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David Ensminger on The Source: How Activism, Outreach Built 'The Politics of Punk'


“Punk rock erupted on to the American music stage in the late 1970s with its stripped down sound, aggressive tones and manic beats.

Over the next decade, punk’s music and attitude demonstrated a calculated rejection of the cloying excesses and insincerity of the music and media of the disco '70s. But it was also a rejection of the "Greed is good" mantra of the Reagan revolution. Certainly punk meant different things to different people, but there was definite trajectory and central theme, which gave much of the music a dominating political message.

David Ensminger writes about that in his book “The Politics of Punk: Protest and Revolt from the Streets.” He says it's epitomized in this 1988 song – “You are the Government” by the band Bad Religion"

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Buy Left of the Dial: Conversations with Punk Icons


"The Spitboy Rule is a highly recommended read for anyone interested in gender/ethnic studies..."


"All told, The Spitboy Rule is a highly recommended read for anyone interested in gender/ethnic studies, Spitboy, the punk scene in which it existed, the often contradictory and landmine-ridden political climate of that scene, or simply a memoir about living an extraordinary life during an extraordinary moment in America’s musical timeline."—Jimmy Alvarado, Razorcake

The Spitboy Rule
chosen as Best of 2016 non-fiction book:
Entropy Magazine

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Read more: Trust Magazine
Buy The Spitboy Rule: Tales of a Xicana in a Female Punk Band

"Songs for A Wolf at the Gate (is) such a pleasure..."


"...After the wonderful opener "The Prayer of the Beggar King", which is one of the most memorable renditions of St. Francis' prayer yet put to music, Songs for A Wolf at the Gate acquaints listeners with its large cast. Van Steenwyk's book turns the legend of Francis taming a town-terrorizing wolf into a society-wide morality tale, so here the different levels of the town's social strata, along with the beasts of the nearby forest, each get a tune with its own distinct lesson. Felton goes full-Aesop on "The Song of the Raven", where he sweetly admonishes the hoarding bird for stealing away the other animals' food ("Raven, Raven, don't you know that's no way to live and grow?/Raven, Raven, it's better to go hungry with friends than it is to be full alone"), while on "The Song of the Nobles", the ruling class's raucous gang vocals sneer at the peasants they casually exploit..." —Spirit You All Music

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Buy Songs for A Wolf at the Gate (CD)

"This book takes us deep into the nexus where art and politics collide and collude..."

 

"This book takes us deep into the nexus where art and politics collide and collude; specifically, the nexus where the music of the San Francisco Bay Area colluded to help inspire and inform a cultural revolution that changed minds and social realities. Written in the context of revolutionary culture—with Mao, Marcuse, Marx and Fanon as informants—The Explosion of Deferred Dreams brings Simone De Beauvoir, the Black Panthers, La Raza and the Students for a Democratic Society into the discussion, as well. The result is a radical left critique of culture under monopoly capitalism and a fun ride through the streets, parks and dance halls of 1960s-1970s San Francisco. The reader becomes an observer of community meetings and community squabbles over art and profit. They are also presented with an argument that describes the racial and ethnic diversity of the Bay Area’s counterculture scenes..."—Ron Jacobs, Counterpunch

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Buy The Explosion of Deferred Dreams: Musical Renaissance and Social Revolution in San Francisco, 1965–1975

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