Happy birthday, Occupy. One year ago, as the rest of the country cowered under the iron heel of the 1 percent, seemingly out of thin air you appeared in Zuccotti Park -- a virgin birth that stunned bankers and inspired masses.
So let's celebrate. But how about skipping the tired old tune of "Happy Birthday to You"? You're special: you need your own song, and we have one in mind, written by the hip-hop artist Absoloot -- and it just so happens to be titled "99%."
We picked this birthday song for you because Absoloot, with power and grace, embraces your multiplicity, hope and fury. The song's refrain captures the desperation that drove you to the streets and solidarity that gave you power:
I see it's green on their side as I look over the fence / Got my back against the wall / I'm the 99%
The "99%" video begins with students in a classroom transformed out of apathy into the now-famous "cardboard poets" of the Occupy movement. Throughout the video we see young people holding homemade pen-and-marker signs identifying both the crises they face and future they desire: "Bail out the Earth," "Future Unknown," "99 to 1 Are Great Odds." All the while Absoolot lays down his call to action:
If ever the time's right / I tell you the time's now / Let your voices be heard loud / You tell them proud / Nope no more, no more / Taking taxes from the poor /Just to hand them to the rich / So no my money spent / Without me giving consent / So now I stand with the 99%
Nimbly he sums up the roots of the housing crisis:
And they're not even bankers / They're banksters / Gangsters in a suit and tie Tricked us with the perfect crime/ Guess no one saw the signs / Of some loans they call sub prime / So no one's serving time
And while the Democrats struggle to make their case for health care and budget priorities, Absoloot pulls it off in less than 50 words:
I'm tired of being tired / I'm sick of being sick / Politicians debating over health care that they have / So now our needs don't fit the budget / Because their doing the math / So now we all get to watch the decline of the middle class
Trust us, this short profile doesn't come close to giving this rousing song and video justice. Watch it yourself and read more about Absoloot's work. And all attending Occupy's birthday bash: learn the song, share the video, tweet the lyrics. Let's lift up our movement's new generation of activist-artists and bring the house down.