Rage Against the Machine go a capella at RNC protest after cops shut down PA

When the police shut down the PA on Rage Against the Machine at an anti-RNC concert, the band took to the turf with a megaphone and performed a capella, delivering inspiring commentary between songs. This is must-see youtube -- some of the most heartening protest footage I've seen in years. Rage Against the Machine RNC - 09.02.08 (Performs Acapella in Crowd) (Thanks, Shahryarrakeen!)

Update: Xopl adds, "Rage Against the Machine had a scheduled legal concert in the Target Center in downtown Minneapolis tonight. Police and media where sitting and waiting outside during the whole concert in heavy numbers just waiting for something to happen when the show got out. The police got what they wanted. Police pepper spraying going on right now." Twitter 1, Twitter 2


  1. That made me cry…and on a night when I was beginning to wonder if anyone else out there had some damn sense? Thank-you Cory, this was awesome!

  2. The best moment of the RNC was outside, of course. Doing just what these guys were born to do. Just as at home behind the megaphone mixing with the people as on stage. This is indeed a wonderful thing!

  3. I was downtown St. Paul last night. The funny thing is that if they would have let Rage play the crowd at the capital wouldn’t have added itself to the sanctioned peaceful protest march going by last night.

    After that the police cut off the protesters exit route and pepper sprayed, tear gassed, and flash banged them.

  4. I really liked what Tom Morello said about the cops. When the day comes that police officers see that they have a lot more in common with the kids in the streets than the suits in the suites, that’s the day everything starts anew.

  5. Give me a break… “This war that John McCain started!!!”

    The Dem’s are soooo innocent… wait a minute, last time I checked Biden’s name was on the Yea list for H.J.Res. 114 to go to war. Why wasn’t Rage at the DNC??? That’s right, because politics are lame and if you take one side or the other you look stupid no matter what. Not moving at all, just more politic’n ad nauseum… this country is screwed no matter which way you look at it.


  6. Why would I hide behind a new ID… Okay… Correction then, I didn’t see youtube videos posted of Rage at the RNC. Was pointing out the fact that it wasn’t moving in any way and you can’t deny he said “John McCain’s war.”.

    Sorry don’t have some cliche-stick-up-my-ass-movie quote to reply with… thanks.

  7. And his second post does the first one proud.

    #12: No, in your first post you were ranting and spewing forth falsehood, and in this one you’re trying to pass your personal opinion off as fact.

    Anyway, what de la Rocha said was “… wars, like this one started by John McCain and the Republicans and George Bush and all of them”. As pointed out in the voting record you linked to, McCain was a senator at the time, and voted for the war. What he said was perfectly accurate. You’ve just taken the quote out of context.

    What was heartening was that, despite being prevented by police from performing at a legal concert for which they had permission, they managed to carry off an impromptu performance with crowd involvement, and got their message through while encouraging the crowd to stay peaceful. This is in sharp contrast to the anarchists smashing shop windows and the police tazing and tear-gassing nonviolent protestors.

  8. #3: sing! it scares the shit out of them

    Thanks, I really needed to snort my lasagne.

    #8: The Dem’s are soooo innocent… wait a minute, last time I checked Biden’s name was on the Yea list for H.J.Res. 114 to go to war. just more politic’n ad nauseum…

    I gotta say, I bet more repubs voted their consciences than dems did. In general, a lot of repubs really believed (no matter how misguided they actually were) that it was the right thing to go forth and get all aggro on the world, while a lot of dems knew it was a bad idea and went along with it anyway for fear of political consequences. No actual data, but that’s my working assumption.

    “assumption is the mother of all fuckups”

    preparing for assumption-induced smackdown …

  9. I’m not afraid to say that this video gave me chills and made me cry … this is what it’s all about.

  10. I didn’t realize RATM was so committed to social justice causes. And Tom Morello and Zack de la Rocha are both inspiring speakers. Why don’t THEY run for president/VP?

  11. Inspiring. It helps to drown out the sarcastic tones that are still ringing in my ears from last nights speech.

  12. @14: while a lot of dems knew it was a bad idea and went along with it anyway for fear of political consequences

    Isn’t that the kind of stuff RATM sings about?

  13. Note to to the “Students for a Democratic Society”: This is how you protest.

    When RATM played in Denver, it was at the National Western Stock Show Complex. It’s not really anywhere near where the DNC was held, say about 5 miles. There was a lottery for the free tickets and the entire event didn’t seem to be as much of a protest. I heard rumblings about RATM was to play in Civic Center Park, which is much closer to the action, but as far as I know that didn’t happen.

    @20: No kidding. Biden jumped off the bridge because his friends were doing it doesn’t make him cool.

  14. @18, Funny you should mention that…

    Morello: That’s correct. Recently, someone came up to me and said, “Dude, you’re the Barack Obama of music.” And I was, like, “No, he’s the Tom Morello of politics.” (Laughs)

    Tavis: Exactly. I like that. You were there first.

    Morello: We both have Kenyan – well actually, he’s a couple of years older, I think. But we both have Kenyan fathers, White American mothers. Both have a history, and I’m from Illinois, as well. Both Harvard graduates. And it’s pretty eerie. I’ve yet to meet him, but I look forward to it one day.

    I live about a mile and a half from the Target Center. We heard helicopters all damned night.

  15. If Tom Waits were here, he’d point that megaphone into a metal trash bin. THEN he’d sing… And all would be well.

  16. Is there any information available for those inquiring about the arrests of the producers and speakers from a show called: Democracy Now? I was listening to their show last night and appereantly they got roughed up and arrested. It’s a bit much when the cops are arresting reporters for covering their dirty work. When they asked the chief of police on what grounds they got arrested, he gave them a run around.

  17. For a minute I thought some of the fans were yelling for them to play Freebird. That would have been the ultimate in awesomeness.

    Still this was pretty darn cool.

  18. Once again, I am glad I normally do not have flash capabilities in my browser. When I opened the boingboing link in a flash-capabale brower, hoping to watch the embedded video, the flash ads on boingboing crashed my browser. Going to the linked article worked fine. Admins — please reevaluate the utility of flash-heavy advertisment space.

  19. #24: Jeez aren’t the helicopters the worst? During the DNC there was nothing that really bothered me like the 15 helicopters circling the city at 4:00am.

  20. middleofdaisle:

    I don’t think anyone is unclear as to the political standing of a band whose most-topical political song, “Guerrilla Radio”, contains the line “More for Gore or the son of a drug lord? None of the above, /fuck it/, cut the cord!”

  21. One fine day I looked out my window and I said “Hey, that’s Zac de la freaking-Roche” singing in my driveway. they didn’t have a permit, so I put on my bike helmut, put on a hunting vest, grabbed a big black flashlight (you know, the kind that double as weapons) and went outside and stood by menacingly. It worked — they started playing even better.

  22. #28, please reevaluate your lack of using the utility of an ad- or flash-blocking Firefox extension. :)

  23. I may be totally dating myself, but I saw them play at the pizza place on campus when I was in college, before they were well-known. It was ridiculously awesome, and people got super-amped, causing the venue to freak out and shut the power off. They pulled a similar move and just kept playing/singing/drumming with the sound and lights off, and everyone kept dancing like crazy.

    At that very moment, Iknew I was a fan for life. These guys never disappoint, to this day.

    FWIW, I spoke briefly to Zack once, and he is one of the most polite, soft-spoken/friendly guys I have ever met. Somehow it seemed like a weird contradiction based on his stage persona, but it was refreshing.

  24. In a real sense, the Iraq war was John McCain’s war. The dems screwed up and voted with the sentiment the bulk of the nation was expressing re: the war, but there’s a big difference between the people instigating a push for the war and the people capitulating.

    Try searching for ‘John McCain Iraq 2001’ or similar terms to see what McCain was saying about Iraq shortly after 9/11 (which, as we all know, had nothing to do with Iraq). For example, see http://thinkprogress.org/2008/08/01/mccain-anthrax-iraq/

    McCain was one of the first people out there advocating war against Iraq, a war that has cost about a *trillion* dollars so far, and has arguably made America less safe, not more so.

  25. Also, inexplicably, McCain has voted against veterans benefits of many types, including Obama’s plan for housing for low-income vets and money for medical and mental care, and astonishingly has voted to support torture! He truly must think “I went through it all, they can, too,” with the ‘they’ being indiscriminate innocent brown people who happen to live over oil. The Republican Party as a whole shows not an ounce of humility as they continue to rattle on about “victory in Iraq”. I’d like for somebody to try and explain to me what “victory in Iraq” is, and also try to come up with a half-way believable excuse about the lies of WMD – and phrase it like you were talking to a mother who has lost her husband, parents, and children… It’s not that I still care about that old news, but she might still be waiting for answers to those questions. The dead in her family could be any of the hundreds and hundreds of thousands of completely innocent civilians we’ve wiped off the face of the earth. When is enough enough? Oh, yeah. 100 years would be good for McCain. No shame, no humility, and no answers.

  26. I agree with FUNERALPUDDING. I was watching the debates, and McCain kept saying that we were “winning” in Iraq. How is that quantified? What are we winning?

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