YOU & ME INTERVIEW
CAN BAŞKENT - TEO
Can: Hello Teo! How is the life today for you nowadays –smilin’ or cryin’-?
Hello Can. Huh, I really don’t know. Last few days I have felt great, like I have energy to share with all the people that surrounds me. But there are moments when I realize how fucked up is this world, and than I feel sad that I can’t change anything right away. I’m happy that I have a girlfriend close to me – she is source of my strength, she is everything I need right now. Her love makes me to realize how someone’s passion and care can give you enough food for struggling through the life. I really don’t know how my life would be without her.
I think no need to hesitate asking the following question, although it’s a bit personal question. Please let us informed about yourself; what do you do in a day, what is your attitude towards life and what’s your perception of life? I wonder what kind a life style you keep on…
I’m twenty-three year old bisexual, with secret cross-dressing tendencies. After three years of study I came back to my birthplace, and now here I have a piece of land where I’m growing organic vegetables for myself. I’m one of those who after years of drinking wanted something else. Few years ago I became a vegan and chose not to consume drugs in order to have healthy and independent life. I stopped eating meat, eggs, milk, honey, sugar, all nonintegral grain and leguminous plants, white flour and white salt. I don’t drink alcohol, black tea, coffee and stuff like these. I don’t use drugs, cigarettes and medicine. To veganism I easily included disconsumption and boycott of multinationals and that helped me to find the sense that I have been looking for. My life changed from the bottom and then I began to understand what the joy of life is and not depression and melancholy I was before. This way of life made me realize that the socialization of whole society was wrong, so I decided not to be part of it any more (of course, as much as I can). That way many things like fashion, the media, cosmetics, authority, tourism, commercial art, commercial sports, marriage, useless washing of clothes and thousand of other stupidities, became past for me. I became aware that I exist as individual. I reborn my existence and gave it sense. There are some things/actions/procedures in society that have sense for me and that I completely support like direct actions, free love, women rights, equality, libertarian life, animal liberation, gender revolution, human sexuality, natural medicine and eco-lifestyle. These are just some movements that I support and try to spread. The most important is that everything is done on DIY way, no matter what From other things I do in my life and think are important for my existence I would like to mention recycling of the paper and other “waste”, mountaineering, reading, bicycling, walking, conversations and discussions – mainly these what is considered ordinary in social life.
Are you an anarchist? Please explain..
I think I couldn’t call my self as anarchist, although I have some common things with them. I have opinion that each individual must first reorganize his/her life, and than he/she can change the things around him/her. I believe in individual evolution, not in global revolution. Lots of anarchists just make theories, but in real life they are still the slaves of this opressing system and society. Some people realizing that, and than they try to change themselves. Others just like talking a lot, but stay what they were before.
When/How/Why did the story of YOU&ME begin?
Human sexuality, gender identity and free love are the things that occupied my mind last few years, and as these issues are not so often discussed in hardcore/punk scene (I think it’s obvious that sex and pornography are still taboos even in “alternative culture”), I decided to do the fanzine about that. Till now I published 3 issues, and every day, more and more inspiring words and positive reactions, fill up my mailbox. That shows me that people are conscious of their “repressive knowledge”, and that they want to change this in roots. And I’ll try to help them as much as I can. The reason why I’m doing all that is also that in world still exist some unsolved problems (sexism, homophobia…). As long as we won’t be equal, my struggle will not stop. I don't consider my life as something simple, given by nature – I see it as something more – as a struggle in which with my own participation I can change at least a part of neighborhood I live in, so I can live in peace, liberty, solidarity and unity, and not with all this authorities and other oppressive shit. I could also call my activism as struggle for survival – something for what all living creatures striving their whole lives.
How were the reactions to the debut issue? How were the reactions of your family?
There was some negative reactions coz I published one pro-life poster. I explained why I did that in some articles, so I won’t repeat myself here again. But beside that, I received many positive words, many inspiring critics, and they helped me a lot when I did second issue. And what can I say about reactions of my family? Well my parents support me whatever I do. They trust me, and they know that I’m doing all that to change something to better. My mum reads my zines and she likes them a lot, coz, as she is saying “there is so much stuff I get interested, and about which I can’t find out through normal media propaganda”.
How is the period of preparing an issue?
I don’t know. When I feel like I want to say something then I put my minds on paper. If that are some little thoughts, then I’ll write some bigger article completing them all together in one piece. Other stuff I have got from people all around the world, and stuff which I like than I publish in my zine. Before I asked people to write something. Now people are just sending their contributions. When I think I have completed one whole, I design it and print it. Simple as that.
What made you attack to the sexist and hierarchic system with a fanzine? In addition, what are your aims by launching a zine over the earth?
I already told you something about that in previous answers. I just hate that such things happens around me and I can’t just sit down and wait the time when things will be different. I hate when someone call my sister a slut, a bitch or a whore. I hate when someone call my brother a fag, a dyke. I hate when people calling my friends a scumbags just because they have different sexual lives. And I’m hoping that I would change something with my zine like other zines changed my views and my life.
What are the future plans of You&Me? Please don’t tell us that you will quit it?
Of course I won’t quit it. I’m preparing material for fourth issue; I’m still waiting for some articles, and I have to do an interview with Jane from Shag Stamp. But right now I have some other work, and I’m learning for exams, so this will wait a little bit. I also don’t have enough money for printing, coz I want to print this new issue as newspaper format, and that’s a little bit more expensive. But I’m trying as much as I can to turn You & me from an ordinary fanzine to a magazine.
I know such a little thing about your country (Croatia). How is the scene over there, i.e punx, anarcho, metalheads, antimilitarists.. Is there anything worths checking out immediately nowadays and what are your activities besides YOU&ME? Are you an activist? If so, in which areas?
I really don’t know much about punk, hardcore or metal scene, from musical side. I know there are lots of bands, but I feel like they are playing just for fun, not to show something, to change something. Few years ago there was something like 60 zines and 200 bands. Now I know just for 4 zines that still exist. People from these scenes don’t read so much. They’re only interested in buying t-shirts, patches and stuff. I call this punk fashion. For me it is pretty the same as commercial shit.
But if we’re talking about antimilitarist and feminist groups, they are pretty strong here in Croatia, even I have a opinion that lots of women’s rights groups are just plain sexist.
Considering anarchism, there’s just one group of people called ZAP, and they are doing some demonstrations and they’re publishing some books and pamphlets. I helped them before, but somehow I wasn’t comfortable with their politics. I am active in feminist and animal rights movements. I’m coordinator of Truth defense collective. Truth defense collective is a group of individuals who are trying to promote the life on basis of “do it yourself”. We promote life without drugs (cigarettes, alcohol, narcotics, coffee), with diet based only on plants (veganism) and responsibility towards the nature, other people and animals. Why without drugs? Because we are aware of health and social problems caused by smoking, alcohol drinking and drugs. Just a few people are aware of how much money they lose buying these toxins and filling the pockets of giant corporations. That way they disturb the balance on Earth, cause unnecessary violence, lose consciousness and power of thinking. Why vegan? Because we want to protect the lives of innocent animals which have no possibilities to protect themselves from slaughtering to provide food and pleasure for humans. Through vegan diet we are trying to offer an alternative to eating and using animal products by giving information and advice. Although there are a lot of groups that deal with direct protection of nature, we contribute to these efforts. But we don’t want to put this in the first place because our main aims are life without drugs and animal liberation. No gods, no masters! Our collective is against any religion, against any superiority or believes except in yourself and your strength, dreams and wishes. We don’t support any political system, any state, and any authority. Our dream is abolition of borders, limits, laws, government, systems, authority and power and to create new society in which everyone would live with each other and not against each other. We are also against any violence over people, animals and nature but we support direct actions against material goods and this is our way to fight. We don’t believe in communication with hands and weapons – we have words for this. We can use them to explain, to accept, refuse, apologize, approve. We want to contribute to world’s peace by making our surrounding safe and friendly. “Hrana ne oruzje” is also part of our activities. We are part of the action Food not bombs which is known for giving free hot meals to homeless and those who needed it, for protests against the throwing of food, against spending millions of dollars on weapons while the other half of Earth is starving and while our neighbours survive by seeking for piece of bread in the rubbish. Punk movement is our root and that’s why we take part in it, to improve our scene and to protect it from greedy culture of profit. Punk has been founded on basis of “do it yourself” and on friendship, exchanges and support, and it certainly don’t exist because of business. Fuck off big labels, tourist agencies that organize concerts and earn on punk. Until now we have printed some leaflets: leaflet about smoking (6000 copies), leaflet about eco-life and recycling (5000 copies), leaflet about alcoholism (3000 copies), leaflet about veganism (with vegan cookbook, 7000 copies), leaflet about violence of eating meat (10000 copies) and leaflet with 10 quick tips how to help animals in everyday life (20000 copies). We also printed labels with 13 different messages and a poster against dairy industry. Concerts are our main financial source, so until new we have organized three benefit concerts for our collective and one benefit concert for “Hospital for chronically Child’s disease” from Gornja Bistra. In order to promote our ideas on concerts we made a big transparence about veganism. We have also made T-shirts against stereotypes, meat and milk industry, and patches with twenty motives. Recently we have opened the mailing list, which is used for exchange of information about veggie/vegan life without drugs. If you are interested in subscription just send your e-mail message on firstname.lastname@example.org, without any subject, just write: SUBSCRIBE OBRANA We also contacted MORH (about donation in form of kitchen equipment) and most of the stores and restaurants with veggie and healthy food (about donation of food, drinks…). But on most letters we didn’t get answers, so we attend to contact them again. Soon, we plan to print collection of texts about animal liberation, leaflet with 100 reasons why vegan and graphic guide for Singers book “Animal liberation” which has recently been published on Croatian language too. We also have plans about lectures, but we have nothing concrete for now. For this year we plan to print big vegan cookbook. Accept for these, we organize shelter for dogs without home in an object near capital town. We are planning to organize the media campaign through Croatia to introduce our work to public. We want you to know what people do to themselves, animals and to the Earth. We hope that in our near future performances with animals (like circuses and shows) won’t be allowed any more and that there will be more campaigns against tests of product on animals. There is also an idea of opening a shop with healthy food, vegan clothes and shoes, cosmetics and other cruelty-free products. You can contact us on e-mail: email@example.com or on address: Truth defense collective, p.p. 18, 40315 M. Sredisce, Croatia.
What do you know about Turkish scene in means of underground and opposing activities?
Not so much. I know some bands like Radical Noise and for few zines, and that’s it. You introduced me Kaos GL and as I see, they are doing great job.
What are your opinions about the very frequent usage of ınternet shit; meaning romantic chats, stupid web sites, child porn etc.
Hmm, hard question. I don’t know. The only thing I can say is that Internet is better for me than for example TV or radio. On Internet I can search for my own resource of information, when in normal life I receive information selected by authorities and media scum. And i.e. child porn you can see every day on television. Just look for some commercials for baby shampoos or creams or diapers. Pedophiliacs have material as much as they need.
Well, let us hear your ideas about mp3s…Spreading a song without any profit for the musicians or illegal money from the unauthorized sells of a music product… What do those words mean to you? Support or not? For instance, in my opinion, spreading music without any profit is my dream for the future of the world, since that “dream” means that there would be no money exchange in order to get and listen to a song or read a book.
I don’t know so much about mp3s coz I can’t listen that on my computer. But I heard something about that and about Napster. I totally agree with your view on this issue, although I wanna that this kind of exchange works for everything not just for music or books. But in today’s capitalist society I really doubt in that. That’s possible only in small communities, and they are the roots of the better world. Hmm, but isn’t mp3 just new way to save music on disc. Is really their distribution totally free?
Where were your during the demonstrations against WTO&IMF? At home watching videos, or in the streets stoning the banks and police? In fact, I was watching stupid Britney videos during that period.. Well, are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future of capitalism/globalism?
Actually, I organized with few people a demonstration and evenings with name “Three days for supporting Praha”. We had workshops, video projections, free market with clothes and food, marches through city… It was really good; all media showed us in good light, people on the streets reacted positively. I actually wanted to go to Praha, but than we decided it’s better to do something here in Croatia, as WTO is soon coming here. I just hope we have done something useful.
I don’t understand that question about capitalism. I’m neither pessimistic nor optimistic. I truly hate capitalist systems, and they are source of all today’s inequality, wars, and other horrible things that happening around us every day. Right now I’m studying economy at university so I hope that I‘ll understand all that better in the future and than maybe I’ll able to change something.
What do you think about the dominance of English language in the underground? Doesn’t it help to the diffusing of the American culture/lifestyle in our lives and in our brains?
English language is not only dominant in underground scene, but in our everyday lives. I don’t have anything against English when we are talking about communication. I mean, that’s the only way I can communicate with my friends, people all around the world, and finally now with you when we’re doing this interview. Now we can’t change the things. Maybe we could done something before, but… And here in Croatia I don’t feel so much jeopardized by American culture. Maybe that’s because I consume very little stuff so I don’t notice that. I see lots of McDonalds restaurants around, but they are not my biggest enemy.
Is it the punx who will save the world?
I’m sure you have something which may turn this pessimistic interview into a smilin’ one? Why not share it with us?
Well, now It is the turn of stupid and funny questions: Why do you spare your time for this shitty interview?
What is your fave meal?
Is Croatia a good place for a vacation or an open-air fest? When we step into your country will you put us up?
Any last words or/and messages for the readers all over the earth…
I’m apologizing if my answers sound somehow incomplete. I have done all this very quickly, so I forgot to tell everything I want. Thanks for sparring your time on my mumblings. Keep fighting!