Music and protest have been intertwined for generations. One of the most striking moments that come to mind was Rock Against Racism throughout the 70s and early 80s in the United Kingdom. Bands like Stiff Little Fingers, Gang of Four and Angelic Upstarts, all performed at roaming festivals to promote solidarity between the white and black communities of England, and to ultimately beat back the rise fascism and Nazism on the streets. This energy was invigorating, and there’s no reason that it can’t be revived in this day and age for a cause of equal, if not greater importance: climate change.
Just 100 corporations are responsible for 71% of all carbon emissions. Take a moment to digest that. Both political parties in Australian wholeheartedly support the Adani coal mine, proposed to be the largest mine in the southern hemisphere. With that support, what more are they supporting but the wholesale destruction of our futures? Global inequality has been increasing for decades, and due to that, the tools to avert a massive global catastrophe are being torn from the hands of regular people. However, Australia, and the rest of the world, has seen massive walkouts of high school students taking to the streets to demand action on climate change, to wrest back control, but that’s not enough. It needs to be taken up by members of the working class as well, which is exactly what Sound Strike is beginning to do.
If you’re a band that wishes to show your support and get involved, feel free to contact the organisers at their Facebook or website, and if you want to know more, read through the interview with an organiser below. And if you’re not in a band, think about how you can get involved on the 20th of September for the Global Climate Strike, be it protesting in the street, or organising actions at your workplace. Now excuse me while I go listen to more EGOISM…
Could you please tell me who you are, and what Sound Strike is?
I’m Jaspar [McCahon-Boersma], I am one of the organisers of Sound Strike which is a movement of musicians from Sydney and other cities in Australia banding together to support the global climate strikes by striking on the night of 20th September. Not playing music on that night to protest the government inaction on climate change and to put the message forward that there is no live music on a dead planet
What was the reason you started the movement?
I personally have been doing a bunch of organising in the University of Sydney climate strike group and I’m a musician as well, I play in a band, and those two things started gelling together once the 20th September strike was announced. It fell into place after that. It wasn’t out of nowhere, it was after having done the work organising for the previous climate strike that the music and the activism came into the same thing.
Does Sound Strike have any demands it wants to be met by the government or society at large?
We have three demands. The first is 100% publicly owned renewable energy by 2030. The second is the just transition to climate jobs. The third is no new sources of fossil fuels.
During the lead up to the global climate strike, and afterwards, is there anything else you’d like to achieve with Sound Strike?
We’d love to be spreading to other cities. We’re based mainly in Sydney at the moment but we’d love to spread to all these cities that have thriving music scenes in Australia, so definitely Melbourne, Wollongong, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth. We’d also like to have more high profile artists get on side because I think there are a lot of artists and musicians who are really supportive of this message that we would love to see taking action with us. I think we’d also like to see more workplaces and more groups of creatives, groups from other industries getting involved with the strike because we’re going to be stronger, our message will have a greater impact if other industries, other people if they take strike action as well. We really hope leading up to 20th September and past it, that people will be talking about taking this sort of workplace action to do something for climate change.
The Global Climate Strike is very important. Why do you think this movement will push things forward?
I think this movement is important because it has a real focus on working class people, and people that have to live day to day in their jobs and maybe don’t have the capacity or time to be thinking about it constantly, but it puts them at the centre of the movement because they are able to organise democratically in grassroots building which is what our organisation is. It’s completely run by the musicians that are a part of the movement, we don’t have a leadership, we don’t have any hierarchical systems. I think this movement is great, and the climate strike movement is great because it’s entirely based off what the general public and the working public want to happen. We’re not relying on other NGOs or the government or businesses to do it for us. The people are taking power into their own hands and that’s why this movement will be successful, that’s why I think it’ll do more than any movement before it.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
If people want to get involved, please get in contact with us. Even if you’re a small band, we’d love to have anyone on side that we can. I want people to be thinking about strikes and speaking about them to friends and workmates and colleagues about they action they can take and the impact they can have in a collective sense to push back against something that will destroy our planet.