Hammerskins in Spain are in heap ’em big trouble with Spanish authorities. In fact, late last month the organisation was declared unlawful by a Madrid court, and 15 of its members sent to jail — the culmination of an investigation begun in 2003 (‘Condenados por asociación ilícita 15 integrantes de un grupo neonazi’, Anaís Berdié, El País, July 25, 2009). The bonehead’s leader, Jose Eduardo Chapela, was sentenced to two-and-a-half years imprisonment, while the other boneheads have been sentenced to 18 months (with the exception of Angel Martinez, who received an additional one-year sentence after being found guilty of possession of an illegal weapon).
The outlawing of the Spanish franchise of the US-based neo-Nazi skinhead/bonehead network follows similar declarations by state authorities regarding their kissin’ cousins in ‘Blood & Honour’ (B&H) in Germany, Portugal (2005) and Belgium. The Spanish state’s declaration is significant as it is the first time that membership of a neo-Nazi organisation has been declared illegal — that is, with the possible exception of the local B&H franchise.
- See also : Harsh Spaniard xenophobe sentence not harsh enough?, Gabrielle Pickard, Russia Today, August 11, 2009.
In Australia, the local Hammerskins franchise — known as the ‘Southern Cross Hammerskins’ (SCHS) — was established in 1993 by Melbourne bonehead Scott McGuinness, the vocalist in now-defunct band Fortress (Fortress played what was supposedly their final gig in 2007 at the Melbourne Croatia Social Club in Sunshine). Scott is also widely blamed for introducing ‘Blood & Honour’ (B&H) to Australia in the same year (1993). B&H and the SCHS are jointly organising the ‘Ian Stuart Donaldson’ memorial gig on September 12 this year in Melbourne, an annual event held each year since the Skrewydriver’s death in 1993.
The last gig organised by B&H and the SCHS was scheduled to take place on April 25 in Perth. Word on the street is that former Skrewdriver and current Quick & the Dead band member Murray Holmes is being blamed for its (apparent) failure. As far as B&H/the SCHS are concerned, however, the gig has disappeared down the memory hole, so who knows?
See : Chumbawamba & Credit to the Nation : ‘The Day the Nazi Died’ for further deets on the individuals featured in the video. For further infos on B&H/SCHS, see:
Note that the Hammerskins, especially in their heartland in the United States, have a long history of engaging in racist violence. As well as being perpetrators, they have also been victims (and not only as a result of internecine squabbling). Thus:
Joe Rowan (Nordic Thunder)
In keeping with the aim of “forging a new destiny for white power music”, Resistance Records held a tribute to Ian Stuart; a memorial gig held on September 30, 1994 commemorating the second [sic] anniversary of Ian Stuart’s honourable death in a car accident. “The Flame That Never Dies” concert was organised professionally at a large venue in Racine, Milwaukee featuring No Remorse from Britain, Bound For Glory, RAHOWA, Centurion, Berserkr and Das Reich. Less than 300 showed up to this event, billed convincingly enough as “The Concert Event Of The Decade”. Immediately after the concert, Joe Rowan, the vocalist for Nordic Thunder decided to commemorate Ian Stuart’s passing in his own special way. Following an altercation in a convenience store, a black man dispatched Rowan to Valhalla with a handgun blast to the head. A video release of the concert is set for release sometime this year, so hopefully it will include some stunning post-concert footage!
Eric Banks (Bound for Glory)
In a bid to reach out to a broader ‘white’ market in North America, Resistance Records have made it a priority to organise and appeal to the metal scene. At the tail end of 1994, Resistance Records had signed four ‘White Power metal’ bands, Centurion (Milwaukee), New Minority (formerly Ritual, New Jersey), Berserkr (Oklahoma), and Bound For Glory (Minneapolis). Bound For Glory, a Northern Hammerskin band who formed in 1989, are quite popular on the world-wide scene and even featured in the American Pit Magazine, which caters to the metal audience. BFG’s original singer, Eric Banks, was put down for a dirtnap via shotgun blast by a SHARP skin in Oregon early on in 1994.
~ ‘Antifa Info-Bulletin’, Vol.1, No.6 (1996) / Fighting Talk, No.13, March 1996
See also : Anti-fascist organizing in Portland 1988-1993, October 9, 2007. A very useful analysis by M.Treloar…
…Let’s start at the beginning, right after Mulugeta Seraw’s death in 1988.
The first rally to protest the death of Seraw was called by African students in Portland a few days later, in spite of opposition by the police and neo-liberal politicians (and some progressive groups).
When hundreds of people showed up, the governor of Oregon, Neil Goldschmidt, asked to speak. The rally organizers, who did not even know who he was, allowed him to talk. So began a continuing effort to coopt the grass-roots movement against neo-fascists, while attacking those who carried out militant actions.
The Coalition for Human Dignity initially met in the same chambers used by the Portland City Council. The community activists and college kids who composed its members spent much of 1989 vacillating between calling rallies, attempting to get city and union resolutions passed and taking direct action.
The decision was finally made to attack the boneheads where they lived, worked and played. While the Oregonian and neo-liberal politicians made speeches against “hate”, the remaining members of CHD, along with the new groups Anti-Racist Action and Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice decided to destroy the fascist groups in town. This meant that they were to be confronted when they appeared publicly but, more importantly, they would be attacked in ways that they were not prepared for.
ARA, SHARP and members of the punk music community, including members of CHD, began to drive the boneheads out of the clubs and the culture. Bands that had huge local followings, such as Poison Idea or Sweaty Nipples, stopped concerts to speak against boneheads and vowed not to play if they congregated at their shows. Some bands changed their names, such as Wehrmacht or took on confrontational anti-racist names, such as Crackerbash.
Security at most of the clubs began refusing to let open boneheads into the clubs – which led to tense scenes such as the 1991 Fugazi show at Pine Street Theater when a hundred boneheads, male and female, showed up and threatened to burn it down if they were not let in. They didn’t get in…