Heads Up Chicago: Fascism is Coming to Town

UPDATE: Thanks to your calls, tweets and messages, The Empty Bottle has cancelled this event.

From the “neo-masculinist” fans of the Return of Kings website to the openly fascist, rape apologist Boyd Rice, purveyors of hatred and misogyny have apparently decided that Chicago is their kind of town. Undeterred by our famously bitter weather, but ultimately dissuaded by the threat of worldwide reprisal, a planned gathering of Men’s Rights Activists was recently cancelled in Chicago – as were gatherings in a total of 43 countries around the world. Now, another hateful presence is poised to make itself felt in our city, and this time, there’s money involved.

Boyd Rice, whose published views on sexual assault include the idea that “Rape is the act by which fear and pain are united in love” and that forcible sex acts are “the triumph of harmony through oppression,” has booked an upcoming show at a Chicago venue. The performance, currently scheduled for June 12, 2016, at The Empty Bottle, will allow fascist friendly attendees to enjoy Rice’s musical stylings for the low price of $12.50.

But what is the cost to our city of allowing such people to profit from hate in our communities?

Rice, who actually appeared in full Nazi-garb for an interview with white-Supremacist Tom Metzger, has rejected claims that he is a fascist, despite having publicly stated that there is an intellectual conspiracy behind criticisms of Mein Kampf. Rice also expressed, in his interview with Metzger, that he hoped his music would mobilize greater white pride in the United States.

While Rice has rejected attacks on his fascism, when confronted, claiming that his pro-fascist statements have been the stuff of pranks, his hateful words and actions speak for themselves. Like the much-despised MRA blogger Roosh V, Rice falls back on claims of satire while addressing criticism, and espouses hatred when interacting with audiences that embrace such language. And as Rice’s critics have long pointed out, Rice’s brand of industrial music (described in promotional materials as “post-punk inspired apocalyptic folk/industrial” – whatever the hell that means) is presented to its fans as “a celebration of fascist ideals,” rather than a mockery or interrogation of neo-nazi aesthetics, and has served as a vehicle for the popularization of racist ideas. Under such circumstances, one might be moved to ask if Rice’s intentions are even relevant to any consideration of his work.

Whether Rice’s promotion of fascism is employed merely for its shock-value (which seems decidedly unlikely, given all available evidence), out of genuine belief, or for sheer financial gain, the end result is the same: white supremacy is granted an artistic vehicle, and communities are forced to play host to commercialized rallies for neo-fascists.

Outrage over Rice’s politics has caused numerous venues to cancel previous events. Given Chicago’s overall distaste for brazen fascism, it seems very possible that public pressure could garner the same result here. At the very least, consumers and artists may want to steer clear of a venue that plays host to pro-rape nazi fans.

Chicago’s organizing community includes numerous anti-racist groups and acts of protest seem likely, should the show go on. A previous Boyd Rice show, here in Chicago, was interrupted by a smoke bomb, presumably wielded by an anti-fascist, so it seems likely that some community members are well aware of Rice’s politics, and stand ready to push back. But while the thought of confronting fascists may appeal to some, hate-driven profit is at stake here, and that profit should be denied.

So if you’re disturbed by the thought of Rice profiting from racism and misogyny in our town, contact the Empty Bottle and let them know what this artist is all about, and that fascism is not welcome in Chicago.

The Empty Bottle
1035 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

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