The National Nurses United raged against the machine and gained a powerful ally in the process. Thousands of nurses, wearing red T-shirts and green Robin Hood hats symbolizing their proposed “Robin Hood tax,” marched through downtown Chicago Friday to Daley Plaza.
Tom Morello (photo credit: Daniel Gerzina)proposed “Robin Hood tax,” marched through downtown Chicago Friday to Daley Plaza.
Then Tom Morello, Rage Against the Machine’s activist guitarist, took the stage and worked the crowd into a gleeful frenzy.
Morello, a native of Libertyville, Illinois, almost didn’t make it. The City of Chicago Mayor’s Office tried to pull the rally’s permit after Morello was added as a performer. The city feared the
crowd would be too big and wanted the march to end in Grant Park.
“The mayor’s office tried to make us feel unwelcome here,” Morello said. “Let me tell you, I’ve been speaking my mind and playing music in this town for over two decades and I know damn well that I’m welcome in Chicago, Illinois.”
The crowd cheered and clapped along with Morello’s four-song set that included covers of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is your Land” and Bruce Springsteen’s “The Ghost of Tom Joad.”
Morello took shots at NATO, the G8 and President Obama.
“I’d like to make a suggestion to President Obama: the other Harvard graduate with a Kenyan father from Illinois who’s in town today – I’d like to suggest to him that if he doesn’t have the courage or the cojones to close Guantanamo Bay that he take some of those Wall Street criminals, some of those NATO criminals, that he puts them in those animal cages, locks the door, throws away the key, and cranks Rage Against the Machine 24 hours a day,” Morello said.
After signing many autographs and snapping countless photos with thankful fans before the performance, he then invited many onstage during his last song. Two of them were Adele Nagel and her daughter, Greta, 18.
The mom has known Morello since the fifth grade, and they ran in the same artistic crowd in high school. “Tom was incredibly focused and passionate about his convictions, even then,” Adele said. “He’s a very generous man.”
He played a screeching guitar solo with his teeth. His refrain at one point was, “I’m a one-man revolution.”