Book Review: White Noise

30 October 2007

Zine cover - White Noise

White Noise is a collection of pamphlet-length essays on the international white supremacist music industry. There are chapters on Britain, Germany, Sweden, Poland, and the US. The book highlights the use of racist music in all of these countries to recruit young people to their violent campaigns.

Glyn Ford MEP‘s introduction explains that globalisation is making it harder to police racist extremists:

CDs, videos, computer games, etc. are manufactured in one country and then sold in another, frequently via the Internet. For example, the latest album of one of the best known bands, No Remorse, titled Barbecue in Rostock, was actually produced in the UK, pressed in Denmark, and sold in another European Union country.

White Noise focusses on the international links between fascist organisations and their use of racist music to recruit young people to their violent campaigns. It is slightly UK-centric, with three chapters devoted to Britain, but that is to be expected given that its publisher, Searchlight, is a UK-based organisation. It still manages to demonstrate the tight connections between modern fascist movements, and how the exchange of information and expertise emboldens their more violent elements.

Indeed, the book shows convincingly that white power groups and their supporters are behind a large number of vicious assaults and brutal murders, of non-white people and antiracist activists. Their terrorist campaign of bashings, stabbings and firebombings is played out with the encouragement of bands who celebrate the Holocaust and call for a Fourth Reich — in exchange for sex with racist groupies and the occasional trip abroad.

As a primer on the recent history and organisational methods of neofascist movements, White Noise is definitely worth reading, but it really needs to be updated. For example, Cliff Southwell’s chapter on the internet now seems incredibly dated — not surprising, really, given it’s coming up ten years since it was written, but even in 1998 it ought to have mentioned Don Black’s Stormfront. And any new edition simply must include something about Russia, given the openness of bonehead racist violence there.

Unfortunately, Lowles’ and Silver’s conclusion remains just as urgent today as it was when they wrote White Noise:

Anti-fascists have to continue to take action at whatever level they can to prevent the growth of the White Power music scene. … Turning down the sound of hate is one of the most crucual tasks for anti-racists and anti-fascists today.

Here in Australia, the heart of that campaign is @ndy’s Slackbastard blog. Get involved.

Nick Lowles and Steve Silver (eds), White Noise: Inside the International Nazi Skinhead Scene, 1/2 size, approx 90 pages.
Available from Searchlight.

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