The popular Neofolk bands that have joined the Operation Equinox Tour have had quite a bit of trouble from anti-fascist rabblerousers since the shows began. The tour is being co-sponsored by the far-right Heathen Harvest, which we covered previously in our look deep into their politics and the fascist sympathies of most the bands on this tour’s bill. The tour’s main sponsor, Annihilvs Power Electronix, is the face that many of the venues actually know, so when confronted many of the stage managers actually did not know about the Heathen Harvest connection (though the bands were already publicly controversial).
Lee Bartow of Annihilvs went back to Heathen Harvest in an interview to attack Antifa organizers who he thinks are unfairly targeting this tour and, of course, he believes his own multicultural background should insulate the tour from criticism.
The thing that strikes me as odd about this whole thing is, in the very few posts I’ve seen online about boycotting or resisting or calls to action against the perceived fascism of the artists on this tour, I have been either not mentioned at all, or mentioned only in passing, as though I am some peripheral figure to be half-mentioned. Nobody has contacted me directly about any of it. Looking at the whole thing from my particular perspective, [it] strikes me as one individual’s personal vendetta. The fact that I orchestrated the entire tour, coordinated with all the promoters, collected the funds for the airfare, and am renting and driving the vehicle, which will take them from city to city, has been entirely ignored. The fact that I have a Jewish mother and African-American father seems to me as the most likely reason for this. It would put a rather salient dent in the argument that we’re all a bunch of Nazis hell-bent on spreading a gospel of intolerance across the country. As a child, I bore witness to my father being threatened and insulted because of the color of his skin, and I myself was called a “penny-pinching Jew” by all the black kids in my neighborhood, while the white kids saw fit to call me “zebra” or “half-breed.” The implication that I’d have any interest in supporting anyone’s racist agenda is preposterous. But, particularly in the current age of Internet-armchair warriors, it’s extremely difficult for people to comprehend the nuances of real life. They are uncomfortable with the concept of moral ambiguity; they cannot comprehend that a half-black Jew would count someone like Boyd Rice among his biggest influences, nor do they have the capacity to realize that the world is not interested in hearing of their outrage. Some of the biggest Death in June fans I know are Jewish.
He went on to say that there certainly is a part of the “scene” that has these far-right connections, but he is just here for the music. This is a transparent attempt to whitewash the reality of the movement he is helping to promote, where he gives a tacit support of racial nationalism by not only providing them a voice, but making money doing so. He alleges that the Antifa protesters are really totalitarians, an easy go-to for those who want to defend fascists on free speech grounds, but he fails to see the role of community action in the attack of totalitarian racial movements in utero.
The confrontations for the tour continued and on Wednesday, March 30th, the Philadelphia show date at the Convent was directly confronted by community anti-fascists. According to a report back posted by It’s Going Down, this included the destruction of one of the band’s gear.
On Wednesday, March 30, the neofolk music tour “Operation Equinox 2016,” sponsored by extreme right blog Heathen Harvest, held its Philly show date. Held at a small former convent called The Convent in a deeply creepy, almost entirely white neighborhood that was filled with blue porch lights and cameras on residences, the show ended prematurely with the arrival of the cops, presumably called in by the cop-loving neighbors. While the cops were inside the show only a block away, a small mob of reckless vandals attacked the touring bands’ van, slashing its tires, painting the windshield and sides, and destroying several of its windows.
It’s disgusting and ridiculous that these bands even got booked at all. Fascist ideas should have no place anywhere, including in DIY music scenes. Yet this isn’t the first time we hear about crypto-fascist bands playing outside of the typical racist skinhead milieus, veiling white supremacist views in more sympathetic counter-cultural words and aesthetics. Wherever fascism rears its head, whether wearing swastikas and boots or studded vests and torn jeans, our reaction will always be the same: No Pasaran!
Let’s hope this is just the start not of just confronting the soon ending Operation Equinox, but Neofolk tours who maintain these New Right and Alt Right connections. Let this be a line in the sand for anti-racist Neofolk musicians and fans to stop supporting this wing of the movement.