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Rage frontman’s Arizona boycott swells to nearly 300 artists

By Stephen C. Webster
Tuesday, June 29, 2010 19:27 EDT
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Rage Against the Machine frontman Zack de la Roca is no stranger to shredding public policy in his line of work: indeed, rebel music has been the man’s lifeblood for decades. Though already a legend in the music world, this is one socially motivated rocker who is not about to stop screaming for change.

De la Roca’s latest endeavor, The Sound Strike, pitches him as not just the frontman to the most politically relevant mainstream rock group in the world, but also as the loudest voice encapsulating a charge of hundreds of artists and music groups that have agreed to boycott the state of Arizona over its crackdown on Mexican immigrants.

Since RAW STORY’s last report on the group, Sound Strike’s list of artists who’ve joined the boycott has swelled to nearly 300, with new names being added seemingly every day.

So far, artists to sign on for the boycott include major acts like Cypress Hill, Kanye West, Chris Rock, Connor Oberst, Rage Against the Machine, Serj Tankian, Nine Inch Nails, Rise Against, Maroon 5, Massive Attack, Sonic Youth, Anti-Flag, Ozomatli, Tenacious D and many others.

The complete list was published online and featured 296 groups at time of this writing.

“[The new law] forces the cops to hunt down and target anyone they ‘reasonably suspect’ that may be undocumented,” the protest group noted in a press release. “And if the people they harass don’t have proof that they were born in the U.S., they can be detained and arrested. This must be stopped.”

“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,” de la Roca wrote. “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.”

Sound Strike has also raised a petition to demand that President Obama take action against the state’s immigrant crackdown. The petition was available in English and Spanish.

“We as people, as artists, as members of civil society, we have to intervene,” de la Roca said in a recent interview. “That’s where the Sound Strike has come into play. It’s a form of civil intervention by a group of artists who, number one, do not want to compromise the dignity of our brothers and sisters in the state of Arizona who are suffering through this kind of legislation.”

This video is an interview with Rage frontman Zack de la Roca, featured on Tuesday by music Web site InHeadphones. The clip was produced by Producciones Cimarrón.

Zack De La Rocha for The Sound Strike from Producciones Cimarrón on Vimeo.

An earlier version of this story misspelled de la Roca’s first name as “Zach” instead of “Zack”.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
 
 
 
 
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