Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Sound Strike Rising and the New "Juan Crow"
With so much else happening with the Occupy movement, it's easy to miss that there is another struggle (related, as they all are) taking place in Alabama. If you know what SB 1070 has been attempting to do to immigrants and Latinos in Arizona, then you know what Alabama's HB 56. This is a bill, voted into law earlier in the year, that cuts off urgently needed social services from anyone suspected of being undocumented, legally prevents them from working or owning a home, and, of course, opens the door for racial profiling.
Also like Arizona, though, the immigrant worker community hasn't taken this draconian and racist law lying down. October 12th saw immigrant activists launch a "Day Without an Immigrant" protests modeled on the 2006 mega-demos. Various civil disobedience actions--in particular one on November 13th--has seen both documented and undocumented stand shoulder to shoulder against this law from Mobile to Montgomery and across the state.
So it's no surprise perhaps that the Sound Strike is also growing. Yes, still. It hasn't gone away, nor has it faded by any means. Most recently, it's added dead prez, Jasiri X, Invincible and others to its roster. I have to admit I was a little more than a bit surprised when I heard this a couple weeks back--not because I wouldn't think these artists, among hip-hop's most visible and radical, would sign on. Rather, because I would have thought they did it a year ago!
Of course, their presence absolutely makes a difference. Any artist willing to join the picket line and say no to playing for Arizona's apartheid makes that picket line stronger. It also, as I've mentioned in passing before, opens the possibility to extend that same picket line.
After all, with Occupy being what it is, with new labor struggles beginning to pop off around the country, the avenues of solidarity are potentially wider than they've ever been. Might Alabama's own concert industry begin to bear the brunt of its state's racism? Only time can tell, but here's to hoping.