Rage Against the Machine. 1991The first Rage Against the Machine album cover has a famous 1960s photograph of a burning monk in Vietnam.  This album included Killing in the Name, an anthem against racism, US police force members who were also in the Klan, and the military-industrial complex, that curious phrase introduced after WWII by Eisenhower to represent the alliance of the military and corporations that raised its ugly head again during the Bush administration's 2003 invasion of Iraq. RATM played together from 1991 to 2000 and then reformed in 2007 performing at various anti-Bush and workers rallies.  It used to be the winsome Pete Seeger and Joan Baez who sang social activism, now it is RATM's metal rap funk.  It is all very much angrier now.

RATM's Zack De la Rocha and Tom Morello are articulate critics of the war in Iraq, presidents and their methods, an equally articulate supporter of the Zapatistas in Chiapis – the current version of US interference in Central America that had a parallel roster of protest singers during the 1970s.  Michael Moore directed an RATM video, they protest against the use of music in torture, the ongoing presence of Guantanamo, sweatshops, neo-nazis.  They come from Los Angeles, their success is international. 

smsteele is a poet who spent 6 months on and off at CFB Wainwrightistan in Alberta and then Kandahar as an official war poet.  She says the morning alarm clock is Rage Against the Machine's Wake Up —part of the lyrics:

Movements come and movements go
Leaders speak, movements cease
When their heads are flown
'Cause all these punks
Got bullets in their heads
Departments of police, the judges, the feds
Networks at work, keepin' people calm
You know they went after King
When he spoke out on Vietnam
He turned the power to the have-nots
And then came the shot
Wake up! Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!
Wake up! Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!

How long? Not long, cause what you reap is what you sow

Is it the beat that gets everyone pumped for patrols where they could lose their lives?  or does the beat simply deliver an enraged poem about being in a system that is a conflicting mixture of idealism and exploitation.  Rage is latent, it is like an unexploded IED.

Stephanie Whitewar