Music to accompany a Revolution

Summary: Music can motivate individuals to join a political movement, and build support for it among the people. Here we look at music that might spark not specific policy change (eg, about the environment), but broad reform of our political system.


  1. The role of music
  2. “Sleep Now in the Fire” by Rage Against the Machine
  3. “Testify” by Rage Against the Machine
  4. Why music has power
  5. It’s about choice
  6. The futility of protest without vision of a new order
  7. For More Information

(1) The role of music

Profound political reform at some point becomes a revolution, if society resists change — and sufficient people will pay the price.  It’s a small “r” revolution, if the society eventually adapts to the new forces unleashed.  If the society resists and the conflict escalates it might become a large “R” revolution, but the price paid becomes very high. What music can motivate that kind of change?

(2)  “Sleep Now in the Fire” by Rage Against the Machine (1999, lyrics here)



(3) “Testify” by Rage Against the Machine (2000, lyrics here)

For our conservative readers, here’s an endorsement of Rage Against the Machine: it’s Paul Ryan’s favorite band!

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