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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]

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



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 activityEdit

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