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Rock Musicians Organize Against Injustice

An Interview with Tom Morello and Serj Tankian

by RICHARD MORENO

On a sweltering hot summer’s day in Southern California, the Axis of Justice non-profit political organization initiated its very first activist meeting Sunday afternoon on the 25th of July at North Hollywood Park. Despite the blistering heat, a group of roughly 50 people from all ages and backgrounds clustered together under the trees’ shade while Co-Director of the Axis of Justice Jake Sexton announced the afternoon’s purpose. Within minutes, Tom Morello, former Rage Against the Machine guitarist turned Audio Slave guitar extraordinaire, and Serj Tankian, System of the Down’s fiery lead vocalist, arrived with cases of Axis of Justice gear and materials. Soon after, the birth of the first Axis of Justice chapter was proclaimed.

The meeting formally commenced when an ever cordial and measured Tom Morello announced to the crowd the launching of the first Los Angeles chapter of the Axis of Justice. Instantaneously, he declared the Axis of Justice’s first plans of action. He described the plans as a "two pronged attack": the nascent Axis of Justice chapter was to (a) counter the problem of hunger with a weekly program to feed the homeless using proceeds from concerts and such and to (b) oppose the war by participating immediately in the already established local peace vigil in Ventura, where the Axis of Justice’s politics would add its own distinct flavor to the vigil.

After the introduction, the official networking and registration began. This is when Tom Morello and Serj Tankian were gracious enough with their time to offer me an exclusive interview regarding their newborn project.

There are a quite a few people who are not exactly aware of what the Axis of Justice is. Can you describe the nature of your organization for students and people across America?

TM: The Axis of Justice is a non-profit political organization formed by Serj and I to bring together musicians, conscious fans, and grassroots political organizations to fight for social justice.

In this context, where do you see the overall evolution of the organization?

TM: Our goal is to refine the bridge between local grassroots organizations who come together from different issues and from around the country to effectively organize and network.

What role do you see for students and youth in the Axis of Justice?

ST: I see people gathering and volunteering for peace vigils and pointing out the injustices that are happening. If people are aware of injustices that they feel are interesting, they should send articles and information to the Axis of Justice website to make them known.

And where do you see the future evolution of the Axis of Justice?

ST: I am not too concerned about the distant future or the past. We have to make a change now.

Thank you for your time and I wish you the best on your new project.

For more info on the organization or for volunteering, you can visit httP;//www.axisofjustice.org.

RICHARD MORENO is a Mt. San Antonio College student and activist. He can be reached at polyapplications@aol.com.