Last week, Arizona promoter and activist Charlie Levy wrote an open letter to artists participating in the Sound Strike, asking them not to boycott the state. Our sister publication The Phoenix New Times summarized the plea thusly:
1. By not performing in Arizona, artists are harming the very people and places that foster free speech and the open exchange of ideas that serve to counter the closed-mindedness recently displayed by the new law. (Get it, Jenny Lewis?)
2. The truth is, a boycott is an easy gesture that doesn't require much more than a statement and removing a date from your tour schedule. However, if you truly care about the effects of the controversial immigration law that was passed, this is an opportunity to use your unique position as an artist with the ability to reach thousands of people to inspire, educate, and motivate your fans to actively be a part of the change.
Conor Oberst, a Sound Strike supporter, replied to Levy, explaining why he supports the boycott. Read it after the jump.
, explaining why he supports the boycott. He called SB 1070 " evil, pure and simple" and its proponents "engaged in blatant class warfare."
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"If I return to Arizona to pay lip service to a roomful of kids at the Marquee it will do absolutely no good for anyone. What I can do is to help organize, and play my small part in, what I hope is the largest and most effective boycott this country has seen in a long time."
"I fear that if we return to business as usual (under the guise of some civic movement) that this will all devolve into the typical grandstanding that is political activism in music. It might make us feel better but won't do a damn thing to change the minds of the radical, racist minority that seem to have controlled Arizona politics for decades. In short, it will lose its teeth."
Billboard has the letter's full text.