Outside the Democratic National Convention, Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello spoke with MTV News Street Team Reporter Gideon Yago about the problems in American politics
As President Clinton entered the Democratic National Convention Compound in Los Angeles, a very different show was taking place outside the barbed wire fencing, as Rage Against the Machine prepared to play to a huge mass of protestors. RATM may reject the current political system, but they take politics very seriously. In an interview before their protest concert tonight, Tom Morello, the band's guitarist, voiced the reasons for his dissatisfaction with the current electoral system to MTV News.
"We're not doing this because we're against Gore," Morello told Street Team Reporter Gideon Yago. "We're doing this to support the people who are left out of the electoral process. For them, it's not Choose or Lose, it's Lose or Lose... its no longer good enough to settle for the lesser of two
The protesters gathered at the Democratic National Convention are a motley group, their issues ranging from disapproval of the death penalty to a hatred of Occidental Oil. But as the hour of the concert approached, the excitement over RATM seemed pretty universal. The band's anti-establishment, anti-big business, anti-entrenched politics message fits with the many different messages of the day.
"Those people (the protestors) aren't being silent anymore.," Morello continued. "We're not willing to settle for the two milk-toast conservative candidates... Look at the last two elections: less than 50% of the population voted. It's not that they don't care, it's that they don't feel they have a real choice."
Morello called the protesters "the other political party... we have a different delegation outside the fence and it's more important than the one inside."
When asked what young people could do to get involved and make a difference in politics, Morello
suggested local, grassroots organizing. "People make history on their own, standing up for what they believe in. I'm not advocating not voting, but all progressive change doesn't come from above. A lot comes from the people outside the barbed wire fence."
Criticizing the current system, Morello, who once worked for a US Senator, commented: "I don't think we live in a checkbook democracy I know it. Politics is big money. Dissatisfaction is bubbling up from below. We are demanding our rights, we're taking our rights, we're going to make sh** happen on our own."