August 5, 2008, Pearl Jam played Lollopalooza. Performing the song "Daughter", the band wove in the famous Pink Floyd song "Another Brick in the Wall". Righteously, Eddie Vedder, changed the lines "teachers leave these kids alone", to "George Bush leave this world alone", and "George Bush find yourself another home."
AT&T broadcast the concert on their online Blue Room portal. However, after the broadcast, fans informed Pearl Jam that this part of the performance opposing Bush was censored. (see www.pearljam.com)
When AT&T was confronted by Lollapalooza, they claimed that their "content monitor" had made a mistake! The real question is why does AT&T even HAVE a "content monitor"?
Out of fear that Eddie was going to reveal a breast?
Even after hearing all this, I still found it a little hard to believe that AT&T could pull something that would so obviously point to censorship against one of the most loved bands in history.
Pearl Jam has had multiple albums going both Platinum and Gold for their high record sales.
Their following is of diehard fans from ages 16-50.
I decided on my own to find out exactly why AT&T would want to take this type of risky action. It turns out AT&T is not just naïve or stupid, but they actually have a history of enforcing this type of suppression
Back in 2006, AT&T was one of the several leading telecom providers that allowed the National Security Agency's warrant-less illegal spying that allowed them unlimited access to voice and data networks as part of the Bush Regime's war on terror.
On Pearl jam's website they stated, "What happened this weekend was a wake-up call and its something much bigger than the censorship of a rock band."
Pearl Jam is correct. This is not purely about the issue of censorship or the increasingly right winged media. Nor is it only about AT&T and other corporations that are actively carrying out the tyrannical program of the Bush Regime.
The heart of this matter is the things in this country are escalating very readily in a dangerous, unprecedented direction. The heart of this matter is that Bush and people like Bill O'Reilly who are grouped around him are not only carrying out war crimes and responsible for the defiance of international law, but they are systematically hiding the truth from people and quickly silencing any opposition.
When the Nazi Regime came to power, one of the first things that occurred was all music and literature was censored to "fit" the standard of Good German ideals. Professors and students speaking out against Hitler were fired or silenced. In this history of all totalitarian regimes, from Nazis to Islamic Fundamentalists to Christian fascists, dissent and opposition is the first thing to be blacked out from the masses.
There is also a question of why the mainstream media and ruling class feels compelled to be enforcing these policies in the first place.
The point is that we are at a very rare moment like no other in American history. The United States is in a situation where Bush has a historically low approval rating of 28%, while the ruling class is facing significant contradictions in their leaders and with all this they still must go forward with a way to stabilize the Middle East which could involve possible nuclear attack on Iran. Not to mention, Congress has an even lower approval rating of 18%.
But what is even more important than that, is how the masses from below respond to these outrages and how those responses can completely remake the political landscape.
Broadly, Fans of Pearl Jam and other prominent musicians are pouring out in outrage.
From online blogs to MTV News and Rolling Stone, the common thread is that people are deeply pissed and are outwardly opposing the policies of Bush head-on.
The tone that Pearl Jam has set is an important one. The moment they found out they were censored, they openly starting slamming Bush's policies even more and demanding accountability from AT&T. The statement they have made has been reverberating all throughout society. We need much more of this opposition from musicians and other prominent people. And when it comes unleashed, we should all be a part of fanning the fury against this tyrannical direction.
As a young person, you can feel incredibly isolated. Admidst the MySpace and Ipods, you still get a sense that this world is empty, gray and hopeless.
You can feel that the world is completely fucked up and that your peers are forever apathetic. Then something like this incident with Pearl Jam ignites a spark.
Not only do you see your favorite band stepping up to fight besides you but people at work and school are now angered and discussing this as well.
You see that you are not alone and your sights are lifted.
As Dennis Loo wrote in his book "Impeach the President", "It is up to the rest of us to rouse ourselves and rouse others, to bring forth from the grassroots, new social movement leaders to constitute an alternative and powerful counter-force that fundamentally alters the overall political atmosphere, providing a competing legitimate authority to the illegitimate bankrupt authority now leading this country. The existing establishment has left us no other choice."
This is one of the reasons why we must fight for others to take up the Declare It Now campaign.
The Declare it now-Wear Orange campaign, is a new campaign launched by World Cant Wait Drive Out The Bush Regime aimed at making the opposing forces in this country visible by encouraging people to wear Orange if they feel they are opposed to George W. Bush.
Imagine what could have happened if Pearl Jam would not have only been adorned in the Guantanamo Bay orange but if what their audience was a groundswell of Orange as well?
What would have been the reaction of millions watching, all though Pearl Jam still censored, would still be making a statement that will not back down and could not go away?
What is this what was happening at concerts all over the country this summer? How could that change people's thoughts and raise people's sights on what's possible?
Often times it can be difficult to envision a situation where there is so much mass political upheaval that will force Bush to be driven from office.
The example of Pearl Jam's stance shows that when people act in resistance and massive outpouring, the ruling classes of this country including the mainstream media become FORCED to respond to it.
We see this in the way AT&T has responded to the situation, immediately apologizing and promising to play the entire broadcast unedited in response to all the upheaval.
Those who are opposed to The Bush Regime must NOT stop speaking until the war criminals in the white house read the writing on the wall:
That NONE of us are waiting, we are driving out the Bush Regime now!