Conor Oberst writes open letter for Zack de la Rocha’s Sound Strike boycott of Arizona

He says he's part of 'the largest and most effective boycott the US has seen in a long time'

Conor Oberst has issued an open letter to an Arizona music promoter who questioned his and other artists’ decision to boycott the state over a contentious new immigration law passed there.

Acts including Oberst, Nine Inch Nails, Kanye West, Serj Tankian and Sonic Youth have all joined The Sound Strike group, which has been set up by Rage Against The Machine frontman Zack de la Rocha.

It is a response to the newly passed SB1070 state legislation, which allows police in Arizona to challenge any member of the public who they suspect of being an illegal immigrant to prove their status officially.


Charlie Levy, a music promoter from Arizona, had previously written an open letter The Arizona Republic on asking those musicians involved in the protest group to act on their cause in the state rather than boycott it entirely.

However, in a lengthy open letter to Levy, Oberst explained his position and reiterated that it would be pointless for the acts not to continue their boycott, reports Billboard.

“I fear that if we return to business as usual (under the guise of some civic movement) that this will all devolve into the typical grandstanding that is political activism in music,” Oberst wrote. “It might make us feel better but won’t do a damn thing to change the minds of the radical, racist minority that seem to have controlled Arizona politics for decades. In short, it will lose its teeth.”

He added that thinks the movement could become: “the largest and most effective boycott this country has seen in a long time”.

Oberst also explained that he is also supporting a similar campaign in the small town of Fremont, in his home state of Nebraska.