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2006: Tom Morello

 

Tom Morello
American Rights at Work honors this outspoken musician for the support he provides to workers fighting for justice, and for bringing together musicians and activists to take on corporate giants.

While fame and fortune may fuel most rock and roll musicians, the driving force behind Tom Morello's music is a dedication to truth, justice, and dignity.

A tireless advocate of workers' rights, Morello has organized benefit concerts and even engaged in civil disobedience to support the cause.  Just some of the labor struggles he has taken action on include the Los Angeles janitors' strike, the Immokalee farm workers' campaign against Taco Bell, and the Southern California grocery workers' strike and lockout.

Morello was inspired by his mother, civil rights and free speech advocate Mary Morello, and father, Kenyan revolutionary Ngethe Njoroge.  In between studying and practicing guitar at Harvard University, Morello was deeply involved in anti-apartheid divestment activism and efforts to improve the working conditions of campus cafeteria staff.

After college, Morello founded the critically-acclaimed Rage Against the Machine.  The Grammy-award winning group created a huge following due to their pioneering mix of rap and hard rock, politically-charged lyrics, and solidarity efforts on behalf of political prisoners, low-wage workers, and the Zapitistas, among others.  When the group parted ways, Morello went on to form his current band, the multi-platinum Audioslave.

Morello's electric guitar techniques have earned him recognition as one of Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.  Morello also performs political folk music; he debuted his softer, acoustic side during the "Tell Us the Truth" music tour under the alias the Nightwatchman.

As co-founder of the nonprofit organization Axis of Justice, Morello invests his energy into building a bridge between music fans around the world and local political organizations.  Every month he can be heard co-hosting the "Axis of Justice Radio Network," featuring interviews with musicians, academics, and activists.