Thursday, February 2, 2012

I once got a hug from Boots Riley.

I once got a hug from Boots Riley.  Well, he put his arm over my shoulder.  We were posing for a picture!  Nothing creepy!

Then I forgot to save the picture on my cellphone and lost it forever :(

Anyways, this is why Boots Riley is someone to pay attention to, even if you don't care for the music:

Riley has been an activist since high school, when he spent a summer helping to organize migrant farm workers in central California. He says he was used to seeing twenty-five people show up at demonstrations, and in he past, he’s weighed his activism against what he might accomplish with his music, and generally chosen the music – so many more people could hear the message that way. "But with Occupy, I can’t use that same equation," Riley admits. "What we’re doing here gets a different message out, a stronger message out, to many more people than my music." 
By directly targeting labor and production through actions like the port shutdowns, Occupy Oakland has been different from other Occupy cities, Riley notes. He’s hoping the movement will grow to include elements of the working class who don’t normally organize, such as fast food workers. "There are a lot of companies in cities that are supposedly poor that make millions of dollars and pay people low wages," Riley says. "There’s no reason why McDonald’s can’t pay fifteen dollars an hour and still be turning a big profit. They have it set up where they sell their stuff to franchise owners so the owners have to say, 'I don’t have enough money.' But we if we wanted to, we could shut down all of the McDonald's in Oakland. We could help the workers renegotiate with those franchise owners. At McDonald's, at Wal-Mart, all of those places. We want to organize where people are actually working in the United States — places where people are not able to unionize because they’ll get fired. We can eliminate that risk because if they fire the folks who are unionizing, we can shut them down. Unions can’t legally organize in that way." Riley smiles. "But we can do stuff based on what’s right. Not what’s legal."
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