Phil Ochs to end the week and to begin the next one. Can’t think of a better voice of conscience than Phil Ochs right now – he was one of the most vocal opponents of the Vietnam War, of the Nixon Presidency, of racial hatred, injustice and of discrimination. His was a voice of protest and his songs were about those caught in the middle – caught up in the confusion and the manipulations of those with agendas. The Power structure which subjected ordinary people, to the greed and manipulations of an agenda.
That the songs of Phil Ochs were staples in the diet of protest to the Vietnam war, make them all that much more powerful and necessary to be reminded of now. We’re approaching a crisis stage in our history – and the calls for resistance are echoed throughout the country this weekend. As protests sprang up at every major airport around the country, to protest what was a false and discriminatory set of laws, or “executive orders” as the official wording has it.
That we’re only at the beginnings of what are sure to be a long and uncertain set of days, voices of protest and conscience, like those of Phil Ochs, who was so much a voice of conscience during the Vietnam War, become more necessary now than ever.
And if he were alive today he’d be at the front of the March – if he were alive today he would be revolted by the waves of government officials, chipping away at freedoms, large and small – and denying those who are legitimate refugees.
Sadly, Phil Ochs didn’t get to see the changes our country has gone through, and is going through now. In 1970 it was about the founding of Greenpeace and the tremendous outpouring of support to save our oceans and protect our wildlife.
No question he would be marching today, as he hadn’t so often in the past.
One wonders what he would think about todays struggles. Sometimes the voice of conscience is around, just to let you know everything is okay – that it will work out – but that action is crucial and key.
Have a listen to Phil Ochs in concert forty-seven years ago and be reminded that struggles will always persist.