Talib Kweli, Saul Williams, Ian McKaye... will their participation help the cause?
More than two months after the Occupy Wall Street protests popped up, creative professionals now have a formal website to show their support. Lou Reed, Tom Morello, Talib Kweli, Saul Williams, Dan Deacon, former members of Fugazi, Laurie Anderson and more have expressed their support of the movement on OccupyMusicians.com, which has sister sites like Occupy Writers and Occupy Filmmakers.
The site organizers can help pair up musicians who support the cause to protest leaders, to help schedule performances. It's also a simple way of musicians showing support for the grassroots cause.
There are names on here that don't really surprise me -- Morello is normally the first guy to sign onto anything that fights-the-power, and nobody's ever going to raise an eyebrow after the words "Ian McKaye" and "personal politics." The 99 percent is a large enough swath to lend relevancy to any artist. I'm a bit cynical about any artist's ability to bring more to the cause than the cause lending to these artists (except maybe somebody gigantic like Radiohead).
It reminds me a little bit of protests against Arizona's controversial SB 1070 law, but in that case, artists actively boycotted the state -- didn't tour through -- which is a quick way to hurt local music businesses. The unconstitutional portions of that legislation weren't affected by Morello or Conor Oberst's protests. But, then again, it was a moment of solidarity, and another way to bring the issue into national consciousness. I had mixed feelings.
Hell, the coldest months approaching, I hope OWS protesters stay warm and healthy as they exercise their right to assemble. Cynicism aside, if the best wishes of Marc Ribot and other artists are going help keep these guys warm, I welcome them.