Rebecca Binns
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Post-punk, hardcore and the dissolution of the dream
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This chapter explores how Crass’ distinct vision of anarchism, pacifism and feminism fused with punk, became increasingly focused on the authoritarianism, divisive politics and neo-liberal economics of the Thatcher government as the 1980s progressed. The rhetoric of Vaucher, Crass and anarcho-punk more widely became increasingly acrimonious in the context of the Falklands War with Thatcher on course for a second election win. A comparison is drawn with her contemporary Peter Kennard through their shared moral purpose, use of their work as a political weapon and appropriation of mass media imagery to reveal hidden truths. Both artists are in turn shown to be indebted to the Dadaist John Heartfield working half a century earlier. However, a distinction is drawn through Vaucher’s disavowal of both capitalist and Marxist conceptions of freedom, while these other artists’ critique was grounded in Marxism. Vaucher’s aesthetic, its DiY ethos and political ideals, exerted an influence on hardcore (in the States) and post-punk (in the UK). Specific parallels are drawn with the astute visual material created by Winston Smith for US punk band, Dead Kennedys, and the striking album art created by Mike Coles for the UK post-punk band, Killing Joke. This chapter also highlights Vaucher’s importance in providing a ‘feminist’ critique of power. Her belief in radical autonomy, rather than State-approved equality, as a response to female subordination is shown to have a strong correlation with contemporaneous anarcho-feminist ideas.

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Gee Vaucher

Beyond punk, feminism and the avant-garde


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