In a world in which most music is corporate-sponsored pap that succeeds only because it's the only thing on the menu, most politically-inspired music falls flat on its ass, much in the same way that a fern cannot survive in the desert. Some acts, however, have been successful either in spite of or even because of their political stance. Much like Christian rock, it's hard to make music that's all about a message that doesn't totally suck, but one person with a positive gift for this is Michael Franti. Today, he tours with a band called Spearhead, but before Spearhead there was The Disposable Heroes of Hiphopracy. Franti rapped over percussion assembled by Rono Tse, and the result was a sort of sublime fusion of political message and imaginative hip-hop that is not only worth listening to due to its message, but also due to its pure, palpable quality.
Once upon a time, there was a man named Marc Singer who heard a story about a group of homeless people living in an abandoned railway tunnel beneath the streets of New York City. After visiting several tunnels, he finally found an eclectic and capable group of homeless who were building a veritable village in a tunnel near Penn Station. After spending some time with them, he became a solid friend, and at some point one of the residents remarked that someone should make a movie out of their situation.
In a time in which we have a tendency to feel disenfranchised and powerless, we would all do well to remember the lessons of the free speech movement at the University of California, Berkeley in the 1960s. The motivated students of UCB created a feeling of empowerment in the student body that had important positive repercussions not only for the freedom of speech, but also the equal rights and women's rights movements.