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Published: 2012/05/01
by Wayan Zoey

Tom Morello Leads the Occupy Guitarmy

Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello gathered some of Occupy Wall Street’s more musically inclined protesters in Bryant Park this afternoon in preparation for a march to Union Square as part of the May 1st General Strike. On Thursday, Morello started making the request for thousands of guitarists to join him in Bryant Park at noon for today’s General Strike. Morello himself showed up shortly before 1 pm for a q&a prior to rehearsing the Occupy Guitarmy. Most of the questions concerned the role that musicians play in the Occupy movement, which were largely answered with a degree of mild indifference by Morello. In particular, he emphasized the idea that musicians should only be politically active if they’re naturally inclined to be, bucking the idea presented by Radiohead visual artist Stanley Donwood (among many others) that art is inherently political.

He further suggested that the Occupy movement isn’t even expecting direct involvement from established politicians, and that whatever change can occur needs to originate at the bottom, not the top. To further reinforce that idea, he not only recognized but also lauded the fact that OWS doesn’t have a clear, singular message, reasoning that a movement that represents 99% of the population will inevitably be geared towards a wide variety of issues.

In all, a few hundred showed up with mostly acoustic guitars, plus a smattering of basses, mandolins, ukuleles, and banjos. Following a brief warm-up with Morello, the guitarists started marching south from Bryant Park towards Union Square, intersecting with large groups of drummers and horn players that by and large drowned out the efforts of the guitar players. After 2 hours of marching, Morello and his “new band” reached the stage set up on the south side of Union Square for messy yet heartfelt renditions of Morello’s own “Worldwide Rebel Songs” followed by Woodiy Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land.” Despite the size of the march, all participants maintained very good behavior, and under the shadow of heavy police present, it did not seem as if anyone was being restricted from openly expressing themselves.


There are 17 comments associated with this post

Chris May 1, 2012, 18:24:32

Love Tom Morello, I can’t say everything he does is great. He came to Madison last February and made a difference. Nice for a artist to take a stand a his own, seems to practice what he preachs.

Brandt Hardin May 1, 2012, 19:05:06

The Occupy Movement is NECESSARY for our citizens to expose the corruption which Big Business has infected our Government with. Every single person occupying the streets and protesting Corporations is a hero and a patriot. I was compelled to lend a hand and create some new posters for the movement which you can download for free on my artist’s blog at

T. Jones May 2, 2012, 07:55:13

I was busy working and supporting my family to pay attention.

Tom May 2, 2012, 09:41:01

Nice input, T. Everyone that reads it will laugh into the evening at your timeless classic of a joke. Hopefully you didn’t stay up all night working on that—you have a job to do and a family to support. Anyway, kudos to Mr. Morello. While I’m not a fan of everything he does, it’s nice to see somebody at least try to make a difference.

Jerry G. May 2, 2012, 10:58:55

How long will it take for the Occupiers to understand that the “machine” they should be raging against is the Democratic Party? Big Government and Big Business both take away our freedoms. Thanks to Obama, the Big Banks are even BIGGER, small businesses are even smaller and the youth of America will be saddled with the debt of having to take care of the Baby Boomers while bankrupting the social programs that will not be there for us when we need them.

Matt May 2, 2012, 11:12:24

Why are there no conservatives occupying? Oh yah, they are to busy working and paying taxes.

Mike May 2, 2012, 11:13:12

Socialism is great until you run out of other people’s money.

Ridiculous May 2, 2012, 11:15:17

Every single person occupying the streets and protesting is a lazy piece of s***!

Chris May 2, 2012, 12:06:12

“Ridiculous”, your comments are incredibly insightful. The in-depth knowledge you display is unparalleled. Way to make an ignorant generalization about millions of people in this country and around the world who are actually interested in making a difference

Luke May 2, 2012, 12:45:54

This needs to grow and grow and increasingly open the eyes of the lower and middle classes if there is to be much hope. Count me in.

Ridiculous May 2, 2012, 12:48:54

Lots of insight in your post brainiac. Like Matt said above, where are the conservatives in the Occupy movement? They are working hard to support all the lazy liberals. Freedom isn’t free like all the social programs you dumba**** are on. Quit stinking up the parks and spreading your garbage all over and get a job!

Matt May 2, 2012, 12:50:48

99% of the people involved in OWS have no idea what they are even trying to accomplish.

Matt May 2, 2012, 12:52:47

Start at the top and get rid of Obama. He was, is and will be nothing more than a good public speaker. He is not, nor ever was, a politician.

"Yes we can... May 2, 2012, 12:56:54

...bankrupt America, eliminate our armed forces, become a socialist country, spread the wealth around to those who choose not to work, allow illegal immigrants to get better benefits that real Americans” LOLOLOLOL!!! Am I missing anything Obama has accomplished so far? YES WE CAN! Unbelievable that people fall for this. Not many people voted for Obama. They voted against Bush. Unfortunatley, while doing so, they forgot Bush wasn’t even in the last election!

Judge Smells May 2, 2012, 12:58:47

The world needs ditch diggers, too. See, there really is a place for liberals.

Conservative Liars Suck May 2, 2012, 14:20:17

LOve all the paid neo-con stooges on this site! What a bunch of whiny idiots spreading their lies and stupidity! Who destroyed this country? Conservative idiots that despise the equality we had into the Shrub years thats who? Busted economy, torture, sending money to vicious foreign countries at our expense? REPUBLICAN AGENDA! So all you Coke brothers financed stooges should go somewhere else.

Annie May 2, 2012, 15:24:02

I am rich and I am proud to be rich I worked hard for it and had some luck too. It pays for the front row seats I buy on Stub Hub so it makes me happy. Actually I buy several tickets then I snicker at the dirty hippy with his finger in the air as I walk in with my extras unused so that I can have extra space to dance. The world owes you nothing. Get a job and join me in the front row!

You should May 2, 2012, 15:25:11

...move to Canada.

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