Outernational raises the red flag over Alamo City
Published: May 2, 2012
"We wouldn't like to comment on Residente's lyrics," said Mintek.
The title, Todos Somos Ilegales, invokes the well-worn argument that U.S. immigration policy suffers original sin, since the entire nation comprises lands once home to conquered peoples. And more to the point at hand, most undocumented Mexican nationals live in territories that once belonged to Mexico. Even former President General Ulysses S. Grant, a lieutenant in the Mexican-American War, wrote in 1883, "I was bitterly opposed to the measure, and to this day, regard the war, which resulted, as one of the most unjust ever waged by a stronger against a weaker nation." But borders drawn in conquest rarely shift back. Look for a beach in Bolivia or a Palestinian Jerusalem. Historical claims of legitimacy can make for some rousing protest slogans, but they have little practical utility as a matter of geopolitics.
Other protest musicians might resent the self-aggrandizing from Outernational, who seem to think they've parachuted into a vacuum. In their single, "The Beginning Is Here," they sing, "What you been waiting for? I am waiting on you … This is our first hit/ Gotham City communists/ For every slum, every township/ There is a hope for the hopeless." Great White Hope, they might as well add, since Dr. Blum (who descends from Argentines) is the only Latino in the band.
But despite the inevitable misgivings revolutionary projects inspire, it has to be said that Outernational's frenetic live performances and upbeat, eclectic hard rock style add an important punch to the political music scene. And with virtually zero prospects for any kind of humane immigration reform in the current political climate, ¡Viva la revolución! Show your support at their Alamo City stop. No passport check at the door — an ID will suffice. •
Outernational with Los De Esta Noche, Uptown Creepers
$8 (18 & over)
8pm Fri, May 4
605 San Pedro
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