David First's new song was inspired by the Occupy Wall Street protests born in lower Manhattan, where he lived for many years. I spoke with First about his career and his involvement with the Occupy movement:
Remember those videos of campus police pepper spraying seated students in the face at UC Davis last November? Old news, right? Well, it has taken all this time for the task force appointed by the UC president to make its report public.
This year, if you say "Tax Day" and "social movement," the Tea Party isn't necessarily the first thing that comes to mind. And if you go looking for a protest, you'll likely find folks protesting against the tax evaders of the top 1 percent.
Where are the songs for Occupy's time in history? Who will write the words and music and poetry? Will we find our voice? These questions have been answered in full and emphatically with OccupyThisAlbum.
Who in their right mind would start a new small press at a time when the economy is so bad, e-books are rising, and book stores, libraries and perhaps the printed word itself are getting shoved down the same path as vinyl records and record stores?
We must become a much more politically engaged and informed population and take responsibility for ensuring that those we elect to represent us in Congress are held accountable, but also support them when they do the right thing.
What happens next is anyone's guess. Is the Occupy movement poised for a comeback? Or is it about to be co-opted altogether? Can both, in fact, happen simultaneously, and would that be a good thing or not?
I've been treating addicts for more than 40 years and when I hear the descriptions of those for whom millions and billions of dollars in wealth drives them to want more and more, I know we're dealing with addiction.
Occupy Wall Street is little more than a footnote, having failed to wield any noticeable influence in democratic politics. The Tea Party, on the other hand, spread through the Republican biosphere like the zombie virus from The Walking Dead.
The problem with groups like Take Back NYU! and OccupyNYU is not that their criticism of John Sexton is inane and childish -- it is -- the problem is they've lowered the bar of discourse at NYU so low it's embarrassing to look at.
He had been to Honduras six years earlier to work with OYE, and he knew what to expect -- perpetual heat, 24/7 sweatiness, and inevitable sunburn. Lakin was unsurprised that so little had changed since his last visit.