by Steven | libcom.org | Published on Nov. 19 2006
Article about band Death in June, who use fascist symbolism, and their relation to Nazism, racism and the far right.
Death in June (DIJ) is not a typical white power nazi band – they do not shave their heads, sing about lynching Blacks or rant about Jewish conspiracies. Nonetheless, DIJ’s unabashed support for fascist ideology and aesthetics is just as strong. Their use of fascist symbolism goes far beyond shock tactics, and ultimately the artistic and philosophical message they put forward serves to create an interest and acceptance that fascist cultural activists can exploit. This is particularly dangerous at a time when the white power music business generates millions in sales each year and fascists increasingly seek to gain a foothold in new subcultures, particularly the goth, neofolk, experimental and industrial scenes. Douglas Pearce, the singer/songwriter and central person in DIJ, has always been careful to conceal his true political beliefs and avoid controversy, but a close examination of DIJ’s interests and activities reveals where his loyalties lie.
The name “Death in June” refers to June 30, 1934, the “Night of Long Knives”, when Hitler had Ernst Roehm and other leaders of the SA (nazi stormtroopers) murdered. Roehm and his faction were highly critical of Hitler policies (make no mistake-they were still fascists) and are associated with a branch of fascist ideology National Bolshevism, spearheaded by Gregor Strasser. The National Bolsheviks argued for a more socialist version of fascism and criticized Hitler\rquote s reliance on industrial capitalists. (Today, this branch of fascism is called the Third Position.
DIJ repeatedly use fascist and nazi symbols on their albums and on stage, including the Death Head (worn as a pin by nazi SS soldiers), the Life Rune (a pagan symbol commonly used by fascists) and the Black Sun (another rune used by the SS). Likewise, members of DIJ have often worn nazi Waffen-SS uniforms on stage.
On their “Brown Book” LP, DIJ published the Horst Wessel song, the marching anthem of the SA and later the official song of the nazi party. Their song “Circo Massimo” from their “Take Care and Control” album loops a chorus from a fascist marching song. The title of their “Operation Hummingbird” album comes from a nazi military operation aimed at creating anti-gravity aircraft.
In 1992, during Yugoslavia’s bloody civil war, Douglas Pearce visited the frontline and the HOS Miliz (Croatian fascists). Pearce made several live recordings in Croatia and then released them as a two-CD set called “Something Is Coming: Live and Studio Recordings From Croatia” that carried the red-white national flag of Croatia. Proceeds from the CD went to a Croatian (fascist) military hospital.
Also in 1992, DIJ backed out and refused to play the Dark X-Mas festival in Hamburg after the organizers issued a statement condemning a spate of fascist attacks on immigrant asylums in Germany. Likewise, DIJ also refused to play a 1994 Festival of Darkness because the show was promoted as being against racism and neo-nazism.
DIJ songs were published on a 1996 tribute to Leni Riefenstahl, a well-known Third Reich director/cinematographer. The CD was published by VAWS (Verlag und Agentur), a right-wing record-label run by Werner Symanek, who is part of the right wing in Germany and active in cultural work. VAWS has released similar tributes to nazi artists such as Arno Breker and Josef Thorak.
DIJ/Pearce have often collaborated and played with proto-fascist industrial artist Boyd Rice/NON. Pearce and Rice have also associated with fascist/Satanist Michael Moynihan of the band Blood Axis. (See more on Rice and Moynihan below.) Patrick “Kill”, a former member of DIJ (now with Mother Destruction), disassociated himself from Pearce due to racism and intolerance within
DIJ shows have been cancelled and shut down or suffered protest numerous times on the grounds that DIJ supports fascism-in Chicago, Portland, Seattle, Germany, Switzerland and Norway, among others. In Chicago last year, the Metro cancelled a scheduled Death in June show, though it was rescheduled elsewhere (according to a promoter from American Gothic Productions, fascists did indeed attend the show).
DIJ have a fan base among modern fascist activists, many of whom actively encourage other fascists to attend DIJ shows.
Douglas Pearce Quotes
“The most influential man of this century has been Adolf Hitler! He’s shaped the world we live in today with his hate and destruction.”
“At the start of the eighties, Tony and I [Tony Wakefield was one of the original members of DIJ] were involved in radical left politics and beneath it history students. In search of a political view for the future we came across National Bolshevism which is closely connected with the SA hierarchy. People like Gregor Strasser and Ernst,who were later known as ‘second revolutionaries’ attracted our attention.”
Misery and Purity: A History and Personal Interpretation of Death In June by Robert Forbes (Jara Press, Amersham 1995), p. 15.
Regarding the Night of the Long Knives: “Our interest doesn’t come from killing all opposition, as it’s been interpreted, but from identification with or understanding of the leftist elements of the SA which were purged, or murdered by the SS. That day is extremely important in human history… They were planning execution or overthrow of Hitler, so he wouldn’t be around. We’d be living in a completely different world, I should imagine… It’s fascinating that a few people held the destiny of the world and mankind in their hands for those few hours and let it slip, and it could’ve gone either way.”
(source: interview with Sounds magazine, 1985)
“I prefer to suck, white, uncircumsised cocks of a certain age so I suppose that rules out quite a few races and religions in one huge act of sexualdiscrimination. However, that’s natural selection for you. It follows on that, of course race is important to me!”
(source: interview with Dagobert’s Revenge
Some would argue that DIJ does not support fascism/nazi-ism, but that they just use fascist imagery and symbolism either for shock value or because they simply find them aesthetically pleasing.
This argument can be taken several ways. On one hand, we are to believe that because it is artistic, that there is no political content to it. Though we question this notion (in our view, everything is political), even if we didn’t we would question the wisdom of spreading an aesthetic that is the basis for a fundamentally anti-human, anti-freedom philosophy without offering any sort of critique whatsoever. An exploration of fascist imagery could be interesting if it were juxtaposed with an exploration of the inherent dangers of fascism, but DIJ does nothing of the sort. In fact, their handling of nazi symbolism can be more accurately pinpointed as a celebration of fascist ideals. Nazi uniforms may look sharp, but ultimately the people that wear them leave something to be desired. Considering the growth of fascist movements in both Europe and North America over the past decade, and the attempts these fascists are making to spread their ideology, we can only view the promotion of fascist aesthetics as na\’efve at best, dangerous at worst.
On the other hand, we are to believe that DIJ’s use of nazi symbolism is just a tired, old marketing gimmick, a form of fascist pornography that uses controversy to garner attention and sales. According to this view, DIJ’s pro-fascist stance is just a meaningless marketing ploy. Even Douglas Pearce has said, “Obviously people have fallen into the trap of taking it on a surface value. That is their problem.” Unfortunately for Pearce, it is a problem for him as well since the use of such symbolism has and does attract the attention of actual fascists (see above). By creating an atmosphere where fascist aesthetics and philosophy are supported, Pearce and DIJ are drawing fascists in – and they do nothing to discourage this, despite being called on it for over a decade. At best this is irresponsible, at worst reprehensible.
Ultimately, we believe that all of these arguments in defense of DIJ are bogus, as we feel there is enough evidence regarding DIJ\rquote s political stances, projects and activities to show that they are doing more than just flirting with fascist imagery.
Some would argue that by trying to shut down DIJ shows, that we are being “fascist” and that we are engaging in censorship. This is not a question of free speech. Bookers, promoters and club owners decide everyday what bands they want to play in music establishments. This is no more censorship than choosing a rock group over a country act. Do you support fascism? If not, then why would you support Death in June?
Douglas Pearce is gay, so how can he be a nazi/fascist?
There is a documented history of homosexual participation and support within fascist movements, despite the fact that most fascists count homosexuals as enemies. There is also the distinct possibility that Pearce is so interested in Ernst Roehm because Roehm was homosexual, just like Pearce is.
Wasn’t Pearce’s visit to Croatia and the benefits he did for humanitarian reasons?
In an interview with Descent magazine (issue 3), Pearce stated that it wasn’t a “purely a humanitarian gesture. It was a cultural one. A socio-Euro political one.” The people he visited were fascists.
Like Pearce and DIJ, Boyd Rice has consistently embraced fascism throughout his career as an experimental noise artist. In addition to wearing fascist uniforms and imagery and giving nazi salutes on stage, there is wide range of evidence indicating that Rice is a nazi at heart.
Rice set up an explicitly fascist show on August 8th, 1988 in San Francisco called 8-8-88. “88” is a code phrase commonly used in fascist circles for “Heil Hitler” (H is the 8th letter of the
Rice is also infamous for a photograph in which he is wearing the uniform of the neo-nazi American Front and sitting next to his friend Bob Heick, the leader of the American Front at that time.
In 1986, Rice was a friendly guest on the television show hosted by Tom Metzger of WAR (White Aryan Resistance). When Metzger asked Rice: “So whereas modern music propaganda is an instrument of Jewish interest and Black and so forth, you see emerging a new propaganda form for white Aryans?” Rice replied:”Yeah, yeah.”
Rice founded a group called the Abraxas Foundation along with Holocaust-denier Keith Stimley. The Abraxas Foundation published a newsletter called WAKE, which told its readers that “nature adheres to an Immutable Order” in short, humanity is democratic, nature is fascist.
Rice has been known to sell at his shows and read as part of his performance from a racist, anti-Semitic book called “Might is Right”, by Ragnar Redbeard. “Might is Right” includes an afterword from George Eric Hawthorne, the former singer of the neo-nazi band RAHOWA (RAcial HOly WAr) and founder of the white power music label Resistance Records. The book was edited by Katja Lane, wife of the imprisoned David Lane, a neo-nazi member of the Order that committed several armored car heists and murdered Jewish talk-show host Alan Berg in the 1980s. Proceeds from the book go to support David Lane and similar white supremacist political prisoners.
Though Rice claims not to be racist or neo-nazi, he does not deny that he is a fascist and social Darwinist. According to an interview by Misanthrope, he said: “I feel that I’m a fascist, but Nazi is a real specific term. I’m a fascist in the sense of the modern bastardised meaning of the word. I’m completely against democratic values and liberalism. (read the interview)
As if that\rquote s not repugnant enough, Rice also does not conceal his hatred of women. As revealed in Misanthrope:
Back to the rumours. Are you a misogynist?
“Yeah.” Nods fervently for the record. [Laughs.] “Yeah, more and more all the time.”
What makes you feel that way?
“Just a lot of experience with women. I don’t think women deserve the same rights as men. I don’t think women are on an equal footing with men. I think they’re totally different creatures. I think the world operated better when they had less say over how the way things went, had less control.”
And regarding his piece “R.A.P.E.”, which is appallingly pro-rape but allegedly tongue-in-cheek: “I was poking a bit of fun, but it’s like there’s more than a grain of truth in everything I said in there. I think all the stuff I said was basically true. Which is why it’s funny when it’s funny. And it’s why it upsets women, when it upsets women. Because, you know, they can’t really deny most of that stuff. “
“Well that’s why when women start having these intellectual arguments with me I say at a certain point, “Listen, I refuse to even argue with a woman.” They say, “Well, why is that?” and I say, “Because you overreact, you get all emotional, and fly into a tizzy.”
Even Boyd Rice’s former lovers do not deny his racist and fascist tendencies. According to an interview with Rice’s former girlfriend Lisa Suckdog: “His audience is all Nazis and Satanists and they have their own hall and they do their Nazi racist stuff.
A former friend of Boyd Rice, Moynihan is a prolific writer, musician and straightforward Satanist. Just like his associates, Moynihan clearly comes across as fascist when you see the evidence:
Moynihan wrote the book Lords of Chaos, detailing the church burnings in Scandinavia attributed to the black metal scene. These incidents led to the flourishing of NSBM: National Socialist Black Metal.
Moynihan runs a music label called Storm that distributes music by neo-nazi Varg Vikernes (of the band Burzum) as well as other NSBM music projects.
In an interview with Compulsion magazine (#3, circa 1988), Moynihan said: “I have no problem being called a fascist. If fascism will restore some sense of order, discipline and responsibility to the world, then I am all for it.”
Moynihan published the book “Siege” by neo-nazi James Mason. Once a member of the American Nazi Party, Mason now belongs to the Universal Order, a group that sees Charles Manson as the next Hitler. Mason is currently serving time in Colorado for menacing with a deadly weapon.
Christian Dornsbuch, contributor to RechtsRock, Bestandsaufnahmeund Gegenstrategien and Asthetische Mobilmachung (German books concerning fascist influences in music scenes).
Soundtracks to the White Revolution: White Supremacist Assaults on Youth Music Culture, by the Center of New Community
Misc. Online Research
More info on Death In June, Der Blutharsch and Changes
Changes – R.N. Taylor Changes is the re-union of a 1970’s Chicago “apocalyptic folk” band headed up by self described “white separatist” R.N. Taylor. With his long hair, acoustic guitar, and folk tunes, Taylor is the Bob Dylan of bigotry.
Active for decades in white supremacy, Taylor is no stranger to racist violence. In a 1998 interview with the British publication Tribal Resonance, Taylor discusses taking part in attacks against the homes of African-American families, as well as hanging African-Americans in effigy from lampposts in Chicago during the late 1960s.
Taylor went on to join the violent right wing paramilitary group the Minutemen, an organization active in the 1960s and early 1970s that was rife with white supremacists and Klansmen at its leadership.
In the same Tribal Resonance interview, Taylor describes his goal for racial separation in the United States. The verbal map that Taylor draws for his reader parallels an actual plan for racial separation drawn by white supremacist David Duke. According to Taylor, white separatists would get the Pacific Northwest as a homeland, and African Americans would be moved to America’s southlands.
In Duke’s original version of this concept, which was drawn for the National Association for the Advancement of White People, whites retained overall control of the country while Latino, Jews and Native Americans are moved to various relocation areas. Taylor began sincerely putting his politics into music in the 1970s.
Der Blutharsch (a synonym for “dried blood”) is an Austrian white power music act headed by Albin Julius, formed in 1997, with the assistance of Death in June leader Douglass Pearce.
The band takes great pride in their use of fascist symbols, and is well known for its use of Nazi imagery. Der Blutharsch attracts neo-Nazi’s and right wing extremists across Europe.
In March 2003, a concert in Clausnitz, Germany was cancelled by the German government. In a statement released by the security police concluded that Der Blutharsch has “right wing extremist tendencies.” (The statement has significant weight in Germany, given the legal impermissibility of such extremism.)
Those tendencies are evident in the packaging and music of the band. The Der Blutharsch logo is a symbol with a Sig-rune, like the Waffen-SS used. Their website also relies on the Nazi Iron Cross and the logo of the Hitler Youth.
The covers of their albums are also adorned with Nazi art. The cover of the CD “Der Sieg des Lichtes ist des Lebens Heil!” (The triumph of light is the life’s Heil) is a part of a picture about the Varus battle, painted by the Nazi painter Werner Peiner.
The cover of the CD “The pleasures received in Pain” is a reprint of the painting “Defense eastern Einfdle” by Nazi artist Ferdinand Staeger. Their songs also sample lyrics from the Hitler Youth marching anthem “Forward!” and other speeches and marches.
The EP “Adesso viene IL bell” even contains eight songs from Italian fascism. On a live-video, published in 1999, named “Gold gab ich fcr Eisen” (I gave gold for iron) of the second tour, a “Finnish version of Lili Marleen,” a popular song in Germany during World War II, was played (called “Lisa Pien”).
The song was dedicated to the Freiwillige der Waffen SS and Marsch des Sturmatillerie, European volunteers of the Waffen SS march of the storm artillery. The second tour was together with Death in June. At the end of the video, the second singer Wilhelm Herich shouted “Free Pinochet”.