IASPM-US Statement on Charlottesville

by Jarek Ervin on August 19, 2017

Woody Guthrie wore a guitar that bore the slogan, “This Machine Kills Fascists.”

Nina Simone exclaimed, “Mississippi Goddam” in connection with racism and civil rights violence.

Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar issued a demand for the “Freedom” that is still denied to many people.

With these gestures and so many more, popular musicians have raised their voices and taken a stand against racism, hatred, discrimination, and the corruption of power in its various forms.

The International Association for the Study of Popular Music, U.S. Chapter (IASPM-US), stands with this history of opposition to fascism and white supremacy, and condemns in the strongest terms the actions of the neo-Nazi and white supremacist individuals and organizations that marched in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12-13, 2017.

We reject the suggestion made by President Trump and many other public commentators that there is any equivalence to be drawn between those marching in support of racist, anti-Semitic and fascist views and those marching to oppose such views.

We stand in solidarity with the students, staff and faculty of the University of Virginia, and the people of Charlottesville, who were victimized by the actions of the white supremacists that marched upon their town and campus.

We recognize that the history of popular music in the U.S. and abroad is inseparable from histories of racial and other forms of inequality, and we pledge to continue to enrich our understanding of how these histories intersect.

The events in Charlottesville remind us that in this time of intense political division, university campuses and academia at large are on the front lines of current conflicts. IASPM-US affirms its commitment to creating a safe and inclusive space for all its members and all who participate in activities or engage in dialogue under its name. We furthermore confirm our commitment to continuing to work to make IASPM-US a better, more inclusive organization that can continue to serve as a resource for fostering serious research and dialogue into how popular music matters in times of political trouble.

Signed,

The IASPM-US Executive Committee

Steve Waksman, Katherine Meizel, Esther Morgan-Ellis, S. Alexander Reed, Mark J. Butler, Oliver Wang, Diane Pecknold, Jarek Paul Ervin, Pippin Bongiovanni, Daniel Goldmark, Robin James, Theo Cateforis, Shana Redmond, Elijah Wald, Tiffany Naiman, Reebee Garofalo

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