Concert Tonight: Rage, Oberst Protest Arizona Immigration Policy : The Record Proceeds from the concert will benefit non-profit service groups that aid immigrants in Arizona.
NPR logo Concert Tonight: Rage, Oberst Protest Arizona Immigration Policy

Concert Tonight: Rage, Oberst Protest Arizona Immigration Policy

"The law is racist, un-American, unconstitutional, and immoral."

That is not a politician speaking.

That is singer/songwriter Conor Oberst lashing out against Arizona's new immigration law at a press conference held in Los Angeles along with two members of the band Rage Against The Machine. They were explaining their motivation for a benefit concert tonight in Los Angeles.

Rage Against the Machine lead singer Zach de la Rocha has organized a coalition of musicians under the name SoundStrike to boycott the state of Arizona over the legislation, SB 1070.

Proceeds from the coalition-sponsored concert will benefit non-profit social service groups that help immigrants in Arizona.

Though it's scheduled to go into effect next week, there are several lawsuits challenging the law, and the federal government went to court yesterday to block it.

De la Rocha used the press conference to rage against advocates of the law and call for support of the boycott.

"How could we not approach artists who share our consciousness? How could Rage Against the Machine not do a show to help leaders on the ground?"

SB 1070 has become the focal point in the fight over illegal immigration. Supporters of the law say it will help the state fight the influx of illegal immigrants. Opponents say it could too easily lead to racial profiling, even though that is specifically prohibited in the language of the law.

It has also ignited a war of words within the music industry as Oberst exchanged impassioned letters with an Arizona-based rock promoter who asked that bands not boycott the state but instead share their political views through music directly with their fans in Arizona.