‘Straight edge’ has persisted as a drug-free, hardcore punk subculture for 25 years. Its political legacy remains ambiguous and it is often associated with self-righteous macho posturing and conservative Puritanism. While certain elements of straight edge culture feed into such perception, the cultureʼs political history is far more complex.
Since straight edgeʼs origins in Washington, D.C. in the early 1980s, it has been linked to radical thought and action by countless individuals, bands, and entire scenes. Gabriel Kuhn editor of Sober Living for the Revolution (PM Press 2010) traces this history using contributions from famed straight edge punk rockers like Ian MacKaye (of Minor Threat/Fugazi), Dennis Lyxzén (Refused/The (International) Noise Conspiracy), Mark Andersen (Dance of Days) and Andy Hurley (Fall Out Boy); legendary bands like ManLiftingBanner and Point of No Return; radical collectives like CrimethInc. and Alpine Anarchist Productions; and numerous other artists and activists dedicated as much to sober living as to the fight for a better world.
Gabriel Kuhn was born in Austria but soon began moving around with his artist parents. He grew up in various countries, including Turkey, Italy, England and the US, but returned to Austria for most of his formal education and a four-year semi-professional soccer career. Active in radical politics since the late 1980s, publishing projects have always been a focus. In the early 1990s, Gabriel worked with the Austrian autonomist journal TATblatt and anarchist publisher Monte Verita, before turning his attention to DIY zine publishing. Alpine Anarchist Productions was founded in 2000, and distributes pamphlets to this day. Since 2005 Gabriel has been working closely with radical German publisher Unrast. His book ‘Neuer Anarchismus’ in den USA. Seattle und die Folgen was named “Book of the Year 2008” by Berlin’s Library of the Free. Gabriel also contributes regularly to the Swedish anarchist journal Brand.