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Introducing the OWS ‘Guitarmy’ (Video)

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Posted on May 3, 2012
neotint (CC BY 2.0)

Members of the “guitarmy” tune up in Bryant Park on Tuesday before making their way down 6th Avenue.

New York saw what was probably the city’s first ever “guitarmy” this May Day, a march by hundreds of OWS-affiliated musicians led by former Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello from midtown’s Bryant Park to Union Square, where they were joined by Immortal Technique, Das Racist and Dan Deacon to fire up protesters with song.

The tunes played along the march route down 6th Avenue included Pete Seeger’s “We Shall Not Be Moved,” Sergio Ortega’s “El Pueblo Unido,” Willie Nile’s “One Guitar,” Morello’s “World Wide Rebel Song,” Florence Reece’s “Which Side Are You On?” and Woody Guthrie’s time-honored “This Land Is Your Land.”

Deacon talked about his hopes and expectations for the day with Pitchfork reporter Jenn Pelly. See the “guitarmy” in action below. —ARK


“If I have one goal [at Union Square], it’s to change the way people think about the role of the individual,” Deacon told me last week. He expressed frustration with how media (like political cartoons) often “represent the wealthy as these Goliaths” and the 99% as much smaller people. “It’s a mistake to see your enemy as anything different than yourself,” Deacon said. “These are basic concepts, but they’re often looked over in regards to politics and power.” He said many of the lyrics on his forthcoming record, out by this fall, “are very much anti-corporation or pro-radical environmentalism,” including one “post-civilization” track.

On that note, Deacon said, “It’s insane for people to think we’re not returning to an age of kings, that the powers that be don’t want to go back to being pharaohs, having us build their pyramids. We’re existing in a time that’s post-Declaration of Independence, that’s post-Magna Carta. We exist in a twinkle of an eye of what some consider freedom. People are like, ‘Slavery was abolished.’ No, slavery was just outsourced.”

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By gerard, May 4, 2012 at 11:31 am Link to this comment

EmileZ and IMax:  Wonders never cease. Love ya both!  More later.

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By EmileZ, May 4, 2012 at 7:46 am Link to this comment

@ IMax

That actually wasn’t so bad.

It must be all the love.

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By IMax, May 4, 2012 at 5:17 am Link to this comment

Whaaaat?  This piece has been up for two days and no one, not one individual, cared enough to comment on this event?

Eight months prior someone on this site opined that if the petulant children instigating violence and vandalism remained front and center support and interest in OWS would dry up dramatically just before the 2011 holidays.  It’s a damn shame that highly emotional ideologues, adults who truly ought to know better, have no sense of how to move the American public and actually ACCOMPLISH long lasting change.

I am ashamed and embarrassed over how these protests squandered the best opportunity in decades to become a true movement.  Now take a bath, do your own damn laundry, and go to your room and think about what you’ve done.  Grrrrr…


We must carry ourselves like adults in America.  Occupy the spaces where laws and mandates are devised!

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By EmileZ, May 3, 2012 at 11:34 pm Link to this comment

@ gerard

Did I ever tell you that I love you.

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By gerard, May 3, 2012 at 8:16 pm Link to this comment

Whaaaat! This has been up all day, and no authoritarian right-wing-nut-job has jumped all over it with snide comments? What accounts for such negligence?  Don’t tell me our own TD Cassandras are going to miss this chance to have at it here. Don’t tell me they have a small open space down in the bottom of their hearts left open for the liberal arts of harmony, relaxation, and just plain fun?

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