Music and Politics

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The Most Powerful and Dangerous Vehicle: Music
As music has been used in all matters, it has been involved with political issues as well. As Billy Bragg said “All the great political music was made at the height of political confrontations (Bragg).” This quotation manifestly indicates that there has always been political confrontation and it proves that music has been used in both sides. During the war time some authorities especially Germany and USA produced many songs (including anthems) which highly reinforced wars, whereas there were still some movements to enlighten the society to raise people’s awareness for human rights and against wars such as anti-war movement. Popular music has always been used as the most powerful vehicle to lead the society and make some social changes. This essay is going to focus on how this vehicle leads the society and makes people get involved either pro-war movement or anti-war movement. Protest music influenced many people in the war time. There was an extremely powerful authority that lied to their own people and made them get involved in wars; on the other hand there were many musicians who made efforts to raise the level of consciousness of the people about wars and humanitarian issues. The protest music of the Vietnam War took the children of the 60’s to a different perspective. Musicians of this generation went to any coffee house, plugged their guitars and sent their message with music into the homes of the youth of America. While governments encouraged the people for wars, this generation was not sitting idly and they were trying to take an action. Thus, this social climate and musicians became the foundation of ending a barbaric war (Anderson, 2006).This is a pivotal point because it highlights that music played an enormous role to encourage the young generation to take action in that time. It definitely means that music was a form of communication which gave political messages. Music can also be used for transmitting environmental and social messages as well. For instance in the 50’s there were protests over the atomic bomb, in 1969 John Lennon’s “Give Peace a Chance” was adopted by protesters against the war in Vietnam. Two years later, “Imagine” was both the title of the song and on his second solo album. From then until now, both songs have endured as the most widely recognized anti-war anthems (White, 2008). In addition, nowadays there are many songs about humanitarian issues. For instance a musician named K’naan produced “Wavin’Flag” with 57 artists and raised more than $1 million for victims of the Haitian earthquake (Dembeck, 2010). These continual movements show that people are not ignore this kind of humanitarian issues and they try to raise the society’s awareness. Other tremendous actions were festivals which were highly against wars. For instance Rock Against Racism, Woodstock and Glastonbury are completely recognized festivals all around the world. Rock Against Racism was a mass campaign against the abrupt incline of utmost racism in Britain in 1970s (Williams, 2009). Such a campaign can then lead to a certain type of idea that popular music could be more than entertainment in the 60’s and 70’s. Similarly, from 1969 to now, Woodstock Music Festivals has affected people in a peaceful way. A great deal people started to support protest music and peace movements who were against racism and for humanism. Such young and activist people played enormous role during war time. Their movement grown up on the campuses and everybody was affected by each other. In my humble opinion, taking action against such an uncivilized situation is the most precious and only way to both educate the society and defeat vicious power. During the war era, the people’s taste for music was limited by government and most probably this was the worst matter that people experienced. Furthermore, states tried to interfere with the social climate. For example, during the Civil War, the government...
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