Volume 78 / Number 9 - July 30 - August 5, 2008
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since
1933

Talking Point

Why ‘Die Yuppie Scum’ must die: It’s hate speech

By Bobby Steele

This morning, I took my usual walk up Avenue A. There were the usual stupid leftist posters, inviting us to a concert in Tompkins Square Park — celebrating the anniversary of the riot that occurred 20 years ago, where police lost control, people got injured — and a few got rich off of lawsuits.

Some posters suggested “bring your children” — whoever put them up well knowing that they want trouble. They only hope that they can get “the pigs” to fall into their planned riot; having the children put in harm’s way by their own parents to further a political cause, they’d consider themselves the winners of another battle against “the man,” the “oppressor.”

Fine with me. You can say what you want. That’s what free speech is about. I allow for opposing viewpoints — even though the makers of these signs fear any viewpoint that is even slightly different from theirs, and tend to get violent when opposing views are voiced.

What I don’t tolerate, and what I believe the Constitution doesn’t protect, is speech designed to provoke hate or violence against groups of people. Period. So, when I saw bright-green posters declaring, “DIE YUPPIE SCUM DIE,” I recognized the hate speech.

Substitute “Yuppie” with “Jew,” and you see what I mean. About 70 years ago, Hitler rallied his National Socialists against the Jews — mainly because the Jews could be easily singled out, but also because they were successful, and it was easy to convince the Germans that the reason for all of their feelings of loss or oppression were caused by the “rich Jews.” It’s nice to sneak hate in through the back door, isn’t it?

So, in protest of these signs — calling for the death of total strangers, for no other reason than that they’re perceived to be richer than us, and therefore the cause of all of our misery — I began taking them down.

After about 12 posters, I was approached by Jerry The Peddler, an East Village fixture, political activist, organizer and general hustler for the antiwar movement. He asked what I thought I was doing, and I showed him the poster and explained that it was hate speech and shouldn’t be tolerated. He acknowledged that I was right — it was hate speech, and, he added, “I hate Yuppies.” I told him he had no right to call for their death, as I reached to take down another of his hate-filled posters. He grabbed my left hand — technically an assault — and bent my finger back. “I’ll break your fingers, so that you’ll never play guitar again, and if I see anymore of these posters down…I’ll kill you,” he said. You know the look of hate, and he had it in his eyes.

This is the true antiwar movement. These are the peace activists that you see when you turn on your TV and see a report about a protest or riot in New York City: “Support the antiwar movement — or we’ll kill you.”

It doesn’t matter to them that I’ve defended their right to express their views for the last 30 years; because I “question” their motives, they’ve decided that I have no right to exist.

Am I scared? Hell, yeah! Am I gonna let that oppress me? No. In fact, if the “peace-loving Left” wants to beat the s--t out of me, and show the world their true colors, I’m all for it. Come and get me you f---ers, but a lot of fans of real punk rock are gonna to be seriously angry with you. I’d rather be dead than a slave to that bulls--t.

I’m a generally passive guy — for a reason. Whenever I’ve been in a fight, I’ve hospitalized my opponent. When I’m attacked, it’s “kill or be killed,” and my survival instincts are strong. You don’t overcome spina bifida and polio so that some power-mad hippie can oppress you.

They’re holding a political indoctrination rally — disguised as a punk concert — this Sunday in Tompkins Square. I’ll be there.

And after the altercation, I tore down more posters.


Steele is the guitar player, songwriter and sole original member of the punk band The Undead. He has been a member of numerous other bands, most notably, as the second guitarist of The Misfits.

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