||Issue No. 208||13 February 2004|
All The Way With FTA?
Interview: Trading in Principle
Unions: While We Were Away
Politics: Follow the Leader
Bad Boss: Safety Recidivist Fingered
Economics: Casualisation Shrouded In Myths
History: Worker Control Harco Style
Review: Other Side Of The Harbour
State Of Confusion
Give Them A Medal
Musos Tune-Up for Election Rock
Undaunted by costly retaliation against outfits like Jethro Tull and the Dixie Chicks, dozens of acts are adding their voices to the anti-Bush campaign.
The rock against Bush movement spans the musical spectrum, from New York 70s icon Lou Reed and contemporaries like Bruce Springsteen, Don Henley, James Taylor, Dave Matthews and John Mellencamp; through Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder and reformed hellraiser, Steve Earle; to modern stars Moby, Green Day, the Dixie Chicks and NOFX.
Jay-Z is one of dozens of hip-hop artists linked in the Russell Simmons' Hip-Hop Summit, a project commited to registering four million new voters in time for the presidential ballot.
Mainstream country is represented by two of the genre's biggest names, Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard.
Leading US music mag, Rolling Stone, recently interviewed 30 artists for a feature on the phenomenon. It cited Iraq, the environment, the Patriot Act and the economy as reasons given by rock stars for committing themselves to ousting the president.
Two quotes from the article summed up the tenor of the interviews.
"We must all unite and work for whomever opposes Bush, regardless of whatever differences we may have. Our motto - Anything but Bush," Lou Reed.
"The America we believe in can't survive another four years of George Bush," Moby.
Musicians aren't just talking and singing, increasingly they are getting active in organising and campaigning.
Alongside the Hip-Hop registration drive, 100 bands including Green Day, Offspring and NOFX have lent their support to Punkvoter.com from where registration drives, a political action committee and a Rock Against Bush tour have sprung.
Mellencamp has posted an open letter on his own site, arguing Americans have been "lied to and terrorised" by their government, and declaring "it is time to take action".
Moby and Vedder put their heads together to organise a television advertising campaign to counter Bush's State of the Union address, last month.
Taking a stance can be costly as longtime rockers, Jethro Tull, found when a leading New Jersey radio station banned their material in retaliation to lead singer, Ian Anderson, saying "it's easy to confuse patriotism with nationalism. Flag waving ain't gonna do it".
Eight months earlier, more than 50 radio stations had refused to play the Dixie Chicks in response to lead singer, Natalie Maines' London admission that the group was "ashamed" the US president also came from Texas.
Two months, and much soul-searching later, the Chicks donated $100,000 to the anti-Bush Rock The Vote organisation.
Merle Haggard who recorded his own anti-war song, That's The News, last year, told Rolling Stone of his dismay at the commercial reaction against the Dixie Chicks.
The magazine quoted Haggard as likening the attacks on Maines, and her group, to things he had read about Berlin in 1938. "It pissed me off," Haggard said.
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