Did It Themselves

To Daniel Sinker and those who live on Punk Planet, punk is more than a musical genre

Even so, now that punk has weathered the underground-to-limelight growing pains, it leaves you wondering what the future may hold in store. Sinker has two goals of how he'd like to see punk mature. One--and this part is a trend that Planet has demonstrated quite well--is that he'd like to see punk continue to evolve beyond a musical genre. Planet has effectively shown that punk's do-it-yourself ethos can be applied to any aspect of life, from planning shows to political mobilization.

The political element, however, is where Sinker would also like to see punk grow, but that may prove to be a daunting task. "The much more important thing for me for punk in the future," Sinker says, "is that I think especially now, now that the economy is coming back to earth, now that we have one of the biggest idiots that's ever walked the earth in the presidency, now that we have all those sorts of things, now more than ever, punk needs to get its head out of the sand and realize that we're not alone in the struggle that we have. There are other groups very much like punk--hip-hop, or alternative country, or the rave scene and nonmusical entities like gay and lesbian organizations--[and] we have a very shared struggle. And that is a struggle against corporate takeover of our lives, of this conservative takeover of our lives. We're all fighting this battle. And we're all very small groups, and we remain small groups if we don't start building bridges between each other."

Sinker's hopes are the sort of rallying cry that's been espoused by every small, left-leaning political group since the 1960s, whether it was the identity politics of African-Americans and Mexican-Americans or gender equality or sexual orientation, though it's rarely become an actuality. That sort of solidarity has never taken hold in American politics, for whatever reasons.

Welcome to Daniel Sinker's Planet, home to everyone from Ian MacKaye and Kathleen Hanna to Noam Chomsky and the Central Ohio Abortion Access Fund.
Welcome to Daniel Sinker's Planet, home to everyone from Ian MacKaye and Kathleen Hanna to Noam Chomsky and the Central Ohio Abortion Access Fund.

"I think [that is] because people are given scraps, and they're left to fight over the scraps," Sinker says. "I think that's been a fairly good plan for whoever thought of it, to keep people fighting among themselves. But [lateral dialogue] is not an easy struggle, and it's not an easy task. And it's not something that I am entirely sure is going to be able to be pulled off, but it's something that I feel that part of my energy needs to be spent on, trying to build some of those bridges."

While Sinker can eloquently communicate these long-term goals, the short-term is less certain. He admits that Planet issues aren't planned more than six months in advance. It's a pragmatic approach that's a good fit for a magazine that produces four issues a year and has fewer than 10 people involved in its production. The next issue is a split cover of Ralph Nader and Chicago thumpers Shellac. The issue after that focuses on visual art. Beyond that, Sinker has no idea, but he's going to enjoy getting there. And it's a similar attitude with which he'll watch how punk grows in the coming year. "I put very little stock in my ability to predict the future," he says. "But I think you'll see [punk] starting to learn from the lessons learned in 1992 to 1994. I know I am. I see it soldiering on. It's proven that it can't be killed, because Lord knows, if it could be, it would be. If it could be, it would only be blink-182 at this point, but it's not."

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