Musicians and celebs like Moby, Jack Black, Edward Norton, Fitz & The Tantrums and Elijah Wood are all in for the 99%. Famed street artist Shepard Fairey is, too. But what about you?
Last weekend in Los Angeles, this illustrious crew and a mob of progressive partiers got together for the “All in for the 99%” music, art and activism event hosted by MoveOn.org and "lefty dreamboat" Van Jones, founder of Rebuild the Dream -- Van's new movement to take back the American economy from the 1%.
Basically, all these people wanna see corporate money outta the driver seat in DC so the ordinary folks in the backseat can finally exercise their people power. But bouncin’ big money outta Congress has been extra hard ever since the Supreme Court passed Citizens United, which allows corporations, for the first time, to spend unlimited amounts of dough to promote the candidates and causes that rep their interests. That’s how the SuperPAC was born. And you betta believe those political money pits aren’t always helmed by everyone’s fav eagle rider, Stephen Colbert.
So that’s why Van Jones and his peeps decided to resurrect the Occupy Wall Street movement by launching The 99% Spring-- an effort to train 100,000 Americans by April 15 in nonviolent direct action, aka an updated Millennial version of the peaceful tactics encouraged by MLK back in the day. That means YOU can be a part of the action army fighting for the rights of regular Americans!
Of course, world-famous rockstar comedians don’t really fall into the 99% category, but that didn’t stop Jack Black from putting divisive politics on blast during the Tenacious D set, calling Rush Limbaugh a “700-pound monster that must be stopped” and declaring, "Even you one-percenters who support the 99% are welcome here. I know there's a lot of you here. I'm one of them. There's no shame, if you support the 99%."
Electronica legend Moby is one of them, too. But he’s proven his activist street cred for years as a vocal supporter of causes like animal rights and a high-profile campaigner for Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry back in ’04. So it was no surprise that the international DJ was spinning for change last weekend. MTV Act caught up with the dance collab king, who’s latest compilation double-disc Destroyed: Remixed dropped on April 30, to get the inside scoop on why young people gotta get involved this election year, so check it out and then join the 99% Spring below!
MTV Act: In your opinion, how does this event address the concerns of young people, like the difficult job market and soaring student loan debt?
Moby: Well, if we don't get corporate money out of politics, we're never going to get any sort of deep systematic change. So overturning Citizen's United is pretty key. The system is rigged, and I don't think we'll see the kind of job growth necessary for an economic upswing until we address this core problem. There might be a lot of difference between Republicans and Democrats on key social issues like women's rights and health care. But when it comes to taking corporate cash, they're pretty much the same beast. So I think an event like this that aims to unify progressives towards this core problem is very worthy.
What's your advice to young people who are so disillusioned by politics that they don't even want to be involved or vote this year?
If you care about women's rights, you can't not vote. The GOP has been very clear that they are waging a war on women. And this last move where the House Republicans voted to gut the Violence Against Women Act is insane. That's the act that provides domestic abuse shelters, rape kits, and is set up to help protect victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. How can anyone support a party that sides with rapists & abusers? So my advice is: vote. Also if you care about education, the environment, green technology, personal freedoms, and, simply, having a decent job then you need to vote. If someone is cynical and doesn't vote and ends up with a crummy job in a crummy country with a decimated environment they only have themselves to blame.
Do you think the "99%" will show up and vote in this Presidential election or will the protest movement avoid mainstream politics altogether?
I hope so. It's heartbreaking that so many hundreds of millions of people around the world are desperate for the right to vote, but here in America people stay home on election day. Elections matter. Voting matters. Being involved in the political process matters. If people choose not to vote they pretty much give up any right to complain about the demise of our country.
Check back later this week for Part II of our 99% Spring Interview Series for an exclusive chat with street artist Shepard Fairey!