No Quarter: an Anarchist Zine about Pirates

Thursday, July 23, 1992

introduction

Last year, the week before Halloween I heard that the police here were going to have 100 extra police cruisers patrolling on Halloween. Allegedly to protect kids from some hinted at peril - which of course is a load of shit. It’s true that Halloween is a dangerous night for kids, but only because they get hit by cars. It’s also a dangerous night for property, which of course is the real reason for the increased police presence. It also helps to reinforce the image of Halloween and trick or treating as a dangerous thing for children. A night of child killers and poisoned candy; a total fabrication.
This scaremongering made me angry enough to start thinking about what eventually became this project. It made me examine my ongoing discontent with the direction that Halloween has been headed for some time. Less and less trick or treating, and what remains, sanitized and commercialized. All treat and no trick. More parental (and police) control, more Halloween parties, less vandalism…
So I decided that I wanted to do this zine and hear from other people. I wanted to know if I was looking at my own Halloweens past through rose colored glasses. I wanted to hear what others thought about the way things have been going. So I solicited for radical interpretations of Halloween. I wanted to look at the libratory aspects of kids causing mischief, or trick or treating as a social phenomenon with a threat attached. I wanted a utopian vision of Halloween with no cops, no parental control. Pre-halloween parties where the kids watch Over the Edge for inspiration. A caffeine and sugar filled night of youth justice against a society designed to keep them in line. No scaremongering from the media. Or scaremongering for all the right reasons. Sensational stories about what might happen to your SUV if you don’t give good enough candy. Hell, it might happen anyway. Maybe squads of vegan kids dressed up as ALF partisans, lab mice with menacing clubs, or dead vivesectors, enforcing vegan options for all children. Kid solidarity preventing reprisals for vandalism. “Where I come from we have one rule: a kid who tells on another kid is a dead kid”. Maybe older brother’s and sisters dressed up as hooligans or bandits helping enforce a ban on surveillance cameras, media and cops. What if the kids got unruly? What if they decided that it wasn’t just candy that they lacked. What if schools got attacked (and indeed they do, and not just on Halloween). What if fat kids vandalized Weight Watchers (or the local health region offices, which were planning to test all grade 5 kids for obesity)? What if queer and trans kids dressed however they wanted and nobody laughed? Or people did but their friends had their back. What if the homophobic assholes down the street had shit thrown at their house with a note: “Next time you call someone a fag, we’ll smash your car”? How long could any of this stay contained to one night? If kids don’t take shit one night will they take it November 1st? Not likely. Maybe they’ll decide to enforce half-halloween on May 31st. Or a radical reinterpretation of Guy Fawkes day on November 5th. It’s not much of a stretch to imagine who might be burnt in effigy instead of the Guy. And if the bonfire was built dangerously close to a school, what could be done? And if the kids will no longer submit to the arbitrary authority of school - if they get a taste of the power of the solidarity of silence in the face of interrogation by parents, teachers, the police – will they readily submit to the indignities of college or work?
Besides these day dreams I wanted to explore to what extent (if any) there have been libratory threads that run through the fabric of Halloween past of present. I was hoping that submissions might address the social history of dressing up, critical readings of not only Halloween but also horror fiction and movies, maybe even discussions of how to help counteract the reactionary trajectory of Halloween. Or discussions of how to deflect it in a more libratory direction. Maybe even contributions from kids or teens young enough to trick or treat, or at least still in high school. As you look through this zine you will see some modest beginnings in some of these areas. In others, nothing at all. I’ve included a list of materials at the end which were an inspiration to myself or other contributors to this zine, or that cover relevant material. If you like this zine perhaps consider contributing to issue #2. The deadline is early august 2007. The theme, in addition to more on Halloween, will also include feral children. Please pass this around to your friends. Read, think critically, act.

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