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REVIEW: Profane Existence

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PROFANE EXISTENCE


Anarcho-punk Resource Magazine

#43 / Summer-Fall 2003 (PO Box 8722. Minneapolis, MN 55408; e-mail: blackened@visi.com; web: www.profaneexistence.com) is 16-page, long-running newspaper of anarchist politics and punk music culture based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Profane is back in print after a hiatus of several years, perhaps proving that the idea of political punk activism is not yet dead. Profane Existence is a bit different than most punk magazines, in that the anarchist and radical politics are up front and the punk culture stuff is more in the background. This is probably one of the reasons for PE’s longevity. And the North American anarchist movement probably owes more to this magazine than it would like to admit. It could be safely argued that during the 90s, Profane Existence did more than any other magazine to keep the anarcho-punk movement going, which in turn helped the anarchist movement develop into the bigger, more popular movement that it is in the early 21st century.



The highlight of this issue is the 4-page centerfold section titled “Black Bloc: a primer.” This is an excellent overview of black blocs written by the creative minds behind Crimethinc. It includes photos of past black blocs, as well as two of Mike Flugennock’s black bloc graphics. This guide to black blocs is a solid overview of the history of black blocs, the tactics of the black bloc, and the politics and culture of the bloc. The reasons behind the use of black bloc tactics are explained, although I wish that the article could have gone into more detail about how black blocs assert civil liberties on the streets. People have a right to protest in the streets without permits. The guide talks about police tactics such as “snatch squads” and explains how different black bloc tactics can be used to keep the police in check. This guide goes into detail about how to prepare for black blocs. Do you scouting in advance. Make sure you have plenty of water and wear your clothes in layers. The section on the organization of black blocs is good, although it could go into more detail about affinity groups. And it includes some tips about de-escalating confrontations with peace nazis and liberal protestors who frequently tip the police off about the presence of black blocs. This special section concludes with an extended anecdote about how anti-biotech activists successfully used black bloc tactics during a direct action.



This issue also includes an article by Special K on “Why Clear Channel Sucks.” Clear Channel is one of the biggest media juggernauts, owning hundreds of radio and TV stations across the USA, as well as media properties around the world. This reviewer has been involved in some anti-Clear Channel activism, so it was really awesome to learn a few new things in this article about this evil media giant. Another feature of interest in this issue is an interview with the author of “Evasion,” the infamous book published by Crimethinc about dropping out of the grind of daily life. Fans of “Evasion” and critics of “traveling kids” will find some common ground in this interview. Mack makes a good case for living off the excess of capitalist society and exploiting its stupidity and rigidity. He also has some tough words about traveling kids.

Each issue of Profane Existence comes with a dose of regular features like the “Page Three Punk,” letters, an events calendar, editorials by regular columnists, and a decent section of music and zine reviews. It should be noted that this issue includes a brief introduction to the Minnesota Anarchist Collective.

Profane Existence has gotten lots of props for doing an awesome punk music distro in the past, but it looks like they aren’t running a distro these days.

$2 in the US, or four 37-cent virgin stamps. $3 worldwide.

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REVIEW: Profane Existence | 4 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
comment by
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, November 03 2003 @ 09:10 PM CST
heh, I\'m on the cover
comment by making punk a threat again
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, November 03 2003 @ 08:02 PM CST
I certainly agree with Chuck that Profane Existence introduced alot of people to anarchism in the 90\'s. When I was 15 or 16 I sent away for my first issue of P.E. (because it had a Total Chaos interview...yeah, I know) and the magazine introduced me to a whole new world. I was reading about everything from Leonard Peltier, to the European squatter movement, to anarchist theory. I still read P.E. and I\'m stoked that they\'re putting out the magazine again. By the way, P.E. is still doing distro and releasing the odd record.
comment by Cemendur
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, November 03 2003 @ 11:47 PM CST
When in HS, PE provided me with anarcho-punk insight from around the world. I remember reading about anarchists in Palestine and in Israel meeting at the \"border\" for a rally, the Punk Olympics in Europe and the international squat scene. It was truly inspirational for a small logging town kid.
comment by Dan
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 22 2004 @ 12:40 AM CST
We still run a distro, although a little smaller than inthe past!