Jello Biafra talks Occupy, music, and Obama

In a great interview with the Guardian, former Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra talks about Occupy, Obama, his break with the rest of the Kennedys, and his current band, Jello Biafra And The Guantanamo School Of Medicine (whose existence I'd somehow missed!).

It's depressing how conservative people can be despite supposedly belonging to a supposedly alternative subculture.

Any alternative culture that inspires a lot of passion and inspiration is also in danger of being set in its ways, almost from the moment it's born. That even included the Occupy movement in some ways. It was discussed whether or not to participate in the electoral side of the system at all, which I thought was a good idea. Why not run people for offices and knock off some of the tired old corporate puppets in the primaries, like those lovely people in the Tea Party have done with the Republicans? But other people chose not to do that.

You've been involved with the Occupy movement. (2) The initial media storm around it seems to have died down …

I think that anyone who declared that Occupy was a failure was very much mistaken. I knew it would have a ripple effect, like throwing a big piece of concrete into a lake and just watching the waves ripple. In a way, Obama owes Occupy big time for saving his ass in the 2012 election. Occupy brought the issue of inequality and Grand Theft Austerity, as I call it, right to the forefront.

Jello Biafra: 'Obama owes Occupy big time' (via MeFi)


  1. Thank you Jello for understanding Occupy is not gone. An Occupy Houston member ran for Harris County Sheriff last year as the Green candidate and did quite well, and we still got our Democrat reelected for Sheriff because Remington Alessi  got most of his support  from people who had rarely voted before 2012. And you must remember this is not small potatoes. At 4 million residents, Harris County, TX is the 2nd largest court jurisdiction in the US. We might have a City Council seat soon, we’d have it for sure if Remmy ran for an At-Large seat. How could folks out in the burbs refuse to vote for an Italian named after a firearm?

    The rest of us occupiers are involved with Move to Amend. Occupy Houston was not a failure. We have a stronger Green Party, we have a very active Move to Amend chapter, and most importantly, we stared into the Belly of the Beast on #D12. We faced fear and survived.

    1.  He is right.  I just wish he’d make good with DK so that I can respect him again.

      Maybe that’s off-topic Jello-bashing.  If so I apologize.

  2. his current band, Jello Biafra And The Guantanamo School Of Medicine (whose existence I’d somehow missed!)

    You know why? Because the first rule of Jello Biafra is: Everybody Eventually Gets Enough of Jello Biafra

  3. Jello’s comment on social media that “It used to be that living in a world of imaginary friends was considered a mental illness” is a fucking amazing quote.

    1.  He ran for Mayor of SF and ran for the Green Party nomination for President of the US.

  4. More participation in democracy is always good. However, the unprepared Occupy “leaders” decided to not put their skin in the game, much like what Ashley Judd did in Kentucky when reality set in. It’s nothing to be hopeful about. There is only one issue that will make a difference – mandatory government funding of public elections. We will have to die for it.

    1. Seems to me the Occupy folks had (and risked, and occasionally lost or at least got bruises on) plenty of skin in the game, it’s just that that game was not electoral politics.

  5. (ps, I’m for publicly-funded elections too. I just think Occupy get unfairly criticised for not doing things they weren’t setting out to do.)

Comments are closed.