The Profane Existence is Over

Rest in punk

Profane Existence, the Minneapolis collective that produced the excellent magazine of the same name and ran a mailorder distro and record label, announced October 11 that they had decided to cease operations. Pledging that the members would stay active politically and culturally, a statement to supporters cited declining collective membership, financial considerations and the “overwhelming work load and stress” associated with keeping the collective going as reasons for ending the collective. “By ending the collective now, we are hoping to do so on a high point, not wait until it totally collapses in on itself in a huge mess” , read the statement.

Coming on the heels of the end of Love and Rage, the demise of Profane Existence seemed to have more to do with the over-extension endemic to DIY (Do It Yourself) and alternative institutions than the factional fights that killed L&R. A part of the statement titled “we have no lives” rings true for many struggling radical projects: “Balancing commitments to PE has also meant making huge sacrifices in our personal lives. We have missed countless beautiful days outdoors because of our commitments to PE kept us working inside. We have missed an equal amount of good nights’ sleep due to overwhelming stress we bring home with us at night. We have missed weeks and months of our lives that could have been spent with friends and loved ones. While we harbor some (perhaps foolish) ideas of putting the revolution first, in reality it is our families, friends and loved ones whom we would rather give the bulk of our attention to. While we still want to be active, the level of commitment needed to maintain the PE collective pretty much has excluded having any time or energy for anything else at all.”

The only way alternative institutions can hope to survive in the long term is if new people continually join up to relieve the pressure on older members, and if people’s needs to live and grow are respected, and if tasks distributed are realistically. But sometimes, its just time for an established institution to die so new projects can fill the void.

The last issue of PE magazine is expected out in November and other operations are expected to wrap up by the end of the year.