(Did you like the oh so clever blend I used in the title? Yeah, me neither.)
No doubt my meaning will be misunderstood here, either deliberately or due to my inability to get my ideology across but, anyway, this isn’t a personal attack on Morello, just a little opinion that I tried to condense into a small enough amount of characters that I could comfortably fit it in comment on Facebook, but which grew a little out of proportion.
Right; this is a little out of character for me. To post online anyway, it is rare that I see the purpose of doing so when all the facts and arguments in the world can be undone by a few people commenting ‘TMIDNR’ or, perhaps, keeping it simple with a nice short ‘f4ggot’ or ‘kunt’; but here we go!
I’m British so, perhaps, it could be said that I don’t completely understand the kind of atrocities Americans do to one another; it is also rarer that we get the police gunning people down because of their skin colour; in fact, our police tend to go for a kind of petulant bullying, simply prying their noses into things that are no concern of their, i.e. not illegal or even harming anyone, or they try to come up with something to blame the person they are after, simply because a lot of them love having the power to do so.
Rage Against the Machine are… an alright band, no more than that. They sell, or sold, themselves as politically relevant, but they are so distant from any real problems, or solutions, that our fucking Prime Minister once said they were his favourite band. Our shiny-headed little cocaine addict of a leader said they were great; that should be an instant kill for any self-respecting ‘punk’, or anarchist-stylised, band. I’m sure if Thatcher had ever said Billy Bragg was a brilliant musician; that would’ve made him severely reconsider his life choices.
Tom Morello is a good guitarist, if he relies a little too much on effects, but I thought some of the guitar parts on his solo project ‘The Night-Watchman’ were amazing but, then, I’ve already preferred acoustic, I’m weird like that. Even some of the lyrics I like, if some really didn’t mean anything besides creating some nice imagery.
But, once again, he thinks he’s a kind of political activist.
He isn’t; or, if he is, it isn’t for the people he claims it is.
When we had our own riots a few years ago, they were supposed to have originated over the shooting of Mark Duggan, a black kid who was under investigation for his relationship to gang crime and the like. Now, the official story is that he bought a gun, the police stopped the car, he got out waving the gun and refused to throw it away, and then the police shot him.
That has drawn a lot of scepticism, as it should, because otherwise we WILL end up living in a kind of police state but, anyway, a young black man was killed by a middle-aged white police officer. Fascinating how often that story seems to be told; whoever said history was cyclical may have been on to something.
Perhaps the first riot was in protest over the shooting, perhaps, but those that followed certainly weren’t. It was an excuse for the violent, impotent thugs that my generation is composed of to let loose their barbarism; to commit arson and theft and battery and property damage with reckless abandon. For several days, in major cities throughout the country, riots flared but I severely doubt any of them even knew Duggan’s name or had any backstory. They simply saw any opportunity to steal some new trainers or a flat-screen TV.
The majority of the British public are scumbags, I can’t argue against that, but that small percentage that abused a death in this way, that stole and let loose their inhibitions, I would happily condemn to the guillotine.
Anyway, back to Morello.
He said that the riots were essentially part of an ‘overreaching desire of humanity to stand against tyranny and want a decent life for themselves and their families’, he even compared the riots to the Syrian revolution and those in Spain and Greece.
Morello is an idiot. He doesn’t understand anything about the motivations of such people; if you offered one of these track-suited ‘vigilantes’ a better life, they’d take it on the condition they didn’t have to work for it, and then stab you so you couldn’t take it away.
Now, I want this to be absolutely clear, I am not comparing the England riots to Ferguson, in any way. Ferguson seems to actually have some purpose to it, besides the ‘looting from innocent people and burning down buildings which had stood for over a hundred years’ meaning that the England riots had.
All I am suggesting that the idea that anything which opposes a government is right and is for the betterment of humanity is complete and utter bollocks. I am also suggesting that people like Morello, who so desperately want to be seen fighting the ‘good fight’ are as toxic to any legitimate cause they attach themselves to as any governmental condemnation could be; even more so, perhaps.
If Morello runs around claiming that every time the police arrests someone it is unlawful, that every time something is stolen from a person who has more it is a Robin Hood moment, that every riot has gone to make the world a better place, then he is evidently deluded.
The protestors in Ferguson need to be careful that they aren’t simply seen as anarchists, they need to maintain the reasons for their anger as righteous, not simply a matter of ‘Hey, there are enough of us to take what we want now,’ and Morello, I’m almost sorry to say, doesn’t care about individuality.
Anarchy couldn’t work so long as we have people who care about things to the degree that rioters do; they are the ones more likely to start fights over land or food, or water or whatever, and then society becomes the strong taking what they want from the weak.
Morello is not a good figure to have attached to a campaign, even a legitimate one, and my sympathy for the cause has gone up, if my sympathy for those involved in the riots has gone down.
I’d also like to point out that, whilst writing this, I’ve been unable to get Killing In The Name Of out of my head; I really don’t like that song.