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Friday, February 18, 2011

Wisconsin Keep on Rockin' in the Free World

30,000 Protesters in Madison, Wisconsin Capitol - Feb 17, 2011

As protests continue to breakout around the world, we again see tweets going out referencing Neil Young's "Rockin' in the Free World" as the soundtrack of revolution.

Twitter / @Marti : R @manyko2 For @sdpdx Rock ...

Once again, people are in the streets of the U.S.A. and rockin' in the free world similar to the recent Egyptian revolution referencing the immortal lyrics of Neil Young.

Revolution in Tahrir Square
Cairo, Egypt - February 1, 2011

Just weeks ago, on New Years Day, we posted on Freedom in a New Year and traced the song "Rockin' In The Free World" as a soundtrack for revolution. Little did we realize how prescient the post would become.

Freedom (1989) by Neil Young -
"The rock and roll coda of the Cold War"

Neil Young's album Freedom -- which was released in 1989 just as the Berlin Wall fell -- has been called "the rock and roll coda of the Cold War".

The album contains the song "Rockin' In The Free World" and is one of Young's most popular, important and prophetic songs of his vast catalog.

The song has become an iconic anthem and it's status continues to rise as more and more artists cover the song. Young's lyrics are considered to be an indictment of the politics of the 1980's. In today's post-9/11 world, the lyrics seem prophetic and even more meaningful than when originally written on the eve of the '90's as the Berlin Wall fell.

Twenty years on, the song "Rockin' In The Free World" has become a set closer for bands,as well as, a coda for an era.

"There's colors on the street
Red, white and blue"

Pearl Jam covers "Rockin' in the Free World"
Final Philadelphia Spectrum Concert - 10/31/2009

In 2009, Pearl Jam concluded their tour at the Philadelphia Spectrum with "Rockin' in the Free World" amidst an avalanche of balloons and confetti to commemorate the final concert at the historic venue before it's demolition.

"We got a thousand points of light
For the homeless man"

Freedom: Berlin Wall, Germany - 1989

There are those who have argued that "Rockin' in the Free World" espouses anti-freedom ideals, to which we have taken serious issue with in the past.

"We got a kinder, gentler,
Machine gun hand"

Freedom: Tiananmen Square, China - 1989

Yet the song is often misunderstood and attacked on false interpretations and misplaced understandings. Witness some of the near violent comments that have been left on this blog over the years in reaction to some of our previous postings on the song's lyrical analysis (see comments here and here.)

kent state
"But there's a warnin' sign on the road ahead
There's a lot of people sayin' we'd be better off dead
Don't feel like Satan, but I am to them
So I try to forget it, any way I can."

Freedom: Kent State University, Ohio - 1970

(Wisconsin - note well what happens when a state governor calls out the National Guard for a "civil disturbance"...)

As always, we live in dangerous times where those who stand for freedom are often accused of treason and worse. Such times are now and the struggle for freedom -- even among those who feel they are actually free -- is more paramount than ever. The right to live and speak freely is an inalienably human right that can never be assumed nor taken for granted.

Freedom: Sunset Strip, Los Angeles, CA - November 1966

So, for what it's worth...

From a Comment of the Moment on our New Year's Day post on Freedom in a New Year by Greg "A Friend Of Yours":
Like so many of Neil’s songs, RITFW can mean a lot of things to a lot of people.

For me a few things stand out, but as an overall picture James Lane’s comment comes very close to summarizing the song: "The tune warns us of the complacency of our own lives and the lack of empathy we express for people who are not blessed with the benefits and cushy lifestyle the majority of Americans enjoy. The song is a musical signpost telling us not to lose sight of the problems our society and its less fortunate members face. It is a song of insight attempting to awaken us to the reality of a culture seen on a wider screen…”

As Gil Scott Heron once said in 1970, "The revolution will not be televised". Today he might say it will be blogged, streamed, tweeted, shared and liked.

Revolution in Tahrir Square
Cairo, Egypt - February 12, 2011

The whole world is morphing. The whole world is morphing. The whole world is morphing.

"The Earth is talking to me
I hear a rumblin' in her ground
Don't you feel that new wind blowing?
Don't you recognize that sound?"

~~Neil Young

be the rain


At 2/18/2011 09:56:00 AM, Anonymous Mother Nature RITFW said...

I love when my boy Eddie covers Neil's songs. I'm never disappointed. Ever.

As for what's going on Wisconsin and Ohio, all I can say is if liberties, freedoms, and rights came without a fight or consequence, then everyone around the world have at the very least a representation or voice in determining how they live.

It's what all people desire but only free people are willing to fight for it.

At 2/18/2011 10:13:00 AM, Blogger Mother Nature on the Run said...

Just singing a song won't change the world?

Well, not overnight, Neil, my boy!

At 2/18/2011 11:50:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Comparing whats happening in Wisconsin to the Mideast is incredibly moronic. As a teacher in Louisiana I pay much more than they pay in Wisconsin. Also teachers unions are just money grabbers.

At 2/18/2011 12:42:00 PM, Blogger Jonathan said...

Amen there anonymous!! The freeloading union thugs are out in full force up in Wisconsin because their recently elected Republican Governor is attempting to actually balance his state's budget. And here we see the union goons coming out in full force whining about having to contribute to their own health care and pension plans!!

Make no mistake - this IS the left pure and simple. Of course they have the right to protest, but isn't it interesting that our Dear Leader is, of course, backing the unions - once again taking the side that is clearly against the will of the people of Wisconsin that elected Governor Walker. Just like with Holder suing Arizona over its attempt to control its border, we see a clear pattern in this Regime of a community agitator who specializes in "organizing" rent-a-mobs and siding with whatever is wrong and immoral.

It cannot be overstated how evil and anti-American our Dear Leader is.

Yes I said it.

At 2/18/2011 12:50:00 PM, Blogger Jonathan said...

Oh and by the way, it should be noted that the entire group of Senate Democrats from the Wisconsin state legislature literally left the state yesterday on a bus - leaving town and abandoning their duty to VOTE on these budget modifications! They are irresponsible cowards and they have spent our country into oblivion.

Unfortunately, there will likely be violence in the streets of America before this Regime's day has passed. But what else should we expect from a community agitator/organizer who bows at the altar of Saul Alinski?

At 2/18/2011 02:17:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@Jonathan - are you serious?

This isn't a left/right issue. This is about employees rights. Or do you not work for a living and not care?

Please review your history of the labor movement before commenting.

And what "goons" are you talking about? Where did you get that? This is a peaceful, non- violent revolution.

He, what's that sound?

At 2/18/2011 09:32:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thrasher, get real. If this isn't a left/right issue, then why have some many state legislator leaders on the left BOLTED from Wisc., instead of honoring the duty to vote.

It is absolutely dumbfounding how the left continues to stop over majority opinion and civil liberties, only to continue brainwashing people into thinking they really care about them.

Luckily, the landscape is changing.

At 2/21/2011 11:22:00 AM, Blogger Jonathan said...

Of course I'm absolutely serious - Wisconsin represents the essence of left vs. right! Free loading union leeches vs. the taxpayers of Wisconsin that are paying their salaries and funding their health care and retirement.

Union leadership = goons/thugs

Right to work states (like Virginia) = freedom for all Americans to not have to bow down to union coersion.

I know more than enough about our great country to know that all unions steal freedom by their very nature.

Why shouldn't these fools up in Wisconsin have to pay for THEIR OWN healthcare and retirement? Besides Obama's disaster of a budget (and overspending by all previous administrations), it is the states' pension plans that are driving the USA to bankruptcy.

At 4/14/2011 07:27:00 AM, Blogger Cody said...

To all you people calling teachers, firefighters, policemen, sanitation workers, social workers, nurses, and other public workers, "thugs"... Thanks. I could not have possibly illuminated your right-wing extremist policy of hatred toward the working and middle class any better. When will you stop being duped by Fox, think for yourselves, and realize the Republican and Tea Party only represent 1 percenters; the wealthy elite. If you belong to the class that is trampling worker's rights, then I see why you are afraid. We won't continue to stand by silently, while corporations steal our rights and elections. To quote one of your failed Presidents of the recent past, "You're either with us or against us in the fight against terror,". Repubs +Tea-baggers = terrorists . The storm is coming.

At 4/14/2011 07:35:00 AM, Blogger Cody said...

@ Jonathan the tool

Try telling the truth about Wisconsin public worker pensions. They always HAVE paid for their own pensions, long before Walker was even thrown out of college.


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