School of libertinage
Just a few words about Peter Sotos, whose forthcoming Slimelight appearance LMHR also chose to oppose. Pioneer of a sub-current of industrial music christened ‘power electronics’, Sotos’s declared mission was to record the most extreme music of all time – and he complemented his band Whitehouse’s ultra-invasive noise fest with the most extreme, misanthropic lyrics he could think of. Industrial pioneers Throbbing Gristle, whose leader Genesis P Orridge obsessed over Charles Manson, Hitler, Aleister Crowley and everything else that his teachers might consider shocking, had laid the groundwork. Driven by an extreme version of libertarianism, Sotos went further and celebrated sadistic Nazi death camp wardens and child pornography.
Like Throbbing Gristle, he was tilting at windmills, unaware that the humanist values he so despised were the mere facade of a social system built on exploitation, oppression, violence and war. Barack Obama, the hope-and-change man of liberal America, has inflicted more death and misery upon the world than the likes of Peter Sotos could ever dream of. Boyd Rice, industrial music’s resident misanthrope, looks like a boy scout next to David Cameron and the class that he represents. In their minds, Sotos and Rice might feel quite at home in the 120 days of Sodom – except that in the real world evil is not the triumph of the libertine’s will, but the inevitable, wholly unglamorous, and barren by-product of class society.
LMHR was possibly a little late in its denunciations. Peter Sotos’s main body of work, including the misanthropy fanzine cited on its website, dates back to the 1980s, making it hard to realise what kind of danger this concert is supposed to pose. “If left unchallenged, the actions of these individuals give confidence to fascist and racists, providing an illusion of mainstream acceptance of their vile views,” is LMHR’s generalisation. Does anyone at the organisation actually believe that Peter Sotos’s graphic explorations of rape, serial murder and paedophilia will endear him to the far right – or give the far right “an illusion of mainstream acceptance”? You would have thought that the precise point of his act, consumed as a curiosity by fans of the bizarre and confrontational, is to evade mainstream acceptability as much as possible.
For the popular frontist LMHR, the language of liberalism is, sadly, too often used in its ‘anti-fascist’ campaigns, holding “our celebrated multicultural society” against the cheerless delusions of Tony Wakeford et al. ‘Proletarian internationalism’, after all, might scare off fellow travellers such as the liberal Emily Thornberry. But all the inaccuracies and half-truths, the deliberate suppression of information and the ensuing atmosphere of hysteria do more harm than good. “These people totally discredit themselves by refusing any discussion,” observed a Slimelight regular correctly – and just like the punk group Crass grew increasingly hostile to the left when Red Action randomly took out skinhead youths at their gigs, the philistine anti-fascism employed by LMHR is bound to alienate the alternative scene from the left rather than cleanse it of reactionary influence.
Anti-fascists could do worse than refocus their energies not just on the growing Defence League movement, but primarily on the system that breeds fascist degenerates. Fascism, after all, is a punishment for our failure to make revolution – and our struggle against capitalism necessitates a struggle against the liberal hogwash with which popular fronts tend to contrast the ‘legitimate democratic forces’ of the bourgeoisie with ‘extremists’ and ‘hate’. Those who are offended by neofolk/post-industrial music and wish to keep it in relative obscurity, meanwhile, would be well-advised to simply ignore it as much as possible. In the end, the dodgy gigs at Slimelight are just the dying breath of a cultural revolution that never was.