Polar bear, listen, we’re talking to you

by cominsitu

Our land isn’t free, we’re telling you true.

Get out your cudgels and come into town

And smash in the skulls of the bosses in brown.


“Some youth cultures, however, moved overtly in the direction of resistance. By the end of the 1930’s a less alienated, more respectable and stable contingent of traditional working class gangs had come into being. Known as the Edelweiss Pirates, they obviously borrowed much more from the wild, homeless criminal youth of the previous decade, but given the labor shortages and an endless supply of casual work, plus sustained connections to families, neighborhoods and former school friends. Thus they exercised a territoriality based on homes, incomes, leisure sites, and workplaces. Hiking, cycling, or hitchhiking for miles over the course of a weekend, these clubs made the rounds of the countryside. Their nights spent in bars, their days in odd jobs or avoiding work, lounging along a canal or on the fairgrounds, these proliferating associations of wandering youth creatively resisted the bureaucratized routinization of life in wartime Germany: “Master, give us cards,/ Master, give us pay./ We’ve had enough of slaving,/ Women are better any day.” The Pirates, like their criminal predecessors (long since rounded up and sent to the front) took names such as Navajos and Traveling Dudes. They defied bans on movement, bypassed police controls and ration books, prided themselves on their freedoms (physical, sexual, and political), and sustained nights of ribald singing in which official Nazi songs and sanctioned popular hits were adapted and reworked to espouse a stand of opposition. Glorying in Nazi-bashing, the Edelweiss Pirates seldom passed up an opportunity to beat up on the Hitler Youth, signalling a refusal to be subordinated. The Dusseldorf Pirates explained their slogan, “Eternal War on the Hitler Youth”, by noting that every order given by the Nazi regime was premised on a threat.”

(from Cultures of Darkness)