Songs To Smash Fascism To
It seems like every passing day there is something bigger and more insidious to rise up against, but really what it can be boiled down to is antisemitic, anti-black, misogynistic, xenophobic, transphobic, homophobic, white nationalist, regressive fascist politics. If you’re gonna run around punching nazis it’s best to have a great soundtrack to enhance the mood. Here are some songs we think will help you to navigate this new upside-down world with more dropkick in your step, so add these tracks to your next protest playlist.
Barbara Dane & The Chambers Brothers – “It Isn’t Nice”
Although recorded in 1966, the pro-protest lyrics are just as applicable today as they were during the civil rights movement. Play it for anyone who has ever questioned the purpose, efficacy, or respectability of civil disobedience.
Sonic Youth – “Youth Against Fascism”
Sonic Youth serves up a drone-y grunge-y angry anthem to fuel your contempt for neo-nazis, racists, fascists, and of course, the president.
Alice Bag – “Reign of Fear”
LA Punk legend Alice Bag is back with a ripping song that simultaneously eviscerates the president elect and creates an undeniable sense of unity in the face of fascism. You’ll soon be screaming along to the empowering “we reject your reign of fear!” chorus.
Black Flag – “Rise Above”
Henry Rollins is the ultimate punk rock woke bae. I saw his spoken word show a few months ago, and I was inspired by his message of action in the face of despondency over the direction of the country. Let this song encourage you to stand up and speak out.
Beyonce – “Freedom”
The performance by Beyonce and Kendrick Lamar at the BET Awards was prefaced with a clip of an MLK speech addressing the rights of all men the inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And we’re here to cash this check. The song is an anthem inviting everyone to march for equal rights and equal treatment under the law.
Solange – “Cranes in the Sky”
For when you want to rage but you also want to chill. It covers the range of wanting to drown, run away from, and spend away your sorrows. I find this song very calming yet empowering, a reminder to take care of ourselves while still dealing with the chaos of life.
Kanye West – “Black Skinhead”
If you need to wake up a little bit after the Solange, this one will definitely amp you up. Get your “by any means” on and your nazi-punching knuckles ready.
Vince Staples – “War Ready”
This song is packed with intense wordplay meant to hype you up. In 2 min 40 seconds he reveals reality of growing up in a culture that continuously and repeatedly denigrates black people. Staples wonders “Who the activist and who the Devil’s advocate / Or do it matter? Shit.”
YG & Nipsey Hussle – “FDT (Fuck Donald Trump)”
Middle fingers up 🙂
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list compiled by Julia Gibson and Janea Wilson
Julia Gibson: Originally from the Bay Area, Julia came to Southern California for the Elliott Smith wall and stayed for the friends. She graduated from CSU Long Beach with degrees in Literature and Creative Writing. She likes eating ramen, doing Vinyasa yoga, and building her perfume collection.
Janea Wilson is a Los Angeles native. Her writing appears or is forthcoming in The Oklahoma Review, Canyon Voices, Puerto del Sol “Black Voices” series, Santa Ana River Review, Indicia Lit, among others. Her passions include Flannery O’Connor, iced coffee, and intersectional feminism. In 2016 she received her MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry), graduating with honors.