You can’t really have one without the other. I love these guys who say “There’s no bond like the bond of brotherhood,” but they don’t know what they’re actually saying. In the motorcycle club world, some would say the patch makes you brothers; this has been misconstrued to mean that brotherhood is the result of sewing on the patch, in that minute.
Not so fast.....
In today’s world, it is painfully true that motorcycle clubs are popping up everywhere. If you’ve been here for five minutes, you know that most of these start-ups will fail within a short time. Why? It’s simple; the bonds of friendship were missing all along. The “Brotherhood” with new acquaintances, touted by the new guy, and rubber-stamped by the patch, probably never really existed at all.
Brotherhood has many varying definitions. In the MC world it is meant to signify an unbreakable bond between like-minded men; a kinship that transcends all other interpersonal relationships. Brotherhood is a necessary component for different people who share common goals and tribulations in support of each other.
Brotherhood is often forged in adversity by men forced to work together, under the challenges of dangerous or difficult common circumstances. It is often necessary to put aside personal differences to survive or prevail in adverse conditions. Such fraternities are rare indeed.
These days, we hear the endless stories of people migrating from one motorcycle club to another or quitting to start their own clubs. Regardless of who is at fault (you never really know), The failure of brotherhood is usually the underlying cause. I once heard a 1%’r say, ”He’s always your brother...until he’s not.” Let that sink in, it took me a while to get it myself.
Brotherhood in the MC world is not a guarantee, but rather a result of an individual taking the necessary steps to earn friendship. With enough luck and hard work, he may have that effort returned. It happens one person at a time, one relationship at a time. There is no automatic brotherhood that arises from a common patch alone.
Ask yourself, would you still be friends with your MC brother if he took off the patch? The answer may lie in how you would describe your relationship, before he put it on in the first place. This is why prospecting strangers may be your best course. Why wait until you find out it is necessary to recover your patch from somebody, who should never have been there in the first place?
From my perspective, I am fortunate to have contact with many clubs. Those who endure the trials of club start-up, and whose members are still there years later have one thing that mc start-up/failures never had - Friendship. There can be no real brotherhood without it.