Rage Against The Machine have claimed the UK Christmas chart number one thanks to a grass roots campaign highlighting disenchantment with how much music is promoted and marketed. This is water cooler stuff, at work, at home, on the bus, it’s something to share and chuckle about.
So. It prompts a question.
When was the last time our flavour of the week was a group of revolutionary, pro-Zapatista, pro-Black Panther, pro-Shining Path, bank-hating rockers, who have been shut down, forcibly removed, and arrested for taking action through music and more direct means?
A while, no?
So. This is our Christmas gift for a shitty year.
This is the opener for a dozen heated conversations to open up some minds.
I’m choosing to get excited about this, and invite you all to get excited along with me. If you’re in for the ride. Wrest the world back onto the right orbit, through individual talk, thought and action. Not as easy as downloading a song, but a hell of a lot more satisfying.
The focus is on the song, so what about the song?
No need to get complicated: Killing in the Name is about bucking control systems, pure and simple. It focuses on institutional racism in security agencies, but this isn’t where it’s at for me. What feels timely is the failure of a meaningful accord at Copenhagen, and the gathering voices for direct action that have followed in its wake. Action against corporations or the state and for the people and our futures. If you think these ideas fall outside the mainstream, think again.
If this makes you want to do something – and it should! – one place you could start is
What else? A lot else. I’ll pick just one thing out that inspires me, beyond which I recommend you check out wikipedia or the band site and see what stimulates you. Be incredible, organic and grassroots.
RATM members supported South Central Farm in LA. People worked as a community to grow their own food, enhancing local economies and making themselves more resilient and self sufficient. They were eventually forced out by a businessman with a claim: now, it’s to be a car park.
In a future where energy will be costlier and industrial outputs must be downscaled, this is exactly backwards. Experts agree.
They haven’t lost the fight, having sourced land to continue production.
But no question, it is a fight: the powers that be are still after their car parks. We need to change that. And no doubt, this is a problem for us too. And we need to be even more inventive with how to DIY, as 70 hectares of land comes even less easy on this small island.
Here in South London, this is where I would look for more info and things to do
More broadly, loads of good stuff is going on here:
Remember, groove-rocking chart toppers care about community vegetable plots, so why the hell can’t you?
According to the band, anger is a gift. It’s true. And so is this, right here, a gift that was never meant to have grander consequences than denting the ego of a man with a mansion.
Talk, furiously talk this week. Reflect the next. Come January, act. Let’s do this.