You Have Never Understood zine 150 copies whenever free send a trade or postage c/o K.A.S.T. (Kids Against State Terror) PO Box 4721 Station E, Ottawa, Ontario K1S 5H9
Jeremy Milks is a kid in Ottawa who doesn’t want to speak for anyone and doesn’t want anyone speaking for him. In other words, Jeremy is an anarchist. His ‘zine, You Have Never Understood, portrays exactly what that means to him — as opposed to what that means to you, or the big media people who don’t talk about such nonsense.
“First and foremost,” he insists, “my ‘zine is for myself. It is made of me and it mirrors me and no one else. If I tried to speak for anyone else or some community I would probably grossly misrepresent a lot of people…. So I choose to represent myself…if anybody gets anything out of it, well, all the better.”
This view does not prevent Milks from focusing on politics in his ‘zine. But it does keep him from mimicking some other voice. While Jeremy does not shy away from oppression in China, East Timor or anywhere else in the world, he approaches his frustration at the human condition through a rough-worn personal narrative. Jeremy instinctively realizes that the only way to focus attention on the plight of others is to describe first the minutiae of his own violent home: “One night after a show I saw a man beat up by about four others. They drove up to his door, knocked, dragged him out and punched and kicked him, slammed his head into a car door and laughed like hyenas….I was forced to be a mindless spectator due to physical factors.”
Jeremy views his ‘zine as an opportunity to counter the non-existence of his point of view; this goes for the entire world, but he reserves special wrath for the media. You Have Never Understood is pulled straight out of his head. He does not use research from CP, AP or Reuters. As he puts it: “It’s about providing another source of information than the narrow scope that the big dicks of the media provide.”
But it’s not just about information, it’s also about perspective and expression in the face of a media presence that is, to say the least, daunting. So for Jeremy, “Making a ‘zine or a pamphlet is about taking back your right to self expression from the media dogs who are only too happy to keep that from you.” Jeremy has made efforts to publish in local papers, but the result, he points out, is nothing like the vengeful, emotive yet considered rants that his zine consists of.
“If you want a conservative paper like the Ottawa Citizen to publish (your work),” Jeremy says, “You have to accept a certain amount of self-censorship. The mass media love catering to loud mouth businessmen but find it hard to let real people have any kind of voice.”
In this swirling ‘age of information’ self-expression means talking to more than just the people you know. When media can hit millions of people with one broadcast, the urge to present a totally different point of view motivates a lot of ‘zinesters. Milks echoes this sentiment, explaining that “the reason for the big ‘zine movement is essentially that the media are totally incapable of connecting with what is really out there and it is natural for people to get fed up with having no voice in a supposedly democratic system.”
In keeping with his philosophy, Jeremy cheers every new ‘zine that comes out and he “really dislikes seeing bigger music ‘zines like HeartAttack or MRR bashing some ‘zine in their review section…when all they can do is cheer about their own white boy music culture. I wouldn’t waste energy slagging a ‘zine that some kid probably poured their guts into…”
Just as his own ‘zine is a political act, Jeremy seems to believe that a ‘zine, any ‘zine, no matter what it says, has an intrinsic value. What Jeremy is most concerned with is that people are not prevented from articulating their views — “everyone has an inherent responsibility to say something. When you neglect to do that, everyone suffers as a whole.” And yet, in You Have Never Understood he clearly laments notions that go far beyond striking at Canada’s supposed domination by a white patriarchal power structure. For instance, Jeremy is not a big fan of the Ottawa chapter of the International Socialists. As he writes in his ‘zine, “I hope that the fact that anarchists in Ottawa are organizing will scare the shit out of them.” Even when the fringe of the fringe is dominated by a group slightly less obscure than the others, Jeremy reacts with virulence.
In Jeremy’s world, every one is exactly equal. There is no power structure, and no one person’s ideas are more relevant than any others. His ‘zine is his assertion of equality. But even an anarchist punk cannot avoid confronting the demon of prostelyization. Milks wants to get his ‘zine “out of the punk ghetto”, but he refuses to “push it on people”. You are not going to find one of one hundred-and-fifty copies of You Have Never Understood pressed into your hands as you walk the side-walks of his Ottawa neighborhood. Jeremy prefers to rage into obscurity, passing out his work to his friends and his friends’ friends.
“I’d rather be a shy dork,” he says,”than be some ignorant lout giving out propaganda on the street.”