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The Occupy Movement: The Grandchildren Of Woodstock

February 21, 2012

By Daniel Segraves

 

Woodstock

In 1969, the youth of America took to the hills of Bethel, New York to protest a failing war and the social inadequacies of a government that had forgotten its people. It was celebrated as a successful celebration of freedom, free from commercialism and nearly vacant of any true political agenda except for one simple truth: the youth didn’t want to be corrupted.

The idealism of the 1969 event actually inspired several smaller affairs over the years, including events of a similar nature in 1979, 1989, 1994 and even as recently as 2009 (The Heroes of Woodstock Tour, which attempted to salvage the true spirit of the movement by touring some of the bands of the original celebration).

All of those peaceful endeavours of art and peace were eclipsed, however, by the infamous Woodstock ’99. Woodstock ’99 ended in flames, violence and sexual assault.

What made the event in 1999 so much worse?

One argument that can be validly made is that the event 1999 was heavily commercialized. From tickets ($150) to food ($12 for a slice of pizza), everything at Woodstock ’99 revolved around the almighty dollar, and we saw what can happen when ideals and art are corrupted by corporations.

When the smoke settled and the media took up arms against the fans at the festival, Tom Morello of Rage Against The Machine came to their defense and attempted to changed where the crosshairs would fall:

“Yes,” Morello wrote to the New York Times August 5, 1999, “Woodstock was filled with predators: the degenerate idiots who assaulted those women, the greedy promoters who wrung every cent out of thirsty concertgoers, and … the predator media that turned a blind eye to real violence and scapegoated the quarter of a million music fans at Woodstock ’99, the vast majority of whom had the time of their lives.”

Even the well-stated point of Morello wouldn’t change history’s perception. To this day, Woodstock ’99 lives on as the festival that led to fires, violence and rape. While Morello’s argument was forgotten for the time, today we see the reaction unfolding: The Occupy Movement.

The Occupy Movement, which began on Wall Street, is a movement against the corporations that have become integral to a government that the members see as ineffectual (to put it kindly).

A better way to phrase it all is here.

Now, if you are an open-minded individual, you may have heard at least a couple things there that made you say “Hm. A valid point.”

But if you’re not, then you may be part of the problem. (And I’m surprised you’re reading this.)

Much like the people in 1969 who looked at the “drugged out hippies” and scoffed, the masses (especially mass media) look down on the demonstrators as the same hippies.

(One of my favorite adjectives used to degrade Occupiers is “jobless.” Yes. The young men and women against corporate greed and their hypocritical government should be deemed as less valuable for not protesting before their part-time barista shift starts. It’s like saying you’d take protestors in ’69 seriously if they took part in more knife fights in between bands.)

And so we find ourselves back in the Vietnam War. Be it the War On Drugs, War On Terror or any other war on an ideal that cannot be killed, the majority is now against such failing endeavors as if it’s 1969 again. But where’s our Bob Dylan? Our Janis Joplin or Joe McDonald?

 

 

Frank Miller

 A lot of people would look to someone like graphic novelist Frank Miller to be the voice of such a movement; for years he’s been a controversial artist who’s made art that is seen to be connected with subversive society. But with most people that are successful in a largely commercial industry, Miller is not what he seems.

Miller released a post on his personal blog November 7 of last year that scathed the protestors.

Now, while a large portion of his fans catch their dropping jaws (I’d guess about 99% of them), I want to point out that Miller is seen as a figure of pop culture that in a way has represented a part of subculture. Now, he has done nothing more than make another pointless and vitriolic post cementing his place as an old miser and nothing less than alienated his fans.

So where can people turn to for a popular voice? The idea of someone supporting the movement is a thing of the past. In an age of digital media, the protest songs are lost in the static. In an age of everyone having access to media production, the ideas of a generation cannot be articulated well enough to be taken seriously.

Maybe a new age is dawning, another shot at peace and prosperity. Maybe the Occupy movement that has used social media and technology to bring people together can bring them all together for three days of peace and music. There’s no need for corporate sponsors; and it’s the way the point was made 33 years ago.

People all over the United States have joined on-board with the Occupy movement, and it’s time for them to take a stand against people like Miller, the media that demonizes and deludes them and their government that refuses to acknowledge them.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. May 13, 2012 11:24 pm

    something to think about: Michel Montecrossa’s ‘Michael Moore Is A Rich Man – Laugh Out Loud, a New Topical Song about the music industry’s buy-out of the Occupy Movement

    Michel Montecrossa about the song:
    “‘Michael Moore Is A Rich Man – Laugh Out Loud’ is a New-Topical-Song about a man of the 1% who pretends to be a man of the 99%. It’s an ironic song for occupy’s day without the 99%’. It’s about the music and movie industry of the 1% making a buy-out of the Occupy Movement, inviting the 99% to gladly become like the 1% through things like ‘Occupy This Album’ and stuff.”

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