Monthly Archives: July 2010

rage against the arizona immigration law

Music history is filled with performers who have infused their art with political activism. From Woody Guthrie to Charles Mingus, The Clash to Public Enemy, there are scores (no pun intended) of revolutionary songs that have played integral roles in social change movements.

But no band has so intentionally mixed politics and music to the extent of Rage Against The Machine, who, in some ways, are less a band of musicians with a political message than a group of activists who just happen to make music.

It can be easy to forget about Rage Against The Machine. They haven’t released an album in a decade, and rarely perform together anymore. But their political impact can still be felt. And it will be in full force tonight, as they headline a concert “with all proceeds going to benefit Arizona organizations fighting SB 1070,” aka the “Papers Please” bill.

Tonight, the Hollywood Palladium will host Rage’s “first concert in Los Angeles in ten years,” as part of an effort by The Sound Strike, a coalition of musical artists, who are pledging to boycott the state of Arizona until the law is overturned.  Continue reading

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Filed under Activism, Philanthropy, Social Change

sports in its proper perspective

Last week, Spain defeated Holland to earn their first-ever World Cup Championship. It was a proud moment for a nation that has been futbol-crazy for over a century. And an intriguing chapter to a sporting history that has been divisive, and oftentimes violent.

For decades Spanish football has been dominated by two of Europe’s most famed clubs: Real Madrid and FC Barcelona. Their heated rivalry traces its roots back to the Spanish Civil War. Real Madrid was the favored team of Spanish dictator Ferdinand Franco, while Barcelona was championed by Catalonia’s left-wing intellectuals.

FC Barcelona has long provided the sports world with an example of a franchise that somehow manages to balance its core values with success on the field, and in doing so, keeps sports in its proper perspective. The club is run as a worker’s collective, with fans voting for team presidents. Barcelona prides itself as a “defender of freedom and democratic rights,” as former team president Joan Laporta puts it, “facing up to others in a time of governments without tolerance.” And they are currently in the middle of a five-year sponsorship deal with UNICEF, where Barcelona pays for the right to wear the UNICEF logo on their jerseys. A privilege that costs them $2 million a year.  Continue reading

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Filed under Accountable Wealth, Philanthropy

slow money, part two

In reading about Slow Money, I’ve been thinking about the term “invest.” Investments. Invested in. What are people invested in? What are we, as a society, invested in?

The definition of “invest” reflects the dual nature of how we think of investments. As the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary notes: on one hand, to be invested is “to commit money in order to earn financial return.” But “invest” can also be defined as “to involve or engage especially emotionally.”

These two types of “investments” can work together, if one is financially invested in a cause they care deeply about. But as Slow Money founder Woody Tasch notes, this is rarely the case.

In fact, as Tasch explains to Thea Sullivan in the recent issue of The Sun (“Prophet Of Modest Prophet: Woody Tasch On How Not To Get Rich Quick,” June 2010, not available online), it is not uncommon for philanthropic funds to make money (be financially invested in) from companies whose business practices create the social problems their charitable giving (engaged on an emotional level) is working to prevent. Which, of course, is really quite odd.  Continue reading

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Filed under Accountable Wealth, Consumerism, Economic Justice, Social Change

sampling robin hood

I watched the Disney version of Robin Hood again last weekend. I haven’t seen the new Robin Hood movie yet, but it seems that the ideas of the Robin Hood story are everywhere these days, from debates between the Left and Right to claim the legend as their own, to re-imagining various scenarios of taxation and economic reality. Here’s a sampling:

1.) Rise Up Economics urges Progressives to use the opportunity of the new Robin Hood movie release, not to mention the anti-taxation Populism of the Tea Party Movement, to create a vision of Robin Hood Economics, not unlike the shared economic wealth that is distributed among citizens of Alaska (in this respect, more than living up to its motto as The Last Frontier):

“The state of Alaska has had a successful experience for 26 years providing an equal dividend from its oil revenues to all residents living there for a year or more. It has helped make Alaska the state with the most economic equality in the nation. There they have applied a key idea of one of the intellectual leaders of the American Revolution, Thomas Paine: the right of everyone to participate in the wealth of the nation.”  Continue reading

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Filed under Accountable Wealth, Economic Justice, Fair Taxation, Social Change