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.”