Why Occupy Wall Street's Racket Is the Folk Music of Our Time

This is our One Demand/we represent the 99%/No more inequality/raining down from Wall St./All of us united take a stand.

Many young people were attracted to Occupy camps because they felt alienated in their cities or towns. And both technology and music encouraged them to join online and human networks that made them feel closer to their environment, and have a direct influence on the decisions that determine their nutrition, health, education, and politics. When these youths settled in the Occupy camps, some of them felt a vital connection for the first time that linked them with other people -- they were no longer outsiders or loners, but members of a community. And soon, activists who had endured similar types of disenfranchisement in countries like Argentina, Chile, Greece, and Spain, among other nations, found themselves working together in common causes around the world.

At Occupy encampments, the music of protest wasn't limited to musicians and their instruments. Even activists who did not have a background in music grabbed different objects at hand to make sounds or replicate rhythms that amplified the message of their movement; they rattled paper, banged sticks on the pavement and played on aluminum pots and pans. These popular beats enabled listeners to understand intuitively the outrage and frustration that drove hundreds of youths around the world to unite in favor of greater equality. It also made music more accessible to everyone -- with almost any object, and a bit of creativity, you can make yourself heard.

When it comes to rallying people together, music is unmatched as a medium for protest. And at a time when partisan politics focuses more on differences than similarities, Occupy musicians use their talents to compel listeners to find something universal. "The most powerful weapon in society today isn't a gun or a bomb, but music and art," said hip hop musician Héctor Guerra from the progressive Latino band Pacha Mama Crew. "Each song is an act of conscience that revolutionizes your soul." Guerra points out, like other Occupy musicians, that culture moves people. And music reminds listeners that Occupy is a living idea that seeks to reconnect humanity with higher values.

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