Tomorrow is the big day! Saturday, October 5th we will finally be blessed with Anti-Flag’s new documentary, Beyond Barricades: The Story of Anti-Flag, and I am on the edge of my seat. In the midst of all this excitement, there were a few questions I just HAD to ask and we’re all lucky enough to hear back from the boys.
First up, I wanted to know if there was a sense of urgency with the release of Beyond the Barricades being only five weeks before the election? What significance, if any, does the timing of the release hold?
Anti-flag had this to say, and I loved getting a deeper viewpoint, “Actually, it played a really large role in us actually completing the film. We were a little stuck and because we don’t see ourselves diverting from being Anti-Flag any time immediately we kind of needed the dire stakes that this election places in front of us to tell this story. Regardless of outcome, we want the film to be an example to people to do whatever they feel is right and just, however they can, with whatever they have. That includes harm reduction in the form of voting, but also protest, art and creation, community building and pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone, and this documentary provides a well of examples of people doing just that.”
The emphasis on taking small steps and doing what you can to enact change matters to me too. Everyone taking tiny steps on their own leads to huge leaps together, and once we talked about that we needed to know the inspiration behind making this documentary.
The band went into further detail, saying, “So we were approached by Turnstyle Films to make the doc. It was honestly a project we never thought of, both because of the touring / recording treadmill you get on as a band A. And B because we really just do this to connect with people and remind our collective community that we’re not alone in believing another world is possible. So when Turnstyle came with the idea, we just worked on it until we felt it told a story in-line with the ideals of the band. That in the face of obstacles, of preconceived notions, whatever it may be, you have to be true to yourself and carry empathy into whatever space you take up.”
Anti-Flag has been so busy over the years, the fact they continually found the time to chip away at such an important piece of their history is commendable. No matter how much work or pain something takes, they always circle back to empathy and fighting for what’s right. While there is so much we can stand to learn from Anti-Flag, they left us with what they want us to know most of all.
“Well, one that Anti-Flag are human beings and not political robots. That we have fun, experience pain, that we love this community and have oftentimes put a lot of ourselves into difficult positions to make it all work. But most of all we want there to be hope… optimism over cynicism, empathy over apathy. The cornerstone ideals of punk rock. That the fight for economic, racial, environmental, and social justice is unfortunately endless. There will be the feeling of victory, there will be a lot of the feeling of loss, but that should not stop you from trying.”
It all boils down to just that, we should never stop trying. In a time that can feel so hopeless and so lost, we need reminders to keep our heads up, do the work, and stay strong. Why do I get the feeling that if Anti-Flag were to run for state or local office, Bernie and Obama would proudly endorse them? It seems pretty on brand. I know I would vote for them, and I’m excited to hear their story.