Two and a half decades ago, some of the first people to collaborate on CrimethInc. projects met via the international networks that had developed in the zine underground associated with the hardcore punk scene. We’ve finally scanned the last five issues of one of these zines, Inside Front, to add to our archives. Bear in mind, these are relics from a very different time. We hope, in putting them at your disposal, to offer new generations of anarchists—and punks?—some context for what came before. We’ve also added the hardcore compilations that came with issues of Inside Front to our music page for free downloading.
Once upon a time, in another century—
When only doctors and lawyers had cell phones, and long distance calls were so expensive that punks used hacked phone dialers to trick pay phones into letting them place calls free of charge;
When zinesters secured freedom of the press by scamming photocopies on a scale today’s social media users cannot imagine;
When traveler kids sneaked onto freight train cars to ride for free, watching mountains and oceans whizzing by as the earth rumbled past beneath them;
When the singer of every hardcore band spoke earnestly to introduce each song, if only to entreat audience members to cause each other serious injury;
When punk itself was not an ossified tradition, but a living challenge to corporate aesthetics, in a process of constant challenge and change;
When DIY bands traversed a network of squatted social centers from Trondheim to Santiago, and you could play a hundred shows in a row without ever performing in a venue that was legally owned or leased;
When dropouts lived on bread alone in order to dedicate themselves entirely to lives of daring adventure;
When MAXIMUM ULTRAISTS committed to risk-tolerant experimentation organized guerrilla noise shows in convenience stores and mashed pies into the faces of corporate entrepreneurs;
When young people inspired by punk music set out to reclaim the streets and destroy the World Trade Organization, and everyone understood that anarchists were among the foremost threats to capitalist globalization;
In those days, without the internet, how did people discover and pass on anarchist ideas and tactics?