Placeholder 2 anarcho edition!

Pedantic and self-righteous Anarchist that I was at 18 (at 28 now only inertial and self-righteous), I loved the Scottish anarcho punk band, Oi Polloi. They put on by far the best show at the 1999 Old Barn Punk Fest, a titular who’s who of anarchist crust phenoms from From Ashes Rise to Misery to Fleas and Lice (yeah, well…). Seriously, their melodicism, enthusiam and lyric placards, for those of us who didn’t know their chant harmonies, stood out among the dirty, patched, mohawked throng. That festival was a great time, even if I didn’t drink or indulge in throwing batteries into camp fires. But there’s nothing like setting stolen cars aflame in the mud and piss while packs of semi-feral dogs ran rampant through the makeshift camp grounds that sprung up like mushrooms around the stage to make you feel alive.

Oi Polloi were always a bit more idealistic than the doom and gloom group; they appeared to walk the walk, and actually gave a shit about the things so many bands wrote lyrics about. They were active in the Scottish anarchist movement, organizing, doing squat shit work, cooking cheap vegan meals for working folk, wearing ripped up sweaters like nobody’s business, etc. It seemed when you watched them that they had slightly more nuanced ideas about neo-colonialsim, gentrification and predatory capitalism than that dude you met named Fishstick that just needed to crash for five minutes in the back of your car: don’t worry, it’s cool. Oi Polloi’s enthusiasm and anger were refreshing and invigorating, if only a little bit of the pat your shoulder on the back, you’re with the good guys bullshit. But that’s life. They’re one of the good, good guys, right?

I recently stumbled upon a shortish youtube documentary about one of Oi Poloi’s late 90s European tour . A lot of the sound bites are pat, self congratulatory anarchist hem and haw, but a lot of it is also funny,self deprecating, righteous and frankly fascinating for this American, whose only dealing with squats have come through seeing some obnoxious capital A art band play a pirated loft. Anyway, here’s a link to the fourth and last part of the doc, which might be the most endearing. The film doesn’t really need to be followed linearly, so if you’re interested just follow the links on the youtube page for the other three (it’s far more about direct action and anarchist movement building than the band, which is refreshing; just ignore the narration):


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