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What’s Wrong With Today’s Protesters, Protests and Protest Music?

Activism, Outreach and Education

“Now the urgency and energy has turned into complacency, and the school and universities are turning out a brand-new breed of young conservatives…”

Ray Davies, The Kinks

“Help save the youth of America, help save youth from themselves…”

Billy Bragg

The war has started and may already be over by the time this column is printed. And if that’s so, then jah. If not, let’s try and figure out why today’s protest marches have turned into little else than a pseudo-hippie, granola fashion show.

No longer do we have Phil Ochs, Bob Marley or even the Clash as the voice of a generation. Though we have songwriters as talented as Billy Bragg and Elvis Costello, today’s callow youth would rather listen to such “social conscious” blowhards as Sting, U2 and Midnight Oil. Instead, such whiners as Suzanne Vega and Tracy Chapman are looked upon as insightful. Praise jah that there are still punk rock and reggae bands, although those, too, are being corrupted.

Let’s learn a lesson from the “real” hippies, those who were there during the ‘60s and ‘70s. Lets listen to the now peaceful Vietnam vets. Let’s listen a little and not be concerned so much with ourselves.

What can we do for peace? I suppose attending peace rallies and marches are nice, though they’re not my cup of tea (besides, doesn’t it strike some of you as hypocritical that we shout “no blood for oil,” but subsequently waste that resource by driving to the Capitol building (or buying the new Sting tape).

Instead of sending xeroxed copies of protest letters (which helps to continue deforestation of tropical rainforests that are so in protest-vogue these days), dare to start discussions in your homes, your work, your school. Write individual and personal letters to your representatives.

Sure these protests look good, but do you think they’re actually changing anyone’s mind? Let’s face it, our war-mongering enemies are as intractable as we. Make your voices heard individually and collectively.

Lastly, let’s not forget next election day to vote out the bastards who supported the Bush regime and got us into the war in the first place. I suppose we could also drop a bomb or two on these guys for good measure, as well. Just remember, though, that you didn’t hear it here.

Read more from the archives below:

Sub Pop Rock City

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