So there’s a lot of stuff going round the old internet about Johnny ‘Itch’ Fox. A lot of things that I have read have been deeply moving, not in a good way. It’s triggering for anyone that has suffered some kind of domestic abuse, manipulation and financial imprisonment. I feel for these women who are coming forward to talk about their experiences, especially in the face of such adversity from his fans and the current climate of victim blaming.
Recently LaDIYfest Bristol helped to get The Casualties show at the Fleece cancelled because of their gross denial of sexual assault that had been held strong by the victim (Read her story here). It is SO important to give victims a platform for which to feel safe enough to come forward and talk about their experiences; to feel safe and supported by the people and scene around them. So many avoid speaking out because their voice is immediately drowned out in defensive protest, because we are so quick to disbelieve victims over our idols.
This is the thing about the punk scene, all punk scenes, DIY, whatever. They are not perfect, there’s a lot of preaching about the right thing to do. Social media makes it really easy for people to have these sofa politics but rarely are they put into practise. DIY derives from the idea of being self-sufficient, it has strong links with anarcho-politics and anarcho-living and I fucking love it. What I don’t love is the convenience in which people drop this idea when it comes to calling out others on sexual assault, abuse and rape. The Casualties for example, stand by their claim that because this person never reported the incidents to the police, it’s somehow invalid. Despite having numerous gaudy shit songs where they call out Oi! and shout FUCK THE POLICE at any available moment. Like, fuck. These politics and culture are not there for you just to pick up and drop when it’s convenient for you. I refuse to accept DIY punk culture as another arena for men to play the leader, where they can silence people just because they have POWER. This is not a rejection of patriarchy, an alternative way of living, this is a pick-and-choose life that is manipulated and abused by horrible predators. Fuck. That.
This is exactly what Itch Fox is doing. Hiding behind his fame and popularity, cowering in the belief that his twitter army will defend his honour while he shits on everyone else’s, still preaching his ‘I invented folk punk’ ‘women should be equal’ bullshit. I’m tired of living in a community that excuses this as ‘sensitive’ and ‘an on going conversation’. No. Lay down some accountability, victim accounts are now popping up everywhere. It’s time to break the silence, start working towards positive solutions for assault and abuse in our scenes and truly be DIY and self-sufficient. We need to change the way we view victims, give them the support they need and a platform for conversation that doesn’t drown them out in denial. Let’s stop making statements about the times we met Itch and always thought he was an asshole and actually do something about it. The North East Anarchist Network have some really useful links to dealing with assault as a community. Accounting for Ourselves (also available in zine form) is also brilliant. There have been suggestions of creating zines around what’s been going on, to help recognise abuse and challenge how we take action for holding those responsible. This is such a great idea. This doesn’t have to be in a specifically anarcho setting, but still can still teach a thing or two. It’s important for men to have these discussions with each other too, not because I think all men are abusers, but because creating a platform to share ideas might spark more confidence in positive action.
Here are some links dealing with Itch:
Please read and learn more. It’s not fair that this man gets to swan about without consequence writing awful poetry.