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DIY or Die! : Do-it-yourself, do-it-together, & punk anarchism

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A weighty tome exploring the culture of DIY/DIT; collaborative self-organizing groups can and do change the world.
Edited by Jim Donaghey, Will Boisseau, & Caroline Kaltefleiter

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DIY or Die! brings together a diverse collection of punks, scholars, and activists to explore Do-It-Yourself and Do-It-Together production of punk culture and punk spaces. A DIY/DIT ethic has animated a wide range of punk-associated anarchist activisms, and this extensive influence is on display in this book. The relationship between anarchism and punk is explored through numerous intersecting themes, starting from the tangible anarchisms found in punk spaces, squats, and social centres, and extending to a range of DIY/DIT cultural production including: films, records, and fanzines; performance arts; sports clubs; and other anarchistic sites of resistance. Across the chapters, the DIY or Die! attitude of anarchist punks across the globe is critically examined and celebrated.

The phrase ‘do-it-yourself’, often bandied about in discussions on cultural and political activism, is another of those key terms that has been borrowed (or stolen) from elsewhere. Just as ‘anarchist’ and ‘punk’ were appropriated (in the 1840s and 1970s, respectively), ‘DIY’ has likewise been recontextualised (first appearing in the context of home improvement in the 1910s, and applied to musical and political contexts from the 1950s onwards). But these terms are adopted for a reason, and their original meanings have continued significance – there is an ineluctable strand of radicality that runs through do-it-yourself, stemming from: its basis in action and doing; its emphasis on freedom of expression; its ties to material and cultural production; and its blurring of the supposedly distinct roles of producer and consumer. Taking the domestic roots of DIY as a stepping-off point, it is evident that this core of amateur ‘tinkering’ resonates through its evolving application in the contexts of anarchism and punk. But this radical kernel is always under pressure from consumerism and entrepreneurialism, and these same tensions persist in DIY-informed punk culture and anarchist activism.

Book details:
Publisher: Active Distribution
Published: May 2024
ISBN: 9781914567377
Editors: Jim Donaghey | Will Boisseau | Caroline Kaltefleiter
Pages: 534
Format: Paperback

Weight 820 g