Another World Is Possible: Artists with a Conscience

Another World is Possible
Various Artists

Another World is Possible (Uwe, 2004)

This attention-grabbing hard cover book and CD collection is for those individuals with a
social conscience. The CD component features compelling music by well known
world music and pop artists. What all these artists have in common is that they
and their lyrics show support for social issues: human rights, political freedom
(versus the neocon “they hate us for our freedom” motto, which really means
support for unregulated corporate activity), anti-globalization, etc. Musicians
were chosen for the CD because of their demonstrated commitment to speaking up
about the state of the world. But—for the most part—it was the musicians
themselves that chose what tracks to include on the disc. Several of the songs
have never been released before or are rare tracks.The book component, 64 pages long, includes essays in English, French, Spanish
and Portuguese, by individuals who have frequently appeared in the international
news segments on TV, including intellectuals, freedom fighters, small farm
advocates, and writers. Featured writers include one of the United States
leading intellectuals, Massachusetts Institute of
Technology (M.I.T.) linguist Noam Chomsky; Canadian journalist Naomi Klein (who
writes about “brand bombing”); and Mexico’s Zapatista leader Subcommander Marcos. The writings of
two Nobel Prize winners are also included: Portugal’s José Saramago (Literature,
1998) and Iran’s Shirin Ebadi (Peace, 2004).

The disc opens with an exclusive track by Manu Chao, one of the world’s
best-selling artists, and someone who has been visible performing at major
demonstrations. Chao told the BBC in an interview: “I’m completely in support of
the anti-globalization movement. I donate royalties to the Zapatistas in
Chiapas, and I don’t trust politicians – you’ve got to act on a neighborhood
level. But the last thing the movement needs is for someone like me to be held
up as its ‘leader’. Getting away from icons and personality cults is what makes
the movement so attractive
.” Interestingly, Chao’s father—Ramon Chao is a
well-known Spanish writer and anti-globalization activist.

Other highlights of the album include film-maker turned jazz-rocker Emir
Kusturica’s gypsy brass take on The Clash’s “Lost in the Supermarket.”
Coincidentally another song made famous by The Clash, “Police on My Back,” is
sung this time by Asian Dub Foundation, the U.K. collective that challenged
stereotypes about what a band of South Asians could sound like, and Zebda, a
popular French band known for championing the poor. Lee Scratch Perry is at his
best with “Dancing Shoes.”

While rare live versions by
Femi
Kuti
and The Skatalites tout freedom, the album
also offers a dose of American music with electronic breakout artist Moby and
Detroit techno-originators Underground Resistance, who have become known for
being unknown. After many people in Europe made a lot of money on the backs of
the artists of “Motor City,” Underground Resistance created their own successful
label and distribution company. Their entrepreneurial efforts—an outgrowth of
the fight for Civil Rights—aim to keep money in the Black community; even
employing people neighborhood street kids to help them develop their own
careers.

Uncivilized World founder and Frenchman Arnaud Frisch produced Another World is
Possible with two goals in mind. “We want to provoke people that like these
artists to read something about the dangers of savage globalization and have a
debate about it,” Frisch explains. “We are not trying to teach people what we
believe, but we want them to think about it for themselves
.”

The other goal is to raise money for ATTAC, an international organization that
is trying to create an alternative to the type of globalization that puts profit
about people, multinational corporations over national governments. ATTAC stands
for the Association for the Taxation of Financial Transactions for the Aid of
Citizens. ATTAC originated to support Nobel prize-winning American economist
James Tobin’s proposal to tax currency speculators’ trade to meet urgent global
priorities such as preventing global warming, disease, and poverty. A first step
inspired by the concept put forward by ATTAC was proposed at the September UNO
meeting in New York City: an international tax on airplane tickets to support
the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis, and pollution. While the organization has
gone on to broaden their agenda to a wide range of issues around globalization,
it is not “anti-globalization,” but instead calls for globalization policies
that are just and sustainable. One ATTAC slogan says “The world is not for
sale
.”

This album calls for an alternative form of globalization capable of rallying
together resistants from the mountains of Chiapas, untouchables from New Delhi,
farmers from the Larzac region in France, and Human Rights campaigners in
Tehran
,” explains UW founder Frisch. “Mirroring this diversity, music becomes a
tool to construct another world, in contrast to the uniformity imposed by the
entertainment industry
.”

For a different perspective about this recording, read an alternative review:
Polar
Opposites–Inventing a New World
.

[Buy

Another World Is Possible
].

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