TITLE: Compulsion Magazine - issue 3
PUBLISHER: Tony Dickie, 10 Netherhill Road, Gallowhill, Paisley PA3 4RE England
REVIEWER: John Eden
The subtitle is "surveying the heretical", which I think highlights my problems with this (and the "scene" as a whole). Doing a survey suggests that it's just a report of what's going on - someone else has to analyse it all. But obviously this isn't the whole story. Anyone who puts out a zine goes through a process of selection - deciding what goes in and what stays out. It isn't like someone went through the racks at Tower Records and pulled out every 10th CD or something, is it? So the editor must either like the material, or at the very least find it intriguing. But oh no, there's a "Views and beliefs expressed" statement on page 2, so we have to guess, eh?
This wouldn't be a problem were it not for the fact that Compulsion contains some pretty dubious people, some of whom have worldviews that I consider thoroughly objectionable. For example there's a puff piece on ex-American Nazi Party organiser James Mason and his Manson-inspired Universal Order. I'm sure James is fantastically exciting, but it fucks me off that he can blandly suggest that the Tate killings were great because they were all "drug users, drug dealers, Jews, anti-racists and homosexuals" without even the teeniest bit of editorial comment. Mason's publisher is also interviewed. Unsurprisingly he's also happy to be called a fascist and we even get to read his (ooh how heretical!) views, though thankfully we're spared his usual spiel about re-opening the concentration camps this time.
Admittedly Compulsion isn't all blokes with an unhealthy fixation with uniforms and the music of Wagner. The Boredoms, Foetus, Jim Rose and the excellent Somewhere in Europe are also covered. It's just that anyone who expresses an ideology in any depth is completely reactionary. That is clearly one of the editor's major interests, but any conclusions he's made or insights he's gained are missing completely.
It's not even as if the editor is a fascist (at least he wasn't the last time I met him...), it's just the usual laziness that seems to permeate industrial culture these days. Nobody is ever challenged about their views, not because people agree with them, but because people just aren't bothered. The "scene" seems to have ditched TG's ideas of actively researching extremes and is now just a darker version of MTV, spoon-feeding extremity for the sake of it. The excuse is always that people can make up their own minds, which no doubt is true. But there doesn't seem to be a lot of evidence of it happening.
Most of the people I've discussed this with have a pretty unsophisticated analysis of it all, despite all the élitist "oh we are so much more intelligent than the masses" bollocks that goes with the territory. The fans either just get off on the "mystery" of whether such and such a group is "dodgy", nudge nudge, wink wink, or try to get themselves off the hook by arguing that so and so can't be a fascist because he isn't racist (as if the two were the same thing). There are too many people who still think that "nazis" are all evil, stupid and ugly. That sort of liberalism just leaves them ill-equipped to critically examine anything resembling a considered argument for (for example) racial segregation, or stopping all welfare and letting people starve to death.
I'm not suggesting that every paragraph should come with a dogmatic PC analysis, or that such views shouldn't be allowed to appear in print. That isn't a situation I will ever be able to (or want to) enforce. However, I am not happy to just uncritically consume people's ideas. It is not in my interest to give fascists or their fans an easy ride. Perhaps that makes me the biggest heretic of all.