The first act of this November 20th benefit show was Silence Mill, a local punk band who got their name from ‘Le Moulin a Silence,’ an old fashioned name for the guillotine. Why the guillotine? The guillotine represents the disconnect between punk music and the masses. This is the sort of thing Malcolm McLaren’s son was fighting against when he burned 5 million dollars worth of punk merchandise on the Thames river in 2016. The image of the guillotine reflects disdain for the cheapening and commercialization of a movement that, at heart, is opposed to precisely the kind of consumerism that has laid siege to it. It signals a protest against the elimination of real understanding from the punk equation, and the reduction of punk, in the eyes of the public, to a shimmery fad, interchangeable with any other.
Wandering Goat is a small coffee shop attached to a roasting operation. It is a tiny space that has radical literature and zines crammed into every corner. On a sleepy Wednesday night suddenly this quiet coffee shop turned into a raging anarcho-punk show. Somewhere in the midst of terrific sets by Silence Mill, Hoarder (from Olympia, Washington), and Broken Dead (also local)- sets which tore the roof off this coffee house as surely as they would’ve any club or bar a Kurdish activist named Sanan took the stage and shared with the audience his presentation about the Rojava Revolution. There was something initially amusing about the crowd of leather-clad rebels and anarchists, who just moments ago had been in the throes of violent, gritty music, looking up thoughtfully at a slideshow depicting complicated maps of the Middle East. But it quickly became clear that this engaging and informed speaker and his audience were on the same wavelength
In a nutshell, President Trump’s decision to abandon the Kurds, and pull out of the buffer zone between Turkey and Rojava is a move so audacious it has been condemned by figures as high, white and right-wing as Mitt Romney, Mitch McConnell, and Lindsay Graham. But is especially pernicious in light of the message it sends to the rest of the world about how the U.S. views the ideals of Rojava. In Rojava, one sees guiding principles of feminism, with 40% minimum female gender quotas in public offices, decentralization of authority, non-hierarchical democracy, sustainability, and religious pluralism. All of this in one of the most violent and repressive regions of the world. The U.S., following its own democratic foundations, ought to have championed Rojava. Instead, it has thrown Rojava to the wolves of Erdogan’s Turkish dictatorship.
‘Write your politicians,’ Sanan encouraged us, ‘let them know these issues matter to you.’ Donations for the show will help buy medical supplies for the freedom fighters in Rojava, and to the extent that people are able, they should also consider donating to one of the various funds benefiting the people there. Get involved, get educated.
Silence Mill’s album release show is January 10th at the Campbell Club, and bands like this are a part of a long tradition of anarchist action in our community. Solidarity with Rojava.