Up against the wall motherfucker!/Black Mask

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gawkrodger
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Jan 2 2007 18:23
Up against the wall motherfucker!/Black Mask

anyone got any links more info. on said NYC 'group'?

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Steven.
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Jan 2 2007 23:22

Ah I met one of the founding Up against the wall motherfuckers and Black Mask editors (Ben M) on my recent trip to the states, he'd been living in the mountains since like 69 and has just come back on the scene to talk to the young'uns and pass on his experiences.

He said we could do an interview with him but I hadn't got round to sending it to him yet - anyone with any questions please suggest them here and I'll ask him.

He said they were a group of a core of about 20 people, periphery of about 100, liked action, violence, ultra-militant propaganda. The Situs like them but they didn't have much connection with them, though they saw the french SI lot briefly. Occasionally used to get involved in subcultural fights on the side of "freaks" against jocks; they once apparently helped lead a break-off from an anti-war march which broke through into the pentagon and started fighting in the lobby, leaving "blood spattered on the walls".

There's some book which is a compilation of Black Mask articles and things, most of which Ben M wrote I believe, AK sells it.

Vaneigemappreci...
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Jan 3 2007 10:26

didnt the british section get chucked out of the SI for mixing with the black mask lot?

I think one of the King Mob books has a few articles about the motherfuckers, they were quite violent for hippy types grin

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madashell
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Jan 3 2007 11:33
Vaneigemappreciationclub wrote:
didnt the british section get chucked out of the SI for mixing with the black mask lot?

Yup, and IIRC, Debord actually refused to talk to any of them when he was in the states for a while.

Sectariana, fuck yeah.

Battlescarred
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Jan 3 2007 11:53

I suggest you investigate the class origins of the Black Mask group before coming out with these ill-informed comments

Battlescarred
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Jan 3 2007 13:15

What about the feeding of hundreds of people one day every week by Ben Morea and Co.on the Lower east Side Obviously irrelevant to the working class. And their confrontations with the thuggish Tactical Police Force of the 9th Precinct. When the Black Panthers did the same sort of actions, they received lasting acclamation.
I have many criticisms of the hippy counter culture in the USA, but Ben and Co were the best of a bad bunch ( and their cutting of the fence at Woodstock in 1969 turning it into a mass free festival certainly would get no opposition from me.
Oh, and it was definitely Vaneigem who refused to meet them, not Debord.

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madashell
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Jan 3 2007 13:21
Battlescarred wrote:
What about the feeding of hundreds of people one day every week by Ben Morea and Co.on the Lower east Side Obviously irrelevant to the working class. And their confrontations with the thuggish Tactical Police Force of the 9th Precinct. When the Black Panthers did the same sort of actions, they received lasting acclamation.
I have many criticisms of the hippy counter culture in the USA, but Ben and Co were the best of a bad bunch ( and their cutting of the fence at Woodstock in 1969 turning it into a mass free festival certainly would get no opposition from me.

Mmm, I think a lot of people are a little too harsh in their attacks on 60s counterculture stuff, yeah, ultimately, it was subcultural bollocks, but there was some interesting stuff going on there too.

Today's hippy, on the other hand, needs to grow up, get a wash and get a fucking haircut wink

Quote:
Oh, and it was definitely Vaneigem who refused to meet them, not Debord.

Fairy nuff, 1960s American leftism isn't exactly my specialty wink

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madashell
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Jan 4 2007 01:41
guydebordisdead wrote:
Vaneigem & Debord were europeans grin

And UATWM/Black Mask were...? tongue

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Bubbles
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Jan 4 2007 08:49
John. wrote:
Ah I met one of the founding Up against the wall motherfuckers and Black Mask editors (Ben M) on my recent trip to the states, he'd been living in the mountains since like 69 and has just come back on the scene to talk to the young'uns and pass on his experiences.

He said we could do an interview with him but I hadn't got round to sending it to him yet - anyone with any questions please suggest them here and I'll ask him.

He said they were a group of a core of about 20 people, periphery of about 100, liked action, violence, ultra-militant propaganda. The Situs like them but they didn't have much connection with them, though they saw the french SI lot briefly. Occasionally used to get involved in subcultural fights on the side of "freaks" against jocks; they once apparently helped lead a break-off from an anti-war march which broke through into the pentagon and started fighting in the lobby, leaving "blood spattered on the walls".

There's some book which is a compilation of Black Mask articles and things, most of which Ben M wrote I believe, AK sells it.

They sound like a bunch of pre-punk rock-ish types who where vaugely into some situationist crap who did nothing more than break shit. Oh, wait...that sounds like crimethinc. and the general status of the North American Anarchist movement(it has movement?). har har har.

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Bubbles
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Jan 4 2007 08:51
guydebordisdead wrote:
madashell wrote:
Today's hippy, on the other hand, needs to grow up, get a wash and get a fucking haircut ;)

It would be nice if hippies still looked like this;

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Fairy nuff, 1960s American leftism isn't exactly my specialty ;)

Vaneigem & Debord were europeans grin

That pic is what the US gov and all its lackeys would have refered to as: pinko commies, violent activists, anarchists, neo-marxists etc.

Hippys had buses, where into pacifism and drugs.

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Bubbles
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Jan 4 2007 11:18
guydebordisdead wrote:
x357997 wrote:
John. wrote:
Ah I met one of the founding Up against the wall motherfuckers and Black Mask editors (Ben M) on my recent trip to the states, he'd been living in the mountains since like 69 and has just come back on the scene to talk to the young'uns and pass on his experiences.

He said we could do an interview with him but I hadn't got round to sending it to him yet - anyone with any questions please suggest them here and I'll ask him.

He said they were a group of a core of about 20 people, periphery of about 100, liked action, violence, ultra-militant propaganda. The Situs like them but they didn't have much connection with them, though they saw the french SI lot briefly. Occasionally used to get involved in subcultural fights on the side of "freaks" against jocks; they once apparently helped lead a break-off from an anti-war march which broke through into the pentagon and started fighting in the lobby, leaving "blood spattered on the walls".

There's some book which is a compilation of Black Mask articles and things, most of which Ben M wrote I believe, AK sells it.

They sound like a bunch of pre-punk rock-ish types who where vaugely into some situationist crap who did nothing more than break shit. Oh, wait...that sounds like crimethinc. and the general status of the North American Anarchist movement(it has movement?). har har har.

But crimethinc certainly has taken it a step further and dropped nearly all of the politics while maintaining the aesthetic and culture.

This is true.

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madashell
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Jan 4 2007 12:21
x357997 wrote:
That pic is what the US gov and all its lackeys would have refered to as: pinko commies, violent activists, anarchists, neo-marxists etc.

Hippys had buses, where into pacifism and drugs.

Little simplistic, don'tcha think?

For instance, the anti-Vietnam war movement, was largely dependendent on GIs, but hippies were often there supporting the GIs, in fact, many of the GIs were hippies, or at least they wanted to be. I was watching 'Sir no sir' the other day, which includes a bit of old footage from the Oleo Strut, and one of the things that jumped out at me right away was that the speaker clearly and explicitly said "If you're carrying, leave right now, this isn't the place for you".

Divisive Cottonwood
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Jan 4 2007 12:37

There's a great book, long out of print, called B.A.M.N. (By All Means Necessary) that is a compiliation of 60s leaflets. They used to have a copy in my local library and it was how I first heard about his group.

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madashell
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Jan 4 2007 12:38
revol68 wrote:
carrying what?

Any kind of illegal drug.

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Steven.
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Jan 4 2007 13:32

I think it's best to view the motherfuckers as more the radical wing of the countercultural movement than a countercultural group of anarchists, because it seems they weren't very theoretical. Viewed in that light they look a lot better.

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pingtiao
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Jan 4 2007 13:32

Doesn't 'carrying' in that cultural context usually mean a weapon?

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madashell
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Jan 4 2007 13:42
pingtiao wrote:
Doesn't 'carrying' in that cultural context usually mean a weapon?

My mistake, the phrase was "holding", and a subtitle appeared saying "Holding=carrying drugs".

Battlescarred
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Jan 4 2007 14:14

I have a copy of B.A.M.N. although I first heard about Black Mask from reading Charles Radciffe's Heatwave

Vaneigemappreci...
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Jan 4 2007 16:28

double post

Vaneigemappreci...
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Jan 4 2007 16:28

all the heatwave/king Mob/UATWM's/Black Mask stuff was in a book i got a few years back from AK, that was pretty new i think

Skraeling
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Jan 4 2007 23:47

The Motherfuckers called themselves “a street gang with an analysis”. Their analysis though was pretty loose, with a lot of half-digested situationism alongside dadaism, surrealism, futurism etc. They revelled in the image of being lumpen scum, who, along with African-Americans, they saw as the new proletariat. (that was a fairly common belief in the US New left/counterculture in the sixties -- the white working class had 'sold out' and become 'sexist racist pigs' who defended the status quo).

I believe their main activity was on two fronts: firstly, they were involved in the SDS, trying to present an alternative of total revolution within the New Left. They tended to disrupt meetings of the left, both New and Old. Secondly, they were into “armed love” or “creative violence” which, according to the ever reliable Stewart Home, included a bombing campaign of the cultural symbols of society (for example, banks). They revelled in the image of anarchist terrorism for shock value. One of their posters in BAMN reads, “Paris Burns, Henry returns” (a reference to Emile Henry).

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Bubbles
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Jan 4 2007 23:58
pingtiao wrote:
Doesn't 'carrying' in that cultural context usually mean a weapon?

It can mean both.

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Jan 4 2007 23:58
John. wrote:
I think it's best to view the motherfuckers as more the radical wing of the countercultural movement than a countercultural group of anarchists, because it seems they weren't very theoretical. Viewed in that light they look a lot better.

Still crap if you ask me.

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Bubbles
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Jan 5 2007 00:10
Skraeling wrote:
The Motherfuckers called themselves “a street gang with an analysis”. Their analysis though was pretty loose, with a lot of half-digested situationism alongside dadaism, surrealism, futurism etc. They revelled in the image of being lumpen scum, who, along with African-Americans, they saw as the new proletariat. (that was a fairly common belief in the US New left/counterculture in the sixties -- the white working class had 'sold out' and become 'sexist racist pigs' who defended the status quo).

They sound like crimethinc with-out the primie crap. I'm sure none if not very few where actualy (lumpen) working class. Their revelling in the lumpen prole image, vauge interest in radical politics and bougie art shit that most people cant understand or care about sounds alot like the white, mostly male, middle class, local punk scene.

Skraeling wrote:
I believe their main activity was on two fronts: firstly, they were involved in the SDS, trying to present an alternative of total revolution within the New Left. They tended to disrupt meetings of the left, both New and Old. Secondly, they were into “armed love” or “creative violence” which, according to the ever reliable Stewart Home, included a bombing campaign of the cultural symbols of society (for example, banks). They revelled in the image of anarchist terrorism for shock value. One of their posters in BAMN reads, “Paris Burns, Henry returns” (a reference to Emile Henry).

Sounds like some alienating attention seeker punk bull shit.

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Bubbles
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Jan 5 2007 00:36
revol68 wrote:
I'm glad capitalism recuperates this kind of shit cos it means i can now indulge the aesthetic without worrying that people think it's a serious political statement.

it was the same with palestinian head scarves, i'd thought they looked cool for years but i never bought one until they had been recuperated enough to not signify shitty trot, anti US pseudo left politics.

They are great for requritment becuase you can spot an alienated youth and all the disgruntled lefties from a mile away. No need to strike up poky conversations with everyone just gor for those with the disgruntled leftist aesthetic. Also a good show of solidarity at protests. When the Zionists attacked Lebanon the Stalinists called for a national day of protest and drew out a few thousand people. The Zionists showed up to counter protest so if you wernt running around with one of the shal type things (there is a proper name I forget it) you could be mistaken as a zionist considering most of the white folk where Zionists and a good size of the protest where people of collor. A few thousand people with their faces masked up can make for an interesting protest too.

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Steven.
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Jan 5 2007 09:44
x357997 wrote:
They are great for requritment becuase you can spot an alienated youth and all the disgruntled lefties from a mile away.

No that's what's good about them now, it's not lefties but cool people who wear them.

As for making assumptions about their cultural backgrounds, apart from it not being very relevant, as Battlescarred pointed out it's actually even wrong.

Vaneigemappreci...
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Jan 5 2007 09:56
Quote:
I'm glad capitalism recuperates this kind of shit cos it means i can now indulge the aesthetic without worrying that people think it's a serious political statement.

it was the same with palestinian head scarves, i'd thought they looked cool for years but i never bought one until they had been recuperated enough to not signify shitty trot, anti US pseudo left politics.

I once almost set about doing an essay on how the market recuperates radical gestures and symbols into retail tools and products, like your Che t-shirts for example, i was convinced that this marked the high point of recuperation and that until an image/gesture/scene had been marketed as such it sill contained within it its dangerous edge!

Glad i didnt.

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Jan 5 2007 10:14
Vaneigemappreciationclub wrote:
Quote:
I'm glad capitalism recuperates this kind of shit cos it means i can now indulge the aesthetic without worrying that people think it's a serious political statement.

it was the same with palestinian head scarves, i'd thought they looked cool for years but i never bought one until they had been recuperated enough to not signify shitty trot, anti US pseudo left politics.

I once almost set about doing an essay on how the market recuperates radical gestures and symbols into retail tools and products, like your Che t-shirts for example, i was convinced that this marked the high point of recuperation and that until an image/gesture/scene had been marketed as such it sill contained within it its dangerous edge!

Glad i didnt.

Everytime i hear that pro-sub/counter-culture argument I just want to scream.

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oldmoleshadow
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Jan 5 2007 13:40

yep, the american situationists diagreed with the tactics of the Black Mask group, and were suspicious of its genuinity. How much this had to do with a generaliztion of the 'leftist' scene in america at the time(i. hoffman's concept of "revolution for the hell of it"), im not really sure.

Skraeling
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Jan 5 2007 23:15
revol68 wrote:
eh, no a few key folks in those movements might not have been middle class drop outs but the wider millieu, supporters and sympathisers was very very middle class or declasse.

It's pretty easy from afar to dismiss it as middle class dropouts, but do you have any actual empirical evidence to back your assertion up? I've studied pretty carefully (done heaps of interviews) a similar milieu to the Motherfuckers in NZ in the 1970s, and found that it was a mixed class milieu of working class and middle class youth. Same for the sixties/seventies counter-culture which was a mixed class movement. The sympathesisers to this movement were also from mixed classes, lots of middle class liberals but also lots of young workers who smoked dope, dropped acid and grew their hair long man! (Interestingly, it was these young vaguely countercultural workers who were at the forefront of the wildcats of the period)

Interestingly, most of the equivalent groups in NZ to the Motherfuckers were working class in background and contained next to no middle class dropouts or ex-students. I believe the same is true in Australia. I've been told the "carnival anarchists" AKA "sponties" and "chaoticists" were mainly from working class backgrounds, while the IWW types were middle class.

But even if the Australasian equiv of the Motherfuckers were working class they still had lots of problems, like their romanticisation of being lumpen (so they didnt make links with non-lumpen proles), their idolisation of (undefined) 'action', their ultra-ultra-militancy, their elitist lifestylism, the elitist nature of their affinity groups, their fetishisation of small scale stunts etc etc

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Jan 6 2007 04:01

60's IWW was funky. There where rouge branches with strange politics. I heard that the Industrial Worker was the first news paper in America to acknowledge the SI or introduced it something...along those lines. Ive also beeb told they did Infoshop work too. Anyone on here have info on 60's IWW?