Occupy Wall Street

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

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

We’re gonna stay right here (2x)

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

We’re gonna stay right here (2x)

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

We’re gonna stay right here (2x)

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

We’re gonna stay right here (2x)

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

We’re gonna stay right here (2x)

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

We’re gonna stay right here (2x)

Sheet music:
Occupy Wall Street

“Occupy Wall Street” does not appear on a CD or Bandcamp album.  It exists on Soundcloud, YouTube, and elsewhere, though.

I wrote the song a few days after participating in the initial Occupy Wall Street protest in Zuccotti Park in New York City on September 17th, 2011.  After that protest, I had a tour booked all over eastern US and Canada for the following several weeks, and for once, timing was perfect — everywhere I went, Occupy encampments were sprouting up.  After my gigs — which were often really shitty, due to the fact that most of the people who might otherwise be in the audience were involved with Occupy, attending endless meetings and such — I went to the nearest camp and sang there.  I lost count after I did the 30th informal set at a camp, in 30 different cities in the US and Canada.

OWS was a great idea, and clearly took off as a result of that and perhaps timing or whatever else makes these things happen.  The meme of 99%/1% was a great one, which I’ve been using for a long time in song and elsewhere, but OWS really made it work.  Banking regulations and the division of wealth may all still suck worse than ever, but OWS put the discussion front and center for several months, which was in itself a significant accomplishment.

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