Hardbass – we will bring Heil Hitler to your home|
There’s an obscure new trend spreading throughout Central and Eastern
Europe - groups of youths from Belgrade to Bratislava to Brno dancing in
public to a hardcore Russian techno track, and then posting videos on
YouTube. It sounds harmless enough, but the problem is the lyrics have a
This is one of dozens, maybe hundreds of videos posted in recent months on
YouTube. To say they’re repetitive is something of an understatement.
They all feature groups of young men dancing in public – some of them,
it has to be said, with almost comic clumsiness – to a subgenre of techno
called Hardbass, and a particular permutation of it featuring lyrics in
Russian. The song features the following phrase. “We will bring Hardbass
to your home. 1 4, 8 8.”
What does that mean, I hear you ask. Well, as the internet daily Czech
Position first noted, the numbers 1 4 8 8 have a special significance to
the far-right: 14 is the number of words in the manifesto of American white
separatist David Lane: “We must secure the existence of our people and a
future for white children.” The eighth letter of the alphabet is H – 88
means Heil Hitler. Patrik Banga is a Romani or gypsy journalist who
frequently covers far-right demonstrations.
“The fact that they’re organised neo-Nazis already makes it a threat
in my eyes. If someone wants to play techno with racist lyrics in a club,
if there are forty of them underground somewhere giving the Hitler salute,
well, fine, let them go ahead. But if they’re doing it in public,
that’s different. If I get a swastika tattooed on my arm then I should be
arrested. So if they’re displaying any racist behaviour in public, they
should be arrested too.”
Confusingly, only some of the youths in the videos – posted from Czech
cities such as Ostrava, Zlín and most recently Prague - appear to be
far-right sympathisers, decked out in Thor Steindal hoodies, balaclavas and
ski-masks. Others seem to be football hooligans or just bored teenagers.
There’s been a proliferation of so-called Hardbass attacks – similar
to flash mobs - across Central and Eastern Europe in recent months, most
notably in Serbia, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic. So should we be
worried? Not necessarily, says the country’s foremost expert on far-right
extremism, Miroslav Mareš, from Brno’s Masaryk University.
“OK, we can find some links to neo-Nazism, directly in this Russian
song, but in connection with this stupid presentation, it has only limited
impact on public opinion as well as on right-wing extremist scene. We can
find strong opposition against this trend within the right-wing extremist
Judging from the chatter on far-right websites, there does seem to be some
murmuring of disapproval amongst more senior members of the country’s
active neo-Nazi movement, who dismiss Hardbass as too closely associated
with left-wing and anarchist groups.
So far the spattering of Czech Hardbass attacks seem to have passed off
without incident, although a group of youths was ejected from the Prague
metro for disturbing fellow passengers. Some citizens – perhaps those
with a smattering of Russian – may be more than slightly alarmed to hear
boot-stomping youths threatening to bring ‘Heil Hitler’ to their homes.