The Culture That Capitalism Created: An interview with Boots Riley

Source: The Nation

Poet, rapper, and filmmaker Boots Riley has just published Tell Homeland Security—­We Are the Bomb, a collection of songs, commentaries, and stories 
from his work with the Oakland hip-hop group the Coup and the band Street Sweeper Social Club. Riley has been involved in political activism for decades, from police-brutality protests to supporting Occupy Oakland. This interview has been adapted from The Laura Flanders Show.

LF: How would you describe what you do?

BR: I try to find creative ways to put ideas out to make the ground fertile for organizers.

LF: Your family were organizers. 

BR: My father joined the NAACP when he was 12, in the ’50s. He was part of the organizing efforts that led to some of the first sit-ins in North Carolina. Then CORE moved him to San Francisco, and he joined SDS and the Progressive Labor Party. He was involved in the San Francisco State strike, where he met my mother. What I remember of their organizing days was parties: They’d be sitting around talking, and then it would turn into people dancing and playing cards. So I had a different view of organizing; it meant the local neighborhood. If you’re an organizer, you should not be in a city and not know the people.

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