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The ATTAC Debate about SLIME's Punk Song "Yankees raus"
German Original

(October 2003) Content: The Conflict - Interview with Elf (ex-SLIME) - Interview with Werner Raetz from ATTAC - about ATTAC - about KULTURATTAC - about SLIME - about Elf - Songtext "Yankees raus"

THE CONFLICT: KULTURATTAC publishes a double CD called "Peace Attack" against the war, with many bands from Germany and abroad. Among them the Punk band RUBBERSLIME with the song "Yankees raus" ("Yankees out"). The coordination circle of ATTAC does not want to support this song because of implied ambiguities. Four of the members of ATTAC would have been content with a distancing within the booklet. Whereas in the beginning there was talk about an (alleged or real) reproach of racism, it soon became clear that the main point was the comparison with the Nazi era. In an interview Werner Raetz from ATTAC says: "I think that Slime does not really mean to say that the USA and the SS are the same thing. But such an utterance will not be taken as an exaggeration by everyone; it brings you approval from the wrong side."

At a meeting, the concerned parties KULTURATTAC and label (KMG) agreed on two separate CD's, instead of one double CD: the first (Punk CD) will not be supported by ATTAC, the second (Pop CD) will bear the logo of ATTAC (meaning ATTAC is co-editor). KULTURATTAC as a mediator in this affair had fought for an undivided conception/project: "It was our priority! The label, too, would have appreciated it."

Elf, Ex-guitarist of SLIME, says: "If ever there has been a Punk band which had always stood against every kind of racism, then it was SLIME, and I don't actually intend to break with this tradition."

Here follows an interview Elf from SLIME, thereafter one with Werner Raetz from ATTAC. Further below there is some background info about ATTAC Germany, about KULTURATTAC, SLIME and about Elf, as well as both versions of the song "Yankees raus" and a translation. In a second part, reactions on the discussion will be collected.

Note: Another member of the ex-band SLIME, drummer Stephan Mahler, protested in an email to Elf dating from 9 September 03, because the new release of the song "Yankees raus" firstly was not agreed on and secondly not written by Elf, but by him, Stephan. He calls this a "clear breach of the copyright" and refers to the GEMA Data base work number 2.954.740). Stephan holds the new release to be "completely unacceptable both lyricwise and musicwise". The third ex-SLIME member Eddy would also condemn Elf's solo action. (There is a German comment by Stephan. Elf replies: "The music of "Yankees raus" is written by me. The original lyrics is partly by Stephan, but some parts like e.g. the chorus simply are from the English original which I had created at first, strictly translated. Mahler has - which I did not know - registrated all Slime pieces on his name at the Gema, although not all of them are written by him. So isn't 'Yankees raus.'" Elf also says that (the forth member) Dirk and him would have liked to continue with the band Slime. Stephan responded to this in a mail in October: "The lyrics of Yankees raus is written by me, the chorus itself was by Elf/Dirk, the singer. The music is by Elf, I would never suggest anything else, but the controversy was about the lyrics. To claim that I would have registered all Slime songs on my own at the GEMA is not true like this. For reasons of simplicity we had then agreed that e.g. this song is registered on my name. Elf has in other cases registered the songs composed by him on his name."

Online Interview with Elf from SLIME
16 May 2003 (Questions and translation by Anis)

Does Punk have the same political task for you as back then? Which one?
Elf from SLIME: I don't think that Punk has any "task". Actually, I think that there is no Punk today with the significance that it had in former times. You'll find Punk either degenerated into total fashion-foolism, or leading a niche existance. It may be that there still are numbers of people who claim to spring from e.g. Punk, when they express their anger with the respective political system, in which they live, by way of musical or other artistic means. Yet this has not much to do anymore with the original Punk movement which had its roots in the British working class. Despite all, I would say that it is by all means positive when young Punks today express their disapproval of the general conditions and when they convey it with aggressive music.

How do you assess this debate about the song, do you find it productive?
I find the debate, or rather the arguments, that were held against the songtext, completely idiotic!!! I have almost taken as an insult that the lyrics were called "racist". Firstly, neither "Yankees" nor "Amis" are denotations for a race. Secondly, you have to work with provocation in a songtext which consists of only three stanzas and a chorus and moreover is from the genre PUNK. There is no way to start a detailled discourse about the pros and cons of the American foreign policy in a short Punk song. Besides, this would be completely boring! Either you are against this kind of hegemonial policy and neo-imperialism, and then you have to make that clear with hard and why not exaggerated words, or you you don't know exactly and beat around the bush with your opinion, which is no use to anybody at all. By the way, I have an uncle in Atlanta who is just as much against Bush as we and he is not the only Ami who goes through sleepless nights because of these Christian fanatics. The song is meant against Bush and not against all Americans!!! I would claim that Michael Moore (Oscar winner for "Bowling for Colombine", author of "Stupid white men") would find the lyrics OK, too.

Do you have wishful images for a better society that you try to reach or do you follow impulses?
I have finished long ago with social utopias like e.g. communism. The real extisting versions of the pioneering socialism have, inm fact, proven that it does not work this way and that it will always end up in a dictatorship. Generally speaking, democracy will be the most realistic system. The question is only how you can fill it with justice and solidarity, also in respect to the Third World etc.

Where do you set your own limits, which role does the taboo and self-censoring play?
When you create songtexts with a political content you have to provoke, otherwise you drown in the mass of the harmlessnesses of the pop world. Yet, I would not write lyrics like "Bullenschweine" in this form like 23 years ago. This is too simple and too crass. Besides, you can by right accuse me of never having realized the content of this songtext in my own life. In this case I would now sit in jail with Christian Klar, and this is something I, in the end, had no serious ambitions for.

What does radical left mean? Is that still important?
For me it does not mean anything and never really did. I would call myself a humanist, if anything, although this also isn't easy all the time, when you look at the stupidity of the humans altogether.

How tolerant are you in respect to the establishment?
Where it is necessary for yourself, you arrange, where not: total intolerance!

Do you want the society to grow together and is the song a contribution for this aim?
It would be good if there was more solidarity among people than it might be the case now. Yet I would principally doubt that single songs like "Yankees raus" contribute to this. You can see that in the discussion that the lyrics obviously have triggered among the ATTAC people. At least this is something I achieved...

Who do you want to reach with your music?
George W. Bush and his Junta!

Are you satisfied with the solution of the CD issue?
I like the idea with the two CDs, for Hans Hartz etc. would, in fact, seem somewhat odd next to us and the other heavier bands.

Online Interview with Werner Raetz from ATTAC
20 May 2003 (Questions and translation by Anis)

Is SLIME's song "Yankees raus" racist?
Werner Raetz from ATTAC: No; I don't know where this comes from, there was no such criticism expressed in the coordination circle of attac.

In a first reaction I heard that the main criticism against the songs aims at the comparison with SA and SS and the mentioning of a forth reich. That this would have to do with belittling the Nazi crimes. Inhowfar is this belittling, what exactly must not be compared, and why not?
"SA", "SS", "Third Reich" are concepts which very positively denote Nazi Germany and its structures of ruling. Nazi Germany is closely connected with Auschwitz, with the planned, conscious, factory-like, exceptionless, systematic outrooting of the European Jews. In this way, this is unique in the world. For a long time Germany has had a big interest to wipe away this uniqueness; the German elites constantly try to point the finger on others and to say: "Look, they are just as bad as us!" It would be wrong to support them in that; the responsibility for Auschwitz must not be taken away from them. Apart from that, there is nothing wrong in calling crimes crimes. And there are many good reasons to direct this against all imperialist states, also against the USA.

How do you like what Elf said about the song and its function in the interview?
It is obvious that a song canot protest against all and everything in proportion. Sharpening to a point, exaggeration - this is necessary and legitimate. But like Elf said that the song "Bullenschweine" is a sharpening which can go wrong, I suppose the same is true for "USA - SA - SS", too. I think that Slime does not really mean to say that the USA and the SS are the same thing. But such an utterance will not be taken as an exaggeration by everyone; it brings you approval from the wrong side. Every German nationalist can approve this slogan, and I don't want to have anything to do with them.

What do you say to the argument that a world, that can live with the innoscently killed in Iraq, should also be able to live with the song "Yankees raus"?
That I find, to quote Elf, "completely idiotic". It is not legitimate to say or do something wrong oneself, only because a terrible thing happened somewhere. Beside the point that both Slime and attac actually do not live with or accept the killed in Iraq to begin with.

Do you think it is constructive that this debate came into being?
Principally, it is always right to talk about contradictions. We'll have to see what the result will be.

In the current news bulletin 2/03 it reads: "In the past months, many Attac groups have been engaged in the peace movement and co-created it. Attac has in particular again and again explicitly pointed to the contexts between war and (neoliberal) globalization." How do you view the position of Attac in respect to the peace movement?
Violence everywhere in the world has exploded with the capitalist globalization. Capitalism has always been connected to violence, but today it takes more and more senseless shapes: wars and civil wars are made for almost no results or loot. The USA would surely even have gotten the Iraqi oil without war. Apparently, the martial violence is most of all meant to demonstrate: we take what we want. In this way, outlawry and robbery are globalized together with neoliberalism. I think that many in attac see this context, even if they maybe would express it a bit more discreet: neoliberal globalization makes the naked, predatory nature of capitalism visible, and they can only be battled together.

In the opinion of many people Punk belongs to our culture and cultural diversity. Does diversity contradict the majority society, and where do you see the limits of pluralism?
Punk certainly belongs to the cultural diversity and there was a time when it was clearly left, politically. This seems to change today and where Nazis get hold of it is the limit of tolerance for me: no inch to the Nazis.

Inhowfar would you say that the coordination circle represents Attac?
There is always something uncertain about representation. I think you really always represent yourself; to a higher degree you also represent the people you talk to often and regularly, and with whom you exchange. The co-circle is elected by the attac council and it is composed of a broad range of political opinions. Therefore you'll find many ideas, currents, and experiences represented there, which exist in attac. But it is the co-circle and attac is attac.

Are you satisfied with the solution of the CD issue?
I am not sure. Attac is confronted with reproaches to not handle the issue nationalism, anti-Semitism not careful enough. I think that these reproaches partly are hyped by interested groups (e.g. anti-German), but that they partly are justified. And I am concerned that such an ambiguous text could lead to difficulties in the process of thinking and talking about deficiancies within attac - after the motto: "But they also say it." Despite that, I do want a cooperation with artists, and therefore will have to live with such contradictions. I hope this will succeed and that my concerns prove to be unnecessary.

Elf's reply on May 21: "To the subject ‚belittling of Nazis': I see the thing about the applause from the wrong side somewhat different than Werner. For you actually don't get the applause from the Nazis, because you call the USA world-police-SA-SS. If I am not totally mistaken they would surely be against this comparison, as they had been against the war and siding with Saddam, and as these Nazi organisations rather mean something positive for them. Besides, there will always be subjects where you also have Nazis or right-wingers who say: here I approve, too. This is something one has to live with. In the end, it rather is a question of taste, whether or not one uses such exaggerated comparisons as provocations."

Background of ATTAC - a Movement departing. Homepage: www.attac.de

Ever since the Genua protests for a social and ecological globalization, the globalization critical movement is on everybody's lips. 200.000 people went on the streets for social and ecological justice in the globalization process. Their protest is directed against the worldwide growing social injustice, against a globalization which is only to the favor of powerful economical interests. With 90.000 members in 50 countries, Attac's self-understanding is to be part of this global movement. In Germany, too, Attac participates in a broad social union which is supported by the trade union ver.di, the GEW, the BUND, Pax Christi, over to capitalism critical groups. More and more people of different political and philosophical descend are active in the meanwhile over 160 local Attac groups.

Neoliberal globalization - many losers, few winners
The promise was not kept that globalization would bring prosperity to all. On the contrary: the gap between the poor and the rich is getting deeper, both within the societies and between the North and the South. Motor of this kind of globalization are the international finance markets. Banker and finance managers transact sums of billions on the finance markets on a daily basis, and they are gaining growing influence on the social development with their investment decisions. In this way, the finance markets undermine democracy.

globalization is not a fate - a different world is possible
Attac, on the other hand, calls for a democratic control and regulation of the international markets of capital, goods, and services. We are convinced that economy has to serve the human, and not the other way around. Politics has to be grounded in the guidelines of justice, democracy, and ecologically responsible development. This is the only way to compensate for the social imbalance which is due to capitalist way of economy. Attac seeks to build a broad social union as a counter-power of the raging powers of the markets. This does not mean to go back to an alleged idyllic state of passed decades. Alternatives are necessary and possible. The claim that globalization in its presently prevailing, neo-liberal form would be a necessity without alternative, is mere ideology. We answer this with our own conception of globalization: international "bottom up" solidarity. A different world is possible

Attac - movement with a future
Attac - the French abbreviation for "Association for the taxation of financial transactions in the interest of the citizens" - was founded in France in 1998. While the original focus of Attac was on the support of a democratic control of the international finance markets and the introduction of the Tobin tax, we have meanwhile expanded the scope to the whole problem of neoliberal globalization. We simplify complex matters towards clear and conveyable demands, and at the same time we present a consolidated background analysis. In the form of Attac campaigns, we concentrate on the achievment of our main demands. Attac active - what we are doing
The self-understanding of Attac is to be an action-based educational movement with expertise. We are conveying the complex causalities of the globalization issue to a broad public via lectures, publications, panel discussions, and an intensive press work, and we show alternatives to the neoliberal dogma. We see action as the way to generate the necessary pressure on politics and economy to realize alternatives. A scientific counsil will in the future accompany the work of Attac. Attac seeks to win as many people as possible and to act together with them.

Changes start on the spot - Attac groups
In the focal point of Attac there are the people who are active, locally and in country-wide action groups and working circles. There are Attac groups in over 160 places already. They organize, for example, creative actions against the new world trade meeting of the WTO, or in front of the branch of a combine involved in tax oasis business. They also elaborate on the Attac subjects and organize informational lectures and panels.

Background KULTURATTAC. Culture, Media, and CommunicAction for a different world.

Why are art and culture important in a movement like Attac? Culture is the basis on which each of us makes decisions on a daily basis. Culture is the connecting link of society, providing a togetherness. Therefore a different world needs a different culture.

There are many sources of culture, but the media, art, science, as well as advertisement and marketing today belong to the most important ones. Thus the powerful and the combines, which are possessing or financing most of these sources, control culture and hence the framework in which we are making our decisions. A change of attitude in the media, in communication, art, and creativity, is the decisive way for liberating the people from the rigid structures which have led the world into this crisis. And this liberation is the main goal of Kulturattac, a network in the network of Attac.

Belonging to Kulturattac are people from the realm of culture, like media, music, theater, literature and art: bands, actors, editors, writers, directors, designers, marketing specialists, event managers, and other creative people. It is not easy to bring together and to keep freethinkers in a movement; yet this is exactly the challenge and, at the same time, the potential of Kulturattac. A lot about Kulturattac is still in the making and is developed together with further interested people.

Yet the tasks are clear: Kulturattac wants to support the goals of the globalization critical movement with creative work in art, culture, media, and communication. In concrete terms this means that artists join Attac projects or develop their own activities. Kulturattac further seeks to generate a creative open space in which everybody can unfold and realize their aims; through the network, even less experienced people are able to acquire specialized knowledge at Kulturattac which they can creatively use for meaningful aims on their own.

Background: From the history of SLIME, one of the most known German punk bands

1981: First LP. Self-production, without retail trade, without label. Hand-sale after Gigs. First bigger popularity, because songs like "A.C.A.B.", "Bullenschweine", "Deutschland muss sterben" etc. provided the "soundtrack" for militant demonstrations in the whole country. Diverse Gigs followed by street battles, especially in the Berlin SO 36.

1982: In Munich and Hannover fights with the audience. Law-suit for insulting the authorities, calling for violence and defaming of governmental institutions. Domiciliary razzia in the Hamburg disc store "Rip Off" and confiscation of the first LP in the whole country. AGR label chief Walterbach gets law-suit. Band claims "artistic freedom". AGR pays penalty. "Deutschland", "Bullenschweine", as well as "Polizei SA/SS" on the "Soundtrack zum Untergang" sampler get censored and get beep sounds attached, they are not allowed on live gigs anymore. This precedence procedure not exactly diminished the degree of popularity of the band. Second album "Yankees raus" is less polemic, but still very political. People often call them radical left.

1984: Quote SLIME: When you demand "no leaders" yourself and in this way become one, then something is wrong. We didn't want to be heros and some people wanted to make us heros. In those days we didn't see any other solution than to quit."

-89: The controversial band was and remained for many people a symbol of musical resistance against the state, fascists, police terror, and injustice, carrier of many hopes for an utopia: a life without oppression by the state. Quote SLIME: Bands like SLIME are important to sharply oppose the general fascho tendencies (within Punk, too). Hoyerswerda, Rostock, Solingen etc. had been concrete occasions and causes. It simply is not enough to yell "Nazis out!" and that's it. Besides, we had had this enormous anger and did not want to be satisfied with our feelings of powerlessness.

Reunion 1991, disbanding 1994. Quote SLIME: Punk for us is nothing destructive or negative, but a medium to e.g. express our anger or our consternation. "Anger" is different from "hate". Hate is not a power, with anger you can move something." Yet SLIME had never been disposed in a way to allow greater changes or metamorphoses of differentiation. For that they had been too radical, and this was the "commission" of their fans, too.

1994: With their sudden leave SLIME seemed to have been true to their radicality ... "What SLIME was is brought to the point in the song "Bruellen, zertruemmern und weg" (Shouting, destroying, and off). "And like this it is now: we shouted, we destroyed - and now we're off." As a farewell SLIME left behind a live album, a recording from the Grosse Freiheit 36 in Hamburg from the "Schweineherbst-Tour" in spring 94. For a last time SLIME with its concentrated energy - something they had kept especially in their concerts, until the end.

Information about Elf, (Guitar, vocals) SLIME since 1979.
Other Bands: o 1984 - 1985: TARGETS Schneller, lauter, härter (EP, AGR, 1984), Menschenjagd (EP, AGR, 1984), Massenhysterie (LP, AGR, 1984). Diverse Gigs and a Support Tour with Peter & the Test Tube Babies o 1986 - 1987: different projects, not coming further than Hamburg, though. o 1988 - 1991: DESTINATION ZERO Suiciety (LP, Bitzcore, 1988), Survive (LP, Vielklang/Ruff'n Roll, 1989), Mr.Evil (LP, Vielklang/Ruff'n Roll, 1990). Rather a Rock'n Roll- than a Punk-Band. The first LP was recorded with SLIME guitarist Christian in his then newly created Soundgarden Studio. The second and the third CD was produced by Rodrigo Gonzales, today Bassist in Die Aerzte. It is rock, the whole thing. In 1991 I partly played in three bands at a time: SLIME, Destination Zero, and Abwärts. Therefore Destination Zero was put on ice. o 1989 - 1995: ABWAERTS Ich seh' die Schiffe den Fluss herunterfahren (CD, Totenkopf/Virgin, 1990), Comic Krieg (CD, Sony, 1991), Herzlich Willkommen im Irrenhaus (CD, EMI, 1992), Hurra (CD, EMI, 1993), V8 (CD, SLIME Tontraeger, 1994). Since my entrance in 1990 in the Hamburg Cult Band Abwaerts I have joined all the Abwaerts albums as guitarist and co-writer. In 1994 the last Abwaerts CD was published on the own SLIME label - then this chapter had ended, too. o 1997 - 1998: ELF German Angst (CD, Noise/Modern Music, 1997), Alkohol und alte Scheine (CD, Noise/Modern Music, 1998) o 1998: C.I.A. Codename Freibeuter (CD, Noise/Modern Music, 1998). The "Allstar"-Projekt C.I.A. was buried after the first CD and a short tour. It broke down once again because of the not-existing enduring capacity of diverse band members. o Since 1999: MINNE & DIE MINNIES Na Und (CD, Ramba Zamba/Indigo, 1999). Minne & die Minnies: a chlidrens' songs Rock'n Roll band

SONG LYRICS (Translation below):

Yankees raus
RUBBERSLIME 2003 - updated by Elf

In Hiroshima fing alles an
Die letzten Schranken fielen in Vietnam
Ein Albtraum "Made in America"
Das 4. Reich ist schon lange da

Ref. U S A - Das Blut fliesst durch sie jeden Tag
U S A - Das Blut fliesst durch sie seit dem Tag
Seit dem es sie gibt

Yankees raus, Yankees raus
Wir sind Millionen und wir schreien es raus
Yankees raus, Yankees raus
Wir sind Millionen und wir schreien es raus
Amis raus!

Imperialisten, Kriegsriskierer
Weltpolizei SA - SS
Am Ende seid ihr die Verlierer
Machthunger wird fuer euch zur Pest

U S A - Blut fliesst durch sie jeden Tag
U S A - Blut fliesst durch sie seit dem Tag
Seit dem es sie gibt

Yankees raus, Yankees raus
Wir sind Millionen und wir schreien es raus
Yankees raus, Yankees raus
Wir sind Millionen und wir schreien es raus
Amis raus!


U S A - Das Blut fliesst durch sie jeden Tag
U S A - Das Blut fliesst durch sie seit dem Tag
Seit dem es sie gibt

Yankees raus, Yankees raus
Wir sind Millionen und wir schreien es raus
Yankees raus, Yankees raus
Wir sind Millionen und wir schreien es raus
Amis raus!

Krieg in Afghanistan, Krieg im Irak
Welches Land ist wohl als naechstes dran
Hey George double U, hoer mal zu
Saddam ist auch nicht schlimmer als du

Yankees raus!
ORIGINAL LYRICS FROM 1982 (Translation below):

Yankees raus
SLIME 1982 - Words & Music by Stephan Mahler / Elf (Michael Mayer-Poes)

Tausende von Menschen
Maenner, Frauen und Kinder
Zerfetzt von Napalm in Vietnam
Tausende von Menschen
Rote und Schwarze
Gejagt und getoetet vom Ku-Klux-Klan
USA - Das Blut fliesst durch sie jeden Tag
USA - Das Blut fliesst durch sie seit dem Tag
Seit dem es sie gibt
Yankees raus, Yankees raus
Wir sind Millionen und wir schreien es raus
Yankees raus, Yankees raus
Wir sind Millionen und wir schreien es raus
Amis raus
Imperialisten, Kriegsriskierer
Friedenswille stoesst Euch vom Thron
Zu viel Schrecken droht dem Verlierer
Eure Gegner stellen eine Nation
Ghettos in Frisco, Slums in L.A.
Das ist der American Way
Im Land der Freiheit sind alle gleich
So gleich wie damals im dritten Reich

English translation of Lyrics: LYRICS OF SONG: Yankees raus, RUBBERSLIME 2003 - updated lyrics: In Hiroshima it all began / the last boundaries fell in Vietnam / A nightmare "Made in America" / the 4. Reich has come long ago / Chorus: U S A - the blood is shed because of it everyday / U S A - the blood is shed because of it everyday / Ever since it exists / Yankees out Yankees out / We are millions and we shout it out / Yankees out, Yankees out / We are millions and we shout it out / Amis out! / Imperialists, war risquers world police SA - SS / In the end you will be the losers / Hunger for power will be your pest / U S A - the blood is shed because of it everyday / blood is shed because of it since the day / it exists / Yankees out, Yankees out / We are millions and we shout it out / Yankees out, Yankees out / We are millions and we shout it out / Amis out! / (Solo) / U S A - the blood is shed because of it everyday / U S A - blood is shed because of it since the day / it exists / Yankees out, Yankees out / We are millions and we shout it out / Yankees out, Yankees out / We are millions and we shout it out / Amis out! / War in Afghanistan, war in Iraq / Which country will be next? / Hey George double U, listen you / Saddam is not much worse than you / Chorus: Yankees out! ----- ORIGINAL LYRICS FROM 1982: Yankees raus, SLIME 1982 - Lyrics & Music by Stephan Mahler: Thousands of people / men, women and children / torn up by Napalm in Vietnam / thousands of people / Red and Black / chased and killed by the Ku-Klux-Klan / USA the blood is shed because of it everyday / USA - blood is shed because of it since the day / it exists / Yankees out, Yankees out / We are millions and we shout it out / Yankees out, Yankees out / We are millions and we shout it out / Amis out! / Imperialists, war risquers / the will for peace throws you from the throne / Too much terror will be the threat of the loser / Your opponents constitute a nation / Chorus / Ghettos in Frisco, slums in L.A., that is the American way / In the land of freedom they all are same same (gleich) / As gleich as back in the third Reich / Chorus