Zack de la Rocha, Sound Strike, and Puente's April 23 Anti-SB 1070 March

VotoLatino is sponsoring a talk with Javier Gonzalez of Sound Strike on Twitter today at 4 p.m. Pacific Time

There continues to be a lot of kvetching from the local music "scene" here in Sand Land about Sound Strike, the ongoing boycott of Arizona by numerous acts over Senate Bill 1070.

But like it or not the Sound Strike, led by Rage Against the Machine legend Zack de la Rocha, has been effective, as has the boycott in general.

In fact, state Senate President Russell Pearce's recent loss on five pieces of anti-immigrant legislation is directly attributable to the boycott.

The Arizona Chamber of Commerce, which had stayed neutral on 1070, actively lobbied against those bills, fearing another 1070 backlash. CEOs of major corporations doing business in Arizona chimed in against the hateful measures. Why did they do this? Because of the impact of the boycott on their bottom lines.

It's also worth remembering some recent history. Zack de la Rocha was involved in pro-immigrant marches and other efforts in Arizona long before SB 1070 was signed into law. He's lead marches against Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and has selflessly given of himself, performing at the Phoenix human rights center Tonatierra, signing countless autographs, and speaking out against the injustices suffered by migrants in Arizona.

I would also note that prior to 1070 and the resulting boycott, these naysayers in the critical realm were, generally, silent.

Both the Sound Strike and de la Rocha have raised beaucoup bucks for pro-immigrant organizations such as Puente and the Florence Project. Rage Against the Machine reunited for a benefit concert in Los Angeles, donating the proceeds to organizations in Arizona.

Puente's leader Sal Reza told me recently that de la Rocha and Sound Strike have together donated around $100,000 to Tonatierra.This past Christmas, the Sound Strike sponsored a community posada, where tons of food and thousands of toys were given away to children and families.

Sound Strike and de la Rocha will be helping again, paying the tab for the bandstand and sound system for Puente's April 23rd march to the Capitol. April 23 will mark the one year anniversary of SB 1070's signing. Much of the law has been enjoined, but not all of it. and of course, it's still in play in the courts.

Until SB 1070 is off the books, Russell Pearce is out of power and Arpaio is no longer doing immigration raids and sweeps, I hope Sound Strike keeps up its efforts.

What puzzles me about its critics is that on the one hand, they deride Sound Strike as ineffective. On the other hand, they whine that it's hurting the "scene." Pick a lane, guys. And as far as the "scene" goes, I could give a flip. I care more about the civil rights crisis in this state, and Sound Strike's detractors should as well.


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41 comments
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ragin
ragin

keep up the soundstrike, a few dissenters can whine all they want. Zack is doing a great job bringing attention as a voice of the voiceless. They can believe its not working until they are blue in the face.

Hotchman
Hotchman

No Ragin he really isn't. I just searched for news on Sound Strike on google and a total of 6 articles on it were from outside the state. 4 on the whole internet in the last 30 days! The Sound Strike is irrelevant nationally.

There is virtually no outside attention being brought on the issue. But man do people nationally pay attention to huge concerts...hmmm

Mistalee
Mistalee

Get over your consumerism and quit cryin' about Sound Strike. Zach La Rocha coming to Tucson in order to preach to the saved in some tiny little enclave of the self-declared hip is not going to have as much impact as an economic boycott. He is doing the right thing, you all are just sniveling because it inconveniences your "rock and roll lifestyle."

Jesse S
Jesse S

My 'consumerism' WTF and "rock and roll lifestyle" - please note that you have thrown quotes around something I didn't say, which in addition to your support for the so-called Sound Strike furthers my guess that you are not firing on all cylinders. When dealing with a common enemy, a discussion about strategy for tackling that enemy is generally a good idea, that is if the participants are in good faith. You assert that La Rocha preaching to the saved is a waste of time, really? Does the priest convert by not showing up to mass? For those on the fence about Arizona's legislation, my own interactions have suggested a circling of the wagons, rather than enlightenment spawned through boycott. But keep making stupid shit up, it must help you somehow.

Mistalee
Mistalee

I didn't name you.

Funny though. When you throw a rock at a pack of dogs, the one that yelps is the one who got hit.

Jesse S
Jesse S

I've gotten here late, but man this was good for a laugh: "You're implying that the Sound Strike has been ineffectual. Very well, then why all the candy-ass bitching about it? See, in reality, the Sound Strike has been very influential. That's the reason so much ink has been spilled whining about it." Because the wrong people are being impacted by this 'strike' you unfortunate dolt. Avoiding a concert date in a marginal market is not 'activism' in the slightest, but if you can spin it as a bit of spotlight garnering political righteousness, it's simply clever and weaselly marketing. Arizona is not just one right-wing monolith as this candy-ass (to borrow a phrase) strike pretends. So how does one stand for the internal Arizona elements that are fighting against the flood of xenophobic legislation? Through solidarity, through concerts, through engagement - not an upturned nose. Imagine if Michael Moore had said "you idiots in Wisconsin elected Walker, you're on your own". This nuclear option is only creating mushroom clouds amongst fan bases that a moments reflection would tell you are not in line with Brewer et al. I just hope this garbage that you write pays the bills.

Mistalee
Mistalee

"So how does one stand for the internal Arizona elements that are fighting against the flood of xenophobic legislation?"

Well, apparently you shouldn't do it with an economic boycott that supports the struggle of those internal Arizona elements. That would just be wrong. Cuz then we couldn't sit around and sip our Jagermeister while listening to RATM. And that is the essence of tragedy.

Jesse S
Jesse S

Troll or Moron? there is no wrong answer

Mistalee
Mistalee

The question? Whointhehell is Jesse S?

Sisteract69
Sisteract69

Someone should remind all the acts these rialto guys say suck when this is all over and those same jerks try to get them to play there outdated, small, smelly, and poorly run venue. But blame it on the boycott, you venue sucks!

Susan22
Susan22

Hey I will give the waiters, franchisees, techs, and airport workers something to cry about so you all have a shoulder to lean on. I no longer eat at PF Chang's, Fly on US Airways, rent from U-Haul, or use Go Daddy (which I had 5 accounts with) - all because they are Arizona companies.

Ragin
Ragin

Biggers, if you dont know zachs history of activism, thats fine but to bash him for doing doing something, well there are words for that. Listen, it isn't a huge attention grabber unless you realize that by bringing attention to the soundstrike, it will lead to something else. I no longer will buy anything from pets mart, dial, or book a room from best western (and I ttavel a lot). Green is the only color that matters to these fools.

Douglas Biggers
Douglas Biggers

But explain this to me: If an artist performs at the nonprofit Rialto Theatre in Tucson, takes the opportunity to engage with local organizations fighting for immigrant rights and racial injustice, and encourages fans to get involved, and to vote for candidates who oppose these kinds of laws, why isn't that better than simply staying away? Tell me how the cause is furthered if the nonprofit Rialto loses the opportunity to earn an income? Whose "green" deprived who of what? The salaries that won't be paid to the local Tucson musicians who mainly work at the Rialto? And why not come to Tucson, perform and donate your guaranteed talent fee to Puente, to No Mas Muertes, to any number of other organizations? Does Russell Pearce care if Steve Earle doesn't come to Tucson? Fuck no. The only people harmed are the fans, those individuals most in need of an antidote to despair because we live in this godforsaken state. I just don't buy the Sound Strike argument. If they want to target corporate-owned venues because they think that will have an impact, that's one thing. But to indiscriminately tar the entire state, and every venue and promoter, regardless of persuasion or passionate support of the same ideals, is simply absurd.

Mistalee
Mistalee

"The only people harmed are the fans, those individuals most in need of an antidote to despair because we live in this godforsaken state"

Boo fuckin' hoo. If your idea of hardship is not getting to blow $40 a ticket to hear your fave alt band in concert, (as opposed to, say, being beaten comotose by La Migra) you're too goddamned privileged.

Want an antidote to your angst? Take action!

Jesse S
Jesse S

"Want an antidote to your angst? Take action!" Now we're getting somewhere, have you been beaten by La Migra? That's terrible if you have and it would please me if someone who had actually suffered at the Border Patrol's hands were now speaking out to tell me how the so-called Sound Strike helps them. But what is this "action" you're talking about? The BP are a federal law enforcement branch, right? Canceling a concert in Tucson or wherever does didilysquat, although I'm sure an artist can mention it on their myspace or fb and get a big clappy round of congratulations (oh man, he/she really FEELS, how dreamy). Douglas Biggers didn't use the word "hardship" that's your own victorian imagination. He has simply been pointing out the obtuse and self-serving pat-myself-on-the-back revolting nature of this bullshit protest. You want to fight La Migra? Do a benefit concert for No More Deaths who are documenting Border Patrol abuses every week.

Douglas Biggers
Douglas Biggers

What a bunch of sanctimonious bullshit. There are venues and promoters in this state who are just as opposed to SB1070 as grandstanding out-of-state "rock stars" who like to publish photos of themselves on their websites giving away toys to poor Hispanic children. Give me a break! In fact, Tucson's Rialto Theatre, Club Congress and the powerhouse Stateside Presents all represent extremely progressive elements who have been consistent in their opposition to SB1070...and these organizations have reached out again and again to the Sound Strike and have only been rebuffed with rhetorical nonsense. The Sound Strike is joke, a vanity project, and your fawning is repulsive. No one cares, least of all the racist cabal running the legislature, if a few musicians don't include Arizona on their tour itineraries. No one knows, and to fool yourself that the Sound Strike is somehow emblematic of the power of a real boycott is fantasy. Vastly more productive (and requiring real effort, instead of press release posing and pompous "Open Letters") would be actual engagement, on the ground, with venues and promoters who are doing the arduous work of real political organizing, one voter registration at a time. We either stand together against the forces of evil in this state, or we fracture and let these racist assholes continue to win legislative districts by a few hundred or a few thousand votes.

Hotchman
Hotchman

Douglas I totally agree! Sound Strike should be putting on concerts to get people to register to vote and be engaged. I know, I know, Zach and some of the leadership have been here marching, but a musician's biggest influence is on the stage. Soundstrike could be here pushing people to vote locally and change things, instead it marches. Marching, while great, does not get people to vote for you en masse. There have been many great moments of social change in this country and many of them have been promoted by musicians. Think how many people went to Woodstock and listened to the message of Peace that came from the original show. Sound Strike is wasting an amazing opportunity to team together with venues like the Rialto, and promoters like Stateside and put on "Rock the Vote" type shows that bring down politicians like Pearce. The Sound Strike is not the reason for the losses that these thugs have had, other organizations are. Large Businesses DO NOT CARE if a bunch of musicians won't play here. They care about who won't advertise with them, or who won't buy their goods from them, if they have a base in AZ.

As I have said to Sound Strike over and over. Get off your collective butts, not including the "leadership" as they are here on the ground, and put your MUSIC WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS! PLAY HERE, INFLUENCE CHANGE HERE!

favianna rodriguez
favianna rodriguez

Thanks for this story. I'm a visual artist and I believe in the power of artists taking a stand to hurt the bottom line of big governments. Unfortunately, states like Arizona only react when their finances are threatened. It's refreshing and inspiring to see how the Sound Strike has organized artists to not only take a stand and not play, but also to learn more about the fight to defend immigrants. Thanks for a great piece Steve Lemons.

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Ragin
Ragin

Stephen, you are doing a great job. It's refreshing to know there are still good people in AZ. As for Zack, he only fronts (thats right, they are back together again) one of the most successful bands in history...RATM.

Bobunf
Bobunf

The boycott has obviously been effective in many ways. SoundStrike, WordStrike,the cities, counties, school boards and nations that have boycotted Arizona. The convention, tourism and restaurant businesses that have been hurt badly.

Much of it is invisible. People who just go to Vegas, Disneyland, Yosemite instead of Phoenix or the Grand Canyon, and don't tell anybody about it. Companies that quietly don't move their headquarters to Arizona - who want to not be able to do business with 30 or so big local governments next door. It just easier to get a meeting in Albuquerque than Phoenix - no controversy.

Business knows this and wants it to stop. The only way to accomplish that is for Arizona to develop a much friendlier atmosphere for Latinos. They're 30% of the population and growing. You can't deeply offend such a large group without bad consequences.

Arizona's feeling the consequences: a bad economy, falling real estate prices, educational funding falling through the floor. And we are a pariah state with crazy gun laws, birther bills, extremism and death panel characterizations the order of the day.

The path to recovery is obvious. Don't fall for fear of the stranger and the political pandering that feeds it.

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Shocked
Shocked

I seem to recall less than a month ago Sound Strike and the New Times exchanging some angry words. So now La Rocha is the Messiah again who's boycott influenced this State Senate to vote against a bunch of bill that will cost the State millions to defend in Federal courts? Hail the the rock star. So when was the last time Zach came to AZ and sold enough tickets to influence the economy? So how much did his band ( WHAT BAND EXACtLY??) not playing here cost the state?

StephenLemons
StephenLemons

New Times is made up of different writers with different opinions. I have covered Zack every time he's come to town. I've reported on the marches he's been in here, the benefits he's done for the residents of this state, and so on. I've never exchanged ill words with the Sound Strike. I've supported it and praised de la Rocha's efforts from day one. The music critics for this paper have a different view.

Cypress Hill, My Chemical Romance, Los Lobos, and others have canceled dates because of the 1070 boycott. Now, I'm sure your rebuttal will be "They all suck." Whatever. Conor Oberst, Kanye West, and Mos Def are supporters of the Sound Strike, as are numerous other acts. Not all of them can suck, as much as you'd like for that to be the case.

You're implying that the Sound Strike has been ineffectual. Very well, then why all the candy-ass bitching about it? See, in reality, the Sound Strike has been very influential. That's the reason so much ink has been spilled whining about it.

Zack de la Rocha is not the Messiah. The Sound Strike is part of the overall boycott that helped beat back those five bills. It donates to Tonatierra and other worthy causes locally. What you and the other haters need to do is catch a clue, and realize that some things are more important than your own selfish, petty desires. There's a lot of injustice in this state. The Sound Strike is helping to fight it.

concerned"american"citizen
concerned"american"citizen

I totally agree with you Mr. Lemons.. Its so crazy how people of other races don't see what and how a person like me an American Citizen born and raised in the UsA gets affected by all this (fucked up)bills. I too have been a victim of the rascism that this state offers you if you are brown. It makes you feel like a 2nd class citizen and sometimes hopeless. Why should I have to walk around and be afraid of being stopped by law enforcement when I pay taxes and live my life according to the laws yet the laws the laws they are inflicting on me say "If your brown you have to carry your papers and be ready to be questioned". My cousin is an FBI agent and a year or so ago they had a conference in New York and Phoenix is the number 1 city in the country with Methusers yet the Sheriff's department would rather focus on immigration. That's not his fucking job why isn't he out there rounding up people like "Josh Pearce" a drug addict that bought injury to his own child know if people don't get that and rather focus on illegals I think they have a mental problem.We are moving backwards not forward in this situation, Rascsim should be dead in the USA it should not exist yet its very clear here is AZ that the white "rascist" folk still exist. How come they don't follow the law why are they not subjected to getting stopped and questioned like me why you might ask because their skin is not brown like mine and thats a fucked up way of looking at people in a country where we are all created equal. I get the fustration dont get me wrong but it should be handled in a different way. Our politicians in this city scream "I am Rascist" yet us the people can't really do much because then you become their target. If people here in AZ don't get how they play the part of "puppets" by this morons that only talk and give no action then I hope someone steps in and saves us because this state is become a JOke..I moved down from Texas for hopes of a better life and although I have a great job what is happening is really detrimental to my spirit. I do believe in my heart that good will prevail and that all this hateful,KKK members will one day go down in history as the fools that they are. I still believe truly that good does prevail and it will one day!!Thanks to Mr. Lemons we are headed in the right direction.

Mistalee
Mistalee

You betcha. Absolutely pathetic to hear these bobos (bohemian bourgeoise) boo-hooing cuz the Sound Strike has slightly inconvenienced them. Even more pathetic when they try to frame their self-centered bullshit as "progressive." Fucking drones. They should do their sniveling and whining to Russell Pearce and Jan Brewer or just STFU.

favianna rodriguez
favianna rodriguez

Thanks for standing up for journalistic integrity, Steve. New Times is not some blob entity, its composed of varying viewpoints, as should ALL news outlets.

ExpertShot
ExpertShot

I saw a sign for Los Lobos just the other day. Are you sure they're in the SOund Strike? THey could have been playing a Reservation Casino and maybe that really isn't in Arizona - but Hey!

The reason I thought about this was because I realized that Los Lobos is spanish for The Wolves, which I, as an alumni of CHandler High School, know well. Then I linked it in my mind how The Beatles named themselves after an animal too. Then I thought about the Beatles, Wolves, Monkees, Byrds, et al and wondered why there weren't more bands named after animals - cause animals are cool. . . ..

Oh, and Happy early 4/20!~!!!!!! WE'RE LEGAL!!!!!!'

Oh yeah, and fuck Arpaio!

Dennis Gilman
Dennis Gilman

I support Sound Strike and the entire Boycott. If we are to get serious about real change-boycotts are necessary and effective.

JackofNoTrade
JackofNoTrade

So Zack de la Rocha's career still sucks and he's once again trying to make himself relevant. Poor Zack!

Gray Race
Gray Race

Zack has been the front man for Rage for many years and is known internationally making it big in his career playing at woodstock, coachella, and many more. He is politically active helping out with the community such as Puente. What have you done in you're life jerk off? Go somewhere else to rant dipshit.

Victor Frankenstein
Victor Frankenstein

Whoa there.This is an opinion piece and the commenters have opinions as well - and they're all entitled to voice them.

I'm a little torn on the overlying issue - the supposed "persecution" of people who may have been here legally but are not now. Or they never were. We're a nation governed by the rule of law, and there are laws being broken. That we attempt to address them in ways that are misconstrued on both sides of the issue is a daily pain for all.

That all the people in the state with Hispanic lineage aren't here illegally is a given, and no one can legally prosecute anyone until there is a reasonable doubt of their illegality.That is established when proof either is or isn't presented.

We do have a situation with people who have no legal right to be taxing the dwindling health resources of the state, and also using falsified documentation. To ignore that while shouting down alleged "civil rights offenses" isn't as heinous an offense as to blindly prosecute without due cause - but it's still offensive.

StephenLemons
StephenLemons

What, by helping out little kids with food and toys? You're an idiot. Which is likely why you have "no trades."

XSoldier
XSoldier

I agree with you that helping out little kids with food and toys is noble. I wish all our musical artists did that. However, I do not support his continued boycott of Arizona because of SB1070. What we need is tighter legislation at the federal level to curb the illegals with states being able to help while ridding ourselves of the illegals here already. The only reason most of the 12 million (twice Arizona's population) illegals are even here is because of expired visas. Those visas DID have an expiration date.

BTW, did you read that Georgia Governor Nathan Deal is going to sign a SB1070-style piece of legislation to help curb illegals in his state? Why not write about that? Your good buddy Senator Pearce wholeheartedly supports the Georgia bill.

Jack
Jack

To talk about Sound Strike and then say that Pearce's failed legislation is directly attributable to the boycott is kind of misleading. The votes my be related to a boycott of Arizona, but it's the boycotts to tourism and convention money (where people come from other states and spend money here). I'd guess that Sound Strike boycott is rather insignificant to these decisions, people don't book big hotels and conventions based on if Steve Earle is playing here.

Later you say it's puzzling someone could call Sound Strike ineffective but at the same time be hurting "the scene." Is it not pretty obvious to that something could hurt the "scene' and still not be effective for what they're trying to do? They are boycotting the business in the state which support their cause (hurting the "scene") and the tourism and convention business which can actually influence legislation feel nothing (making it ineffective).

Los Angeles Observer
Los Angeles Observer

Jack, you have just made the age-old, tested and time honored argument for silence, consent, and status quo.

Somehow you seem smarter to me than that.

Jack
Jack

You're putting words in my mouth. I didn't say they zhould stay silent, shouldn't protest, not boycott, or anything of the type, I just pointed out the fact that they aren't actually achieving what the author had stated.If their goals are to have this changed I do think that what they are doing is effectively "silence" as they have the opportunity to "rally the troops" here than can actually vote the politicians out of office that make these laws they don't like, but instead they stay away.It's up to them, though, I just don't think they should be patting themselves on the back taking credit for something they had little to do with.

StephenLemons
StephenLemons

If it's ineffective, the whining is a little out of place.

"They are boycotting the business in the state which support their cause..."

In general, business owners not supportive of 1070 have been hurt by the boycott as well. The point of a boycott is to inflict economic pain in the hopes that the political entity targeted will change its ways; e.g., the boycott of AZ over no-MLK Day.

Concerning the influence of cancelled concerts, it all ads up. You could say the same of certain cities that joined the boycott, which do little business with AZ.

Bottom line: Sound Strike is part of the boycott and the boycott has worked. End of story. So the music "scene" (hate that word) has been impacted by the civil rights struggle here in AZ. Well, cry me a river. Go tell it to the little kids whose parents have been deported.

Jack
Jack

The boycott may be working, but like I said, they've got little to do with that.What they are doing is like using a grenade when they've got a gun. Sure, they do some damage to the bad guy, but the good guy standing next to him gets hurt the same.They have access to the gun, though - they could come and rally voters since they are in the position that people will go and pay to see them get up on stage and say what their piece.And I agree, the music "scene" isn't the issue here, but I think the kids whose parents have been deported would be better served if the artists focused on a more effective protest.

Loosecannonsbluesband
Loosecannonsbluesband

The "scene" here is dominated by lamo bar and venue owners who don't care a twit about community and NEVER HAVE. Thanks to the internet and texting, there are more and more music presentations in people homes and private type venues and we bands are doing "mo' better" because of it.

The bar managers and venue that have been paying the bands here so little for so long are about to find out why they should have been supporting the "scene" more over the past 20 years.

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