GrrRl & Politically Purchasing Power

alec ramsdell a_ramsdell at
Mon Oct 19 17:04:34 PDT 1998

rayrena wrote:

>Why can The Nation recognize the political importance of Chomsky,
>Cockburn--to name a couple of well-know non-mainstream
>they can't recognize the cultural importance of such (truly dissenting)
>voices as Stereolab, Fugazi, Bikini Kill, Fifth Column etc.

I don't know . . .Stereolab is now featured in a Volkswagen commercial.

>A lot of leftists don't know this, but there has been an underground
>movement in this country going on for twenty years, and these people
>not "bound up w/
>some sort of disgusting firm that is a union buster/sexist/racist."
>some of these people in the independent movement are money-grubbers,
>for the most part they are people who work really hard to do good
>and do so for very little recognition and even less money (no matter
>you slice it, it's hard to make money when you sell 5000 records).

Just a note or two.

I worked a few months for Revolver USA, an indie/punk distributor in SF. They (we) did work hard, some more hours than others. I did data entry and worked much harder than at most corporate temp jobs.

They were all pleasant people. Wide recognition isn't really what the indie and punk scene is about, though, rather selective recognition, recognition by the right people. They were anti-culture industry--after all this is where indie cred starts--but their political horizon was the scene(s) rather than politics "at large." I worked there during the UPS strike, and there was very little concern or interest for the strikers.

I think the best political trajectory coming from indie rock was Outpunk and bands like Team Dresch and Cypher in the Snow. David James has an interesting book called _Power Misses_ that has chapters on Rock and Roll and the Vietnam war, and the punk scene in LA. And I've just been glancing through Stephen Duncombe's book on zines, which is useful, if you're interested.


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