Once upon a time, Pete Wentz was in a band called VEGAN REICH (aka VEGAN JIHAD). As u might guess from the name, VR were vegan (as was the fashion at the time). But they didn’t stop there: they were pro-life, pro-ecoterrorism, anti-gay (more or less), and eventually turned into Muslims! Baffling, I know– but it happened, and these were the beliefs of the “movement” that VEGAN REICH started, called Hardline.
This post is not intended to be the definitive history of the hardline “movement” because, well, I don’t care. And I was never really a part of the hardline “inner circle” so I’m sure I will get some of the details wrong. The point of this post isn’t to go into exhaustive detail about the history of hardline, it’s a cautionary tale. It’s intended as an illustration of what happens when you take ultra-PC, mega-leftist white person behavior to its logical extreme– like American History X if it was about vegan hardcore kids instead of nazis. This, my friends, is the endgame for what happens if the Tumblr-fication of hardcore continues unchecked *horrified face emoji*
this is the band who started it all, VEGAN REICH. this is their 7″, from 1990 which i used to think sounded rly dated but now has turned the corner and kinda sounds relevant again. if this came out on Reaper Records in 2014 it would be the hypest RIDETHELIGHTNINGCORE shit– with those vocals its almost like TWITCHING TONGUES meets ALPHA AND OMEGA!
A lot of Kids These Days seem to think that Hardline is/was basically just “xtreme straightedge,” but that couldn’t be more wrong. Hardline was a combination of deep ecology, survivalist culture, and various religions cobbled together that was way way more than just abstaining from drugs. Hardline:
- believed that abortion was murder (eg ABNEGATION “The fetus is a life!!!”)
- favored “direct action” aka terrorism in defense of animals/the earth. For example, burning down fur stores and shooting hunters. Popular sticker was “it’s ok to kill people to save animals.”
- was opposed to all sex that was not for procreation (which made them kinda anti-gay by default)
- had a strong religious/spiritual component, which initially included rastas, christians, and buddhists but then took a turn toward Islam in the late 90s
If you’re thinking “what a fucking weird combination of super wacky leftist shit and religious fundamentalism,” you basically hit the nail on the head! It more or less boiled down to a belief in using violence to defend “natural order,” and (you guessed it) they were the ones who got to define what was and was not “natural.”
this was one of the big Hardline “publications.” that they called it “Destroy Babylon” should give you an idea of what the tone of the writing was. also, hard lol @ them spelling it “homocide” by mistake. “justifiable homocide” sounds like the name of a Malevolent Creation demo.
It all began in 1989 or so with Sean Muttaqi, who started the band VEGAN REICH that was the voice of Hardline (along with their “official publication” Vanguard, which was just a photocopied zine). It picked up some steam and peaked in the mid-late 90s when there were “chapters” in places like Memphis, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Germany, and Poland and it thought of itself as a “movement.” Although the “movement” was, realistically speaking, maybe a couple dozen people worldwide with a few hundred people like me who were kind of “curious dabblers” that followed Hardline but weren’t really part of it exactly.
side note, Sean’s label Uprising Records is now the home of artists like HER DEMISE MY RISE, DR. ACULA and T-MILLS aka the most lulzy awful scene bands that only chubby middle school girls from Riverside listen to:
my personal favorite T-MILLS song, which Sean Muttaqi put on on his label. not sure how putting out songs about drinking and banging random hos fits into the whole “vegan Muslim fundamentalist” thing but ok.
Over the next few years, things kept getting weirder and weirder as the “movement” became more extreme. What started with embarrassing/naive but harmless stuff like protesting fur stores and gluing the locks of McDonalds turned into something much darker as people started going to prison and getting indicted by the feds on terrorism charges (such as Walter Bond and Jeff Leurs). A lot of the hardline guys I knew were real into guns and talked about moving out into the woods and cutting themselves off from society… which sounds a lot like Ruby Ridge but with a soundtrack by RAID and ABNEGATION instead of RAHOWA.
lol @ how Hardliners would get indignant about being labeled as terrorists by the authorities. I mean, how could anyone ever get a terrorist vibe from an organization that uses guns, arabic writing and the word “jihad” in its logo?! Weird!!!
From what I can tell, Hardline is pretty much dead as a “movement” these days, with the closest surviving relative being the 90s-style vegan sxe moshcore bands from weird places like Santiago, Rome, and Warsaw and communicate mostly via the Catalyst Records forum (and btw, no disrespect meant– Kurt is a solid dude, backed hard)
Kids, don’t let this be you. Let this be lesson: this is what happens when you let Special Snowflake Syndrome go unchecked. It’s not enough to be vegetarian, you have to be vegan. It’s not enough to be vegan, you have to be raw vegan hardline. And so the battle for alternative white people to one-up each other rages on, and it’s not other until someone goes to fucking FEDERAL PRISON on TERRORISM charges! Be smart like our friend Pete Wentz. Retreat from the battle of Special Snowflake-ism, start a pop punk band, bang Ashley Simpson, and ride off into the sunset.