DJ Gideön, who’s part of the R3 Soundsystem collective that’s behind House Against Hate (Picture: DJ Gideön on Soundcloud)

Some of the biggest DJs in Britain will headline House Against Hate outside Downing Street, central London, on Saturday. Drag queen Bimini and Jeremy Corbyn will MC a line-up of anti-racist acts including The Blessed Madonna, Yazmin Lacey, Hot Chip, NIKS, Eliza Rose, Jamz Supernova and Hannah Holland. 

The rave will come after a march from the Home Office to Trafalgar Square, as part of a day of action called by Stand Up To Racism. 

DJ Gideön is part of the R3 Soundsystem collective, which organised House Against Hate against the “racist, xenophobic, transphobic, anti-immigrant, pro-Israel contingent” in Britain. It’s backed by Love Music Hate Racism, Homo-Centric Records and Black Artist Database and will collect money for Medical Aid for Palestine. 

He told Socialist Worker, “We want people to look at this amazing line-up of DJs that they would usually pay a lot to see. We want them to see it’s fun protesting as a group, using dance music as a vehicle for political change.” 

Gideön says that the Palestine marches have been “incredible”. “Over the last few months it’s been amazing how many people have come out every Saturday to protest against the descent into hell that’s happening in Palestine and Gaza,” he said. 

“It’s easy to look around and be depressed at the state of things. But all these people from different parts of the world, from a broad spectrum of political backgrounds, have come together.

“We need love right now, not hate—and house music is an incredible gift that brings people together.”

Gideön says he has always worked at partnering music with pushing for change and protest. “It’s about dance music being used as a vessel for social and political change,” he explained. 

“As dance music becomes more compromised and mainstream, the initial spirit of what house and techno historically meant is getting lost. It’s always been intrinsically linked to social justice and politics.

“In 1994 the Criminal Justice Act was supposed to stop the counter-cultural protests of the time. We knew something was going right though when they criminalised dance music—this identified it as a potent component within leftist politics.”

Gideön added, “House is, as the DJ Frankie Knuckles said, ‘Disco’s revenge’. Revolutionary, black and queer underground culture within the disco nightlife ecosystem of the 1970s and 1980s in the US was part of a transformation of the political landscape at the time.

“That means it’s our responsibility to carry that torch. We have to make sure that house music, the descendant of disco, has a set of real values and continues to be a focal point within left politics as it was originally.”

Gideön says politics has moved in a “dangerous right wing direction” in Britain, Europe and North America. “As the years go by, more and more draconian legislation has been passed against protesters,” he said. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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“The right is getting its shit together, and it has consolidated networks of power. But dance music is an important tool in protest.

“R3 Soundsystem has had some wild times in central London over the past few years. We held an event when Donald Trump came to London. At the time there was a terrifying consolidation of right wing personality cults—with Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson.”

Gideön hopes the event on Saturday will “reinvigorate people, recharge their batteries and help them form new networks”.

“I grew up in south London and my childhood involved going to a lot of protests with my Mum,” he said. He remembers the protests in the 1980s against US nuclear missiles at “Greenham Common, where music, community and protest were at the core of everything”. 

“Free and public music events, especially in London parks, have been dismantled or defunded by the Tories—Notting Hill Carnival is one of the only ones left,” he said. “We want open spaces that appeal to those who are proud to be from this city and are excited by multiculturalism.

“First generation soundsystem culture in London has helped form the bedrock of music in this country. Everything from drum and bass, dubstep or garage has come from a culture that was not originally native to this island.

“It is part of our culture now, but it arrived with groups like the Windrush generation. What better way to disprove and dismantle racist narratives than being around people and events like this that encourage you to love and not hate?”

After House Against Hate, Gideön says there will “definitely be more to come” from R3 Soundsystem. 

“We won’t be able to stop ourselves,” he said. “It remains to be seen how much Keir Starmer betrays us. I suspect we will inherit a Labour Party after the election that has a huge amount of issues with its policy making. 

“We’ll be forced to get out on the streets again. Tony Blair took us to some really terrible places—we had to protest hard against the last Labour administration.”

And with the rising tide of racism and threat of the far right, Gideön says it’s time to “build bridges”.

“If we don’t kick, scream and shout loud in the face of injustice then we’ll end up in even hotter water,” he said. “Our knee-jerk reaction is to burn bridges when someone doesn’t fall exactly in line with one’s political position.” 

“We will achieve more on the left by building bridges—divide and conquer is a strategy of the right and it’s working.”

Let’s all rage—and rave—against racism on Saturday. 

Join SUTR’s national protests to Stop Racism, Stop the Hate on 16 March in London and Glasgow and 17 March in Cardiff. Details at standuptoracism.org.uk
Join House Against Hate from 3pm-7pm outside Downing Street in London 

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