Mixtape: let’s get political – change begins with you

Tibet protest, Chinese embassy, London, Mar 07, 2015, by Chris Beckett (1350x759)If you live in the UK, you can’t fail to have noticed that we’re approaching another riveting general election. The three major parties – Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats – are all hoping their rhetoric will win you, and I, over. We’ve even got the Eurosceptic, borderline-racist party, UKIP, filling our screens this time.

If you’re reading this, I’m assuming you have at least some view on politics, and the decision makers who, like it or not, hold much of the power in our society.

In this age of distraction, it doesn’t surprise me that interest in politics has waned. TV news beams images and grim facts at us. Politicians are grilled on the Today programme and Question Time by many a fine reporter/presenter. But, still, away from the corridors of power, millions are unemployed, thousands sleep rough and/or rely on food banks for their daily meals.

Let your voice be heard
You may be a regular voter, a first-time voter, one of the disillusioned, or staunchly against ‘The System’. Whatever your position, if you believe in equality, justice and freedom (of speech and expression, especially), I would urge you to let your voice be heard. Is the system broken? Absolutely. But when it comes to politics and power, we must work within the bounds of the system until we encounter an opportunity to change things for the better.

There’s only five weeks left before the UK general election. If you are a UK citizen who’s not registered to vote, you can do so at gov.uk. The deadline for registration is April 20, 2015.

Change begins with you
Without getting overly sentimental, I’ve had lots of opportunities to observe what’s being happening here in the UK – and the world at large – in today’s society. From protests to the private sector, we’ve all felt the effects of the UK’s current coalition Government.

Meanwhile, internationally, in the last 18 months alone, there have been all manner of scandals and atrocities that have shown us the ugly side of humanity (as if we needed reminding): Ukraine; the Ebola epidemic in west Africa; women being threatened with rape and death merely for airing their views; Ferguson and the American justice systems continued poor treatment of non-whites; the Paris shootings; stabbings, beheadings and other equally grim assaults on UK citizens; and the deplorable campaign of violence from ISIS, which has only fuelled more hatred and prejudice against Muslims.

What has this got to do with you or me? I don’t have the power to change the banking system, or stop our leaders from lying to us, or end the rampant poverty, crime and segregation that’s everywhere in our ‘developed’ societies.

No, I don’t have that power. But I can share these words – and a selection of meaningful music – with you, in the hope that you will be inspired enough to change the world in your own way. And that can start with a vote.

Whatever your beliefs, if you embrace equality, justice and freedom, I encourage you to reflect on how you can help change the world, no matter how small.

The songs on this one-hour mixtape inspire me to do better, and remind me to put my personal concerns aside to help others when I can. I hope you take something positive from it.

Power to the People: Change Begins with You mixtape
The Chi-Lites – (For God’s Sake) Give More Power to the People
Gil Scott-Heron – The Bottle
Public Enemy – Fight the Power (Explicit)
Danger Mouse & Jemini – Bush Boys (Explicit)
Dead Prez – Police State (Explicit)
Erykah Badu – Twinkle (Edit)
The Pharcyde – If I Were President
The Skints – The Cost of Living is Killing Me
Rodriguez – This is Not a Song, It’s an Outburst: Or, the Establishment Blues
Janelle Monáe – The Shape of Things to Come
The Good, the Bad & the Queen – Three Changes
Laetitia Sadier – Auscultation to the Nation
Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On
The Modulations – It’s Rough Out Here
Ruby and the Vines – Kept from Our Eyes
Roberta Flack – Tryin’ Times
Sherika Sherard – So Sweet
Willie Isz – In the Red

Special thanks to all the artists, producers and songwriters behind the music included on this mixtape.

If this mixtape has moved you, please do pass it on. And thank you for listening.

Image: Chris Beckett/Flickr-CC (main); Brian/Flickr-CC (mixtape artwork constructed from this photo)

One thought on “Mixtape: let’s get political – change begins with you

  1. If you want the disaffect in the UK involved in politics a NOTA vote should be allowed on ballot papers. Politicians are scared of what this might lead to but it would make them that much more accountable.

    To be able to cast a vote that no party or candidate is worth your vote has to be a democratic right. Shame on UK politics for not having that.