Damon Root on Agnostic Front:
Unlike some punk acts, Agnostic Front never offered any sort of coherent political message. But the band did sometimes express right-of-center views in their songs and interviews. Their 1986 track “Public Assistance,” for example, was a harsh attack on the welfare state. Sample lyric: “Uncle Sam takes half my pay so you can live for free.”
Miret didn’t write those lyrics. He outsourced the job to Peter Steele, the leader of the Brooklyn metal act Carnivore, who would later go on to fame as the frontman for goth-rockers Type O Negative. But Miret stands firmly behind the sentiment. “I was a minority kid whose mom was on welfare and I saw all the time how other people in our neighborhood abused the system,” he writes in My Riot. “Public assistance was designed to help people better their lives and move on, not to enable the families that used it. Those are the people the song was aimed at.”
Miret and his bandmates also voiced support for President Ronald Reagan’s foreign policy. “We have to stop Communist aggression,” guitarist Vinnie Stigma told the zine Guillotine in a 1984 interview. “I think [Reagan] has guts,” Miret later added. Statements like that definitely ruffled a few mohawks.
Did Agnostic Front sometimes promote conservative or right-wing opinions? Yes. But were they fascists? Nazis? Not unless those terms are drained of all meaning and used to smear any right-leaning point of view.