Rebel Music: The Sounds of Anti-NATO

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It’s the American Spring in Chicago. NATO delegates are in town and activists from around the world have seized the moment to highlight their causes of social justice. No doubt music has always captured the spirit of a movement, local acts are ready to set the beat for the beat down. Radical comrades Outernational (NYC) will headline a show this Friday night alongside DJ Puerko Pitzotl, The Employees, Graham Czach, and Los Vicios De Papa. Hear from the organizers of this show, why anti-NATO efforts are important to them and why it’s about so much more than the music.


What’s the importance of an anti-NATO summit show this weekend?

Outernational is coming to the city of Chicago this weekend to deliver the revolution rock, as we do night in and night out. Our concert Friday night at the Abbey Pub is timed to coincide with the anti-NATO protests going on this weekend. We will be there with The World Can’t Wait, Saturday night’s Woody Guthrie tribute show at the Metro, and then on Saturday for the IVAW march and protest. Why? Because NATO’s supposed “peacekeeping” is aimed at maintaining a world of Western imperialist—especially U.S. imperialist—domination over the people of the world.

What do you want people to walk away with from collective shows like this one ?

As one can ascertain from our music, whether it be Fighting Song or Que Queremos, The Beginning Is Here, or Ladies Of The Night, I’m not singing not about band-aids on cancer, water-buckets in a forest fire, or reforms on capitalism. More than revival, our aim for each Outernational concert is a collective conjuring of sorts, a journey to the other side, a window to a whole other way we could be living. I have been excited that that the arrival of a communist rock and roll band from one town to the next has been drawing forth a new generation of young angst-filled rockers filled with high hopes for a new way to live and longing to discover a different way the world could be.


What’s the importance of an anti-NATO summit show this weekend?

The protests of the NATO summit come as families and individuals are fed up with the decisions that are being made by these “World Leaders”. The Anti-NATO demonstrations in Chicago are of great importance because they reveal our collective rage on issues that affect us, and these “Leaders” are not addressing.

What will be the message of the collection of artist present?

As the activist Emma Goldman said: “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution”. We believe music can heal and inspire. Music lifts spirits and educates. Music has been an urban way to transmit feelings and emotions. It’s only logical way we (artists) demonstrate in a fun and danceable way our anger, frustration, but also our positive efforts into making this a better world for all. We (Outernational, Vicios, Puerko, the employees and Graham) are out to change the world, one song at a time.

How can Chicago artists and music fans contribute to the anti-NATO actions this week?

By attending to the non-violent protests and workshops. Get informed what issues are discussed at behind closed doors at the NATO summit. Decisions made in this summit affect us directly or indirectly, I think artists as well as music fans and people in general should make their voices heard, and in unison, and let NATO and public officials from all over the world that WAR is a waste of resources.


What is the importance of an anti-NATO summit show this weekend?

I think it is important first to fight the notion that the anti-NATO summit is just some loose connection of thugs gathering in the city to party and cause trouble. The actions taking place this week reflect months of planning an incredibly diverse coalition of individuals and social justice organizations. There are so many issues, so many problems and so many goals among them–some shared, some not–but one that I believe unifies them is the hope that this summit can help build momentum behind a movement that returns some power to the people and communities affected by groups like NATO. Organizing like that is exhausting work, and sometimes it is important to step back and celebrate culture that unites us just as well. We have a song, Fiesta y Lucha, and it is about exactly that. It can’t always be about fighting against Goliath. We also have to cherish who we are and what we have to offer the world, too.

What will be the message of the collection of artists present?

We are definitely connected by some common struggles that resonate around the world–the movement for immigrant rights, against economic exploitation and for real democracy–but I don’t want to say we are going to hit the stage and sing a manifesto or that our music represents some perfect plan to fix the world. Our music comes from our culture, our communities and our personal experiences. I guess we would like to add our voices in celebration to all those who are demanding, as the Zapatistas of Chiapas say, “un mundo donde quepan muchos mundos”.  We need a world in which many other worlds can fit, not one where order even in the guise of “Democracy” can be imposed from above by elites from the richest countries on Earth.

How can Chicago artists and music fans contribute to the anti-NATO actions this week?

I’m sure there will be a need for talented percussionists on the streets is the mayor allowing that? Honestly I think our first duties as artists and fans stem from our duties as citizens. We need to get informed, to get organized and to talk to each other. NATO represents a dying global order and the NATO way of thinking about the world–with the United States at the top, planting the seeds of freedom and prosperity in the lands of people who have historically been oppressed by these very same powers–this model just sounds more absurd every day. What can we do? We can stand up and say “No, my culture has value too… and so does yours.” But we also need to be doing the very hard work of thinking about how power will look in these new worlds and building new models where people share this responsibility in a way that works for everyone.


What is the importance of an anti-NATO summit show this weekend?

La importancia de anti NATO es de decir ya basta de usar y crear juntas que son pagadas bajo los centavos de la gente que pagamos taxas mientras ellos solo malgastan el dinero como siempre creando estas juntas con gastaos billionarios que nadamas benieficia a su poder militar y su poder mesquino de controlar al mundo porque el pueblo, la gente y la economia pinta otra historia hay muchas personas sin trabajo,familias en pobresa que pueden usar algo de este dinero que sera usado en reclutamiento policial y si es tan importante esta junta porque no la asen en una base militar o en un lugar donde los ciudadanos no tengamos que pagar los platos rotos?

What will be the message of the collection of artists present?

Hay que parar a Boeing y a su maquina criminal NATO!!

NATO PROTEST SHOW, Friday May 18th, at the Abbey Pub