Did Zack de la Rocha, like, read my mind?
Or maybe he just read my blog back in June about Los Lobos boycotting Arizona over SB 1070. There I suggested that de la Rocha and all the other great acts avoiding Sand Land like the plague get together and do an anti-SB 1070 Woodstock. Maybe on Native American land. You know, so that it technically would not be violating his Sound Strike slogan "Arizona is our picket line."
So this is what the Rage Against the Machine/One Day as a Lion frontman just told Billboard Magazine:
"In the coming weeks we are going to be organizing a series of concerts that are respectful of the nature of the boycott in its attempts to isolate the Arizona government but not isolate the people, and especially the organizations that are fighting this on the ground.
"Many of us have begun to plan concerts that include bands that have signed on the Sound Strike, and make tickets available so that people within Arizona can come and see these concerts as they roll out. These are things that are being set into motion right now - a series of concerts or maybe even one giant concert in late July."
De la Rocha also told the music mag that there was a good chance RATM might play one of the gigs.
I had a funny feeling something like this might happen. Keep in mind that de la Rocha was involved in the immigrant rights struggle in Arizona long before SB 1070 was part of the discourse. He's helped lead massive marches in Phoenix, organized in part by the National Day Laborer Organizing Network and Phoenix civil rights leader Sal Reza's organization Puente.
De la Rocha even gave an impromptu concert once over at Puente's digs at the Tonatierra Center. He's helped raise money for the cause and signed a gazillion autographs for those who donated money to local immigrant advocacy groups or bought protest posters. In other words, he's no Johnny-come-lately to the issue.
His attempt now to isolate Arizona as if it were apartheid-era South Africa is a noble one. See, Arizona is a redneck state, with a redneck governor and a redneck, white-pride mentality. And I can tell you, having been raised in the South, that there's only one way to deal with rednecks. Look it up: In the history books, they call it Sherman's March to the Sea.
I mean that metaphorically, natch. But the bottom line is you have to defeat them, and punish them until they crawl back in their racist holes and take their states' rights rhetoric with them. (Go rent Mississippi Burning, insert in DVD player, hit play, then repeat, until you get the point.)
Rednecks will not concede quietly, and sadly, the political class here is pandering to them, just as segregationist pols did to racist whites in the South during the '50s and '60s.
That's why the boycott must bear down on Arizona in every conceivable fashion until Arizona gives. De la Rocha's effort is only one part of it. The next part is hopefully coming soon: Intervention by the federal government.
You want the boycott and the ostracizing of Arizona to end? Overturn the power structure that has given this state 1070, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and state Senator Russell Pearce. Otherwise, the quarantine of Arizona continues.
No word on where the concerts will be held, or if any will be held on Native American land. Hell, Zack should consider giving a free concert at the state Capitol and crank the latest Chuck D joint dissing Arizona. Wherever de la Rocha and the Sound Strike posse have their concerts, kudos to them.
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