By: John Woods

Who was that baseball star who coined the phrase, "It ain't over till it's over?" Well, whoever he was isn't important, it's his quote that counts. We at R.O.C. like his quote because we feel it paraphrases how we view the war against censorship. We are of the opinion that the war has only just begun.

Despite this view, we understand that certain elements within the anti-censorship forces are declaring that the war is over. And some are being bold enough to even proclaim that "we won." Now I admit that our little town of Jewett is a bit off the beaten path, but man this is sure news to us!

So what's the story behind this premature jubilation by some of our "misguided" friends? It seems that Tipper Gore and the PMRC have pulled off one of their best scams yet, and a lot of people on both sides of the issue allowed themselves to get sucked in. By sheer deception, the PMRC somehow convinced the National Association of Record Merchandisers (NARM) that they alone were responsible for 13 states dropping their mandatory labeling laws. All the PMRC wanted in return was a promise of stricter in-house censorship within the industry and industry imposed labels. NARM fell for it, a deal was struck, and NARM signed over their souls at a joint PMRC/PTA, NARM press conference on April 5th in Washington, D.C.

How can any of this be viewed as a victory against censorship, you are asking? It seems that some of our more naive liberal friends in organizations like People For The American Way feel that living with industry imposed censorship is better than having state imposed censorship. Their view is that since 13 states have dropped their label laws, this must be viewed as a victory. R.O.C. says, "YOU HAD BETTER WAKE UP FOOLS AND GET YOUR HEAD'S OUT OF YOUR ASS, WE HAVE NOT WON A DAMN THING, AND IF YOU DON'T WANT TO FIGHT THE PMRC, GET THE HELL OUT OF THE WAY SO WE CAN."

R.O.C. does not accept, nor do we recognize this deal cut between the PMRC and NARM. How could NARM be so stupid to fall for this? And how can some people see any of this as a victory for anti-censorship? Censorship is censorship, be it enforced by legislative mandate or by a memo from a top record industry executive.

The real facts are this, the states that dropped the label laws did so because they realized the laws had no chance of passing. And the ones that may have passed stood little chance of withstanding a Federal Court case based on Constitutional questions. The PMRC had nothing to do with getting these laws dropped. Despite this, Tipper gore was donning her shit-eating smile at the April 5th press conference. And why not? The PMRC don't need the state laws anymore, they now have the record industry doing their dirty work. For all practical purposes, the PMRC has gotten what they have always wanted.

ROC'ers don't fall for this deception like People For The American Way did. We have to keep fighting and organizing people. We not only have the PMRC and all of their cronies to contend with, we now have all the sell-outs, capitulators, and traitors within the recording industry to fight. And fight them we will!

We suggest you get a copy of the May 31st issue of ROLLING STONE magazine and check out the article by Michael Golberg, titled AT A LOSS FOR WORDS for more detailed facts on this issue.


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