FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Real Reason Rock the Vote is Falling Apart

by LEE BALLINGER

Rock the Vote is in shambles. According to a February 7 LA Times article by Charles Duhigg, the organization is $700,000 in debt and has cut its staff from twenty people in 2004 to two today. Rock the Vote hasn’t had a chief operating officer since the last Presidential election.

Duhigg attributes the crisis to overspending in non-election years and to the opportunism of the music industry executives who dominate the group’s board and use Rock the Vote primarily to promote their own artists.

Rock the Vote has a more fundamental problem: It has hitched its star to politicians who are completely hostile to the needs and desires of the American people. For example, check out the political hacks it has chosen to bestow its Rock the Nation Award upon.

There’s Bill Clinton, who presided over the 1996 Democratic Party convention which removed universal health care from the party platform even though more than 70 per cent of Americans are in favor of it.

There’s Hilary Rosen, who was head of the RIAA at the time she was honored. Rosen rocked the nation by launching the war against file-sharing. Sharing music on-line is, to say the least, wildly popular.

There’s Hillary Clinton, who, despite the unpopularity of the war in Iraq, has called for sending 80,000 more of our sons and daughters to the slaughter.

In June 2005, the Rock the Nation Award went to John McCain, one month after the Arizona Senator was part of the 100-0 Senate vote to approve Bush’s war funding bill. In his acceptance speech, McCain introduced himself as “Funk Master McCain.” Since then, Funk Master McCain has kept busy campaigning for California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose November ballot initiatives to cripple unions and give himself unsupervised power to gut social programs were soundly defeated by California voters.

In 2004, Rock the Vote, under the leadership of Jehmu Greene (who came to the organization directly from serving as Southern Political Director of the Democratic National Committee), registered 1.4 million voters in an effort to elect John Kerry. On March 2 of this year Kerry was one of 89 Senators who voted to make the Patriot Act permanent, even though more than 250 U.S. cities have passed resolutions calling for it to be abolished.

One of Rock the Vote’s few high points came in the early 1990s when the organization aired over 175 public service announcements in which artists gave their frank views on democracy. Our favorite was Ice-T’s. “I’m as anti ‘the system’ as you could possibly be,” he said. “We’ve got two options–the vote or hostile takeover. I’m down with either one.”

In other words, voter registration as a tactic can be useful when it’s part of an effort to transform the system. When voter registration is used as a strategy, what you get is Rock the Vote. It won’t be missed.

LEE BALLINGER is coeditor of one of CounterPunch’s favorite newsletters, Rock and Rap Confidential, where this article originally appeared. He can be reached at: Rockrap@aol.com

For a free copy of the latest RRC issue, email your postal address to: RRC, Box 341305, LA CA 90034 or send an email to: Rockrap@aol.com

 

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

January 18, 2017
Gary Leupp
The Extraordinary Array of Those Questioning Trump’s Legitimacy (and Their Various Reasons)
Charles Pierson
Drone Proliferation Ramps Up
Ajamu Baraka
Celebrating Dr. King with the Departure of Barack Obama
David Underhill
Trumpology With a Twist
Chris Floyd
Infinite Jest: Liberals Laughing All the Way to Hell
Stansfield Smith
Obama’s Hidden Role in Worsening Climate Change
Ron Leighton
Trump is Not Hitler: How the Misuse of History Distorts the Present as Well as the Past
Ralph Nader
An Open Letter to President-Elect Donald Trump
Binoy Kampmark
NATO and Obsolescence: Donald Trump and the History of an Alliance
Zarefah Baroud
‘The Power to Create a New World’: Trump and the Environmental Challenge Ahead
Julian Vigo
Obama Must Pardon the Black Panthers in Prison or in Exile
Alfredo Lopez
The Whattsapp Scandal
Clancy Sigal
Russian Hacking and the Smell Test
Terry Simons
The Truth About Ethics and Condoms
January 17, 2017
John Pilger
The Issue is Not Trump, It is Us
John K. White
Is Equality Overrated, Too?
Michael J. Sainato
The DNC Hands the Democratic Party Over to David Brock and Billionaire Donors
John Davis
Landscapes of Shame: America’s National Parks
Andrew Smolski
Third Coast Pillory: Politicians and Rhetorical Tricks
Chris Busby
The Scientific Hero of Chernobyl: Alexey V. Yablokov, the Man Who Dared to Speak the Truth
David Macaray
Four Reasons Trump Will Quit
Chet Richards
The Vicissitudes of the Rural South
Clancy Sigal
“You Don’t Care About Jobs”: Why the Democrats Lost
Robert Dodge
Martin Luther King and U.S. Politics: Time for a U.S. Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Jack Sadat Lee
I Dream of Justice for All the Animal Kingdom
James McEnteer
Mourning Again in America
January 16, 2017
Paul Street
How Pure is Your Hate?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
Did the Elites Have Martin Luther King Jr. Killed?
Robert Hunziker
Global Warming Clobbers Ocean Life
Patrick Cockburn
The Terrifying Parallels Between Trump and Erdogan
Kenneth Surin
The Neoliberal Stranglehold on the American Public University
Lawrence Davidson
Is There a Future for the Democratic Party?
Douglas Valentine
Who Killed MLK Jr?
Robert Fisk
The Foreign Correspondent in the Age of Twitter and Trump
Dale Bryan
“Where Do We Go from Here?”
David Swanson
The Deep State Wants to Deep Six Us
Dan Bacher
Obama Administration Orders Speedy Completion of Delta Tunnels Plan
Mark Weisbrot
Obama Should Make Sure that Haitian Victims of UN-Caused Cholera are Compensated
Winslow Myers
The Light of the World
Bruce Mastron
My Latest Reason to Boycott the NFL: Guns
Weekend Edition
January 13, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Gregory Elich
Did the Russians Really Hack the DNC?
Jeffrey St. Clair
The President Who Wasn’t There: Barack Obama’s Legacy of Impotence
Anthony DiMaggio
Ethics Fiasco: Trump, Divestment and the Perversion of Executive Politics
Joshua Frank
Farewell Obummer, Hello Golden Showers
Paul Street
Hit the Road, Barack: Some Farewell Reflections
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail