Drop the Debt

RH join trade protest

by Jonathan on June 19, 2002


Rock band Radiohead have joined thousands of protesters in a mass lobby of parliament to help mobilise “people power” against global trade laws.

Their presence boosted the profile of the event, which was expected to see 10,000 people descend on Westminster.

The group said they would “hopefully” get to meet their local MP – Liberal Democrat Dr Evan Harris, who represents Oxford West – to urge him to sign a House of Commons motion to support the campaign.

Singer Thom Yorke said he was there because trade laws were “completely outmoded and exploitative towards poor countries”.

The band were taking a break from preparations for a string of concerts in Spain and Portugal in July and August, at which new material is expected to make its debut.

Mexican wave
The rally was organised by the Trade Justice Movement, a new pressure group comprising charities including Christian Aid, Oxfam and Save the Children.

The band’s campaigning follows the high-profile support they gave to the “drop the debt” Jubilee 2000 cause, which has now ended.

“For me personally, it was a real sense of frustration when it ended,” Thom Yorke told BBC News Online.

“I find that the Trade Justice Movement, in a way, is bringing back all those issues.”

The trade laws are “pretending to be in the interests of the poorest, but are really highly exploitative,” he said.

The group were due to take part in a mass “mexican vave” of noise that passed down the line of protestors waiting to meet their MPs that stretched across the Thames.

Guitarist Ed O’Brien said they felt like they could make a difference.

“You meet a lot of people who are similar to you and who feel the same way and ultimately it does make a difference,” he said. “We are the people.”
He said it was “fantastic” to see so many people of all ages at the rally.

“And it’s not just in Britain, it’s around the world, and that’s really encouraging, that’s really exciting,” he said.

Fair trade
He had been to May Day anti-globalisation protests in London for the last three years, he said.

“I feel very strongly about how trade is done throughout the world, how unfair it is, and how it places burdens that can never be removed on developing countries.

“They are complicit in being the main source of poverty and environmental damage to the planet.”

The band tries to buy fair trade products as well as raising awareness, he said.

Yorke said he was not tying to send a message to the band’s fans – but they could join the crusade if they wanted to.

“It’s something that we’re well into, and hopefully we don’t have the sort of fans who just follow us around like that,” he said.

“I don’t think we do, actually.”

“We put addresses on our website, but we do not tell people to go there. It’s like, if you’re interested, whatever.”

He has previously condemned those in charge of free trade rules as “a bunch of lunatic economic zealots waving stupid little flags”.

Yorke is one of the highest-profile rock stars to take up charity issues, and has also spoken out in favour of CND and the War on Want.

He sent a Christmas message to his fans, saying President George W Bush had “his hands covered in oil and military hardware” and said the world needed “love, understanding and tolerance and good laws that apply to everyone”.

Yorke has said that a new CD will be out “sooner than you think” after they released two albums in 2001.

The first single that will be taken from the new material is rumoured to be called Parrots.

Taken from the BBC.

(thanks to Ben, Heikki, John, Robin, & Emily)

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News for July 24, 2000

by Jonathan on July 24, 2000

Thom’s page updated

drop the debt

Thom Yorke updated his page again today, this time blasting the G8 Leaders for not committing to drop the debt of the world’s poorest countries:

“You can’t eat the fucking web. This is free market killing. You have no-one to blame but yourselves and you know it. What kind of future are you expecting? You expecting to walk away, hands clean, white gloves? You expecting the trouble to cease? How will you sleep? When things turn nasty how will you explain yourself? What will you say to your children?”

For more info about the Drop the Debt campaign, head on over to www.dropthedebt.org. Also, check out www.nothingtofear.org.

Classic Radio 1 Sessions

You can listen to classic Radio 1 sessions with Radiohead this week every night between 8-10 pm (GMT). The sessions will also be available to those on the Web via realaudio atwww.bbc.co.uk/radio1.

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News for June 23, 2000

by Jonathan on June 23, 2000

Drop the Debt!

Today millions of people around the world who support Jubilee 2000, including Thom Yorke, launched an email action against world leaders telling them to drop the debt owed by the world’s poorest countries.

For more information about this, and what you can do to help out, click here.

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News for July 11, 1999

by Jonathan on July 11, 1999

Much Music will be airing Radiohead’s “Meeting People is Easy” on July 12 at 9pm and midnight ET. It will also air July 13 at 8am ET.

There is a video of the Amnesty International Concert that was held in Paris last December that has recently been released. The video is of good quality but only contains 3 of the 10 songs Radiohead performed. You may purchase the video at Cdnow.

For those of you that would like to see the whole performance, there is a video out now put out by Griftworks. It is really a great video with a Radioheadesque vibe to it. I suggest you check it out.

From the Radiohead Announce List:
Thom (supporting the Jubilee 2000 Drop the Debt campaign on site) and Ed went down to the Glastonbury Festival last weekend to wander around and take in the sunshine and hot weather. Here’s some of the column-filling ‘gossip’ the daily-published Select paper on site decided to write about the band :

Ed O’Brien of Radiohead arrived at Glastonbury with his usual problem – no car pass. With his customary creditable modesty, he refused to approach the festival authorities and say “I’m Ed from Radiohead and we headlined here two years ago so sort me out” and instead secured the requisite documentation by a process of furtive politeness. As always, total respect.

Prize for the most splendid mobile home on site must go to Thom Yorke, whose vast white winnebago – replete with awning – dominates the backstage camping area much like St. Paul’s dominates the City Of London. “I’ve been inside,” said one of his neighbours, “and it’s pretty bloody roomy”

Ed was spotted queueing patiently outside a portaloo with toilet roll in hand. “It’s the one thing you’ve got to be totally open about – going for a dump. It’s the great leveller”

It seems that being billy-no-mates is the thing this year, with both Thom Yorke and Steve Malkmus from Pavement wandering around backstage unfettered by any friends.

Michael Eavis also, speaking after the festival, confirmed it will go ahead next year, and are chasing after Radiohead to headline with Oasis. This of course is subject to the band accepting – they will definitely not do it unless they feel totally confident. There is a possibility that it will be one of the first times that they play stuff from the next LP live (much like they did in 1997). As with all touring and live performances – the band will start thinking about them as soon as the next LP is finished and not before.

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