Tom Morello Leads the Occupy ‘Guitarmy’

May 18, 2012

An army of guitarists took to the streets of New York City as part of Occupy Wall Street’s May Day resurgence. Led by former Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello, the ‘guitarmy’ marched peacefully while strumming protest songs including Woody Guthrie’s This Land is Your Land to Morello’s World Wide Rebel Song. The foot soldiers of the guitarmy ranged from seasoned activists and Zuccotti occupiers to high school students at their first protest march.

Lauren Feeney, editor/producer; Katia Maguire, producer; Roger Grange and Sikay Tang, camera; Jerry Stein and Myles Allen, sound

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  • Noevirmjg

    Oh, yes!!~!

  • Lipwak

    Tim Pool (timcast on ustream or covered this scene nicely and you can see his archived video of it here: Start at about 2:33 in for the pre-march speeches.

  • Garysell32


  • Homa Moshirr

    I am so proud of him.  He gives us hope.  His global message of humanity and love and hope.  awesome

  • Jpathart

    Occupy rampin’ up with the music.  So thankful to all. 

  • “Dr. Bill” Gordon

     More starving-artist guitarists, such as I, would have joined the Guitarmy …but our guitars have been pawned for 30% of their value…at 25% interest-per-month…so we couldn’t afford the bus fare to attend this event.  This is nothing new.  Superb musicians still work for food. Nothing new.  They used to be called Troubadors…now they are often called Street Musicians.  As someone once said, “You can’t play the blues unless you’ve been in a pawn shop”.   At 69 years old, I still seek to be an overnight success….following my Bliss…but on Main Street..not Wall Street.

  • “Dr. Bill”

     Say, buddy, can you spare a dime? Many of us performance artists have been left way behind, too…just like kids and assorted other living things.  Maybe I should have a Bake Sale on my street corner next Saturday as I perform…to offset some of my performance expenses.

  • Camilo

    I don’t mean to spoil any point of view, but… It’s really easy to speak about all those things they speak, when you haven’t been on the other side.
    Even when you’re a quite tallented artist, it’s just not the same to complain about what yo think it is all about thru CNN or ABC news… living where I live, is even worst than they think… but let them be, and believe they’re helping somehow!

  • cureforoptimism

    Come back to Wisconsin, Tom! We’re about to make history here! And since I’m a music industry professional who has generated royalty income for you, I’ll do all I can to get a variety of people to play and sing with you!

  • Goya

    Morello is more about promoting and marketing an album with a carefully crafted image that preys upon the activist movement.   How about covering a real street activist who isn’t selling anything and doesn’t just generate the same old sound bites to promote his music.  There is a difference between people on the ground making a difference and a rockstar who uses a movement to promote his new music. 

  • San Leejean

    what’s the girls’s name who was arrested? she has an awesome voice :)

  • Unions Uplift Us

    As a fellow guitarist with some social justice originals, I back you my Brother. Keep up the fight. Let us be the rock in the backs of those who try to sleep soundly in their corrupt and decadent beds. May their dreams be full of the less fortunate pounding at their doors.

  • Industreeallace
  • Leftystevewv

    Hawaiian activist and musician wrote “We Wre the Many.”

  • R Hoover

    We had never heard of Tom Morello.  Cool.  Thank you, Bill, for your program.  They are all very, very good. 
    Old guy from Kansas.

  • Pamela Tassey

    I worked for a Union Local in the office as a bookkeeper in the early 1980’s.  We were told if we formed a union or joined an office worker’s union we would be fired.  When the men ran for office, they would cut a union bug off of a letter that was printed by a union printer, and paste it on their campaign literature and have it printed by a NON-Union printer.  Later on I owned a print shop and when someone came in with this kind of paste-up, I refused to take the job. Tom you’re the MAN!

  • David

    Mr.  Morello,  it isn’t about “Arming the Homeless”  it’s about educating the homeless.  Isn’t there enough violence and hatred in the world already?  And what exactly are we arming the homeless with?  Guns?  I hope not.  Wouldn’t that put you  firmly in support of the NRA? After all, someone’s going to have to buy all these weapons.  These messages you tape on your guitars – i.e. “whatever means necessary”  –  seem to promote a violent cure to the world’s economic ills.  Aren’t you a Harvard man, Tom?  Surely you can put more thought into your mission statements.   How about “Rise through Reading?”  But then again, maybe that wouldn’t energize your fan base.  Like sex, violence sells.  “Arm the Homeless” – shameful.

  • Kjc917

    Great interview … we arm the homeless by empowering them..

  • Raul Yepez

    wish i could go protest with my fellow guitarist and especially with Tom Morello

  • (not Mr., leave the formal add

    I LOVE ‘THE RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE’ MUSIC!! I remember, back after ‘2000-‘2002 being on the local university’s radio station, as a DJ and Sports Host, and playing the music a lot and talking about the horrible things that The Dictator Bush and his administration was doing. If it was not for Tom Morello believing in The Occupy Movement, then I would place him right up there with ‘THE RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE’ MUSIC. WOW! Talk about exactly what we need is more Tom Morellos out there!

  • Anonymous

    I am so glad to hear you acknowledge Tim Pool! I live in Cleveland, OH, so, except for one small march, I had no actual involvement. But I had a great deal of personal investment, and was able to participate through Tim’s ustreams. What a wonderful job he did, at considerable sacrifice, both financial and personal. The OWS was stomped down and co-opted by the powers that be, but the idea hasn’t died! Because of their organizational system, they were up and running quickly after Superstorm Sandy and are still helping to rebuild the devastated areas.