Through collections of essays, communiqués, narratives, images, and interviews, this anthology hopes to account for what Bash Back! was and what happened to it. We have included a number of actions, theories, and other essays that were not explicitly or implicitly related to Bash Back! as a name. In this context, if we do not recognize the actions of related tendencies and publications, then we fail to tell the complete history of Bash Back! as a network and as a tendency.
The term queer in this book is used both loosely and inclusively. We view queer as the blurring of sexual and gender identities. Queer is the refusal of fixed identities. It is a war on all identity. In line with the Bash Back! tendency, for the uses of this anthology queer is trans because the gender binary is inherently oppressive. More often than not, our use of the term queer is interchangeable with our use of trans, though that is not necessarily true of the way in which trans-whatever is used. We acknowledge that society ensures Queer is an oppressed identity. Anti-Queer oppression is the systematic violence encountered by people who fall outside of traditional sexual or gender categories. This terminology might be confusing, but it is likely that the content within this anthology will clear the air. Admittedly, it might create more confusion among our straight counterparts. With revolution complete and the black flag burned, the category of queer must too be destroyed.
Bash Back! was not just a group or organization, but a militant tendency on the part of queer individuals. While Bash Back! was occasionally public and campy, bashing back was more of an everyday evolutionary occurrence than any sort of activist entity. Most of what can be attributed to the Bash Back! period never made it onto the internet or into newspapers. Bashing back meant bar fights, outrunning lynch mobs, glamdalization, attacking the homes of heterosexist murderers, outright chaos, alleged lootings, theory discussions, self-defense tips, social gatherings, beat downs, the acquisition of large quantities of pepper spray, and attempts at sexual liberation. It was a temporary counter culture amongst friend groups and peers that called for nothing short of direct confrontation with the (mostly) straight, (mostly) white and always normative society: the ultimate queer propaganda by queer deed.