Protest songs have been a staple of the American culture since its inception. Slaves were known to sing songs about their plight, the southern states protested federal powers and abolition with the song Dixie, and of course the mid-20th century cannot be truly understood without mentioning such famed protest song writers as Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, to name a few. Sometimes protest songs are based on a social issue such as civil rights or union rights; other times these songs protest major political and military events such as war and abuse of power. The rise of what many refer to as “The New World Order” or “NWO” has given the world a wide variety of its own protest songs about the negatives of hidden corporate and or government powers. While the term “New World Order” is loosely defined, sometimes tied to implausible theories, and discussed using a completely different term, protest songs against the idea have still been a staple in modern music. Regardless of what the protest song is about, so many other artistic works, they are a vital staple to the fabric that is used to weave our history.
The concept of a unified global government, or New World Order, can be attributed largely, but not entirely, to former US President Woodrow Wilson’s attempt in creating a unified world political power known as the League of Nations. According to the magazine the Economist, Wilson believed “the war was being fought […] to ‘make the world safe for democracy’. After [WWI], Wilson argued for a new world order which transcended traditional great-power politics” .
Since President Wilsons’ statements, national progress has turned over certain powers to corporate activity that once they did not have. NAFTA serves as an example of this occurrence. NAFTA is an acronym for North American Free Trade Agreement, which is a treaty between nations that “established a free-trade zone in North America; […] signed in 1992 by Canada, Mexico, and the United States and took effect on Jan. 1, 1994.” Since the agreement has been implemented, America has seen devastating effects; mainly felt by the poor and middle class. Such negative effects include a $181 billion U.S. trade deficit with the nations’ trade partners, a larger income gap and millions of jobs lost. Major corporations such as GE, Chrysler, Caterpillar and many textile and furniture industries abandoned the country, leaving devastation in the wake and the realization that American corporations and government had much more power over the individual than originally expected. Megadeth protests the power of corporations over ones’ livelihood in the song Peace sells, but who’s buying when they ask “what do you mean, ‘I don’t pay my bills’ why do you think I’m broke huh?”
The creation of the World Trade Organization in 1995 which is “run by its member governments [with] all major decisions […] made by the membership as a whole, either by ministers […] or by their ambassadors or delegates” serves as even more evidence to the believers of the NWO that corporate reach has attained globally impacting levels and that our worlds’ corporations have become more powerful than our governments. The World Trade Organization continuously faces criticisms. Many protestors claim that the WTO has too much power; so much power that it can compel world governments to change laws and regulations to suit their needs. Protestors are also concerned that it is run by the worlds wealthy elite who may not care about real global problems; especially in developing countries which the WTO does not fully open world markets for products produced in poorer nations. There has been continued outcry for increased workers’ rights that the WTO doesn’t not seem to concern itself with. But most unnerving is the reality that there is very little accountability of the WTO by the people of earth; we do not elect the leadership and meetings are closed to the public.
Increases in international corporate powers so great that global governments and people are effected is known as “Globalization.” While corporate activity has reached global proportions, the United States and other nations have also expanded their reach militarily. Many protestors of the New World Order believe that corporate activity compels governments to act against its own people or innocent people abroad. Immortal Technique comments on this when he says “Colonialism is sponsored by corporations, that’s why Haliburton gets paid to rebuild nations” in his song The Cause of Death
From Harlem, NY the rapper Immortal Technique alludes to other more ominous events that have been documented in history. In The Cause of Death, he refers to Operation Cyclone (a declassified CIA and Israeli joint operation that helped to train Osama Bin Laden for the purposes of starting a resistance force to stand against the former USSR’s occupation in Afghanistan and would later evolve into the Taliban). He also raps about Project Echelon (A wiretapping program set forth by the Clinton administration), COINTELPRO (an FBI program intended to disrupt the African American community during the Civil Rights era; short for Counter Intelligence Program),and the Patriot Act (Enacted shortly after the attacks on September 11, 2001, considered highly controversial). In Immortal Techniques’ lyrics he protests these invasions of privacy and armed conflicts outside the U.S. constitutions’ war declaration requirements when he says “‘that’s why Conservative racists are all runnin’ shit and your phone is tapped by the Federal Government” and “‘Cause the United States sponsored the rise of the third Reich just like the CIA trained terrorists to the fight.”
All of these events in which governments attack each other and their people have one commonality. To equip the nations’ military and police forces governments rely on private corporations such as Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Smith & Wesson and others to build and sell the nation its’ weapons. Not only can corporate activity coerce governments, they also arm them for conflicts that ultimately result in more corporate profit. President Eisenhower mentions this recent historic phenomenon in his farewell address and coined the phrase “military industrial complex.”
It is difficult to find a scholarly definition of what the “new world order” is exactly. Many tend to view the title as a term coined by paranoid conspiracy theorists as an explanation for something that they cannot make sense of. To many believers however, it is the gradual transition of world powers to the formation of a unified ‘one world’ government; typically for purposes of personal greed and the desire for more political power for the hidden elite. Concentrated power has been a point of contingency for many people ever since John Dalberg stated his famous quote. Dave Mustaine of the band Megadeth protests the dangers of concentrated power in the groups song, Symphony of Destruction when he sings “you take a mortal man, and put him in control, watch him become a god, watch people’s heads a roll”.
It is also not uncommon for the conspiracy theorist to perceive a growing new world order as the reason for a major and/or unexpected national, international or governmental event. For example, famed conspiracy talk-show host, Alex Jones, asserts that Satan and the NWO powers are to blame for the recently built Swiss train tunnel in his web series InfoWars. There are many unproven conspiracies theories regarding the new world order; however, there are many historic accounts to verify a growing global corporatocracy and rising military industrial complex. One example of an unproven theory is the widely believed theory that the NWO is led by a secret society known as the Illuminati; which would be an organization of unelected people, perhaps corporate figureheads, that are continuously pushing toward absolute global power
Immortal Technique seems to believe that the Illuminati is real as he begs to question: “You think illuminati’s just a fucking conspiracy theory” in The Cause of Death. Technique, like Alex Jones also draws upon biblical references in the same song with lyrics such as “my words will expose George Bush and Bin Laden, as two separate parts of the same seven headed dragon”.
There are some theories about the NWO that seem entirely implausible. For instance, some believers of the NWO also typically subscribe to the notion that a small group of dominant and extremely wealthy families are truly the ones in control of the world, in lieu of corporations. According to the website humans are free there are thirteen of these families; to include the “Rothschild’s”, the “De Medici’s”, and the “Rockefeller’s” to name a few. To some, the idea that only a few families control the entire world may seem improbable. However, the notion of various economically dominating corporations of the world doing so doesn’t seem as far-fetched, considering some recent historic global developments. Many conspiracy theorists refer to these events as merely one of many parts of the ‘evil agenda’; and tend to confound this concept into an all-encompassing term: “new world order”. In reality what is in protest is an increasing global corporatocracy.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, “a society or system that is governed or controlled by corporations” is known as a “corporatocracy”. The word corporatocracy appears to be first introduced to the English language as early as 1947 (the same year former President Truman introduced the Truman Doctrine); however, the word usage began to spike in 1995 (the year that former President Clinton granted a 20-billion-dollar loan to Mexico to stop an impending financial collapse), and has been on the rise ever since. While the terminology seems to have changed since Woodrow Wilsons’ “New World Order” quote the premise seems largely unchanged; the development of a one world superpower.
In a separate story by humans are free the author Jake Anderson alludes to this very problem of multiple terms while conjuring up various related terms such as “military industrial complex” and “deep state”. In 1981 the Allan Parsons Project indicated there concerns of the dystopian future that George Orwell warned of in his book 1984, that was fast approaching with their song Eye in the Sky. In their song they discuss that soon there every move could no longer be hidden with lyrics such as “I am the eye in the sky, looking at you, I can read your mind, I am the maker of rules dealing with fools, I can cheat you blind”. Phrases such as “Eye in the sky”, terms beginning with “global”, “deep state”, and “corporatocracy” serve to show that the term “new world order” is very complex and encompasses many various titles and definitions. Ultimately the Allen Parsons Project protested, whatever one may call this phenomenon, largely due to its invasiveness into private life.
If in fact a hidden power exists, like any other organization it must rely on certain tools to fulfill its mission. One of the tools that believers of the NWO allege that the super elite use against the people of earth is control of the education system. This notion of the super elite controlling society through the education control is protested by Chicago rapper, Lupe Fiasco in his song State Run Radio when he states “keep us in our hoods and hope we never explore passed, stay inside of your half, believe the lies you learn in your class”.
Another alleged tool of the NWO is the control of the media. Fiasco attacks the media with his lyrics directly in another song titled Words I Never Said when he says:
“when you turn on TV all sees a bunch of what the fucks,
dude is dating so and so, blabbering ‘bout such and such,
and that ain’t Jersey Shore, homie that’s the news, and these
the same people supposed to be tellin’ us the truth”.
Jersey Shore is a popular reality show that aired on MTV between 2009 and 2012.
The Brooklyn based heavy metal band Biohazard echoes the protests of controlled media, claiming that it is having negative effects on future generations. In their song H.F.F.K. they sing “we teach our children how to act in this world by living what they see on TV; murder, rape, war, disease, the rules of society”. A protests of media is being controlled by an unseen economic power even transcends American borders. The Swedish heavy metal band protests media silence, believing that it can be equally as dangerous as censored media in their song Extinction Mantra when their lyrics proclaim “burnt buried truth, dividing to rule this earth on the skewed wings of false adoration”. Fear Factory protests the medias use of fear as its primary method of control, claiming “fear is control, suffering is hell, police enforce obedient behavior, manufactured weapon of conformity.”
Other musical groups are protesting the negative impacts of globalization, which is often linked with “imperialism” by the NWO. The Virginia based heavy metal band, Lamb of God, protested the War on Terror, which made enormous profits for private corporations. The most notably profitable corporation was Haliburton. Their song Now You’ve Got Something to Die for protests the needless bloodshed of a war that generated its soldiers through well-coordinated and controlled media propaganda. After expressly stating “Infidel, Imperial” the song’s lyrics state “bombs to set the people free, blood to feed the dollar tree, flags for coffins on the screen, oil for the machine”.
The protest songs against the NWO also express the negative effects on the individual. Megadeth laments that the peaceful are excluded from the possibility of rising to the ranks of the elite in their song Peace Sells…But Who’s Buyin’. The bands lead vocalist Dave Mustaine asks “What do you mean I couldn’t be President of the United States of America, tell me something, it’s still ‘We the People’ right? Referring back to Lupe Fiasco’s Words I Never Said, Fiasco also complains that the hidden powers “keep you at the bottom but tease you with the upper crust, you get then they move it so you’re never keeping up enough.”
The existence of an actual new world order remains in question. While some theories seem outlandish and most likely impossible, other documented events suggest that a new world order is definitely underway in the form of a global corporatocracy and military industrial complex. Some may claim that the new world order remains in question because that is what the hidden elite want, while others may claim a lack of evidence. This, of course, is paradoxical as the alleged lack of evidence could be due to interference from a new world order that doesn’t want the people of the world to know it exists. Regardless of this, the fact does remain that many of the nations, and the worlds, citizens believe that it does. This belief has paved the way for an entirely new genre of protest music that could possibly be better defined as ‘conspiracy protest music’. Despite how one may believe in this theory the music surrounding the issue is worthy of recognition if for no other reason than that it is simply good music to listen to.
The Allen Parsons Project. “Sirius (Eye in the Sky)”. Eye 2 Eye: Live in Madrid. © 1981 by Arista.
Biohazard. “H.F.F.K.”. Uncivilization. © 2001 by Steamhammer.
Fear Factory. Fear Campaign. Mechanize. © 2010 by Candlelight.
Immortal Technique. “The Cause of Death”. Revolutionary Volume II. © 2003 by Viper.
Lamb of God. “Now You’ve Got Something to Die for”. Ashes of the Wake. © 2004 by Epic, Prosthetic.
Lupe Fiasco, Skylar Grey. “Words I Never Said”. Lasers. © 2011 by Atlantic.
Lupe Fiasco, Matt Mahaffey. “State Run Radio”. Lasers. © 2011 by Atlantic.
Megadeth. “Symphony of Destruction”. Countdown to Extinction. © 1992 by Capitol.
Megadeth. Peace Sells (But Who’s Buying). Peace Sells but Who’s Buying. © 1986 by Capitol.
Scar Symmetry. “Extinction Mantra”. The Unseen Empire. © 2011 by Nuclear Blast.
About WTO. “Understanding the WTO: What We Do”. World Trade Organization. June 8th 2016. https://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/whatis_e/what_we_do_e.htm
Anderson, Jake. “Forget the New World Order, Here’s Who Really Runs the World”. Antimedia. September 24th, 2015. http://theantimedia.org/forget-the-new-world-order/
BBC. “Echelon spy network revealed”. BBC. November 3rd, 1999. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/503224.stm
BBC. “Profile: World Trade Organization”. BBC. February 15th, 2012. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/country_profiles/2429503.stm
Douglass, Frederick. From “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass”. In The Longman Anthology of World Literature 2nd ed. 19th Century Vol. E. edited by David Damrosch; David Pike. 713-765. New York: Pearson Longman, 2009.
Economist, The. “The Bloodhounds of History”. The Economist. April 10th, 1997. http://www.economist.com/node/146909
Eisenhower, Dwight. “Eisenhower Farewell Address (Full)”. YouTube. 15 mins 44 secs. January 16, 2011 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWiIYW_fBfY
Gaylon, Robert. “Who’s Who of the Elite”. SecretSocieties.net. 1995. http://www.secretsocieties.net/whoswho.htm
Google Books. “Ngram Viewer”. Google. © 2013. https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=corporatocracy&year_start=1940&year_end=2016&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t1%3B%2Ccorporatocracy%3B%2Cc0
Hicks, Frederick. The New World Order: International Organization, International Law, International Cooperation. New York: Doubleday, Page & Company. 1920.
InfoWars. “NWO Luciferian Ceremonies on the Rise”. InfoWars with Alex Jones. June 7, 2009. http://www.infowars.com/nwo-luciferian-ceremonies-on-the-rise/
Jersey Shore. MTV. New York. 2009-2012. IMDb. June 20, 2016 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1563069/
Kraszkiewicz, Nolan. Operation Cyclone (1979-1989): A Brief Analysis of the U.S. Involvement in the Soviet-Afghan War. Academia.edu. http://www.academia.edu/2897792/Operation_Cyclone_1979-1989_A_Brief_Analysis_of_the_U.S._Involvement_in_the_Soviet-Afghan_War
Light, Alexander. “These 13 Families Rule the World: The Shadow Forces Behind the NWO”. Humansarefree.com. October 25, 2014. http://humansarefree.com/2014/10/exposing-shadow-forces-behind-nwo.html
Newton, Huey. “COINTELPRO”. PBS: A Huey P. Newton Story. 2002. http://www.pbs.org/hueypnewton/actions/actions_cointelpro.html
Oxford English Dictionary, s.v. “Corporatocracy”. June 7th, 2016. http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/corporatocracy
Smitha, Frank. “Macrohistory: World history”. Fsmitha. 1997. http://www.fsmitha.com/
U.S Customs and Border Protection. “North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)”. US Customs and Border Protection. June 8th, 2016. https://www.cbp.gov/trade/nafta
Wallach, Lori. “NAFTA at 20: One Million U.S. Jobs Lost, Higher Income Inequality” Huffington Post. Accessed June 21, 2016. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lori-wallach/nafta-at-20-one-million-u_b_4550207.html
 Lori Wallach, “NAFTA at 20: One Million U.S. Jobs Lost, Higher Income Inequality”, Huffington Post. Accessed June 21, 2016. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lori-wallach/nafta-at-20-one-million-u_b_4550207.html
 Megadeth. Peace Sells (But Who’s Buying). Peace Sells but Who’s Buying. © 1986 by Capitol.
 World Trade Organization. “Understanding the WTO: What We Do”. WTO.org. June 8th 2016. https://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/whatis_e/what_we_do_e.htm
 BBC. “Profile: World Trade Organization”. BBC. February 15th, 2012. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/country_profiles/2429503.stm
 Immortal Technique. “The Cause of Death”. Revolutionary Volume II. © 2003 by Viper.
 Nolan Kraszkiewicz. Operation Cyclone (1979-1989): A Brief Analysis of the U.S. Involvement in the Soviet-Afghan War. Academia.edu. http://www.academia.edu/2897792/Operation_Cyclone_1979-1989_A_Brief_Analysis_of_the_U.S._Involvement_in_the_Soviet-Afghan_War
 Newton, Huey. “COINTELPRO”. PBS: A Huey P. Newton Story. 2002. http://www.pbs.org/hueypnewton/actions/actions_cointelpro.html
 Immortal Technique. “The Cause of Death”. Revolutionary Volume II. © 2003 by Viper.
 Megadeth. “Symphony of Destruction”. Countdown to Extinction. © 1992 by Capitol.
 InfoWars. “NWO Luciferian Ceremonies on the Rise”. InfoWars with Alex Jones. June 7, 2009. http://www.infowars.com/nwo-luciferian-ceremonies-on-the-rise/
 Immortal Technique. “The Cause of Death”. © 2003
 Alexander Light. “These 13 Families Rule the World: The Shadow Forces Behind the NWO”. Humansarefree.com. October 25, 2014. http://humansarefree.com/2014/10/exposing-shadow-forces-behind-nwo.html
 Oxford English Dictionary. Online ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2016. http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/corporatocracy
 Google Books. “Ngram Viewer”. Google. © 2013. https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=corporatocracy&year_start=1940&year_end=2016&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t1%3B%2Ccorporatocracy%3B%2Cc0
 Jake Anderson. “Forget the New World Order, Here’s Who Really Runs the World”. Antimedia. September 24th, 2015. http://theantimedia.org/forget-the-new-world-order/Humansarefree.com. September 28th, 2015.
 The Allen Parsons Project. “Sirius (Eye in the Sky)”. Eye 2 Eye: Live in Madrid. © 1981 by Arista.
 Lupe Fiasco, Matt Mahaffey. “State Run Radio”. Lasers. © 2011 by Atlantic.
 Lupe Fiasco, Skylar Grey. “Words I Never Said”. Lasers. © 2011 by Atlantic.
 Biohazard. “H.F.F.K.”. Uncivilization. © 2001 by Steamhammer.
 Scar Symmetry. “Extinction Mantra”. The Unseen Empire. © 2011 by Nuclear Blast.
 Fear Factory. “Fear Campaign”. Mechanize. © 2010 by Candlelight
 Lamb of God. “Now You’ve Got Something to Die for”. Ashes of the Wake. © 2004 by Epic, Prosthetic.
 Megadeth. Peace Sells (But Who’s Buying). Peace Sells but Who’s Buying. © 1986 by Capitol.
 Lupe Fiasco, Skylar Grey. “Words I Never Said” © 2011.