Rage Against the Machine – People of the Sun
Surprise, surprise: it’s Rage Against the Machine on a website about political art!
In the most predictable turn of events ever, Creartvism has an article about one of Rage’s songs (and about the issue the song deals with, of course). RATM used their music as a way to raise awareness about many causes, but People of the Sun is about something particularly close to them: the Zapatista uprising in Chiapas and indigenous rights.
The Zapatista uprising began on the same day the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) came into effect. Already poor and marginalized, indigenous peasants form Chiapas saw NAFTA as their death sentence. They formed the EZLN (Zapatista Army of National Liberation) to protect their communities from the Mexican government.
During the following years, the indigenous people of Chiapas have suffered through massacres, intimidation and isolation. RATM support the Zapatistas and, for singer Zack de la Rocha, the reasons are personal. He explained in an interview with Jesus Ramirez Cuevas: “My interest in this struggle has to do with my personal experiences, with my roots, my family. My father is a Chicano muralist. (…) Also, my Sinaloan grandfather was a revolutionary fighter who fought in the Mexican Revolution. My grandfather went to the United States as an economic migrant. He was an agricultural laborer in Silicon Valley, California. His working days lasted from 15 to 16 hours daily, sweating and subjected to poverty… I see his experience reflected in the testimonies of the Zapatistas, the indigenous peasant rebels who struggle every day to make a living.”
Rage Against the Machine devoted a part of The Battle of Mexico City to the Zapatista struggle. Here’s an excerpt:
RATM and others around the world continue to speak out in support of the indigenous people of Chiapas. The band has used the flag of the EZLN as the backdrop for every show they’ve played since 2007. ¡Hasta la victoria siempre!