The Commercialisation of Punk Subculture and Why it’s a Good Thing

Punk. Punk is many things. Punk is a music genre, a fashion style, an act of rebellion, a political statement. To me, and to many others, Punk is a lifestyle. One of my early hero’s Duff McKagan said in a video for Fender “punk rock is an ethic” and that is the truth if I’ve ever heard it. So when it comes to big companies using punk and other alternative subcultures to make money I’d imagine the majority of punks would be against such corruption of the thing that defines them. However I see two sides to this argument, and would like to present both in this short essay in order to promote discussion and debate. On one hand it’s very easy to see why punks would rebel against the many corporations out to ruin the meaning of punk. After all it’s what punks have done since the late 70’s when punk bands like the Ramones and Sex Pistols had their start in the clubs of America and Britain. It used to be that punks would be abused and ostracised daily just for being punk and now you can buy The Clash t- shirts in shopping centres all over the Western Hemisphere? “What deformity is this?” One might proclaim. Now I in no way am singing the praises of these giant money machines, these companies aren’t interested in the welfare of its customers. Like a hound bred for war, these corporate scumbags are only after one thing. Money. However I do see an upside, with punk being brought to the masses through punk fashion being sold in shops and the resurgence in the popularity of punk music in recent years it enables punk as both an art form and a code of ethics to reach a larger audience. The message of punk in my opinion is a positive one, calling for free speech, equality and saying “fuck you” to the governments who care so little about the common person. Any decent person can value these ideas, so surely it’s a good thing that more people are being exposed to such positivity. As cool as it is to be part of an unground movement, punk is for everyone and we should not be gate keepers. We should welcome our fellow punks with open arms. Whether it be a 18 year old protester in a leather jacket or a 46 year old mother of 3 from Cornwall. Even if you don’t look punk, or even if you don’t like the music, the message of punk can still be appreciated and it’s ethics still followed. Everyone has a punk inside them, it’s part of being human. To be “truly” punk, and follow its morals of inclusivity and equality, we must show our love for all. Idles have a fan group called the A.F. Gang and their example should be followed, never have I seen a more beautiful and positive community. Punk is a community, punk is a people. Punk is love.

Peace, Love and Cowbells,


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