Fight the Power: 10 Reasons 2014 Gave Us to Stand Up and Revolt (With Accompanying Soundtrack, Of Course)

by Sarah Gray

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You’ll notice this post is not really about music, like at all.  It is mostly just a list of things that make me angry followed by the name of a song vaguely related to protest.

There have been a number of disturbing trends in recent years from the repealing of the Voting Rights Act, to rampant gerrymandering, to the complete lack of accountability, in the aftermath of the financial crisis, to our dwindling right to privacy.  I could go on and on.  Suffice it to say, people will only tolerate so much of this.  These are the bread crumbs you follow to revolution.

There are some consistent trends that lead up to all revolutions; an increasingly dissatisfied young population, disparate income inequality, scarce resources, and an increased abuse of government power.  Yes, we are in the process of checking off all of those boxes.  Many of the issues below are ongoing, because we never fix shit.  That said, 2014 has brought with it increasingly vocal protest movements.  In honor of those people, people who are patriotic enough to fight to make the country better, to remind the government of what it is supposed to be, I have compiled the below list:


1. Hobby Lobby

Just in case women were under the mistaken impression that they were making progress and aren’t in fact second class citizens, Hobby Lobby was happy to remind us that in the eyes of the government a corporation is more of a person and deserving of more rights than an actual live human female.  I mean, it’s no big deal really, we are only a majority of the population, so whatevs.  Who even needs comprehensive healthcare?

Transvision Vamp – “Revolution Baby”


2. “Hands Up – Don’t Shoot”

There are a number of poorly informed individuals who would have you believe that police shooting unarmed citizens is an anomaly, but unfortunately it is actually pretty common.  Now, are most cops just out there shooting people flippantly?  No, but the excessive use of police force and it’s particular effect on minorities is a reflection of the bigoted leanings of our rule of law and the increased militarization of our police force, which is leaving a substantial subset of the population more threatened by police than protected, which kind of defeats the entire purpose of police.

They work for us.  Maybe it’s time we remind them.

N.W.A – “Fuck the Police”


3. “We Tortured Some Folks”

Aptly said, Mr. President.  We did, indeed, torture some folks.  And it has come to light, unsurprisingly, that it is far worse than we were initially led to believe.  Nor, is this the first time we have tortured some folks, but are we going to do anything about it?  Nah…there are literally thousands of people in this country serving life sentences for non-violent crimes, but why would we hold our government operatives to any real standards?

If we don’t hold them accountable, no one will.  They are certainly not going to hold themselves accountable.

NOFX – “Wolves In Wolve’s Clothing”


4. The Prison-Industrial Complex

The statistic above is not an exaggeration.  On top of which over 2.4 million people are incarcerated in this country for varying lengths of time.  Sure, some of these people deserve to be in jail, but the majority of these are relatively small, non-violent crimes.  Not to mention the endemic racism built into the system.  Percentage-wise we are currently incarcerating more black people than South Africa during apartheid.

Company Flow – Patriotism


5. U.S. House Sues Obama

Yes, that’s right, our entire government is run by a bunch of clowns, so why should we let them be in charge of anything?

Public Enemy – “Fight the Power”


6. Metadata

The NSA has been illegally collecting metadata from everyone.  We’ve driven a young man into exile for providing us this very important information about how our rights are being carelessly trampled on and the government has consistently vilified Snowden for doing its citizens the enormous favor of exposing this gross breach of ethics.  Technically, we have a right to privacy, but no one is going to protect that right for us.  And I am pretty much definitely on an FBI watch list at this point.

Tracy Chapman – “Talkin’ Bout A Revolution”


7. Income Inequality

Income inequality is a big one.  There are basically zero revolutions that don’t have this somewhere near the root of the problem.  During the French Revolution people literally lost their heads over it.  Don’t let the one percent fool you – they are not doing us any favors.  They are not “job-creators.”  They are getting rich on our backs and expecting us to be grateful for it.

Aerosmith – “Eat the Rich”


8. Student Loans

It seems obvious to me that the way our higher education system is set up is specifically designed to leave young people trapped in debt and underemployed.  I’m a big fan of learning, but forcing young people to cripple themselves with debt for the opportunity to make less than one year of college will cost them as a starting salary strikes me as unreasonable.  And if the government knew what was good for them, they would know a bunch of disaffected 20-somethings with a lot of time on their hands is the last thing they need.

Bob Marley – “Get Up Stand Up”


9. Drone Strikes

Due process is taking a hit this year, between the lack of indictments for police who murder citizens and the laissez-faire attitude the government has taken regarding assassinating both U.S. and foreign citizens with drones, it makes one wonder whether we can really call our judicial system functional in any sense of the word.  I mean, why don’t I get to kill people with impunity?

Buffalo Springfield – “For What It’s Worth”


10. Anonymous

Let’s end this on an up note and appreciate groups like Anonymous who are fighting to protect our freedoms.  There are plenty of groups fighting to retain our rights, but Anonymous is currently my favorite and has gotten more traction than most.  There can be no revolution without politically active citizens and Anonymous has taken a stand on a number of the above issues and many more.

Dario Marianelli – “The Dominoes Fall”


I will leave you with a quote from Frederick Douglass, a hero to many today, because like many of our heroes, when the time came for needed change, he was willing to stand up against the established order.  When the system is too broken, you can’t fix it from within.

“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or both.” – Frederick Douglass





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