Protest songs have had a place in America’s political tradition for some time. From the pro-Labor folk songs of the Depression era to the anti-war ballads of the 1960’s and 70’s, various movements have used music as a means of highlighting perceived injustices. Occupy Wall Street is no different. As anyone whose spent time at Liberty Plaza knows, brass bands, drum circles and other forms of musical expression have become commonplace at the protests.
Now, a musician by the name of Scott Sier has created a Facebook page dedicated to showcasing protest songs for the new generation. His page, Occupy Wall Street Protest Songs, features a number of tracks with themes relevant to the emerging movement. There are songs with more traditional roots, such as “We Are the Working Poor” by the Tin Bird Choir, reggae/hip-hop anthems like The Roaring’s “Finally Here” and some good ole punk rock tunes like Burnaby Leather’s “I’m Not Your Slave” to get your blood boiling. Never heard of them? That’s part of the idea. Just as Occupy Wall Street aims to give voice to the anonymous masses, the song page aims to connect obscure protest hymns with an emotionally available audience.
To date, the page hasn’t exactly caught on. But Sier has been working digital channels in search of fans and media outlets who will take notice
“Now more then ever, we need to bring to light the problems we face as a nation,” says Sier, “By creating this music page, I hope to bring together musicians and music fans from across the globe to share their concerns and ideas on how to create a more sustainable and peaceful future.”
Occupy Wall Street Protest Songs has a presence on Soundcloud and Twitter as well. The SoundCloud page is particularly useful because it allows more songs to be streamed than on the Facebook, and people can upload their own songs. As of Tuesday, 30 different people have contributed 58 tracks.
This 21st century approach is a far cry from the truck beds that doubled as stages for the protest songwriters of the Depression era, when driving from town to town was the best way to spread their message.
While numerous celebrity musicians have already come out in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement, so far none of them have written any songs on the subject. Many in the movement would say that they don’t need famous people to do their singing for them. The Occupy Wall Street Protest Song Page shows that the 99% are capable of doing that themselves.