I am a cellist and worker-owner of a cooperative. As an ICDE fellow, I hop out of my usual action-oriented work to reflect on why cooperativism is an alternative to the status quo for freelancing musicians. As a professional cellist, I witnessed the infrastructural fractures that musicians in the United States have to navigate. In 2020, I returned to the U.S. from a year of studying in France, after contemplating during quarantine about the economics of working as an artist. One important question I wanted to solve: Rather than competing with my colleagues for limited paid gigs, how can I generate new opportunities and resources with them?
U.S. employees at Bandcamp, an online audio distributor, have announced their formation of a union. Last year, the platform was acquired by Epic Games, the multibillion-dollar company behind games like Fortnite and the Unreal gaming engine. According to the union, known as Bandcamp United, a super-majority of workers are in favor of forming a union. They have authorized The Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU)’s Tech Workers Union Local 1010 division to represent their 62-person unit; this is the same group that supported Kickstarter United to form a historic first union among U.S. tech employees.
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, 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, 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..."
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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).