Rise Against singer Tim McIlrath

Rise Against is releasing a limited edition 7″ for Record Store Day, with a spoken word track by me, and a song that they say was inspired by Green Is the New Red. So I sat down with Tim McIlrath to talk about the new song, Rise Against’s activism, and why he still has hope.

1) Rise Against has a long history of advocating for both animal and human rights. Could you start off by telling us about how you, personally, got involved in social justice issues?

I didn’t grow up in a particularly political or even a very musical family, so finding both was sort of my own journey. Like a lot of people who find punk or hardcore, I didn’t connect with a lot of popular culture. I attribute the underdog and every-man mentality of this scene as my gateway drug to social justice issues. A lot of punk and hardcore music had meaning and substance that I couldn’t find in much of commercial music. The first time I heard the word ‘sweatshop’ was at a hardcore show. Concepts like environmentalism or gentrification were introduced to me through the lense of music. I owe a lot to the tight-knit scenes around Chicago in the 90s that brought me up. [click to continue…]

atf-elf-weapons-mass-destruction-pickeringJust three months before the September 11th attacks, U.S. anti-terrorism resources weren’t focused on Al-Qaeda — they were also being spent trying to build a case against environmental activists for “weapons of mass destruction” based on website posts.

New documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act show that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms opened an investigation to determine whether Anarchist Cookbook-style booklets posted online violated a law against distributing information related to weapons of mass destruction.

The booklets were posted on EarthLiberationFront.com, which was the public website operated by above-ground supporters of an illegal, underground group called the Earth Liberation Front, or ELF. The ELF uses property destruction, including arson, to inflict economic damage on businesses they say are damaging the environment.

The group has used arson to sabotage logging companies, ski resorts, and genetic engineering research, but they have never injured a human being.

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rise-against-eco-terrorist-in-me-will-potterBig news! Rise Against is releasing a limited edition 7″ for Record Store Day, with a spoken word track by me, and a song that they say was inspired by Green Is the New Red. I’ll try to play it cool and not be a total fanboy dweeb, but… holy crap. Unreal. Seeing folks I respect and admire go out of their way to do something like this is just incredible.

Here’s more from the press release:

“Our Record Store release for 2015 is a music and spoken word split-seven inch collaboration with Will Potter, author of ‘Green Is the New Red,’” says Rise Against lead singer Tim McIlrath.  “In addition to “The Eco-Terrorist In Me” from our new record The Black Market, this release will include previously unreleased “About Damn Time” from the same sessions. Inspired by author/musician split collaborations like the Bad Religion/Noam Chomsky or Kurt Cobain/William S. Burroughs releases, we teamed up with Will Potter, author of  Green Is the New Red.” Potter’s book inspired and informed the song “The Eco-Terrorist In Me” and his spoken word contribution “We Will Never Forget,” dives deeper into the fight for animal welfare and increased transparency in the shadowy world of factory farms.”

“If factory farms get their way, you’ll never be able to see photographs like the cover of this Rise Against record,” says author Will Potter.  “Seven states have already passed new ‘ag-gag’ laws that make it illegal to photograph animal cruelty without the farm’s approval, and more states are considering these bills right now. But this is just one part of a much broader campaign by these corporations and the FBI to label non-violent protesters as ‘eco-terrorists.’ Rise Against has always used their platform to shine a light on injustice, and I was thrilled to work with them on this project; treating whistleblowers and activists as “terrorists” puts all of our freedoms at risk.”

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activism-t-shirt-green-new-redWhen most people think of “terrorism,” they think 9/11, anthrax, and suicide bombers. But right now social justice activists are being labeled as terrorists for protesting the Keystone XL pipeline, and photographing factory farms.

Activism is not terrorism. 

These t-shirts are black American Apparel t-shirts, with light ink. Available in either unisex or women’s sizes for $20. [click to continue…]

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