An Anthem for OWS?

The “Occupy” movement, which started in September, made this an esepcially timely guest visit for me.  My thanks to Danielle for inviting me, to the CoOp regulars for allowing me to make use of their terrific forum, and to those who commented on my posts. 

I’ll close with this:  If “I Am America,” sung by Krista Branch, is a plausible Tea Party “anthem,” then what anthem might be appropriate for OWS?  If, as Frank Pasquale has observed, there is considerable substantive overlap between these movements, might this be an anthem for both

The lyrics:

Pay no attention to the people in the street
Crying out for accountability
Make a joke of what we believe
Say we don’t matter ’cause you disagree
Pretend you’re kings, sit on your throne
Look down your nose at the peasants below
I’ve got some news, we’re taking names
We’re waiting now for the judgment day

[Chorus]
I am America, one voice, united we stand
I am America, one hope to heal our land

There is still work that must be done
I will not rest until we’ve won

I am America

You preach your tolerance, but lecture me
Is there no end to your own hypocrisy
Your god is power, you have no shame
Your only interest is political gain

You hide your eyes and refuse to listen
You play your games and abuse the system
You stuff your pockets while Rome is burning
I’ve got a feeling that the tide is turning

[Chorus]
I am America, one voice, united we stand
I am America, one hope to heal our land

I will not give up on this fight
I will not fade into the light, I am America

[Bridge]
You stuff your pockets while Rome is burning
I’ve got a feeling that the tide is turning

[Chorus]
I am America, one voice, united we stand
I am America, one hope to heal our land

I will not give up on this fight
I will not fade into the night, I am America

 

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5 Responses

  1. Dave says:

    While many of the lyrics are plausibly applicable to both groups, one distinction may be that Tea Partiers seemed more concerned with categorizing their beliefs as essentially or truly American. I think this explains the kerfuffle over Obama’s birth certificate. Many people (Tea Party and otherwise) simply didn’t want to accept the American-ness of our president because it conflicted with their different, narrower view of what it means to be essentially American. I don’t see the Occupy movement framing their rhetoric in these same terms, positing a category of true American-ness and claiming that their views better fit this category than their opponents’. Such evidence may be there; I just haven’t seen it. Nor does it strike me as that substantively important (esp in light of the nontrivial substantive overlap between the TP and OWS groups’ claims), although it is an interesting question why one group chose to deploy the rhetorical strategy and the other did not.

  2. Frank Pasquale says:

    Thanks for your many fascinating posts! You certainly picked a great topic to be expert in. I had thought public protest was dying out, but it appears to be changing our political discourse in profound ways.

    As for the anthem: I think the musical selections on Doug Henwood’s radio show are a bit more likely as OWS anthem candidates. The Flobots songs Handlebars and Rise are also good, particularly given the video for the former. Innerpartysystem’s “Don’t Stop” video might reflect how the more radical members of OWS view the mainstream media.

  3. Meyer Jacobson says:

    Thanks for the great blog posts.

  4. Tim Zick says:

    Thanks, Frank and Meyer!

    Frank, part of my motivation for writing Speech Out of Doors was my sense that, migration to the Web notwithstanding, public protest was very much alive and well in the U.S. I was wondering what issue(s) might so exercise Americans that a sustained public protest movement might be viable. OWS provides at least a partial answer to that question.

  5. Anon321 says:

    A recent song that I’m particularly fond of and could plausibly make a decent OWS anthem is “Serve the People” by Handsome Furs.