An Interview with Michael Franti, Part 4

Once again we hear from musician Michael Franti about his trip to Iraq in 2004. Today he talks about what the peace movement here in the U.S.
The result of the 2004 trip is a new CD, “Yell Fire” and a documentary, “I Know I’m Not Alone,” both of which came out at the end of July. I sat down with Franti during sound check before a show in Park City last Thursday. This is part four of that interview. Right-Click here to download the mp3. Or, read on for the transcript:
AL: Do you think there is a peace movement in the U.S.?
Of course, yea. There’s been an anti-war movement since before the war. One of the things that is disturbing to me is that the Bush Administration has said ‘you’re either with us or against us.’ But now it’s like ‘you’re either with us or you’re irrelevant.’ That’s what they say to the UN, that what they say to other nations and Cindy Sheehan and millions of other people that are outspoken against the war. But I believe that as time goes on and we begin to see the futility, and our nation begins to get ffected by it economically that resistance against the war continues and grows and takes shape in the form of voting and eventually the war will end, I can see it on the horizon.
AL: I don’t think the peace movement gets much coverage here. You travel around and see it and are a part of it. How would you explain the nature and the extent of the movement to someone sitting in Topeka watching Fox News?
It’s very difficult for people in the peace movement to find access to getting their message out because mainstream media has become such a mouthpiece for the government. It’s like they take their feeds straight off the wire and read them, not even thinking, not even questioning, Is there any truth in this? And investigate journalism has been totally squashed. So, its a difficult task, but I’m encouraged by the fact that today the war is polling 35% in support, 65 against. And it isn’t because Bush or the media has changed their tune, it’s because people have talked about it at their dinner tables at home or their water coolers at work, sometimes they made silly signs and walked out into the streets. And just by that, we’ve been able to change the tenor of this country, and I think its just a matter of time before candidates realize that and begin to run with an endplan in mind. And I don’t see this as a partisan issue. I don’t think its about Republican Democrat because I see people on both sides of the aisle waking up to it, and I see people in the military waking up to it too. It’s just a matter of is this the direction we want our country to go in? Are we really make ourselves safer by building up this much hatred towards America? And it’s not that people hate the American way of life. The love our way of life, they’d like to have it themselves. But what American foreign policy is doing to their lives is having real affects in a negative way in their countries.
AL: If I can get you to brag a bit, what do you see your role being in this movement?
Well, my role is a humble role. It’s just as another voice. In making this film and this music I hope to take whatever light is shined on me and reflect it on to something that needs more light shined on it. I also hope that when people see the film, they see that its just a small group of people who wanted to see something different and show it to the world and we just picked up our home videocameras and we went and did it. I hope that encourages other people to do the same. Not only in terms of the war but in terms of what ever issues you find in the world or in your community that are important to you to pick up your camera, pick up your pen and paper, pick up your paint or your guitar and tell people about it.
AL: Are there any individuals you look to for leadership or inspiration?
I’m inspired everyday just by people in the street, everywhere I go and no matter what country I’m in, I meet people that are doing amazing things under very adverse circumstances and those are the people I find to be my heroes.

Related Posts: Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3