European steampunk counts fewer numbers than their North American (and mainly US) counterparts. I’m pretty sure that if you would add up all the numbers in the entirety of Europe, you would get about the same as those for the United States alone (the US probably has more numbers than the entirety of Europe, come to think of it).
Originally there was a unison worldwide. Steampunks everywhere where in it for the same reason. If you spoke to steampunks from other continents, the same topics arose and likeminded individuals were easily found, no matter what country they hailed from.
Thankfully this is still the case, but sadly less and less so when one starts comparing some — frankly disturbing — recent developments in the movement in both aforementioned continents.
What is starting to be noticeable these days is that European steampunks in general are far less elitist and especially far less politically active than those in America.
American steampunks have a few very visible, and very loud, voices claiming to be representative of the scene screaming out their support for left-wing causes, such as Occupy Wall Street, and hatred for the dreaded Tea Party.
Now we Europeans do have some sort of counterpart for OWS: the Indignados, who mainly protest against government cutbacks, often the most felt by regular citizens, and the high unemployment rates, especially among the youth. They protest, they camp out and generally try to make the world a better place through their activism and ideology.
But I have not heard a single European steampunk either claim affiliation with them (nor have I seen any in the news coverage about the Indignados) or lay claim that this sort of activism is necessary should one wish to maintain membership to the steampunk movement.
In general, European steampunks seem to be moderate and relaxed, only rising occasionally to point out that they’re not on the same page and want the scene to remain open and welcoming.
Or to gather around the rest, so they can hang out and have a good time together, just like it used to be internationally before the politics got hold.
So my question is:
Is the North American, and US specifically, movement truly going on the political tour, creating a kind of schism between themselves and the more moderate European steampunks?
Or is this the umptieth case of gross representation due to a few loudmouths (and let’s be honest, it’s always the same people, why are they even still allowed to speak for the movement in any capacity that could even be vaguely mistaken for representative?) that are insisting on forcing their particular view on an entire subculture?
In either case, it would be a sad outcome that could only do harm to the international steampunk movement, rather than a positive one.