Friends Stand United

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Friends Stand United (FSU)
Founded byElgin James
Founding locationBoston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Years activeLate 1980s – present
TerritoryUnited States

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] The organization's founder states it is an anti-racist group.[1]


Elgin James founded FSU in the late 1980s in Boston, Massachusetts. FSU had two meanings; "Friends Stand United" and "Fuck Shit Up". Elgin states that 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.[1]


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.[2]

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][4] James was released on March 16, 2012.[5] The founding core of FSU eventually splintered, with a large section moving on to motorcycle gangs like the Outlaws and later the Mongols.[6]


  1. ^ a b c "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.
  2. ^ "Friends Stand Charged". Retrieved May 30, 2014.
  3. ^ "Elgin Nathan James, Gang Leader Turned Filmmaker, Sentenced For Extortion In Chicago". Huffington Post. March 9, 2011.
  4. ^ Sweeney, Annie (March 8, 2011). "Ex-gang leader earns accolades at Sundance, then sentenced for extortion". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2012-09-14.
  5. ^ "Inmate Locator". Federal Bureau of Prisons. Retrieved May 7, 2016.
  6. ^ Catalano, Debbie, “Elgin James: Truth and Fiction”, Soundcheck magazine (November 2003), pp. 14-16