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1970s British Punks and the Swastika

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1970s British Punks and the Swastika

Post Neon Knight on Sat 19 May - 19:33

Selected quotes:



P1: https://www.punk77.co.uk/groups/punkswastikafashion.htm
The wearing of Nazi regalia was not a new thing. Originally US veterans from the second world war lacking excitement decided to add captured Nazi regalia to their leather jackets when they formed motorcycle gangs. This fashion passed over the Atlantic and soon every rocker had some kind of Nazi symbol on his leather jacket. The difference being these boys hadn't fought in no war: it was a way of saying 'them and us' and a way of antagonising the authorities and their parents generation. To further emphasise their separateness these boys also liked dirty rock'n'roll.  The biker following, films like 'Easy Rider', became the rock'n'roll outlaw. Look at the Stones in Hyde Park with their Hells Angels guard all wearing Nazi helmets ands regalia. The swastika had entered rock mythology via the bad boy outlaw image.

P2: https://www.punk77.co.uk/groups/punkswastikafashion2.htm
"The problem was they looked so damn cool. The Nazi uniforms, banners and regalia were designed to impart an overwhelming impression of power, and power is always attractive" (Mick Farren - The Black Leather Jacket) . . .



Here's Steve Severin in Rotten's autobiography "...the swastikas...To us these weren't badges of intolerance, but symbols of provocation to an older generation that had to get out of the way to make room for younger voices. ..When it was a small movement you could use symbols like that.. "

P3: https://www.punk77.co.uk/groups/punkswastikafashion3.htm
"It was a very small part of it and for a very short time. They were just kids. When you are at school what's the most rebellious thing you could draw on your book? Exactly. A swastika."  (Don Letts - Punk 77 Interview 2005) . . .

So for UK punk rock 1976-79 we can conclude that. misguided, stupid whatever. "No one wore the swastika as a political statement. It was an attempt to shock, just like the gay t shirts. Shock was the order of the day, and wrong as it may seem, it did just that". (Nils Stevenson - Punk the Book; Colgrave & Coleman)


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