Friends Stand United

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Friends Stand United (FSU)
Founded by Elgin James
Founding location Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Years active Late 1980s - present
Territory United States, Australia, Canada, North East England
Ethnicity Multi-ethnic
Allies Straight Edge, Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice, Anti-Racist Action

Friends Stand United (FSU) is a national organization rooted in the hardcore scene. The group is classified by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as a street gang,[1] a classification which FSU members deny.[2] It is an anti-racist group.[3]


Elgin James founded FSU, which originally stood for "Fuck Shit Up", in the late 1980s in Boston, Massachusetts. He formed FSU to attack, beat and purge drug dealers and violent White supremacist, Neo-nazi and other various racist gangs from punk rock concerts.[4]


FSU is Worldwide.


The group has splintered several times since its initial incarnation, with different chapters holding different values. Universally, the group espouses violence as a valid means to accomplish their goals.[5]

Alleged criminal activity[edit]

Founder Elgin James was sentenced to one year and one day of prison by U.S. District Judge Suzanne B. Conlon in Chicago on March 8, 2011 for attempting to extort $5,000 from Tony Lovato, a Chicago-area musician who was the target of beatings by FSU.[3][6] James was released on March 16, 2012.[7] The founding core of FSU eventually splintered, with a large section moving on to motorcycle gangs like the Outlaws and later the Mongols.[8]

Charitable work[edit]

James and other founding members established the Foundation Fund, which set up scholarships at local universities (Berklee College of Music and Suffolk University Law School) in the names of FSU members who had died. The fund also holds yearly benefit concerts to raise money for charities that reflect "hardcore punk culture" (teen homelessness, anti gun-violence, suicide prevention and local orphanages).[citation needed]

In media[edit]

James and FSU were mentioned on National Geographic TV,[citation needed] and the History Channel's Gangland series,[9] and were also covered in Rolling Stone magazine.[10]


  1. ^ "Alleged Founder of Street Gang that Uses Violence to Control Hardcore Punk Rock Music Scene Arrested on Extortion Charge for Shaking Down $5,000 from Recording Artist for Protection". FBI. Retrieved 2016-05-07. 
  2. ^ "Four Stabbed, Twenty Arrested at Firefest 2014". MetalSucks. 2014-04-21. Retrieved 2016-05-07. 
  3. ^ a b "Elgin Nathan James, Gang Leader Turned Filmmaker, Sentenced For Extortion In Chicago". Huffington Post. March 9, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Alleged Founder of Street Gang that Uses Violence to Control Hardcore Punk Rock Music Scene Arrested on Extortion Charge for Shaking Down $5,000 from Recording Artist for Protection". Federal Bureau of Investigation. July 14, 2009. Retrieved May 30, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Friends Stand Charged". Retrieved May 30, 2014. 
  6. ^ Sweeney, Annie (March 8, 2011). "Ex-gang leader earns accolades at Sundance, then sentenced for extortion". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2012-09-14. 
  7. ^ "Inmate Locator". Federal Bureau of Prisons. Retrieved May 7, 2016. 
  8. ^ Catalano, Debbie, “Elgin James: Truth and Fiction”, Soundcheck magazine (November 2003), pp. 14-16
  9. ^ "Gangland: The Complete Seasons 1-6 DVD". History. Retrieved May 30, 2014. 
  10. ^ Binelli, Mark (August 23, 2007). "Punk Rock Fight Club". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 30, 2014.