OCT 25, 2011 – The Quietus has a great new interview out of the musical activist Billy Bragg, and he talks Occupy, resistance and more, calling for the Occupy movement to go beyond the Internet and Facebook. He also talks about the leadership issue and urges young people to not get mired down in old political rhetoric. Here is a small excerpt below.
The Qietus – Protest and Occupation: Billy Bragg Interviewed on the Future of the Left – Kevin E.G. Perry – Oct 25, 2011
Billy Bragg: "What I can't do, despite having been asked by some people, is go down there with my guitar and become Che Guevara. My role is to try and reflect what's going on. Write about it. Old geezers like me, with our perspective, hopefully we can help to inform. Connect it with what happened in the Thirties, with Woody Guthrie, stuff like that, but they don't need me there. They're doing fine. They need me to help spread the word, through the internet and through writing songs. That's my role, and it's important that songwriters remember that. Some of the young bands say to me, when I ask them why they don't talk about this sort of thing in interviews: 'Oh, I don't know enough about politics.' How the fucking hell do you think I learned about it? I left school when I was 16! I didn't know shit about socialism until the miners' strike, but you know enough to write the songs."
"Who gives a fuck whether they're listening or not? You don't care whether people are going to read this, do you? You've gotta do it, who gives a fuck? So that impulse had to be channelled, for most people really, down that avenue. Now things have changed quite a bit. There are other ways to communicate, but I just don't think that getting a load of Facebook 'likes' is the same as getting a spontaneous reaction from an audience who are moved by something that you've sung about or put out there. You're not only making a statement, you're also creating a sense of community around that moment. That's what I think young people are missing when they think that by having a presence on the internet they're communicating. The Occupy movement knows that it goes beyond that. They understand that the internet is just a tool by which you spread the word about what you're doing. Music can do that too, but because it involves performance it has the ability to generate momentum."
"My role, and I've been trying to do this with Occupy Wall Street and the stuff I've been writing on my blog in the last couple of weeks, is to encourage them not to embrace the simplicities of Marxism. There's an opportunity to create a new and passionate political idea that is not tainted by totalitarianism, that doesn't have the shadow of the gulag over it. It's your job to do that!"
Read the whole interview on The Quietus here.