Jason Aalon Butler, formerly of letlive. and currently of FEVER 333, has been described for our generation as a voice of rebellion.
Butler marched for almost two weeks on the frontlines of the Black Lives Matter protests in Los Angeles, but he picked up the fight for equal rights long before that. The new release from FEVER 333, WRONG GENERATION, was written in response to what he saw on those streets. We spoke to Butler about where we are now and what happens next.
What was it that you saw on the streets when you were marching in the Los Angeles protests?
I saw the aggregate and compounded results of iterations of misguided policy and the mistreatment of specific individuals throughout our society, but also throughout various societies, not even just America, a lot of poor influence on power dynamics and leveraged against the people. I saw a lot of that in the streets. I saw a lot of frustration. I saw a lot of anger. I wasn’t confused as to why I was seeing that, but I also saw a lot of joy, a lot of hope, a lot of bravery and courage. And for me, I saw this element of hopefulness. That really gave me something to look forward to in our generation while watching everybody come together, although through tragedies. I saw this emotional solidarity that we were exhibiting and it was really, really, really inspiring to say the least.
There was an outpouring of support from other countries. How can people show solidarity when they can’t be directly involved in the fight?
I think the thing that people can and should do in other countries to show solidarity is to reconcile the wrongs that they have within their own society that may look similar to ours. I know that there’s a lot of issues with the indigenous population and the immigrant population in Australia, for example, I know this mostly because of family and or friends that either are from Australia or currently live there and they’ve explained to me, again a lot of policy that has been outlined and drawn out that has created disadvantages for a certain type of person within that siding. I do think that mirrors a lot of behavior and policy and systemic imbalance that we have here in America. So I think that first and foremost, people in other countries should be really focusing on what they have in front of them as well.
Absolutely, and thank you for acknowledging that. Through an American lens, talk to me about Biden. Do you believe in him as a candidate? From here, it appears that he’s just the lesser of two evils.
No, I do not believe him to be someone that I would vote if I had my pick of the litter, if I could just choose someone, he certainly would not be anywhere near the top. But again, we’re so deep down in the hole right now that I got to be honest and I do need to suck up my own pride and a bit of my agency at that to be completely honest and really just understand that his election, him being elected would be a means to an end because I do fear and feel that the Trump presidency is just representative of so much hate: xenophobia, racism, transphobia. Those that are going to celebrate a victory after voting Trump out of office should only really take that day and the next day they need to go to work and challenge the new president because he is sitting at the top where we are nowhere near, no matter who you are.
In terms of the centre of power, there are huge corporations that control a lot of the wealth, that have a seat at the table. What’s your perspective on taking up a fight against them?
Absolutely. I mean, you got to think when you think of Jeff Bezos, right? You’re mentioning a man that has a seat. He has a seat at the table dealing with defence in our government. This man, the man has your pencil eraser sent in an hour is also the man making decisions with our government on security and national security decisions. That is not a correct distribution of power, and I believe that what it does is it really shows how reliant and how dependent and how, I guess what’s the word I’m looking for, how connected we are to capitalism and how connected we are to corporatism in America, where if you have a certain amount of money and you create these products that bring a certain amount of money in that you can actually be a part of the government that runs shit. That’s a problem. You got me fucked up girl. You asked me some really big questions. I love it.
In a perfect world, what’s the progress that you see over the next few years?
Ideally, if I’m speaking like a utopian believer, I think that we start to first admit that racism, sexism and these phobias and isms are real. Not only are they real, but they are implemented and have actually foundationally grown the systems that we rely on today, literally throughout the Western world, the idea of white supremacy, the idea of leveraging of power, the dynamics that we see going against people that don’t look like an actual small percentage of wealthy white people. That’s how we got here in the first place, on the backs of others. So again, we were just leveraging power against people and we need to be really, really real about this America, Australia even motherfucking throughout Britain, absolutely all throughout the world.
My thing would be first and foremost, ideally going, “This is real because it happened, here’s the residual effect, and here are our efforts to try to fucking change it.” That would be my first step. I’m not even going to go crazy into the utopia. I’m just going to go into talking about being real about recognising that we have done these things and these things are in place today right now.
The last thing I’m saying, not only to the politicians, not only to those we feel are us versus them. To you and me my dear, to the motherfucking, so-called progressive, to the motherfucking so-called alternative thinking people. We have to actively participate and stop fucking pointing the finger and kicking the can down the digital road, and thinking that because we just posted a fucking picture on Instagram or we made a post on the internet, that that’s a job done. That is not enough, and I do not think that’s going to get us where we need to be. So we need to go further.