The Chilean-born brothers of Rebel Diaz, a New-York-based hip hop duo, released a new video, which features a new remix of the labour movement classic “Which Side Are You On”, first written by in 1931 by Florence Reese, the wife of a mine worker. It encourages workers to join unions and impulse radical change. The group has previously released different hip hop versions of the song responding to the events of the day.
“The Which Side Are You On REMIX came out on our  Radical Dilemma album, but the time is NOW for the song and the message it represents,” wrote Rebel Diaz on their YouTube page. “We are living historic moments of oppression, to which the people have the right to respond with historic moments of resistance.”
The lyrics highlights various social ills within US society, including political conformism, the prison industrial complex and economic inequality, while the video-clip includes numerous references to the recent police killings of Black men in the United States, including the latest in Baltimore with the death of Freddie Gray.
The song features hip-hop legends Dead Prez and Rakaa Iriscience from Dilated Peoples. A highlight of the video is in the second verse, when Rapper m1 of Dead Prez takes shots at the traditional Black leadership by questioning their loyalty to the new generation radical Black activists. Although the rapper slams the many “fence sitters" without naming them, the video clip then shows images of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, militants of the older generation of Black activists.
In a December article released in the Black Agenda Report (BAR), columnist Glen Ford condemned the role of such activists in the protests that followed the police killings of Black men, suggesting they engaged in a battle over leadership for the Black movement. “The collaborating Black classes [Sharpton is now a Barack Obama’s adviser] moved quickly to limit Ferguson-related demands to those that were politically palatable to the president,” he stated. “The Al Sharptons of the community are attempting to isolate the core Ferguson activists and prevent the coalescing of a youth-led national Black movement.”
[Based on an article first published at TeleSUR English.]