A song released in 1993 is set to top the charts in a social media-led protest against arson attacks on refugees
As the iconography and fashion have been appropriated and absorbed into the mainstream, and the music has evolved throughout the years, it’d be fair to say punk has lost most of the political drive and vitriol that fuelled it originally. There aren’t many current bands with an overt political message or even choosing to take a public stance on politics. Maybe it’s apathy. Maybe it’s not wanted to be called on their views, maybe our political expression is more subtle now.
But punk can still be a strong tool for political rebellion and movement. Pussy Riot hit mainstream headlines for being put in jail for their music, with authorities clearly afraid of the power of punk’s messages.
Now, astonishingly, in Germany, a social media campaign has managed to lift a 22-year-old song mocking neo-Nazis back to the top of their single charts.
Brilliantly, this is in response to far-right arson attacks on refugee shelters. Reports claim that there have been more than 250 attacks on refugees in Germany this year after the country has promised to accept 500,000 refugees a year from countries such as Syria.
"Cry for Love" by Berlin punk band Die Ärzte – a song about a young fascist scared of intimacy – was first released in 1993 during an earlier wave of neo-Nazi violence against immigrants.
The song was originally written as a reaction to neo-Nazi groups in the ’90s. It features the delightful lyrics, "Because you’re scared of a cuddle, you’re a fascist", and, "Your violence is just a silent cry for love…oh, oh, oh, arsehole".
Chart analysts Media Control say that "Cry For Love" has broken the record for the most downloads within a week during 2015.
"I was really surprised, I never thought we’d manage it," Gerhard Torges, who started the campaign, told the Guardian. "I haven’t got involved with volunteering to help refugees here because I don’t know where to go and I don’t have time. It’s much easier online."
The band have said that they'll donate all proceeds to German human rights group, Pro-Asyl.
"The campaign would have been cool with any other anti-Nazi song, but of course if it’s going to be ours, we’re very happy to support it," the band say in a statement. "To all Nazis and their supporters, we wish you bad entertainment."
More of this in the UK to sort out our political dystopia, please.