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(22,957 posts)
Mon Jul 20, 2020, 11:25 PM Jul 2020

Music for protests

Watching videos of protesters, especially in Portland, it occurs to me that they could be livened up with some music. Patriotic tunes would counter the Trump BS message that protesters are anti-American. Combine patriotic tunes with songs about equality to emphasize that anti racism and equality for POC are patriotic.

For patriotic songs, there are old stand-bys that everyone can join in singing together in solidarity, like My Country 'Tis of Thee. Add some fifes and drums for a little extra spirit.

There's also an old Woody Guthrie song from the 1930's, (or early '40s?) called All You Fascists Bound to Lose. Catchy tune with 2 short verses. I can't post a link from my phone, but it's on You Tube. Just Google the title.

Another Woody Guthrie song, much better known and performed by people like Bob Dylan and Peter, Paul, and Mary, is This Land is Your Land.

Since I am white, I think it's more appropriate for POC to suggest and choose songs about anti racism and equality.

We could send a message of patriotism and unity against racism through music, alternating with readings (with a megaphone). I can think of many people worth quoting, like MLK, John Lewis, Frederick Douglass, some Native American people like Chief Joseph (Nez Perce tribe) on freedom, Black Elk (Oglala Sioux) on peace. There's a good quote from Robert Kennedy on justice and compassion for people who suffer.

Music and quotes can send strong messages sbout the meaning and goals of protests. Not to mention debunkingTrump's claim that protesters are anarchists.

So what songs would be good at protests? What quotes, and by whom?

7 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
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Music for protests (Original Post) wnylib Jul 2020 OP
Everday People by Sly and the Family Stone backtoblue Jul 2020 #1
That sounds good to me. wnylib Jul 2020 #4
In Portland, play this one: lastlib Jul 2020 #2
Sunday Bloody Sunday - U2 (from Rattle and Hum, live version) Moostache Jul 2020 #3
The last two songs on systemic racism wnylib Jul 2020 #5
Pick any number of songs from the Marley Family tulipsandroses Jul 2020 #6
Great choice, in my opinion. Really speaks wnylib Jul 2020 #7


(23,788 posts)
2. In Portland, play this one:
Mon Jul 20, 2020, 11:31 PM
Jul 2020

"Fighting here is all that remains for us now
We've stopped trying to hide our hatred inside
We're crying out loud
baby we once were so proud
Jesus where are you now

Where have you gone desparecido
I hope someone remembers your name
Where have you gone desaparecido
How can they just turn their backs to our shame
Where have you gone desaparecido
I taste your blood in the roots of this land
Where have you gone desaparecido
Mi querido, only yesterday I held your hand."


(9,974 posts)
3. Sunday Bloody Sunday - U2 (from Rattle and Hum, live version)
Tue Jul 21, 2020, 12:08 AM
Jul 2020
"And its true we are immune...When Fact is Fiction and TV Reality..."

Not as relevant to today maybe, but it was penned as a song against the idea of war and played to great effect and fanfare at Red Rocks amphitheater outside of Denver in 1982, bringing U2 to a wider American audience than they had gained in their formative years preceding that gig. The image of Bono waving the white flag and leading the audience in the "NO MORE! NO WAR!" chant was iconic at U2's early gigs for the War LP and moving to a generation of music fans in the early 1980's...

U2 also played the song at Live Aid, but their performance of "Bad" was the moment remembered that day in London, 35 years ago now...

It reappeared in 1988, in the film Rattle and Hum as a remembrance of the bombing of a parade that took place on 8 November 1987 in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. Killing innocent veterans and bystanders in the senseless violence of "the troubles" in Northern Ireland between Catholics and Protestants. This is one of the definitive performances of the band's career and should not be missed.

U2 toured the USA in the fall after 9/11/2001 and Sunday Bloody Sunday was again repurposed and focused as a prayer for the end to mindless violence and terrorism. When they resumed their tour in October after the 9/11 attacks, U2 performed 'Sunday Bloody Sunday' once more with new passion and meaning. The song resonates today with millions who all have their own meanings and memories attached to the song. If you are a U2 fan, this is one of their best tracks and if you are not, it is worth getting to know in any of its many incarnations...over the past 38 years!

A pair of 'oldies' more prescient and applicable to the times song would be "Can't Truss It" by Public Enemy (1991; condemnation of systemic racism and its roots in slavery) or "Killing in the Name Of" by Rage Against The Machine (1992; reaction to the Rodney King Beating and Officer Acquittals that led to the L.A. riots). THOSE are some serious protest songs IMO!


(22,957 posts)
5. The last two songs on systemic racism
Tue Jul 21, 2020, 03:10 AM
Jul 2020

and the Rodney King beating are certainly timeless and appropriate today as they were back then.


(5,374 posts)
6. Pick any number of songs from the Marley Family
Tue Jul 21, 2020, 03:11 AM
Jul 2020

From Grandson Skip Marley



Some said 'never' but the never done come
Yeah, and took our trust
Hate's been winning, but the lovers ain't done
Yeah, not on my watch
Yeah, if ya took all my rights away
Yeah, if ya tellin' me how to pray
Yeah, if ya won't let us demonstrate
Yeah, wrong
Yeah, if ya thinking I don't belong
Yeah, if ya hiding behind a gun
Yeah, if ya hoping we're gonna run
We are the lions, we are the chosen
We gonna shine out the dark
We are the movement, this generation
You better know who we are, who we are
Yeah, if I
Some said 'fire' when the fire was ice
No, and sold a lie
Some may buy it, I'm not paying the price
No, not in this life
Yeah, if ya took all my rights away
Yeah, if ya tellin' me how to pray
Yeah, if ya won't let us demonstrate
Yeah, you're wrong
Yeah, if ya…


(22,957 posts)
7. Great choice, in my opinion. Really speaks
Tue Jul 21, 2020, 03:33 AM
Jul 2020

to what is going on now. Inspirational.

I'm also trying to think of songs that people know so well that they can easily sing together. Something that would not require backup since it's hard to get a band or sound system at a protest. No way to plug in electronics.

This one - Lions - would work if there were large enough printed lyrics for people to follow, but it needs the instrumental backup. I don't think voices alone would carry it. But I really like it.

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