGGER above it, he agreed that a mistake had been made. In the end, the programme was edited and the trailer not repeated, but you can guarantee few other minority groups would have been used and abused in this way in the first place.

On Saturday, October 1st, 1994, No Remorse, Nordic Thunder and other white power bands had gathered in Wisconsin to hold a tribute concert for Ian Stuart. After the concert, at approximately 2:15am, a number of skinheads went into a local convenience store to buy food and beer to take to a party that had been arranged. Inside the shop an argument broke out between the skinheads and three black youths who then left the shop unharmed.

One returned minutes later with a gun, presumably taken from a car parked outside, and he opened fire on the skinheads. The lead singer of Nordic Thunder, “Hammer” Joe Rowan, was hit and died almost immediately. To his friends and comrades within the white power movement, a great crime had been committed. The Church Of The Creator doctrine states that if any member of its church is murdered, then ten revenge killings must be committed against the enemy. The fact that nobody has been charged for the murder, despite the gunman being positively identified, has added insult to fatal injury.

Some people reading this no doubt couldn’t care less whether a Nazi gets killed or not. For skinheads, white power or otherwise, this story underlines a deeper problem though. If it had been a group of skinheads with no political affiliations in that store, and an argument had broken out resulting in a skinhead being shot dead, people would have drawn the same conclusions. Race must have been an issue because skinheads were involved, and the skinheads probably started the trouble anyway and got what they deserved.

In Detroit there are white power skinheads, but there are also skins in the city who are not white power. There are even skinheads in Detroit who aren’t even white. Thanks to the media, the general hysteria surrounding extreme right wing politics, the lack of any reasoned debate and the ignorance of those who seek to destroy the skinhead cult, the general public is unlikely to be aware of that fact.

No wonder a favourite skinhead tattoo reads, PERSECUTED BY MANY, UNDERSTOOD BY FEW.
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