welcome to the Skinhead Nation Hated by many, understood by few, the skinheads are 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!
Us And Them


Skinheads A Bash Dem!

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

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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
“Skinhead’s a way of life, a culture I live by,” says Pan from Portland, but it could be any one of thousands of skinheads talking. “It’s about having pride in the way I look, it’s about working for my living, earning everything I get. It’s about the second family I have with my mates on the street, about being true to the values that I learned, the honour code that I learned. It’s about all that coming together, and it’s the truest culture because you’re talking about the real people, the working people, the poor people.”

Skinheads are without a doubt a breed apart. Fashion victims come and go in any youth cult, but it takes a certain kind of person to hang on in there through thick and thin. To outsiders, we represent the scum of the Earth, but we know better. We know that we are the part of the greatest youth cult of all time, and nobody can ever take that away from us. It really is us against the world, and as we know all too well that the world doesn’t stand a chance.

There's a skinhead in New York called Donny The Punk. A lot of people on the New York scene will know him as he’s often at gigs with notebook in hand, jotting down details for an article that will appear in one fanzine or another. Donny wrote a couple of articles for Skinhead Times and generally kept us up to date with happenings in the Big Apple. He also is running a campaign to get a punk elected president of the United States for some madcap reason or another, but that probably sums up Donny’s total commitment to the street music scene.

Beyond that, I don’t know a great deal about him except that yesterday I saw him on a CBS Sixty Minutes documentary doing the bravest thing I’ve ever seen a skinhead do.

Because as well as working hard to promote street and skinhead culture, Donny also runs a small organisation from his New York flat called Stop Prisoner Rape. It offers counselling to victims of prison rape and seeks to educate the public about what is happening to inmates on a daily basis behind prison bars.

They say if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime, but life’s not always as simple as that. And for one reason or another, a number of skinheads find themselves sewing mail bags in exchange for food and a bed in prisons the world over.

Losing your liberty is bad enough, but other fears play on a man’s mind about being sent down. One of the biggest and ironically least talked about is the fear of being raped. Just the thought of it conjures up so much shame and disgust, and being the victim of male rape can break the strongest of men.

Inside prisons, male rape rarely has anything to do with homosexuality. It’s about power, and the ability to render victims totally powerless. Thanks to the code of silence that exists among prisoners, the fear of reprisals, the devastating shame of being a victim and the knowledge that the authorities are unlikely to do anything about it anyway, most prison rapes go unreported. Estimates vary, but anything from less than 1% to 12% of the male prison population are raped at one time or another.

Donny was sent to prison after being arrested for trespassing at a demonstration at the White House. On his first night there he was attacked by five men in his cell who first beat him up and then took it in turn to rape him. He was then dragged from cell to cell where he was repeatedly raped by a further 40 or so inmates. Most people won’t even want to begin to imagine the hell he must have gone through during the attack that lasted three hours. Words can’t even begin to describe the horrors he must have experienced.

It takes a courageous man to go through something like that and come out the other side with his self-respect. It takes an even braver man to go on TV and tell millions of people exactly what happened to you in the hope that by doing so you can help other victims of prison rape. The sort of bravery that wins medals on battlefields. The sort of bottle that skinheads throughout the world respect as being part of the very fabric that runs through the skinhead cult in its purest form.

At the time of writing, there are skinheads in Bosnia, Afghanistan and other troubled areas of the world, risking their lives in the armed forces of one country or another to protect the lives of others. There are many other examples of skinheads who are doing brave things, good things, positive things. When you think of them, and skinheads like Donny, the scum of the Earth tag seems a little out of place to say the least. The skinhead cult isn’t without its faults, but neither is it the monster so often portrayed by the media and our other enemies.

The reality of the skinhead nation today is that it is a deeply divided family. The split between skinheads who see themselves as being part of the white power scene and what is basically the rest of the cult is becoming so wide that the chasm is almost unbridgeable. Personally, I don’t judge people on the colour of their skin or their political beliefs and believe that everyone who shaves their head in the name of skinhead has a stake in the skinhead nation. That’s not how I’d like it to be in a perfect world, but such is the reality of the situation today.

I’ve also little doubt that if the gap continues to widen then the skinhead cult will completely split in two. The only alternative is to accept that every skinhead is entitled to his or her own beliefs as long as they don’t ram them down the throats of others, and that outsiders who seek to manipulate skinheads - be they politicians, journalists or whoever - are no longer welcome in our midst.

As things stand, my money’s on a divided nation, but only the skinheads of today and tomorrow can decide the cult’s ultimate fate. The power really is yours.

For over 30 years now, the skinhead cult has spread throughout the back streets of towns and cities throughout the world. We are the proudest of all youth cults, the finest of all youth cults, the ultimate in youth cults. No amount of media bullshit can ever take that away from us. It’s up to the skinheads of today to ensure that the cult lives on by standing proud and by defending the traditions of the skinhead faith. It’s important we do it for ourselves, not for outsiders, not for the media, not for politicians. They come and go, but the strong and the true survive.

An Alabama preacher called Martin Luther King once said that he hoped the day would come when his people would be judged by the content of their character, not by the colour of their skin. I too have a small dream. That the people of the skinhead nation will be judged by the content of their character, and not by appearance alone. And that once again, the skinhead nation will stand united, never to be defeated.

Donny The Punk died a few months after the book Skinhead Nation appeared. May he rest in peace.
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