Interview

Interview: Outcast Agenda – My passage to self liberation

Before I will post the complete interview, I want to say thank you Jack, for giving me the chance to ask you a few questions. I really appreciate your work for the clothing label, but even more for Sea Shepherd and all the animals you are saving each day! I feel honored for receiving a short insight into your attitude and for what you stand for.

Q: On your bigcartel website you also have an About Us section, where you describe the intention behind the label. Here a cutout:
Outcast Agenda is an anti oppression clothing label established in 2011. When we started we had one idea in mind and that was to create designs that would help to spread important messages and raise awareness of the atrocities which are taking place every second of each day all around the world. Here at OA we support the idea of total liberation for all.
I have not seen any similar clothing label like yours. Why do you think no-one else had that idea of spreading the word against Racism, Sexism, Homophobia, Bigotry, Xenophonia, Fascism, etc.? Are people tired of revolting, or just focused on other topics?
A: With Outcast Agenda Ive always tried to promote ideas and messages that I think are important while trying to stay original with our designs. That being said, I wouldn’t go as far to say that no one else is promoting similar ideas. There are definitely bands and other notable clothing companies out there with anti oppression as their message. Some have a smaller focus area but its all important stuff. At Outcast Agenda we try to think in terms of total liberation so you’ll find our designs to be inclusive of that mindset. A couple of years ago we released a popular shirt that stated animal, earth and human liberation is all one struggle, one fight. That sentiment is the basis of our brand and for what we stand for.
I should certainly hope people aren’t tired of revolting as there is much work left to do on all fronts of liberation. Whatever your chosen form of activism is, there is a place for it when the end goal is the same. I don’t believe in competition for like causes, the more companies out there promoting veganism, animal rights, earth liberation and human rights issues the better.
Q: On a rational base, I can totally understand the Animal, Earth and Human Liberation movement, or rather idea. I just have a problem with the Human Liberation part, due to my misanthropic beliefs. I guess thats also the reason, why I try to say Total Liberation. It leaves a little scope for everyone and how he/she interprets it. Nevertheless with all these xenophobic statements of people, my strong antifascist attitude returns. Do you think it is even possible just to fight speciesism and not racism, is one strongly connected with the other one?
A: I’ll be the first to say that humanity in general often feels doomed. Through years of being involved with activism I have seen the worst in people and the horrible things we, as humans are capable of. Despite any negative personal feelings towards humanity or the feeling of general hopelessness, it is important to remember that oppression is everywhere and an attempt must be made to stop it whenever we encounter it. No oppression is good oppression, no matter if the victim(s) is our planet, the animals both wild and domestic which inhabit this earth or the humans who live amongst them. I believe people who are one sided in their fight for liberation very quickly realize that our struggles are connected and the statement rings true for all of us, none are free until all are free. Total liberation is the only true way to better tomorrow.
Q: „None are free until all are free.“ Describes in a good way how the base of a solid anarchist attitude should look like. I can’t claim to live free when I don’t allow other people to live free. It’s like that one sentence from Gather – Total Liberation:
Break down, the barriers, that enslave us all.
Are there any specific plans for the next designs, or some special topics you will work on?
A: We have a few designs in the works. Keep an eye out for a mid spring drop that we are finalizing now. This particular drop will have a common focus of animal liberation.
Q: Yes! I like that focus! Haha. Will definitely look forward to check it out, when you release it! Is there also a collaboration with a band planned? By the way, it is really cool to see, that you sponsor bands and reach more people. Can you tell us also a little bit more about that sponsoring? Any other bands in focus? Why Wake of Humanity, Sect, Wolf Down?
A: After taking a two year break from Outcast Agenda so I could primarily focus on activism with Sea Shepherd I wanted to come back stronger than ever with the company and make 2017 a big year. I have worked with a few bands in the past and this year I wanted to put together a solid line up of acts that I not only fully support but also could work closely with moving forward. SECT, Wake Of Humanity and Wolf Down were obvious choices. I approached all three bands late last year and laid out some ideas for 2017. All three were really keen to make it happen. I have known the guys from SECT and WOH for quite some time and they are all good people promoting what we stand for here at Outcast Agenda through their music so they were obvious choices. Wolf Down had been on my radar for a couple of years. As far as current European bands go I don’t think there are too many other bands putting out such a strong political message through their music and lyrics. When the guys from Wolf Down got back to me and wanted to work together I was stoked.
2017 will undoubtedly be a big year, we have a lot in the works with more exciting info to come. You can definitely count on a collaboration or two, thats for sure.
Q: When Wolf Down first came up here in Germany I really enjoyed their music and had all their records in a complete collection. But then there was that era, when they had strange views and shirt designs and some really weird beliefs. They combined a communist sign with the Anarchism symbol. The history showed us, how radical communists treated anarchists, so a lot of people, including me, were not able to „tolerate“ that and disliked their page and music. Shortly later the line up has been changed and they removed the X from their band name, as no longer all members were straightedge. Now I am no longer following their music, but recently I stumbled on their Facebook page and saw they have ~100k likes. That is definitely huge. Because I no longer read any „gossip“, I guess they are „solid“ again.
Nice to hear, that people or rather bands wanna work with you! That definitely shows me, that they care about what you are doing and for what you are fighting.
I wanted to leave Sea Shepherd out of the interview, but as you mentioned it by yourself. Do you want to tell us, how people could help you and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society? I mean it is a really tough job to fight against those poachers and whaler. I had friends who are working for your organization as volunteers. What can an average person do, to help you?
A: Just like any belief there are typically a few different variations. “Anarchism” is no different. I remember the design you speak of and my take was that it was an attempt at an original idea promoting red anarchism, or anarcho-communist beliefs. Although my idea of an “anarchist Utopia” may be slightly different I understand the sentiment. I have to say I respect them for dropping the X with the line up change and not continuing to attempt to be something that they are no longer all a part of. It’s nice to see it isn’t due to members selling out, merely going through changes as a band. Their focus is still very political, promoting animal and human liberation which is great.
As far as Sea Shepherd Global goes I started working with the organization regularly nearly 5 years ago. It has taken me all over the world and for the last 3 years I have been onboard the Bob Barker full time nearly year round. I feel privileged to be amongst the few people who make up these relatively small crews onboard our ships. Its great that you asked what “you” as an individual can do to support the cause. There is an endless amount of work to be done for our onshore volunteers worldwide, from beach clean ups to fundraising to education and everything in between. If you find yourself with time on your hands and an eagerness to get involved on a more direct level then there are multiple land based campaigns that you can contact Sea Shepherd about and let them know you’d like to be apart. If you’re already a seafarer or someone with special skills send in an application for our ships and see where it takes you. The Best thing to do is find out where your closest chapter is and sign up and get involved.
Q: I understand your point of view, but you can’t deny the fact, also Marx „backstabbed“ Bakunin and his movement to not allow him to come to the Free International Congress and therefore he tried to stop him from traveling through Europe and spreading the word. And other left winged movements like Stalin, Mao etc. where Anarchists got imprisoned were just the same. Maybe because of that, I get mad about that topic.
So, you say by supporting the local chapters as a volunteer people can help you the most and additionally get active too.
Would you say it can get really risky sometimes, when you are in front of whalers or rather whaling ships? I mean does Sea Shepherd go as far as possible like by any means necessary, or does have your own safety priority?
A: Sea Shepherd is a direct action organization above all else. Most of the heads of the various departments onboard the ships, including myself, have had lots of experience at sea, most hold various tickets and have gone through proper maritime training so that we can ensure things are run as safely and professionally as possible onboard. Personal safety at sea for the crew and the vessel should always be a top priority for any ship. That being said there is definitely a certain element of danger in what we do, we like to say “we sail into harms way”. Our crews are quite literally asked before joining if they are willing to put their lives on the line if it comes to it in defense of our oceans, if you answer no then this isn’t really the place for you.
As an example A few years back on one of the whale defense campaigns in Antarctica, Operation Zero Tolerance Sea Shepherds actions proved in a big way that direct action equals direct results. Captain Peter Hammerstedt positioned the Bob Barker between the factory whaling ship, Nisshin Maru and a third party refueling ship that had rendezvoused with the Nisshin to refuel them at sea. The Bob was sandwiched between the two much larger vessels but still Peter held the course and did not falter. Time and time again they attempted to refuel without any luck which ultimately lead to the Nisshin leaving Antarctica and the whaling season coming to an early finish with maximum lives saved.
Q: You are getting more and more winsome with your answers and what you are doing for the animals. Good job mate! 🙂
I guess it is a really tough job, so when people think they could not handle it, it is definitely better to say that at the beginning, so everyone on the ship knows, there are only people there who really do whatever it takes.
I definitely have more questions regarding that topic, but that would go beyond my original intention of the interview and as I don’t know who else reads the interview I do not want to give them any chances to cause great harm to Sea Shepherd or you as a person.
But if you want to tell us something else, feel free to do so. Is there anything you want to tell us?
A: I would just like to thank you for taking the time to interview me about Outcast Agenda and activism. We have big things happening at OA this year so keep an eye out. People should support good bands with a backbone and a message like Wake Of Humanity, SECT and Wolf Down. Keep hardcore political, stop making excuses – go vegan, unite and fight oppression and do your part to make tomorrow a little better.

Jack

 


Links you should check out:

Outcast Agenda

Sea Shepherd

Wolf Down – Facebook

Wolf Down – bandcamp

Sect – Facebook

Sect – bandcamp

Wake of Humanity – Facebook

Wake of Humanity – bandcamp

 

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