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Tom Morello’s Activism Takes Center Stage at Chicago’s National Nurses United Rally

Tom Morello Nurses Rally
NBC Chicago

Like an oratory superhero, wherever there is social injustice, Tom Morello will be there. The Rage Against the Machine guitarist and solo artist recently lent his celebrity to the National Nurses United Rally in Chicago, and continued his commitment to activism.

Morello was one of the featured attractions at the rally, though his presence did create some drama prior to the event when Chicago’s mayor attempted to revoke the permit for the event after hearing of his involvement. According to, the musician told the crowd, “They couldn’t shut us down, because we stood up. It was a few politicians, skeevy lawyers, and some trembling NATO generals who caved in. If NATO, the defender of the free world, is afraid of a musician with an acoustic guitar and some nurses, we’re in a lot of trouble.”

For Morello, it was a chance to return to his hometown, a place where he grew up in a household that supported unions. In fact, the guitarist is a member of the Los Angeles Musicians’ Union Local 147.

During the May 18 rally at Chicago’s Daley Plaza, the guitarist joined the audience in a sing-along, performing a 30-minute set that included ‘This Land is Your Land,’ ‘One Man Revolution,’ ‘The Ghost of Tom Joad,’ and ‘World Wide Rebel Songs,’ the title track from last year’s album by Morello’s alter-ego The Nightwatchman.

Morello’s activism has been on display over the past month, taking part in the May Day demonstrations in New York, receiving an Officer’s Award from The Sidney Hillman Foundation presented by Harry Belafonte, and taking part in the Chicago Nurses Union rally.

Morello said in a recent TV interview with Bill Moyers, “Whether I’m standing in the streets of Chicago or the Occupy Wall Street or in Madison, Wisconsin, my job is to steel the backbone of people on the frontlines of social justice struggles, and to put wind in sails of those struggles. And people who are fighting on a daily basis, at a grass roots level, for the things that I believe in.”

Watch Tom Morello Performing at the National Nurses United Rally

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