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Why Movements Need To Start Singing Again

Social movements are stronger when they sing. That’s a lesson that has been amply demonstrated throughout history, and it’s one that I have learned personally in working to develop trainings for activists over the past decade and a half. In Momentum, a training program that I co-founded and that many other trainers and organizers have built over the last seven years, song culture is not something we included at the start. And yet, it has since become so indispensable that the trainers I know would never imagine doing without it again. The person who taught me the most as I came to appreciate the impact that song can have on movement culture is Stephen Brackett, an activist and hip-hop MC known on stage as Brer Rabbit.

This Is Not A Drill’: The Music And Politics Of Roger Waters

Roger Waters, the British rock legend and co-founder of Pink Floyd, is in the midst of his “This Is Not A Drill” tour. In his concerts he weds his musical genius to the most pressing social issues of our day, including permanent war, police violence, the crimes of Israeli occupation against the Palestinians, the killing of the Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, and the imprisonment of Julian Assange. Waters has been an outspoken opponent of the NATO-fueled war in Ukraine, and a vocal supporter of contemporary social movements such as the Water Protectors at Standing Rock and global protests against police violence from the United States to Brazil and Britain. He joins The Chris Hedges Report for a wide-ranging conversation: from his youth and musical career to the political worldview that undergirds his provocative ‘This Is Not A Drill‘ tour.

Hundreds Of Musicians Sign Onto Boycott Letter

Hundreds of musicians, including members of Rage Against the Machine, have signed on to an open letter that asks other artists to boycott performances in Israel until it ends its occupation of Palestine.

Anne Feeney, Folk Singer And Political Activist, Dies At 69

Anne Feeney, the legendary Pittsburgh folk singer-songwriter and self-described rabble-rouser, has died of COVID at age 69. Her daughter, Amy Sue Berlin, shared the news in a Facebook post on Wednesday night, writing, in part, “It is with a very heavy heart that we must announce the passing of our courageous, brilliant, beautiful mother, Anne Feeney. We were very lucky that she fought hard enough to open up her eyes, and give us a couple days to be with her before she finally decided it was time to let go.” "It is with a very heavy heart that we must announce the passing of our courageous, brilliant, beautiful mother, Anne..."

No Music For ICE! Musicians: Pull your Music From Amazon This Holiday Season

In an escalation of our NoMusicForICE campaign, we just issued takedown notices to pull our music from Amazon’s digital platform, and you can too. We’re calling on musicians & labels who oppose ICE’s human rights abuses to join us during the holiday season. Read on for why, and how, you can join us in a collective digital takedown, in solidarity with groups fighting Amazon’s support of ICE nationwide. Mass takedowns will begin on Black Friday and continue throughout Amazon’s all-important holiday shopping season.

Oklahoma’s Working Class WoodyFest2019: Second Wave Of The Sixties

(Okemah, Okla.) The hot humid days of July annually in Okemah rallies around their hometown socialist, Woody Guthrie. Okemah, a rural town of about 3000 citizens in northeastern Oklahoma.  July 10-14, 2019 the 22nd Woody Fest[1]celebrated, remembered, cried, and rallied behind the songs of the working class. Songs were written over 80 years ago of the working class, unions, and immigration is just as relevant today as it was then. Woodrow Wilson (Woody) Guthrie[2]was born to Charley and Nora Belle Guthrie in Okemah, Oklahoma on July 14, 1912. Woody’s parents, who were staunch Democrats, named their son after the man who had been elected President that year. In the 1930s, Woody joined thousands of others who migrated to California during the Dust Bowl Era, becoming known as the Dust Bowl Troubadour.

AfGJ Reviews Year’s “Best” Albums For Activists

It’s that time of year when we look back on the old year while entering the new.  On the music front, there were many releases in 2017 to pique the interest of the socially and politically conscious. With the plethora of best album lists coming out right now, the Alliance for Global Justice has given me the thumbs up to put out our own. I hope this little guide will give you some good material to explore. This is rather long, so no need to read it all as one big piece. Glance it over and if you see something that catches your eye,check out the review, and then give the album a listen and see if you agree! Enjoy – and Happy New Year! You can support these artists best by buying your own copies of their music.

Chilean, Trained By School Of Americas, Guilty In Murder Of Singer

By Linda Cooper and James Hodge for National Catholic Reporter - Nearly 43 years after the assassination of a famed Chilean folksinger, a Florida jury has found a former Chilean lieutenant liable for his grisly murder in the days after a U.S.-backed coup brought dictatorAugusto Pinochet to power. A six-member Orlando jury found Pedro Pablo Barrientos Nuñez liable Monday (June 27) for the torture and murder of Victor Jara, rejecting the main defense argument that Barrientos never stepped foot in Chile Stadium where the folksinger was held with 5,000 others immediately after the coup.

Republican National Convention Perfect Place To ‘Cause Ruckus’

By Chad Childers for Loudwire.com. Prophets of Rage have played their first show in Los Angeles, with their second scheduled to take place Friday night (June 3) at the Hollywood Palladium, but what happens after that? Determined that their music is needed now more than ever, the collective of Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello, Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk, Public Enemy’s Chuck D and DJ Lord and Cypress Hill’s B-Real will take their music to where it’s needed most. When asked about what the band was doing in July, Morello told Bloomberg Politics (in the video interview above), “Well there a thing called the Republican National Convention in July and that’ll be a perfect place for a band like Prophets of Rage to cause a ruckus and we will be there on the streets in the fields and in the concert hall.”

Morello On Ferguson: ‘Not A Humanitarian; I’m A Hell-Raiser’

By Brittany Spanos in Rolling Stone - Yeah, there are thousands of cases, countless cases of white police officers murdering unarmed black people and getting off scot-free. What happened in Ferguson was that the community reacted in a way that was newsworthy on a global scale. If there had been one prayer circle and everybody singing "Kumbaya," that would've been completely swept under the rug. The outrage of there being no indictment really cast a global light on the kind of racism that is America's original sin. The Michael Brown case was the first domino in the 21st Century that we've seen. I don't need to remind you how; all you have to do is turn on the news every two to three days. Horrendous incidents. But now people have their cameras. If there had not been an uprising in Ferguson, there would not have been indictments in Baltimore. There's a greater vigilance.

Rapper-Poet Akala: ‘Slavery Was Foundation Of European Capitalism’

By Dan Glazebrook - Hip-hop, and the entertainment industry in general, is known more for encouraging artists to become one-dimensional caricatures of themselves than for nurturing a culture of political engagement, revolutionary love and serious historical research. But then Akala is not your typical entertainer. Kingslee James Daley, whose stage name is Akala, is a genuine polymath. Since the start of his music career in 2003, the English rapper, poet and writer has remained fiercely independent, releasing material solely through his own label and refusing to kowtow to the mainstream. A MOBO award-winning rapper, Akala is also a campaigning journalist, lecturer and founder of a company that teaches Shakespeare to schoolchildren.

Patti Smith’s Summer Of Rebellion

By John Nichols in Bill Moyers - Patti Smith has electrified Europe over the past several weeks with a series of concerts that have been as politically bold as they have been musically rich. Touring to mark the 40th anniversary of her first album, Horses, the American rocker’s performances are anything but a nostalgia trip. At 68, Smith remains a vital and provocative artist with a radical message for the 21st century: “We are all being f—ed by corporations, by the military! We are free people, and we want the world and we want it now!” This is protest music. But it is protest with a fierce edge that seamlessly weaves a new politics into a rich legacy of rock-and-roll rebellion. Smith is not preaching to the converted, nor is she mouthing talking points.

UK Police Scan More Than 100,000 Faces At Music Festival

By Joe Zadeh in Vice - This weekend’s Download Festival will be subjected to strategic facial recognition technology by Leicestershire Police, making those 100,000 plus attendees the first music fans to ever be monitored to this extent at a UK music festival, according to UK police news and information website Police Oracle. Globally, it’s not the first time festival attendees have been heavily surveilled at a music festival, usually without their prior knowledge. After the Boston Marathon bombing of April 2013, the subsequent Boston Calling festival was subject to heavy but discreet forms of facial recognition surveillance (as covered here by Noisey US).

Interview: Firebrand Records To ‘Fight On The Cultural Front’

By Michael Fox and Ryan Harvey in TeleSur - Artist and activist Ryan Harvey, co-founder of Firebrand Records with Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello, gave teleSUR en exclusive interview about the new distribution label. ​Harvey, who is also a teleSUR blogger, explains that over the next year Firebrand hopes to build the roster and help artists achieve more recognition through both promotion of their releases, tours, and other projects, and through cross-pollination from the collective nature of the label: "Firebrand is a new project because of it's scope: we are both international and multi-genre, but more importantly, we are offering a mechanism whereby artists don't have to worry about political or social censorship surrounding revolutionary ideas about human rights, for instance, to hope to get real professional promotion and distribution."

The Ballad Of The Stolen Fiddle

By John Kelly in The Washington Post - Don’t call the musical instrument that was stolen last week from Jimmy Betts’s car a “violin.” It’s a fiddle. “Fiddles are meant to be out and about in the world,” Jimmy said. “Fiddles are meant to get down and dirty, creating music. Violins, generally, are meant to be kept in an orchestra pit.” John Kelly writes "John Kelly's Washington," a daily look at Washington's less-famous side. Born in Washington, John started at The Post in 1989 as deputy editor in the Weekend section. And Jimmy’s fiddle most definitely got around. Jimmy’s a community activist and climate-change protester, and he carried his fiddle with him on a 3,300-mile walk from California to Washington. It accompanied him as he trudged through the Mojave Desert. It was strapped to his back as he dodged thunderstorms in Colorado.
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