We Owe You Nothing: Punk Planet: The Collected Interviews

Daniel Sinker, editor (Akashic Books, $16.95)

He goes on to argue that the very nature of the system "rewards antisocial behavior, or what I would regard as criminal behavior." He also discusses at length the rigors of the activist life, an undertaking that, according to him, won't get you "the kinds of rewards that you're trained to want -- material consumption and opportunity to impress people and so on." He says that "those 'rewards' though they are in fact destructive, you're unlikely to get if you decide to challenge and confront and so on."

We Owe You Nothing also contains the story that generated the most mail of any Punk Planet cover story, "The Murder of Iraq." The article, a conversation with members of the humanitarian organization Voices in the Wilderness, a group that brings medicine and supplies to Iraq in defiance of the economic embargo, is by far the most affecting piece here. Besides painting a grim picture of the death and hardship incurred by the Iraqis as a result of the sanctions, the interview is bound to move the reader with its depiction of the dedication and sense of outrage that fuels Voices' efforts.

For anyone who admires these artists' dedication to their personal ideals but wonders about the sheer feasibility of maintaining an anti-capitalist lifestyle, the book addresses that issue in its final chapter "The Failures of Punk." One of those voices belongs to Matt Wobensmith, owner of the long-standing Outpunk label and the short-lived Queercorps, who argues that "punk is in denial of how the world is." A realist at heart, Wobensmith pronounces himself "no fan of capitalism, but I know that when I don't have money in my bank account, there's no money to pay my rent and there's no money to put out your stupid records."

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