Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that Arizona has passed a bill that essentially legalizes racial profiling. There are people for and against it, and obviously on the entertainment side, many are against it. Among them is Rage Against the Machine frontman Zack De La Rocha, He started an organization called The Sound Strike that’s essentially boycotting Arizona. Among the artists participating are, of course, Rage Against the Machine, Cypress Hill, Tenacious D, Massive Attack, and Sonic Youth. Here’s some of Zack’s call to arms:
Fans of our music, our stories, our films and our words can be pulled over and harassed every day because they are brown or black, or for the way they speak, or for the music they listen to. People who are poor like some of us used to be could be forced to live in a constant state of fear while just doing what they can to find work and survive. This law opens the door for them to be shaked down, or even worse, detained and deported while just trying to travel home from school, from home to work, or when they just roll out with their friends.
Some of us grew up dealing with racial profiling, but this law (SB 1070) takes it to a whole new low. If other states follow the direction of the Arizona government, we could be headed towards a pre-civil rights era reality. This unjust law was set into motion by the same Arizona government that refused to acknowledge Martin Luther King Jr. day as a national holiday.
When Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat, they arrested her. As a result, people got together and said we are not going to ride the bus until they change the law. It was this courageous action that sparked the Montgomery bus boycott. What if we got together, signed a collective letter saying, “we’re not going to ride the bus”, saying we are not going to comply. We are not going to play in Arizona. We are going to boycott Arizona!
While we’re definitely against the bill, and can’t really fault De La Rocha for actively speaking out against it, the motives are a little off. For one, we agree with Damian Abraham from Fucked Up, who got into a Twitter war with some band we never heard of called Stars. “All this does is not give the people that like your band enough credit and assumes that they are in someway supportive of the bill,” he responded to Stars’ announcement they were boycotting the state.
Also, look at that list of performers boycotting Arizona. Way to go, Rage Against the Machine. When was the last time they toured again? Massive Attack? They’re from the UK, and only tour once per album. Street Sweeper Social Club? Wait, who’s in that band again? Oh right, RATM guitarist Tom Morello. Tenacious D? Is Kyle Gass going to not drink Arizona Iced Tea? It’s not like it’s not a worthy cause, but how much pull will these acts have in urging people to join the boycott? The biggest name on there is the guy that’s directed a few Rage Against the Machine videos, Michael Moore. He’s definitely got the biggest reach (and likely the biggest gut, but that’s a different story).
At any rate, sign the petition here.