What are songs about resistance and social justice?

Music is unique in its potential for social transformation. In recent years, many have turned to music as a vehicle to mobilize against censorship, fascism, and racism. In an increasingly globalized world, artists mix musical styles and genres as they express the conditions of marginalization and oppression. Music has almost always played an important role in helping people overcome the suffering brought by conflict, providing a sense of normality, community, and hope.

These songs of struggle and resistance will help put you in a fighting mood.

1. "Fight the Power" by Public Enemy (1989)

"t's a start, a work of art. To revolutionize, make a change, nothing's strange. People, people we are the same. No, we're not the same.

2. "Know Your Rights" by The Clash (1982)

This is a public service announcement, with guitar, Know your rights.

3. "American Idiot" by Green Day (2004)

Don't wanna be an American idiot,
Don't want a nation under the new media,
And can you hear the sound of hysteria?
The subliminal mind-fuck America.

4. "Imagine" by John Lennon (1971)

Imagine all the people,
Sharing all the world,
You may say that I'm a dreamer,
But I'm not the only one,
I hope someday you'll join us,
And the world will live as one.

5. "Revolution" by The Beatles (1968)

You say you got a real solution,
Well, you know,
We'd all love to see the plan.

6. "If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next" by The Manic Street Preachers (1998)

So if I can shoot rabbits, then I can shoot fascists.

7. "Killing In The Name" by Rage Against The Machine (1991)

You justify those that died by wearing the badge, they're the chosen whites. Some of those that work forces are the same that burn crosses.

8. "Borders" by M.I.A (2016)

Police shots.
What's up with that?
What's up with that?
Your privilege.
What's up with that?

9. "Talk That Talk" by G. Yamazawa feat. Toki Wright (2017)

You ain't know they talk that toxic kindred,
Say "this ain't hatred, this tradition".

10. "Afilando los Cuchillos" by Calle 13 & Bad Bunny (2019)

El pueblo no aguanta más injusticia'.
Se cansó de tus mentira' y de que manipulen las noticia'.

11. "Somos Sur" by Ana Tijoux feat. Shadia Mansour (2014)

Tú nos dices que debemos sentarnos. Pero las ideas solo pueden levantarnos. الموسيقى هي اللغة الأم في العالمانها تدعم وجودنا، وقالت انها تحمي جذورنا

12. "Unknown Soldier" by The Doors (1968)

Breakfast where the news is read,
Television children fed,
Bullet strikes the helmet's head.

13. "Biko" by Peter Gabriel (1980)

You can blow out a candle,
But you can't blow out a fire.
Once the flames begin to catch,
The wind will blow it higher.

14. "Another Brick in the Wall" by Pink Floyd (1979)

We don't need no thought control.
No dark sarcasm in the classroom.

15. "I Want To Break Free" by Queen (1984)

I want to break free from your lies.
You're so self-satisfied I don't need you.
I've got to break free.
God knows, God knows I want to break free.

16. "Give Peace A Chance" by The Plastic Ono Band (1969)

Ev'rybody's talking about
Bagism, Shagism, Dragism, Madism, Ragism, Tagism,
This-ism, that-ism, is-m, is-m, is-mAll we are saying is give peace a chance.

17. "Get Up, Stand Up" by Bob Marley (1975) 

Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights.
Get up, stand up, don't give up the fight.

18. "Say It Loud (I'm Black and Proud)" by James Brown (1968)

We've been buked and we've been scourned.
We've been treated bad, talked about as sure as you're born.

19. "Alright" by Kendrick Lamar (2015)

Do you hear me, do you feel me, we gon' be alright. I keep my head up high, I cross my heart and hope to die.

20. "Violence" by G. Yamazawa (2017)

Cuz the blood, guns, and money is inherent in our culture.

21. "This Is America" by Childish Gambino (2018)

Yeah, this is America.
Guns in my area.

22. "Can't Hold Us Down" by Christina Aguilera, Little Kim (2002)

Take a deep breath and say it loud.
Never can, never will,
Can't hold us down.

23. "Fuck You" by Lily Allen (2009)

'Cause we're so uninspired.
So sick and tired of all the hatred you harbor.
So you say
It's not okay to be gay.
Well, I think you're just evil.
You're just some racist who can't tie my laces.
Your point of view is medieval.

24. "The Story of O.J." by Jay-Z (2017)

Skin is, skin, is
Skin black, my skin is black
My, black, my skin is yellow.

25. "I'm Not Racist" by Joyner Lucas (2017)

Can't erase the scars with a bandage.
I'm hopin' maybe we can come to an understandin'
Agree to disagree, we could have an understandin'
I'm not racist.

26. "We The People" by A Tribe Called Quest (2016)

All you Black folks, you must go, All you Mexicans, you must go, And all you poor folks, you must go, Muslims and gays, boy, we hate your ways, So all you bad folks, you must go.

27. "La Bala" by Calle 13 (2010)

Sería inaccesible el que alguien te mate,
Si cada bala costará lo que cuesta un yate,
Tendrías que ahorrar todo tu salario,
Para ser un mercenario habria que ser millonario.

28. "Guerra" by Residente (2017)

La guerra pierde todas sus luchas.
Cuando los enemigos se escuchan
La guerra es más débil que fuerte
No aguanta la vida por eso se esconde en la muerte.

29. "What Are You Fighting For?" by Phil Ochs (1976)

But the hardest thing Ill ask you, if you will only try
Is take your children by their hands and look into their eyes
And there you'll see the answer you should have seen before
If you'll win the wars at home, there'll be no fighting anymore.

30. "Pa'lante" by Hurray for the Riff Raff (2018)

To all who had to hide, I say, ¡Pa'lante!
To all who lost their pride, I say, ¡Pa'lante!
To all who had to survive, I say, ¡Pa'lante!
To my brothers, and my sisters, I say, ¡Pa'lante!

31. "Blowin' In The Wind" by Bob Dylan (1963)

Yes, 'n' how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind.

32. "This Revolution Will Not Be Televised" by Gil Scott Heron (1971)

The revolution will not be televised. The revolution will not be right back after a message.

33. "Bella Ciao" - folk song (1940s")

34. "Zombie" by Fela Kuti (1976)

35. "Gimme Shelter" by The Rolling Stones (1969)

36. "Americans" by Janelle Monáe (2018)

37. "See Something, Say Something" by The Kominas (2015)

38. "T5" by The Swet Shop Boys (2016)

39. "This Stupid Stuff" by Giant Kitty (2016)

40. "Devil's Work" by Joyner Lucas (2019)

There are so many more songs that could be added to this as music has become a form of protest and throughout the decades, different artists have risen to the cause.

Have the courage to stand up and sing it, write it, speak it.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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