By Daniel Newcomer
So let me get this straight… You wear Swooshtikkka shoes and call yourself some sort of rebel?
If you haven’t heard, there’s a war going on outside. Skate rebel armies are waging a guerrilla offensive against corporate colonialism. You see, after the Cold War ended the architects of the New World Order decided that they owned everything. The smoke had not yet cleared in Angola, Nicaragua and Afghanistan before they built a mega state anchored in D.C. to buoy the interests of corporate fascism. They called it “free trade” and capitalism, but it was socialism for the world’s wealthy. Its supporters high jacked the media and sponsored a propaganda campaign to roll back any gains made in the arena of civil rights over the last century on a global scale. The New Order promised transnational profits for the ultra-rich and duped the rest of us into thinking we’d share in the plunder. They identified any activity that was not currently producing revenue and targeted it for colonial exploitation.
And so they colonized skateboarding. They overran it with an army of dollars rather than of men. Throwing millions in advertising at the industry, they originally met resistance from core shops and skaters who saw through their schemes and asked, “Where were you when we built this shit?” The colonizers immediately transitioned their strategy to prey on the dreams and desperation of professional skateboarders, many of whom had spent their lives dedicated to riding with little to show for their loyalty. The colonial authorities convinced them that they deserved something from skating, that they should receive payment in return for their years of dedication, that skating owed them rather than vice versa.
The corporate fascists made billions off of their imperial machinations. They pretended to compensate their pro pawns by tossing them a pittance; more than what they were used to making, no doubt, but nowhere near what they might reasonably demand if they really understood the numbers. They convinced pro skaters to become actors, to sacrifice their own dignity and that of skateboarding in general, and to look the other way when the shop and the company owned by real skaters died. And we were all told that the world was better for it, that skateboarding was finally getting the recognition it deserved. It was progress, they said. But the fact was they simply took what was ours as if they were entitled to it while many of us stood by in utter disbelief, seemingly helpless.
The imperialists grew so confident that they even desecrated our religion. They defaced our shrines and filmed their advertisements in our very own places of worship. Skater-built cathedrals like Burnside were defiled in the process. The Neo-Conquistadors transformed them into their own temples and tried to force us to worship at the altar of their sadistic, materialistic, greed-slaked god. They used a divide and conquer strategy to make us question our own beliefs and motives. They targeted the most influential pros and relentlessly bought them off, making them high priests of the new religion.
Much like house servants in the days of slavery, the pros they carroted were taught to believe they were superior to those skaters toiling in the fields. Not surprisingly, the hoodwinked pros ate it up in a masturbating frenzy of self-promotion. Well-fed themselves, they sat and watched while their own brothers faced the whip and felt the weighty chains of bondage rub their flesh raw. But those house slaves were nonetheless slaves. The last laugh to which they were told they were entitled was hollow: those billion-dollar companies didn’t even buy them fucking insurance.
But not everyone stood and watched as the new empire expanded. Skate rebel armies banded together to combat the colonial overlords. They broke free of the corporate shackles, crafting their own decks, wheels, trucks, and companies in their post-modern Reconquest. They poured their very souls into a new generation of concrete shrines and temples, constructing veritable regions of refuge from the police surveillance and parental guidance present in the government-sanctioned, panoptic skate prison/parks. They reintroduced wood, masonite and metal to the pantheon of skate deities.
The skate rebel resistance refused to advertise for the enemy. They didn’t buy their ideas or their products. They supported only DIY, skater-built goods, and refused to make excuses for the pros who had unwittingly violated the essence of skate spirituality. However, they did not judge. The guerrilla forces accepted born-again skateboarders into their covert bands so long as they were willing to wage battle against their common enemy. The resistance didn’t follow a litany of rules. Their strategy involved simply supporting those people who preferred to contribute to skateboarding rather than to take from it. Simply put, they didn’t act punk. They were punk.
The guerrilla campaign will produce many casualties. But in the end it comes down to two parties: them versus us. They are the parasitic outsider scum fucks who feel entitled to profit off of what we created. They are the clones who can’t conceive of a world where one could possibly live according to one’s convictions rather than sell them to the highest—or even the first—bidder. We, on the other hand, represent the participants who see skateboarding as a vocation, not as a profession. Our resistance accepts skateboarding as a multifaceted social phenomenon lacking regimentation: as the antidote to clone mimicry prescribed by fascist jock octopi. Where they see demographics, marketability and packaging, we see only freedom, and have vowed to defend it.
If you’re a skateboarder who seeks to take rather than to give, you’ve crossed over the delineated boundary into the enemy’s camp. You’re a traitor, and the rebel armies won’t have mercy on you. Why? Because they won’t have mercy on us. They started the war, and they aim to crush everyone and everything associated with the essential spirit of skateboarding until there is no more us, only them. That is, they and their vampire offspring performing proper maneuvers in the appropriate places, their pockets lined and their faces smug, believing their very damnation to be their salvation. You can cross that line, but know this: In this war, we’re all bound to get what we deserve. And, as members of the skate rebel resistance know well, you don’t deserve shit from skateboarding. – Daniel Newcomer
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