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the following 12 songs were written/compiled by me for the People’s Victory Parade, hosted by Occupy Philly on 12/31/11.

they’re mostly Christmas/holiday tunes transformed into Occu-Carols, with a couple others thrown in as well. my favorite is #6 “Do You Hear What I Hear?”

let’s be a movement that sings!
alex

image by Larry Swetman

OCCUPY PHILLY SONGBOOK

1. WE WISH FOR A REVOLUTION
(by Alex Knight to the tune of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”)

We wish for a revolution
We wish for a revolution
We wish for a revolution
In the coming New Year!

Tunisia was first
Egypt heard the call
Then Occupy Wall St.
Inspired us all.

(Chorus)

In Chile and Greece
Now Russia we see
The people are rising
For democracy.

(Chorus)

Now Philly has joined
We’re ready to rock
We’re just getting started
And we’ll never stop!

We wish for a revolution
We wish for a revolution
We wish for a revolution
In the coming New Year!

2. THE TWELVE DAYS OF OCCUPY
(inspired by other versions, including one by Gina Botel)

On the first day of Occupy, my new friends gave to me
A tent and a community.

On the second day of Occupy, my new friends gave to me
Two woolen blankets and…

On the third day of Occupy, my new friends gave to me
Three warm meals…

On the fourth day of Occupy, my new friends gave to me
Four clarifying questions…

On the fifth day of Occupy, my new friends gave to me
FIVE LONG GA’s…

On the sixth day of Occupy, my new friends gave to me
Six working groups…

On the seventh day of Occupy, my new friends gave to me
Seven drummers drumming…

On the eighth day of Occupy, my new friends gave to me
Eight signs a-painting…

On the ninth day of Occupy, my new friends gave to me
Nine marchers marching…

On the tenth day of Occupy, my new friends gave to me
Ten locked arms…

On the eleventh day of Occupy, my new friends gave to me
Eleven cops a-raiding…

On the twelfth day of Occupy, my new friends gave to me
Twelve new encampments… Read the rest of this entry »

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I’ve been meaning to post this for a while!  It’s a great short essay / pamphlet on race and racism, written for the Occupy movement.  Please read!  Race is an issue we ignore at our own peril. [alex]

Whiteness and the 99%
By Joel Olson

Originally published by Bring the Ruckus, 10/20/11.  A printable PDF of this piece is available for download here, and a readable PDF is available here.

Occupy Wall Street and the hundreds of occupations it has sparked nationwide are among the most inspiring events in the U.S. in the 21st century. The occupations have brought together people to talk, occupy, and organize in new and exciting ways. The convergence of so many people with so many concerns has naturally created tensions within the occupation movement. One of the most significant tensions has been over race. This is not unusual, given the racial history of the United States. But this tension is particularly dangerous, for unless it is confronted, we cannot build the 99%. The key obstacle to building the 99% is left colorblindness, and the key to overcoming it is to put the struggles of communities of color at the center of this movement. It is the difference between a free world and the continued dominance of the 1%.

Left colorblindess is the enemy

Left colorblindness is the belief that race is a “divisive” issue among the 99%, so we should instead focus on problems that “everyone” shares. According to this argument, the movement is for everyone, and people of color should join it rather than attack it.

Left colorblindness claims to be inclusive, but it is actually just another way to keep whites’ interests at the forefront. It tells people of color to join “our” struggle (who makes up this “our,” anyway?) but warns them not to bring their “special” concerns into it. It enables white people to decide which issues are for the 99% and which ones are “too narrow.” It’s another way for whites to expect and insist on favored treatment, even in a democratic movement.

As long as left colorblindness dominates our movement, there will be no 99%. There will instead be a handful of whites claiming to speak for everyone. When people of color have to enter a movement on white people’s terms rather than their own, that’s not the 99%. That’s white democracy.

The white democracy

Biologically speaking, there’s no such thing as race. As hard as they’ve tried, scientists have never been able to define it. That’s because race is a human creation, not a fact of nature. Like money, it only exists because people accept it as “real.” Races exist because humans invented them.

Why would people invent race? Race was created in America in the late 1600s in order to preserve the land and power of the wealthy. Rich planters in Virginia feared what might happen if indigenous tribes, slaves, and indentured servants united and overthrew them. So, they cut a deal with the poor English colonists. The planters gave the English poor certain rights and privileges denied to all persons of African and Native American descent: the right to never be enslaved, to free speech and assembly, to move about without a pass, to marry without upper-class permission, to change jobs, to acquire property, and to bear arms. In exchange, the English poor agreed to respect the property of the rich, help them seize indigenous lands, and enforce slavery.

This cross-class alliance between the rich and the English poor came to be known as the “white race.” By accepting preferential treatment in an economic system that exploited their labor, too, the white working class tied their wagon to the elite rather than the rest of humanity. This devil’s bargain has undermined freedom and democracy in the U.S. ever since.

The cross-class alliance that makes up the white race.

As this white race expanded to include other European ethnicities, the result was a very curious political system: the white democracy. The white democracy has two contradictory aspects to it. On the one hand, all whites are considered equal (even as the poor are subordinated to the rich and women are subordinated to men). On the other, every white person is considered superior to every person of color. It’s democracy for white folks, but tyranny for everyone else. Read the rest of this entry »

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