Rage Against the Machine: Kyle Rittenhouse “Killed People Who Were Fighting for Racial Justice”

"Whiteness must cast itself as the victim in order to justify its violence against those resisting its oppression"

Rage Against the Machine Kyle Rittenhouse verdict

Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted of all charges on Friday (November 19th) after he fired an AR-15-style assault rifle that killed two protesters and seriously injured another at a 2020 rally in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Among those expressing outrage at the verdict are Rage Against the Machine, who issued a powerful statement via their social media channels.

The protest rally came after a Black man named Jacob Blake was paralyzed after being shot by Kenosha police. A then 17-year-old Rittenhouse, seemingly there to protect a used-car lot, fired shots that killed Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, and severely damaged Gaige Grosskreutz’s right arm. Among the five felony charges that Rittenhouse faced was one of intentional murder that could have resulted in life in prison had he been found guilty. Instead, Rittenhouse walked away a free man, and is now being hailed as a hero by gun-rights organizations, including one called Gun Owners of America that is rewarding him with a new AR-15 assault rifle.

In their statement on the matter, Rage Against the Machine strongly denounced Rittenhouse’s claim of self-defense:

“What defines innocence in America? Tamir Rice was executed by police for playing with a toy. Nobody was charged. Ahmaud Arbery went jogging and was murdered in broad daylight.

Kyle Rittenhouse armed himself and killed people who were fighting for racial justice. He claimed self-defense. This is the settler logic of America’s founding myth: whiteness must cast itself as the victim in order to justify its violence against those resisting its oppression. Welcome to the Land of the Free, Home of the Brave.”

RATM guitarist Tom Morello also commented individually, tweeting, “When the courts do what they were designed to do and protect and enforce white supremacy: don’t mourn, organize.” A number of other musicians and celebrities also spoke out after the verdict, including Questlove, Ice-T, and Ava DuVernay, among others.

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In 2020, Rage Against the Machine were supposed to reunite for a massive tour that would have come during an election year. While the outing has since been postponed twice due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it appears that the politically charged band will still have plenty of topics to address when they finally do embark on the tour in 2022. The North American run kicks off March 31st in El Paso, Texas, and wraps up with a five-night stand at New York City’s Madison Square Garden in August. Tickets are available via Ticketmaster.

See the statements from Rage Against the Machine and Tom Morello regarding the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict in the social media posts below.



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