18 years after it’s original release, the song was an unlikely candidate for the best selling Christmas song of 2009. It’s lyrics rail against imperialism, mass media propaganda, the military industrial complex and those who benefit from it’s violence against the world. As such there is a certain irony that the Sun newspaper who have backed numerous wars, and attacks on the poor formally backed the band and published quotes from Tom Morello asking people to stand up to “illegitimate authority”. Whilst Simon Cowell has condemned those behind the Facebook campaign as being “Scrooge”, they have successfully raised £50,000 for the homeless charity Shelter, and Rage Against the Machine intend to give profits from the sales away to a UK music charity which supports disadvantaged children.
As Rage Against the Machine are signed to Sony records, the very same label as the contending X Factor song, many have condemned the exercise as pointless and counterproductive as millionaire corporate executives and investors are benefiting significantly the campaign’s success. But if these events prove anything, it is that capitalism is greedy enough to sell you the weapons to fight it.
Merry Xmas and a Happy New Fear, and Many Happy Revolutions..