In a lengthy interview with Nick Gillespie for Reason, embedded above, Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic discussed his evolving political views in great detail. Novoselic described the shared political values of Nirvana’s early days as “this lefty stuff, but not very deep. We grew up against Reagan because our punk rock scene was so anti-Reagan.” Later in life, he was elected State Committeeman of Washington’s Democratic Party and supported Barack Obama for president.
However, with time, his views have begun to transform, and he recently left the Democratic Party. Said Novoselic, “I was a Democrat for about four or five years. Active Democrat. And I thought I could reform the party. Maybe I wasn’t going about it right. Maybe somebody can and somebody will. I don’t see it. It’s a top-down structure. It’s a money conduit.” He self-categorized his current political views, somewhat facetiously, as “an anarcho-capitalist socialist” and a “gun-owning pacifist.”
Despite coming from a left-leaning viewpoint, Nirvana’s bassist has taken on some surprisingly libertarian values. He donated $100 to Ron Paul in 2007. He no longer looks at all corporations as inherently evil and supports the controversial Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission Supreme Court ruling that lifted restrictions on political expenditures by organizations like corporations and labor unions. He is also a gun owner with “pistols and semi-automatic rifles” and supports drug legalization.
He explained his endorsement of Citizens United in terms of how the ruling helped in defeating the maligned Stop Online Piracy Act, “It was SOPA and PIPA… and what happened is people got together with Google… and they stopped that legislation dead in its tracks, super fast. My point is that people need to come together with, like, money bombs, Kickstarter campaigns.”
Novoselic also discussed the anarchic tendency of Republican Party rhetoric and pointed to megachurches as examples of anarchic institutions, “You have people making their own way and making these structures, and there are these megachurches, and they have their own day care, they have auto repair, they offer people benefits, insurance, and so they’re making these structures. They’re collectives is what they are. It’s anarchism.”
He veered near voluntaryism as he explained his views on spontaneous collectives, “Whatever your values are and your beliefs, that’s your business. You can do whatever you want to do. You build these structures, your day care. People want public day care. Couldn’t you, as a mommy or a daddy, couldn’t you do some kind of co-op? I’m sure they have those.” He cited the do-it-yourself spirit of punk rock culture as a major influence on his general support of decentralized institutions, “I think it just goes back to the values that I grew up with in the punk rock world because it was this decentralized world and so we just made our own way. We’d be anti-government but we really didn’t complain a lot. We were more action oriented. People were publishing fanzines, we were setting up shows, we were getting in vans and touring around and we were associating with other people, so I just like that idea.”
Krist Novoselic currently serves on the board of directors of FairVote, an organization promoting alternative election systems to enable proportional voting in local elections, and was recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with his bandmates in Nirvana. He is currently taking online classes in pursuit of a social sciences degree and is an active member of the fraternal organization the Grange.