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Thread: Swazi Rants

  1. #1
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    Default Swazi Rants

    First, let me point out that this is not to be a technical article nor one that will appeal to some of you, hell, I'm not even sure it belongs on this site, maybe it'll get pulled. But I sure as hell am sure that these thoughts have been bouncing around in my head for quite a while, and I know well enough that once they rattle around that much, you gotta purge them somewhere. So, if you love motorcycles and care about what they mean beyond the engineering and machinery (I'll leave these bits to the professionals), then take a ride for a few paragraphs.

    Recently, I have noticed a proliferation of Nazi-inspired bikes in many of the mags I've picked up, and many of the shows I've been to (or pics from shows where I couldn't be at). I'm sure that this is not a new trend, as I can clearly recall flipping through my dad's Easyriders as a kid and
    occasionally seeing these types of bikes, but maybe I needed a better perspective on life to comprehend them. Let me say here that I am not old enough to have fought in or seen World War II, yet I am not young or na´ve enough to not understand the unfathomable sacrifices made by the soldiers, on both sides, who were there. I am not of any descent that would have any
    particular attraction or repulsion to these bikes, but their presence within the motorcycle world (a sort if subculture within a subculture) has absolutely fascinated me, probably not for the same reasons that they fascinate their builders and owners.

    Specifically, what is this fascination to include these themes on a bike? I see at least a few possibilities for why culture/symbols from Nazi Germany intersect with those of the motorcycle culture, so I'd like to cover those that I can imagine. By all means if you can think of others, I'd love to hear about them.

    1. Actual White supremacy affiliation. I've grown up around cars and bikes and car and bike guys my whole life. I understand the rebellion associated with the culture, and also the underground movement that these symbols are associated with. As a kid, my house would regularly be a stop-over for various motorcycle gang members,including those that associate themselves with Neo-Nazi ideals and white supremacy. That's fine (?), but there are a number of reasons why this almost certainly can't be the reason behind some of these "New-Nazi" rides. The majority I have seen are coming from Japan, certainly not a haven for white supremacy as far as I can tell. One need only look the last couple of year's Mooneyes show,



    to see a resurgence of these symbols and themes in Japan. Hell, Hot-Dock has an entire line of (unbelievably wll-done) bikes dedicated to the Third Reich (their Nacht-Jaeger line, see them HERE.
    I also don't think these are actual supremacist groups, as I haven't really seen these new symbolism bikes associated with any one particular group or another. It's not like you're at a show and all of a sudden 6 or 8 Nazi-themed bikes roll up together. To me it appears to be a one-off theme in most cases, put together by individuals with individual motivations (am I being na´ve here?).

    2. Maybe swastikas, iron crosses, Nazi eagles are the ultimate in crazy, bad-ass, don't f&*k with me symbols, and I can I understand this as well. My dad lost his spleen when he flew over his bike's handlebars and his Maltese cross caught his stomach and opened him up pretty nice. Did he switch over to a round mirror? No. Because certain symbols indicate where you're coming
    from. I understand why skulls and flames and counter-culture symbols (Thank you Slayer, Deicide, Iron Maiden, and others) proliferate among a group who purposely attempt to distance themselves from daily life, from status quo, from the everyday drudgery that is life. Hell, what is the point of riding if it isn't this? But really, Nazi symbols as the ultimate expression of that? I never understood this. One of the most bold bikes I have ever seen is Kutty's Desert Rose

    Maybe we should re-think this symbol thing. Maybe Bill is like some sort of Buddha, spilling forth his bounty of wisdom, "Rainbows are the new Swazzies". Personally, I think it's hummingbirds.

    3. There is a growing sense of nationalism, and these builders/owners have some personal connection to these symbols or what they represent. This may not have anything to do with Swazzies, though. I've seen a ton of beautiful Japanese bikes with the rising sun flag on them that I think most of them are just amazing tributes to the country and it's people and workmanship. I utterly respect every soldier who has fought in WWII, particularly so those Japanese that stood on their own soil and fought literally to the death (it was well known among the Allies that Germans would surrender, the Japanese would not). If you are proud of your
    ancestors, and what they stood for, I respect that. But putting a swastika on a Harley built in Japan? Are you fucking bonkers? Help me to follow the logistics here. Harley wouldn't even be a part of the industry had Nazi Germany prevailed, and to be honest, neither would a free Japan (Hitler had elaborate plans to parcel out both the United States and East Asia, you can't knock his ambition). That's not to say a Harley should always have a giant American Flag on them. Even Harleys done right can have a nationalistic theme associated with them. A great example was:


    the end result of a Biker Build-Off (I know, I know); it was Chica's Captain Japan, which was his take on the 60's long-chop theme done with a Japanese twist.

    What is the motivation behind the Nazi builds? Is it really just that Nazi symbols are the ultimate "fuck you" to the world? Really? If this is the case, why not just put "f*&k you" on the bike (I've seen this, the "Your Mother's Name" tank is one of my all-time favorites and fucking hilarious, anyone have a photo of that tank)? But at that point you're just having a laugh, that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about giving a little credit where credit is due; make your bike mean something...what about a white spade on a green tank representing the 506th infantry division? Certainly the Allied forces have to be a little more "bad-ass" than the Axis powers, right? I mean, many of us are riding motorcycles manufactured from Allied countries, the majority of us live in countries issued in by the heroics of Allied soldiers, we all are, right now, enjoying the fruits of their labor, are we really this oblivious? I've certainly seen the POW symbol on hundreds of bikes, and while not terribly original, I could not respect more. Even more subtle tributes to veterans can be done with mucho style (check out Brian Allen's Triumph in a back issue of The Horse, so friggin' awesome). If you didn't see it, it was a plain red tank with a black silhouette of an M-16 with helmet on top. I have noticed that most of these "war tribute" bikes are owned by graybeards, and it gets me worried that this sense of pride and honor has somehow been lost on my generation.

    I know there's been banter about this on this and other sites, but I see this site as much more than just a place to look for a bike, tech, or enjoy a few back-and-forths between some folks with strong opinions on how a bike should look. What else are we thinking about? Who gives a shit how the rest of the world views it, if we cared we probably wouldn't be on bikes....but don't you want to know what makes us tick? Is this a counter-culture move so extreme that it actually stands against everything that inspires and awes me about the feats of soldiers who fought in the second world war (and all veterans for that matter), or have I lost the motivation behind the builds and symbolism somewhere?

    What matters to you enough to put in on your bike and be seen with it? I'd love to hear your opinions and see your ideas. My short time on the Cult has led me to think that the majority of these forums are run, commented on, and posted to by intelligent human beings. Prove me right.

    Thanks.

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    i always thought upside down crosses and pentagrams were way cooler than white trash swazi's! but to each his own ha

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    I think some of the nazi stuff you see on bikes is used to display a macho rebellious attitude.
    when I was a young kid (around 8 yrs old)I used to watch old war movies & the old Combat tv show & really
    looked up to them Germans! they were bad ass.
    Yeah I was young & didnt know better. I would never put a swastika on one of my bikes, But I have
    been known to put a rebel flag on a bike more than once & Know for a fact that some people
    do not dig it. I am not an advocate of slavery, I just love the south & their conservative political stance, &
    also do not advocate dictatorships such as the 3rd reiche, But I must say............
    I really really loved Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds,
    Brilliant movie!

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    i would never put a swazzie on my bike because my grandpa would roll over in his grave i think people just think the swazzie looks cool

  5. #5
    billdozer
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    As a moderator here, I say we'll let this fly unless it gets out of hand. If it turns into name calling and racists nonsense it'll go straight the junk pile or get deleted all together. Good debate over any subject that is relevant to motorcycles and motorcycle culture is fine by me as long as everyone stays civil about it, and Ryan is right, this is showing up all over the place on motorcycles today.

    My personal opinion on the matter is just that, but since Ryan took the time to craft such a well written post I'll try to give it a decent answer. The explanation that the swazi symbol is an old Native American piece, and an ancient symbol in Buddhist and Hindu religions is obviously true. see: link That fact (IMHO) is trumped by Hitler's use of the symbol, that transcends all previous use. A red and white 81 might have been used by the ancient Romans, but to everyone else it really only means one thing. So, in my mind if you rock a swazi you are broadcasting one of a couple of possibilities:

    1. You are a bad ass WW2 vet who took one off of a dead Jerry and you wear it with pride as an artifact/trophy of war.

    2. You support neo-nazi idealism.

    3. You are just trendy and would do anything if you thought it was cool and made you look hard.

    All rules have exceptions. My good friend Rob and I have been over this many times while chasing the dragon or tipping the bottle. His opinions are different than mine, and he is surely not a racist or hater at all. Idealistic, yes but not fueled by hatred. I'll let him explain his position if he feels the need.

    I think you can come up with any rationalization you want for running one. Most people who look at you will come to one of the three conclusions listed above. If you'd like to be confused for one of those then swazis are an easy way to do it. I know it used to be this way with tattoos and still is some places with some people, with conservative folks jumping to conclusions every time they see some one with ink. The difference is, it wasn't people with neck bombs that killed my two uncles or nine plus million Jews.

    Me personally, I don't care for racist ideals and don't want to be identified as one. I hate all people equally, black, white, brown, whatever, you all can suck it. I've known skin heads and racists on both sides and like all extremists, they are not who I want to hang with.

    I doubt there are many WW2 vets here on the forum, but I'd sure like to hear from some and get their opinion since they are the only one's who've really earned the right. I grew up in a military family, one who lost two uncles in WW2, one at Iwo Jima. To me, running the swazi would be the same as running a Jane Fonda shirt in front of my Viet Nam vet father, a total insult to those who fought and died and suffered the hang over of war for the rest of their lives just because I think the symbol makes me look "cool".

    In my experience if a grown man needs to tell the world what a big, scary bad ass he is through things like "Fuck You" vest patches, swazis and such, he generally isn't as rough as he thinks. Rainbows and unicorns are better any day, because that stuff elicits a response from the tough guys and little old ladies alike. If you gotta have a symbol, try one that you have to earn not one you can just poach, join a club, join the military, join a gang, whatever, just earn the right to display whatever it is you wish to broadcast.

    As far as running Jap flags on a HD or showing national pride in your heritage I say "who cares". I see guys flying all kinds of pro-American flash all over their jackets while they ride by on a Honda VTX and it just cracks me up. I guess they can still be proud Americans no matter what they drive, but it just seems weird to me. Chica's bike makes perfect sense to me. He's Japanese. Duh. It's like all "personal expression", some is good and some is total horse shit and ultimately it's all up to the owner. Some things go over the top as far as expression goes and I think the swazi qualifies as one of those things.

    What say you?

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    got anymore pics of that nazi knuckle with the warbird on da tank? I will try to ignore the insignia's

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    I agree with Bill on a lot of what he said. My grandfather was in WWII and was all over north africa and italy. While there he came home with a large Nazi flag that I have inherited, but I do not display for the simple fact that I have friends from all over the world, and I wouldn't want them or anyone else whoever came to my house to think wrongly about me and associate me with a hate group. Right wrong or indifferent it is everyone's choice in what they put onto their bikes, and to me it's just that.. Their bike.

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    My worthless opioin.There is a underground homebuilt society that enjoys building and riding bikes that the average harley rider just doest understand. Somewhere along the way this underground society became the forefront of all your over the counter magazines. Who would of ever thought that you would start seeing rigid pans, shovs, knucks and so on in the pages of american iron magazine just three pages away from the write up of the newest big dog coming out. In the process of this it kinda screwed up the culture. People willing to pay 20g for a rigid shovel on ebay because it had a 60s style lace paint job and a set of invaders now they can put on a vintage 3/4 helmet and fit in with the crowd they used to snub.

    This being said some of the builders of these vintage style chops now feel like they have to step up their game to do somthing different. So why not put one of the most hated worldwide symbol on the bikes to freak out the squares. Do you think these magazine will feature any bike covered in the swazis? NOPE. So maybe this is thier way of saying you cant be us now, or they may honestly think they are the baddest dudes on two wheels. Who knows, me personally i like what i like when it comes to bikes if i dont like it i just move on.

    Last off you still to this day have guys that ride "real" clubs that work hard to earn thier SS pins, HAMMER pins, and even WAR BIRD pins. These are symbols of honor to them and i dont think they give a shit what peole think about them.

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    im with what alot of you have said. i have noticed this "trend" lately as well and all i can say is FAD. i see this as another thing to do to a motorcycle. the problem is that they have ran out of ideas. i think the Japanese do it because alot of there bikes are heavily influenced on 70's americana. the other side of the coin is the true white power guys. thats what they believe......thats how they roll. but, im thinkin the guys that are doing it the most are the pissed off, look at how bad ass i am types.


    just my asshole....i mean opinion

  10. #10
    lowfiron
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    I grew up in the SFV in the 50s & 60s and there might have been a couple on bikes that I saw with swastikas, I can't remember. But we talked about it as kids and from that and what I read and heard back then is; it was just to piss people off. That simple.
    I'm sure there were Vets that were smoking angry about it, my father was. Even the Wehrmacht helmets were evoking outrage.
    I know Big Daddy (Roth) sold the chrome ones along with Maltese crosses back then.
    Visualise a biker in the biker uniform and he was dirty, usually smelly and he rode a chopper or cut down Harley that was spotless and shiny with nice chrome and a Swastika on the sissy bar or old bag, that pissed off the good citizen Valley Folk big time. It caused us young Valley glue sniffing model builders some shit from our parents.
    So that's where it came from ( I'm not saying the Valley), that period of motorcycle rebellion.
    I think people who do it now are trying to repeat that Fuck You feeling!
    Last edited by lowfiron; 12-27-2009 at 11:33 PM.

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    over six million people died because of what the swastika stood for. on the other hand It is a really cool looking symbol though. there, i said it..what you where all thinking it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Danisdead View Post
    over six million people died because of what the swastika stood for. on the other hand It is a really cool looking symbol though. there, i said it..what you where all thinking it.
    you beat me to it.

    if you came to my house and DID NOT know me,you would probably feel uncomfortable with all the shit laying around.

    it's great for when solicitors show up though.

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    i'll open my mouth here. honestly i think the whole swastika, iron cross, whatever shit is pretty stupid. i relly dont think it "looks cool" or that it makes you "look hard". to me you look stupid. to me i see that and i think you actually believe that rhetoric and i move on, i dont want to associate with you. thats just me. doesnt mean i dont like you just means means i youre not my type.
    as for "earning it" i rock a CoC sticker on my bike, ive never met Jeff or anyone from CoC, i dont belong to his "club", i just like what he does. i support him. i also have a fuck you you fuckin fuck on my bike. im not a badass i just thought it was funny. is it too early for a beer?

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    I usually don't care what people put on their bikes but I would never ride with somebody sporting the Nazi shit. I've got friends that are Jewish.


    "When the real ones come, you'll be the first to go"
    -Biafra

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    Anything that would get by bike vandalized, kicked over, spit on or lit on fire regardless of my personal beliefs doesn't belong.

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    I don't put anything on my body or property that I don't support or that I don't feel represents myself in some way, because regardless of how it's meant, you're associating yourself in the minds of others with whatever branding you've put on yourself.

    If you put swazis on your bike, you can try to explain it however you want, you look to me like someone who supports what was essentially a massacre of millions of innocent people without good reason.

    Maybe you're reasoning for decorating with Nazi symbols is to make people think less of you, hate you, disrespect you and avoid you. In which case, you would probably be successful.

    But, if you don't support what was done by the Nazis, and you wear the symbols to affect your image, that is pretty much exactly the dictionary definition of poseur. "a person who attempts to impress others by assuming or affecting a manner, degree of elegance, sentiment, etc., other than his or her true one." In this case you would be attempting to impress others, albeit in a negative way, by assuming association with symbols other than what you truly represent.

    A good argument for "tool" could be made as well, "a person manipulated by another for the latter's own ends". If you're promoting a cause and ideology that is not your own, then it sounds to me like you have been manipulated by the promise of being "cool" or "bad ass" to promote someone elses agenda.

    This is all my perspective of course. I hope no one thinks of this as name-calling, because in my mind, name-calling is calling names just to try to belittle someone and is rarely based on facts, whereas this is neither of those.

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    interestingly enough i got an Iron Cross tattooed on my elbow before i even was really involved in the "bike culture" and definitely without a second thought as to the possible racist implications of such a notable symbol. But being an individual without any predjudice whatsoever i must say i don't regret it at all .. it's part of who i am and therefore although many of those symbols are unfortunately associated with "doom & gloom" i myself cannot point the finger and be judgemental. To each his own as they say

    excellent post btw .. this man should get a couple hundred miles thrown his way for invoking such good thought

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    it's funny to me......because ALOT of the people that don't like all that shit and voice it publicly,are the same people that buy and support little clothing and accesory web shops that have deaths heads,SS bolts,etc.
    then the same people want to bitch about it later,.
    fucking hypocrits.
    this is not pointed to anyone here specifically,but you know who you are i'm sure.
    get over it.
    or maybe we can start a thread for "pc catalogs",like LL. Bean or some shit.

    xoxo
    Chico

    ps.
    junkpile.

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    Im reading all these posts and trying to gather my thoughts to type out onto my Chinese made computer, made by the very same people that were massacred by the millions by Japanese soldiers during and before WWII (yes I have a close tie within the Chinese community) but Japper bikes are still my favorite, as I literally drive to work in my Audi as my wife in her Mercedes everyday, both being German Nazi companies before and during WWII, working on my 73' BMW, just a hopped up 500 from the traditional WWII pre r series bikes and my own father installing in me while growing up how Germans are the best, smartest and logically in his mind most handsome people in the world, always reminding me in the German spoken language that I am part Mexican and will never be a true Whitehurst just puts me at odds with anything other than what the world truly is, and that I will leave to your own imaginations to come to your own conclusion of what that is.

    Alright, back to the Nazi shit. Personally, knowing Germans and Northern Europeans alike that were either German soldiers or civilians all have one thing to say - they were never Nazi's - big difference and they make a point of it, they were German patriots fighting for their country, some proud others were made, not much different than how many Americans feel to this day. I myself being more than half German I would NEVER rock a Nazi symbol, fuck nazi shit and everything it stands for. If it means fuck you then I say fuck you back for my Jewish friends, the German people and family and friends that fought their asses off during WWII.
    As for the war bird, this is pre WWII, an ancient German symbol is the golden Eagle, something proud for Germans to associate with due to it being a part of their heritage and the symbol the first kingdom that united the tribes of Germany.
    I guess Im guilty when it comes to the love of the confederate flag, mind you I dont ever sport it and wont but I do like it just for the same reasons stated earlier on another post as well having family members whom were confederate American patriots fighting for what they believed to be right. Usually ignorance plays the part of the prejudice of American rebel flag due to the ignorance of thinking it was a symbol of oppression for the early black slaves. Short rant - Confederate states were NOT fighting to keep slavery, only one state out of all the confederate states actually were dependant on the slave trade due to the high yield of cotton crops and low overhead. The war was fought to keep the states independent and the federal government out of commission, the Northern states did not have any use for a free black man so they needed to educated them in order to work in the Northern factories to operate machinery. Furthermore, if truly the civil war was fought over slavery then I would like to ask the question why the African American people did not have equal rights until the 60's...Rant Over - lol

    In conclusion of my stupid ass rant of a post - many of us here are Americans and do have the right to sport anything that we want, freedom comes in absolutely every color of the rainbow and just because one doesnt agree with another of what this freedom should entail, we must remember most of us have had family members and dear friends fighting for this freedom at one time or another. To agree or disagree of what this freedom may or may not be it is still freedom and that is what we must all remember.
    Last edited by TemeculaTerry; 12-28-2009 at 11:39 AM.

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    There is a tremendous difference between driving a car made by a repentant country, and sporting the logos used to represent the face of death for an entire race of people.

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