Dropkick Murphys, The Gauntlet
These punk mentalities are from Wikipedia.com
The political ideology most often associated with punk is that of anarchism. A lot of punk activism has been done in support of anarchist goals. Whether a punk subscribes to anarchism or not, he or she almost certainly is discontent with his or her government. Punks are often very active in trying to change their governing political systems to some extent. When punks engage in activism their demands can usually be described as progressive. Despite the similarities punk may have with the left wing, many punks perceive the efforts of the left as ineffectual and sometimes just as objectionable as the right wing.
Not all punks are connected to anarchism, or have anarchist views.
In punk thought, authority corrupts humans to intolerable extremes. Police, religion, governments, and any other institution that has the ability to coerce is seen as dangerous and despicable. Authority leads always to corruption and abuse. Punk ideas concerning authority derive in part from the political ideology of anarchism. Police brutality and institutionalized discrimination against punks also account for this stance on authoritarianism.
Conformity is viewed as dangerous social coercion, which prevents people from seeing the true nature of society and forces people to be obedient to the desires of those who hold power be it of mainstream pop culture or the government.
Punk ideology uncompromisingly rejects the use of military force. To punks, the military is the most extreme form of authoritarianism.
The issues surrounding the act of compromising one's ethical parameters in exchange for personal gain are of particular relevance to punk ideology and culture. Generally, selling out refers to any abandonment of personal and/or community values in exchange for some reciprocal gain, usually in the form of wealth, status, or power. However, due to the direct association between punk rock music and punk ideology, this issue has taken on a specific meaning unique to the punk rock community.
Because anti-establishment attitudes are such an important part of this version of punk ideology, a network of independent music labels, venues, and distributors has slowly come into existence (see Do It Yourself*), allowing parties interested in the creation, distribution, and purchase of independently-produced punk music to opt out of the major label system. These networks bypass the traditional systems of content distribution, which are controlled by a small number of large corporations who many feel stifle creative initiative and marginalize the concepts presented in punk ideology.
Most left-wing punks are contemptuous of their governments and do not express a great deal of patriotism. Furthermore, patriotism as devotion to the state conflicts with the anti-statism of anarchism. Punks often object to patriotism as being used as an excuse for governments to act in immoral ways. Other punks view patriotism and supporting a government as two different acts, or as writer and humorist Mark Twain put it, "Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it."
Punks often portray the mass media as a dangerous instrument of social control. Television is, for the most part seen as a waste of time and a distraction from reality and healthier habits. Punk music often laments the commercialism, and the power interests that control the media. The Do It Yourself punk ethic is a reaction to this perceived imbalance of power in the media.
In the USA, a new form of highly political punks, who call themselves Individualistic Punks, believe that the media is used as a tool of government control. They argue that by only reporting the two leading parties, the Democrats and the Republicans, the media guarantees itself a win/win situation. They believe that Democrats and Republicans only share subtle differences in contrast to the rest of the political parties.
Many punks are practicing environmentalists. "While there will always be different opinions coming from under the punk banner, the most evident environmental philosophy closely resembles something called 'Deep Ecology'"*. This is a non-anthropocentric form of environmentalism meaning it is a philosophy that sees humans as merely one of many species with no special importance.
As the section on conformity pointed out, punks see this social phenomenon as deceitful and coercive. Attempting to aquire a state of non-conformity is one of the most obvious of all punk attributes, though often the most difficult. The ideas punk holds so dear are always under attack by the youth of today who PURELY SEE PUNK AS COOL AND NOT THE MEANINGFUL WAY OF CHANGING SOCIETY FOR THE BETTER REAL PUNKS LIVE BY.
Punks often participate in direct action to accomplish desired goals. In addition to protests, boycotts and so forth, punks are also known for the use of violence. More active and radical members of the community have been known to bomb gas stations, destroy animal research laboratories, and alter billboards to include political messages. Recently the phenomenon of hactivism has been used as an additional method of sabotage. These acts are committed in an effort to create social change when it is thought that the normal channels for change have been proven ineffective. Destruction of private property is often deemed acceptable by trendy skater kids as it conveys a cool message of disapproval without hurting people (see conformity). Because Punks tend to disdain materialism, the destruction of someone else's private possesions does not receive much sympathy. Private property itself, however, is much different from possessions.
*Do It Yourself - In the late 1970s, the punk movement was operating in an environment controlled to an unacceptable degree by outside influences. Because this impinged on the freedom of the movement, people in the punk scene began creating their own record companies, organizing their own concerts, and creating their own print media. This became known as the DIY movement. "Don't hate the media, become the media" is a famous motto for this movement.
Punk, a la Greg Graffin of Bad Religion
PUNKS ARE NOT BEASTS Punk is a reflection of what it means to be human. What separates us from other animals? Our ability to recognize ourselves and express our own genetic uniqueness. Ironically, the commonly held view, among the marketeers and publicity engines, stresses the "animalistic", "primitive" nature of punks and their music.
PUNK IS: the personal expression of uniqueness that comes from the experiences of growing up in touch with our human ability to reason and ask questions.
Those who lose touch with their nature become society's robots, whereas those who denounce their social development become vagrant animals. Punk stands for a desire to walk the line in between these two extremes with masterful precision. Punks want to express their own unique nature, while at the same time want to embrace the communal aspects of their cookie-cutter upbringing. The social connection they have is based on a desire to understand each other's unique view of the world. Punk "scenes" are social places where those views are accepted, sometimes adopted, sometimes discarded, but always tolerated and respected.
PUNK IS: a movement that serves to refute social attitudes that have been perpetuated through willful ignorance of human nature.
The compulsion to conform is a powerful side-effect of civilized life. We are all taught to respect the views of our elders, and later when we realize that they are just dogmatic opinions, we are taught not to make a commotion by asking difficult questions. Many just go along with the prevailing notions and never express their own views, which is analogous to a premature death of the individual. Our species is unique in the ability to recognize and express the self, and not exercising this biological function goes against the natural selection gradient that created it in the first place. This complacency combats a fear of failure. It is easy to assume that if everyone else is doing something, then there is no way to fail if you just go along with it. Cattle and flocks of geese can probably recognize this advantage. But the entire human race could fail because of this mentality. Thinking and acting in a direction against the current of popular opinion is critical to human advancement, and a potent manifestation of Punk. If an issue or phenomenon is found to be true only because other people say it is so, then it is a Punk's job to look for a better solution, or at least find an independent variable that confirms the held view (sometimes the popular view is just a reflection of human nature, Punks don't live in denial of this).
PUNK IS: a process of questioning and commitment to understanding that results in self-progress, and by extrapolation, could lead to social progress.
Philosophers distinguish between capital "T" truth and truth with a small "t". Punks deny the former.
Truth with a capital "T" assumes that there is an order prescribed by some transcendental being. That is to say that truth comes ultimately from God, who had a plan for everything when he created the universe.
Little "t" truth is that which we figure out for ourselves, and which we all can agree upon due to similar experience and observations of the world. It is also known as objective truth, from within ourselves, revealed here on this earth; as opposed to big T truth, which comes from outside and is projected down to us, specifically for us to follow. Morality need not be thought of as a product only of big "T" truth. Objective truth lends itself just as readily to a moralistic, spiritual culture.
PUNK IS: a belief that this world is what we make of it, truth comes from our understanding of the way things are, not from the blind adherence to prescriptions about the way things should be.
The limbic system [used for movement etc.] is like any other organ in the sense that it can operate unchecked to produce detrimental results. Being in touch with our bodies leads to overall general health, and the limbic system needs constant attention in order to master it. To overcome fear, one needs to be in touch with their limbic system, and recognize when it is suppressing the obvious.
Etiquette and "being nice" are forms of limbic-system repression, necessary at times, but ultimately demeaning of human originality. Lying is the ultimate form of limbic-system repression. It is a denial of the obvious. Truth-tellers, those who are authentic and trustworthy, have learned to master their limbic system. They recognize the desire to lie, but rationalize the futility of advocating something that is not true. Liars, on the other hand, are slaves to their limbic system, out of touch with their most basic mental capacities. Their behavior is guarded and shifty because they let their flawed reasoning, to cover up the obvious, control their entire makeup. They eventually have to give in to the truth and concede defeat, but only after every possible avenue of deception and twisted logic has been advocated in the interest of hiding their fear.
Politicians, Clergymen, Business leaders, and Judges are masters of twisted logic and promotion of fear. They make good intellectual targets for Punkers because they don't respect people who have learned to master their limbic systems. And Punkers are not afraid to point out that which is obvious, even if it means their social status might be jeopardized.
PUNK IS: the constant struggle against fear of social repercussions.
I have tried to enumerate some of the factors that make Punk a movement, in the cultural sense. The typical stereotype of a feeble-minded ruffian vandalizing, destroying, stealing, fighting, or arguing in the name of some empty, short-lived cause is no more punk than the pretty-face-empty-head image of today's pop stars.
Because it is so easy for record companies to sell images of violence, sex, and self-importance, many bands have taken the bait and portrayed themselves as Punks, without realizing that they were actually perpetuating a stereotype of conformity that is wholly un-punk.
The "come join us" attitude that seeks to attract followers, usually results in a rabble of weak people who think that their power lies in the large numbers of like-minded clones they have compiled. There is no strength in numbers however, if the people are glued together by a short-sighted, self-serving, fear-induced mantra that promotes factions and exclusionary principles.
Strong ideologies don't require a mob, they persist through time, and never go away, because they are intimately connected to our biology. They are part of what it means to exist as Homo sapiens. Punk typifies that tradition. It is a movement of epic proportions, that transcends the immediacy of the here-and- now, because it is, was, and always will be there-and-forever, as long as humans walk the earth.
On the other hand, the human spirit is hard to kill. Punk is a microcosm of the human spirit. Punks succeed with their minds, not their brute force. They advance society by their diversity, not their conformity. They motivate others by inclusion, not domination.
[Punks]are at the front lines of self-betterment and by extrapolation can improve the complexion of the human race. They adhere to unwritten universal principles of human emotion, obvious to anyone, and shun elitist codes of behavior, or secret agendas. They embody the hope of the future, and reveal the flaws of the past. Don't tell them what to do, they are already leading you.
(Above portions taken from Wikipedia.com and from Greg Graffin's 'Punk Manifesto').