Proof that you don’t need to be a corporate big hitter like Paddy Cosgrave to get cancelled, pro-Palestinian sentiment claims a new Irish victim of it’s international cancel culture. This time, it’s in the form of Dublin based folk/avant-garde musical outfit Lankum. The quartet found themselves excluded from the line-up of the TransCentury Festival in Germany, which they were due to perform at on November 19th.
According to the festival’s organisers, the cancellation owes to political stances by the band that Transcentury say do not represent the values of the festival. In Germany, this decision should come as no surprise, with left-leaning figures such as Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders having recently had appearances and meetings cancelled in the light of ongoing conflict in the Levant. This is accompanied by close scrutiny towards all public expressions and demonstrations in the country that could be construed as moral justification of Hamas.
When The Woke Become The Woked
The context of this is amusingly ironic, as the pro-Palestine Lankum members are outspokenly woke and have a history of anti-Irish and anti-White statements. Originally founded in 2000 as Lynched by brothers Daragh and Ian Lynch, the quartet announced their name change to Lankum in 2016. A reaction to the connotation of the word “lynching”, the change of moniker was attributed to the percieved “systemic murder and persecution of black people in the USA”. Whilst Lankum drape themselves in the cloak and aesthetic of Irish culture, their cultural anti-Irishness is hidden in plain sight, with Ian Lynch having expressed disdain for “White”, “rightwing”, “nationalist” and “backward-looking” audiences and sentiments in Irish trad music from an anarchist perspective. And recently their members have engaged in the usual anti-patriot panic and foreigner-worship in response to grassroots opposition to mass immigration:
With members who are involved with the crust punk scene, none of this is hardly surprising, especially from an act whose anti-clerical song “Granite Gaze” was to the Repeal campaign what Hozier’s “Take Me To Church” was to the backdrop of same-sex marriage leglisation. Lankum’s pro-Palestine sentiment domestically is hardly rocking the boat. Many Irish are quite naturally sympathetic to the notion of Palestine’s territorial integrity, and this won’t harm their reputation here.
This will also not hurt their present status within the wider soft-power protest ecology of the astroturfed pro-Palestine left, where deranged bourgeois anarchists and Trotskyites rub shoulders in the streets with Islamists of all factions, as well as resentful members of immigrant populations. But as we can see in the case of their canceled appearance in Germany, this momentum has a clear limit. It is sweetly ironic that the festival which prides itself on the creation of a “non-discriminatory and non-judgemental” performance space has willingly excluded an artist on the basis of their partisanship.
A decision such as this is in no doubt largely influenced by a strong pro-Israel stance by larger EU governments, which has likely induced such a festival to neuter and gatekeep artists like Lankum from playing at it. When one considers the frequent incidences of Antifa-adjacent groups and proxies pressuring and threatening musicians, venues and speakers both physically and reputationally, this is sweetly ironic. This should serve as a dose of medicine for Lankum, who have been brazen enough to tread out of their lane and fall foul of decisions made within a power structure where they can exert little to no strong influence.