No matter where you stand on the political spectrum, most (reasonable) Americans can agree that freedom is one of our country’s core values – freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly. Across our country, we’re in the throes of a new protest movement, precipitated in recent years by Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter, and exploding recently with the ongoing anti-DAPL occupation in North Dakota, the Women’s March, pro-immigrant protests, the upcoming March for Science in April, and the protests of angry constituents that are greeting members of Congress at local town halls. And this week will see a protest of a different sort: the organizers of the Women’s March have declared this Wednesday, March 8th “A Day Without a Woman,” calling upon women to stay home from work in an expression of solidarity and resistance in the face of what many view as an anti-woman administration.
Of course, wherever you find resistance, you’ll find resistance to that resistance. As the Washington Post recently reported, lawmakers in several states are introducing bills in an effort to crack down on protests, issuing harsher penalties and eliminating laws intended to protect those assembling or marching peacefully. While some of these lawmakers and others have decried activists as “paid protestors” or “liberal snowflakes,” many involved in the movement see these kinds of bills and accusations as an indication that they’re having an impact. “This is standard operating procedure for movement opponents,” Stanford Sociology Professor Douglas McAdam states in the piece, “Civil rights workers were said to be ‘outside agitators.’”
In honor of this recent surge in protest – which should represent to us as Americans not “whining,” but the kind of democratic participation our forefathers envisioned – I’ve created a playlist that speaks to action, to revolution. It’s not always polite or pretty. But it’s dynamic, passionate, aware, and awake – something we all need to be in these troubled times.