Monday, April 24, 2017

A Brief History of RASH-Northeast (U.S.A.) 2004-2010

By Dan Sabater

The concept for 'RASH Northeast' (Northeastern US) started in 2004 when I was living in Vermont, 6 hours north of my native NYC. It was my attempt to use the internet (and specifically MySpace, which was the predominant social media at that time) to maintain some kind of RASH presence between myself, my old comrades in NYC, and some up-and-comers in the Philadelphia and Delaware region. The group lasted 6 years. In that time we achieved quite a bit.

Besides maintaining that MySpace page (which was a clearinghouse for blog articles, event info and graphics) we also maintained an email list. This list had fairly high traffic between 2007 and Jan 2010. There were between 20-25 heads that participated in RASH Northeast during this era. Some very good political discussions were held.

In the NYC area we started a monthly Punk, Hardcore and Oi DJ night under the name 'Punk Night!'. Simply put, if we had called it 'Skinhead Night' it almost certainly would have ended rather quickly. But anyone who attended knew the deal. Calling the event 'Punk Night!' was also an attempt to build a broader appeal within the scene, as our 10 member NYC crew would not have been able to maintain a monthly event on our own.

We maintained a RASH presence at the Thursday MOVE YOUR MULE skinhead reggae, rocksteady and ska night held at Otto's Shrunken Head. Our power at that night peaked in 2009, but was over by Jan 2010 when the evening developed into more of a scenester 4th wave ska scene event and less street or skinhead.

As for shows, we hosted such international bands as Italy's REAZIONE (Nov 2008), Mexico's BARRA BRAVA (Feb 2008, May 2010) and Russia's RAZOR BOIS (August 2008). Locally, 2 bands that were loosely affiliated to RASH-Northeast were KADENA (NYC- 2 demo CDs) and STIFF MIDDLE FINGER (Delaware/ Philly- 1 demo CD). We also had the biggest skinhead mob at the BAD MANNERS show in NYC in 2009.

In NYC and Philly we set up sporadic boxing and mixed martial arts workshops and classes for militant anti-fascists. One young member from Philadelphia eventually went into active Brazilian jiu-jitsu and submission wrestling competition.

2 young members of RASH-Northeast released 2 bootleg mix CDs: Stay Rude Stay Rebel Vol. I & II. The second release was a significant improvement over the first. We also distributed a ton of copies of INSURGENCE RECORDS “Northern Aggression” label sampler compilation.

In 2008 we had RASH-Northeast patches made up and distributed between the NYC and Philly crews.

Two RASH-Northeast gatherings were held: an inaugural one in Philadelphia in March 2006, and one that wrapped the network up in May 2010. NYC and Philly members also attended a skinhead weekender in San Juan, Puerto Rico in Sep 2006. About a half-dozen DJ weekends were also held in Philadelphia at Dalek, an Ethiopian restaurant.

There were 2 attempts at a RASH-Northeast website- neither went very far.


RASH-Northeast faded out rather than exploded. In NYC many of the crew members grew older and lost interest in politics and the scene. The younger members didn't step up nor stick around, for whatever reason. All of this occurred after a key organizer was forced to return to Europe when his work visa in NYC ended. One of the louder younger members ended up leaving the group in a fairly humorous way, putting a capper on RASH-NYC's demise.

In Philly a key organizing couple left to have kids. One member retreated into academia (graduate school, professorship), one went into the Air Force and pursued a career. One left to party more heavily.

A few folks involved in the group disappeared altogether. They will probably surface in a few years, as they've always done, most likely still skins. But whatever the subculture offers them they are less interested in RUNNING SHIT than in merely existing. And the message of RASH in the Northeast was always about discipline and RUNNING SHIT.