Does Occupy have an anthem? It might now
Protesters in New York's Zuccotti Park play music last month as part of the Occupy Wall Street demonstration.
December 2nd, 2011
03:18 PM ET

Does Occupy have an anthem? It might now

The most powerful social movements come accompanied with music - gospel-tinged chants for the civil rights movement, psychedelic rock for the hippie era of the late 1960s. But what about Occupy? Does the recent protest against corporate greed have a beat?

While artists such as Kanye West were visible at protest sites early on to lend support, musical content specifically addressing the movement has been sparse. Along with the debut of in October, recent stirrings across the country show that a soundtrack, as fluid and organic as the movement itself, is being woven alongside the protest.

Third Eye Blind released “If There Ever Was a Time” last month. Lyrics included a direct call to action: "If there ever was a time to get on your feet, take it to the street, come on and meet me down at Zuccotti Park."

The bridge between the movement and music was further strengthened recently when producers announced a compilation album was in the works called “Occupy This Album.” Artists such as David Crosby, Lloyd Cole, Jackson Brown, Devo, Third Eye Blind and Yo La Tengo have signed on to the project, the producers said in a statement.

Exclusive: Inside the offices of Occupy Wall Street

You would think a movement born of disillusionment would yield somber music, but instead of dirges about economic woes the compositions coming out of the Occupy camps strike upbeat chords and fuel optimism.

Atlanta student and activist songwriter Ariel Root Wolpe is part of the musical movement. Her song “Occupy” has gotten positive reviews from listeners around the city.

A Philadelphia native studying religion and music at Emory University, Wolpe said she was motivated to write the song after hearing “all the negativity the movement was getting.”

While she made clear that she’s not a protester per se (she’s been to the Occupy Atlanta gathering once), she said she supports the movement and has been moved by what it stands for.

“All I knew was what I was getting from the media, railing on the movement, saying they didn’t have a purpose. But then I started to see a lot of the (Occupy) videos on YouTube, and I watched them to get a feel for events on the ground.”

Those videos helped give a voice to her song, she said.

“What I wanted to say is that there is a diversity of issues, a diversity of people that want to be heard, and the song tries to portray that,” she said. “They all have something to say and they’re coming together because they all have an issue.”

Click the audio player below to hear Wolpe's "Occupy"

“The chorus is saying, ‘Ask them, instead of passing judgment on them why they’re down there.' Go down and ask the people because it’s easy to make harsh judgments on people in a space that’s away from what they’re going through, ” she said.

Below are the beginning lyrics to “Occupy.”

There’s children in the sun
They’re playing with pens
Graffiti on the walls
Innocent revenge

Ask them what they pray for
Ask them what they stand for
Ask them what they live for

To occupy their home

There’s citizens in the park
They’re talking in tents
Making signs and plans
For revolution

Ask them what they pray for
Ask them what they stand for
Ask them what they live for

To occupy their job

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Filed under: Occupy Wall Street • Politics • U.S.
soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    Free health insurance for the lay-z. Requires no jingle.

    December 3, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Dan

    Power to the People!! RIGHT ON!!!!!!!!!!

    December 3, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Bravo Jeff Frank (R), 11:59 AM and 12:10 PM!

    December 3, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    This was news a long time ago.

    December 3, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Laura

    Why did CNN not report on the recent demonstration in New York involving 20,000 people – organized by the labor unions? This seems more than a little odd.

    December 3, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. shut up already!!!!

    Here's my jingle for you:

    Make fun of ows?
    Get you head out of your ass!
    It's going places, don't you know...
    If you don't like it, you can blow
    We don't want your wealth
    We want to you care!
    Close the loopholes
    That keep our cupboards bare!

    If you are not for OWS, fine, we can deal. Stop making fun of stuff you are not willing to understand, though, because it's making you people look as if you approve of the robber barons that the governement has become, and it that's what y'all believe, then you small-minded individuals ARE the enemy and WILL be tossed aside as most of tjhe dissolute has been tossed aside.

    December 3, 2011 at 11:37 pm | Report abuse |
  7. tif31


    December 4, 2011 at 12:03 am | Report abuse |
  8. ArtistCHD

    Unfortunately Re “Occupy” Portland Shemanski Park is now receiving “by emergency order” proclaimed in a bull horn by an Agent; “to immediately vacate the park, it is now closed“…an hour or so before the City Ordinance closure at 9:30 pm. Yet there are many resisting members, chanting “fascist… police state”; F…k the city ordinance, “this is disorder”; who cares about making noise on beating drums and complaints to the police dept. angry speakers are proclaiming. “This is not order…it is disorder”!!!
    The city of Portland director of parks are giving these evacuation orders, warning “Occupiers”; that they “will be arrested for criminal trespassing” It’s now 8:31 pm, and somebody came up trying to get in to retrieve their backpack. Apparently he had gone off somewhere and just returned to find out the emergency eviction notice. “I refuse to let my kids grow up in a country like this?” a maddened person yells in outrage! My time line is tonight: Saturday, December 3, 2011...11:44 pm San Antonio, Texas.

    December 4, 2011 at 12:52 am | Report abuse |
  9. ArtistCHD

    REPTILIAN Riot Rouge Renegade police forces are moving in, beating people with their Billy clubs, arresting resisters. And somebody is still boldly and bravely beating on their war drums while the physical action and cowardice criminal cop aggression goes on, violently with wicked venon, viciously violating American citizens human rights. As the decree: “Shame on you”!!! Another courageous white male has his bull horn saying that “this is a peaceful protest”

    December 4, 2011 at 12:54 am | Report abuse |
  10. wire

    There are lots of great songs being written within the movement, more every day! The people have a voice!


    December 4, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Pearl


    December 5, 2011 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  12. Peikovianii

    CHORUS: We're sending our love down the well....
    KRUSTY THE KLOWN: Down...! That...! Well...!

    December 7, 2011 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
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