Oakland Symphony performs radical social justice song of yore

Oakland Symphony was forced to cancel its season but they've continued to rehearse through Zoom. In lieu of its regular in-person concert, they performed their version of "This Land is Your Land" and posted it on YouTube. Its conductor, Michael Morgan, says of the song choice, "It's often misinterpreted as just another patriotic ditty. The reputation of its composer, Woody Guthrie, is smoothed over and sanitized. But the fact is, it was written in 1940 when many patriotic songs seemed to either exclude or present a very narrow vision of what it was to be American. 'This Land is Your Land' comes out of the bedrock of the social justice movement. It was an anthem of inclusion when inclusion was not mainstream. This song is radical. Woody Guthrie was a socialist, if not a communist, and his song is for everybody..."

Yes, he's talking about the same Woody Guthrie who had a sticker on his guitar that read, "THIS MACHINE KILLS FASCISTS":

screengrab via Oakland Symphony/YouTube; image via United States Library of Congress/Wikipedia Read the rest

What's cooler than being cool? Hundreds of musicians protesting ICE and Amazon

Stop, collaborate, and listen: Amazon's complicit in ICE's extraditions (plus other abuses of human rights enabled by that agency's authoritarian agenda)

That's why hundreds of musicians—nearly 500, at the time of this writing, though it was just over 100 when news broke Thursday morning—have signed onto an open letter pledging to boycott Amazon festivals, events, and other exclusive deals until the tech giant stops enabling the systematic abuses of Immigration Customs Enforcement. The list of signatories includes Guy Picciotto of Fugazi, as well as Ted Leo, Immortal Technique, Downtown Boys, Thursday, WHY?, Jeff Rosenstock, the Mowglis, War on Women, Diet Cig, Tim Kasher (of Cursive/The Good Life), and many more.

These are the demands for Amazon, directly from that open letter:

Terminate existing contracts with military, law enforcement, and government agencies (ICE, CBP, ORR) that commit human rights abuses

Stop providing Cloud services & tools to organizations (such as Palantir) that power the US government's deportation machine

End projects that encourage racial profiling and discrimination, such as Amazon's facial recognition product

Reject future engagements w/ aforementioned bad actors.

I signed my own band onto the list earlier this week, after catching wind of the movement on Twitter. (I tried to pull our songs from all Amazon-affiliated services, but our distro service makes that difficult to do.) My friends in the Kominas mentioned something about it, and then I noticed Deerhoof interacting with Sadie Dupois of Speedy Ortiz and Sad13, following up on the recent op-ed by Tom Morello and Evan Greer of Fight For The Future (both musicians and activists in their own rights). Read the rest