Occupy Playlist

So way back in mid-October of last year, I wrote a post on the role of music in social movements. At the time, it really seemed like musicians were going to be participating in the Occupy Movement, and I reckoned it would be good to show the tradition of music being used in earlier protests, activism, dissent, revolutions, and other words I looked up in my thesaurus.

Although it seemed like music was going to be a big part of Occupy, I was still a little worried things would turn out like they did after the United States shocked and awed Iraq – namely, that not much new protest music would appear. Sure old regulars like Pearl Jam wrote songs and spoke out against the war at concerts, but by and large protest music stayed out of the mainstream discourse – and those musicians that did use their voices, like the Dixie Chicks, suffered an immediate backlash for not being patriotic. Sure, punk bands that had been writing protest songs for years continued to write new ones that questioned America’s involvement in the Middle East…but there was a stark lack of new voices, ideas, and numbers.

Eddie Vedder’s favorite president AND shirt

When it came to Occupy, however, my worries were quickly quashed. Musicians old and new, mainstream and underground, Capricorns and Pisces, all started to get involved at the grassroots level – playing in Occupy camps where there was literally no barriers between audience and performer. Here’s a few examples of music, participation, and voices being heard:

Explore posts in the same categories: Matters of Debate, Playlists, Punk and Politics, Punk and Protest

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