Monday, November 14, 2011

Hawaiian singer surprises Obama summit with ‘Occupy’ song

A popular Hawaiian recording artist turned a top-security dinner of Pacific Rim leaders hosted by President Barack Obama into a subtle protest with a song in support of the “Occupy” movement.

Makana, who goes by one name, was enlisted to play a luau, or Hawaiian feast, Saturday night for leaders assembled in Obama’s birthplace Honolulu for an annual summit that is formulating plans for a Pacific free-trade pact.

But in the midst of the dinner on the resort strip Waikiki Beach, he pulled open his jacket to reveal a T-shirt that read “Occupy with Aloha,” using the Hawaiian word whose various meanings include love and peace. He then sang a marathon version of his new song “We Are The Many.”

“I was pretty nervous. In fact I was terrified. I kept thinking ‘what are the consequences going to be?’” Makana, 33, told AFP.

“It was incredibly comical. I was terrified but also enjoying it,” he said.

Makana, who was born Matthew Swalinkavich, said the song prompted awkward stares from a few of those present but the Obamas appeared too absorbed with their guests to notice what was happening.

The performance occurred at a dinner for summit participants from 21 economies around the Asia-Pacific, including Chinese President Hu Jintao and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, amid a security lockdown in Waikiki.

As Makana sang, about 400 protesters including anti-globalization and native Hawaiian rights activists staged a protest march toward the dinner site but turned back after encountering the smothering security.

Makana released the song on the Internet the day before and decided to play it at the urging of fans, he said.

Inspired by the anti-capitalist [sic] movement that began with the “Occupy Wall Street” demonstrations in New York, it denounces Washington politicians, corporate greed and what he sees as an unfair American economic system.

The song features the refrain, “We’ll occupy the streets, we’ll occupy the courts, we’ll occupy the offices of you, till you do the bidding of the many, not the few.”

He sang it “over and over” for 40 minutes, varying his tempo and delivery to avoid triggering an overt reaction.

“Whenever I felt the heat might come down, I would ease off. It was a very careful procedure,” he said.

We Are The Many

Ye come here, gather 'round the stage
The time has come for us to voice our rage
Against the ones who've trapped us in a cage
To steal from us the value of our wage

From underneath the vestiture of law
The lobbyists at Washington do gnaw
At liberty, the bureaucrats guffaw
And until they are purged, we won't withdraw

We'll occupy the streets
We'll occupy the courts
We'll occupy the offices of you
Till you do
The bidding of the many, not the few

Our nation was built upon the right
Of every person to improve their plight
But laws of this Republic they rewrite
And now a few own everything in sight

They own it free of liability
They own, but they are not like you and me
Their influence dictates legality
And until they are stopped we are not free

We'll occupy the streets
We'll occupy the courts
We'll occupy the offices of you
Till you do
The bidding of the many, not the few

You enforce your monopolies with guns
While sacrificing our daughters and sons
But certain things belong to everyone
Your thievery has left the people none

So take heed of our notice to redress
We have little to lose, we must confess
Your empty words do leave us unimpressed
A growing number join us in protest

We occupy the streets
We occupy the courts
We occupy the offices of you
Till you do
The bidding of the many, not the few

You can't divide us into sides
And from our gaze, you cannot hide
Denial serves to amplify
And our allegiance you can't buy

Our government is not for sale
The banks do not deserve a bail
We will not reward those who fail
We will not move till we prevail

We'll occupy the streets
We'll occupy the courts
We'll occupy the offices of you
Till you do
The bidding of the many, not the few

We'll occupy the streets
We'll occupy the courts
We'll occupy the offices of you
Till you do
The bidding of the many, not the few

We are the many
You are the few

Download song for free here:

Comment: David Rovics also composed a beautiful song on the same topic:

Occupy Wall Street (We're Gonna Stay Right Here)

Because this is where they buy the politicians
Because this is where power has its seat
Because ninety-nine percent of us are suffering
At the mercy of the madmen on this street
Because all of us are victims of class warfare
Being waged on us by the one percent
Because these greedy banksters rob the country
Leaving us without the means to pay the rent
Because the last time that we had a decent government
Was about 1932
Because we the people are supposed to run the country
But instead it's all run by and for the few
Because now we know the rich do not pay taxes
But when they need a hand it's us who bail them out
Because we suspected we lived in a plutocracy
But suddenly of late there is no doubt

And so we're gonna stay right here (2x)

Because both my parents lost their savings
Because I have never opened an account
Because the interest on my credit card just doubled
And now I can't pay the minimum amount
Because these budget cuts are just immoral
With our schools as overcrowded as they are
Because there are no buses where I live
But I can't afford to drive a car
Because so many of us don't have health insurance
The rest of us have it but it sucks
Because the rich are riding in their private jets
While the rest of us are slogging through the muck
Because capitalism isn't working
This system has just failed to produce
Because the one percent is prospering
While the rest of us just suffer their abuse

Because it has been demonstrated amply
That the winners are the ones who stick around
Because this world should belong to everyone
Not just the banksters who would smash it to the ground
Because we've noticed voting doesn't change things
When the politicians are mostly millionaires
Because we're learning how to stand up like Tunisians
Like they did in Tahrir Square
Where a young man named Mohamed Bouazizi
Struck a match that lit up all the Earth
And all around the world the spell was broken
And a movement for the future was in birth
Because there's only so much shit the rich can feed us
Before we figure out which side we're on
Because we've learned if we want our liberation
It will come only if we stay here til the rising of the dawn

Because corporations are not people
And we can't just let them choose
Because if we leave our fate to them
Then all of us will surely lose
Because the climate clock is ticking
And we can't just leave our world behind
Because corporate rule isn't working
And it's time for humans' hearts and minds
Because you can't take it with you
Because the rich just do not care
Because it doesn't matter how much you make
But how much you can share
Because these moments don't come often
Because we want truly to be free
Because we know what really matters
Something called society

One soul at a time, the realization that 'enough is enough' is gradually making its way into the USA.