Fanzines or zines, as they are more commonly known, were already well-established in music and subculture scenes beginning in the late 1970s with punk and political movements. While the late 1980s and early ‘90s saw a reaction and evolution of punk from its British and New York influences towards a more aggressive sound of hardcore punk, another segment of hardcore punk even further splintered the already underground movement. Although already established with several bands in the 1980s like Minor Threat (DC) and Cro-Mags (NYC), “straight edge” hardcore (sXe) celebrated efforts towards clean living and vilified overly excessive lifestyle choices. Not only were many people involved in this scene anti-drug and alcohol consumption, a large number became interested in vegan (no animal based food and use of products) lifestyles, radical environmental consciousness, and for many, anarchist or leftist political opinions. The music stemming from the straight edge scene identified with punk and even “screamo” hardcore, including bands like Government Issue, Youth of Day, Gorilla Biscuits, Judge, Civ, and Uniform Choice, with most emphasizing unity behind personal non-conforming choices. A large portion of bands used their political platforms and views to expound their personal messages.
The zines produced in the straight edge scene were representative of typical DIY publications, self-published and typically photocopied, with interviews of straight edge bands, discussion of lifestyles, and polemics furthering the “edge” cause. A tangential movement within the ‘80s scene took a more “hardline” stance with even more fervent practices and values promoting militant animal rights and activism, pacifism, synthesized leftist social justice politics, by any means necessary, or direct action. So much to the point, many hardline straight edge individuals resorted to violence against anyone who consumed alcohol, engaged in premarital sex, and opposed deep green ecology views. Bands representing a hardline edge included Earth Crisis, Vegan Reich, and Raid. Many members of bands and fans would draw or tattoo “XXX” on their hands to identify themselves as “edge”; it is still considered a symbol of the movement to date. While the scene remained marginalized with the punk subculture, the participants were overwhelmingly white and male, with internalized rage and branded masculinity.
The movement did kick start a participation politics ethos for punk to be more action-based, rather than strictly performative. Zines were another vehicle for words to have an impact in the scene. The zines in this collection document a subculture unlimited by social constructs within earlier legacy punk, but also stressing the importance of taking a stand as a young person, or staying true to your value system. The collection consists of 118 zines from the United States, Canada, Europe, United Kingdom, Japan, and New Zealand. Major titles include: Refuge, Crank Call, Slacker, Fall-Back, Message From The Homeland, Negative Burn, Skyscraper, and Yoda, ranging in publishing years from primarily mid-90s to mid-2000s. Item #72720