"[We] stand in opposition to niggers, Jews, and all other sub-human mongrels," read the liner notes for Wineta, a band on a 1999 white pride metal compilation. The CD was distributed locally by the Olympic Peninsula-based Moribund Cult Records, which, along with the 50-plus white power record labels in existence, is doing well for itself. Quite well.
In fact, a report coming out this month warns that Moribund is part of a multimillion-dollar industry that's pushing racist rock. The report is being released by the Northwest Coalition for Human Dignity (NWCHD), a regional agency with an office in Seattle that monitors white-power organizations.
NWCHD's findings, compiled in "Soundtracks to the White Revolution," make three main points. First, the report shows that white power sentiments permeate more than the well-known skinhead music, infiltrating metal, folk, and electronica. Second, it calls for record stores and clubs to boycott the music. Most shocking, it finds that not only is music an effective tool for recruiting impressionable adolescents, but it's also a huge moneymaker. For political crusaders, it doesn't get any better than this. Here are organized politics with a built-in product that both enlists new members and pads the bank account.
"Once regarded as simply [a] recruitment tool, white power music now generates lots of money for a cash-strapped movement," writes Devin Burghart, who edited the 107-page, zine-style report. "Music sales have quickly surpassed counterfeiting and armed robbery as the biggest monetary sources for the movement."
The leading white power record label, Resistance Records in West Virginia, expects to make at least $700,000 next year. This is comparable to well-established (non-fascist) independent labels like K and Up in Washington state, and Lookout in California.
Moribund's catalogue includes other bands like Judas Iscariot, who claim to be "born out of total hate and disgust for all Semitic world religions," in an interview posted on the label's website. "Our new order will prioritize the total extermination of subhumans!!!!" ("Subhumans" being blacks, Jews, and gays.) Apparently, this is an attractive way to think. Moribund sells at least 40,000 records a year, according to owner Odin Thompson.
Thompson says his label, which he started in 1991, is not political or racist, but encourages freedom of speech. "There's a difference between being proud of one's heritage or culture and being flat out racist or prejudiced to other cultures," Thompson says. He points out that rap music, which he says is racist toward white people, is totally accepted in mainstream culture and even sold in mall chain stores.
Insipid thinking like that inspired activists to found the NWCHD in 1988. Spokesman Eric Ward says the new report is intended to alert record stores, clubs, and others in the music industry to the presence of racist and anti-Semitic bands. "Part of it is bringing them out of the closet," he says. The report is the first component in a campaign against racist music called "Turn It Down," which eventually will include a CD with interviews of people in the music industry. Ward wants the campaign to inspire an industry-wide boycott, and argues that it's not censorship if stores make an informed choice whether or not to sell certain products. They should at least know what they're buying, he says.