What is FSU?

The Friends Stand United Organization Took Action in the 80's

FSU - Friends Stand United
Musician, filmmaker and FSU founder Elgin James. Devastation Management

FSU stands for Friends Stand United and is alternatively known as "F**k S**t Up." FSU is a group that was started in Boston in the '80s and set up by white, black and Hispanic members of Boston's hardcore scene. The group's purpose was to eliminate racism within the East Coast hardcore scene, specifically neo-Nazi gangs. Often, the methodology to eliminate racism was executed by violent means.

FSU is also known as a straight edge organization, meaning its members abstain from drugs, alcohol and tobacco use.

Today, FSU chapters have expanded to major cities across the nation.

Who Is Nathan Elgin James?

FSU was founded by Nathan Elgin James. James, who at the time was the singer for the hardcore band Wrecking Crew, was bothered by the presence of racist groups at hardcore shows. As a consequence, James gathered a multi-ethnic group of friends to help eliminate the racist presence in the scene.

Elgin has been a member of many hardcore bands, including 454 Big Block, The World is My Fuse and Righteous Jams. In addition, he has recorded and released an album of folk-punk solo material. Most recently, James moved to L.A. to become a filmmaker. He wrote and directed the short film Goodnight Moon, which starred famous musician Pete Wentz of the alternative band Fall Out Boy.

The Arrest of Nathan Elgin James

Nathan Elgin James was arrested on July 14, 2009, on federal extortion charges. It is alleged that he attempted to extort a member of a Chicago punk band for $5,000 in order to stop attacks on the musician by members of FSU.

This was prompted by an altercation between the musician and another musician with ties to FSU and led to violence upon the Chicago musician.

Elgin would have been faced with a maximum penalty of twenty years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted. In 2011, James was sentenced to a year in prison, despite prosecutors fighting for four years due to the violence he participated in with FSU.

 Elgin James and his federal extortion charges were mild due to close mentorship from well-known professionals in the filmmaking field, such as Robert Redford. James received support from his mentors during the trial in which he expressed a commitment to engage in nonviolence in the future.

FSU Elsewhere in the News

On January 14, 2007, 25-year-old James Morrison died of blunt force trauma to the back of his head after an altercation outside of Club Deep in Asbury Park, New Jersey. During the investigation, 34-year-old Alexander Franklin, an FSU member, was charged with manslaughter but was not indicted. Reportedly, the fight began because Morrison was wearing a Lynyrd Skynyrd t-shirt featuring a confederate flag.

FSU has also been featured on National Geographic's Inside Straight Edge and on the History Channel's Gangland, but perhaps the most infamous portrayal of FSU is in the highly controversial Boston Beatdown DVD series. The latter is essentially a compilation of fight scenes and interviews with members of FSU, accompanied by music from some FSU-associated hardcore acts.