dt.common.streams.StreamServer.cls.jpg 14.31K 2 downloads
Take a look at how those who have had the most experience in political protest, have joined Occupy Wall Street.
The legend continues, and the tradition is passed down:
"Are you Tao Seeger?" the officer asked tersely. "Was this your idea? Did you think of this?"
Rodriguez-Seeger, a New Orleans-based musician, was certain arrest was imminent. The officer reached for his hand and he readied for the cuffs. Then something unexpected happened.
"He shook my hand and said, `Thank you, thank you. This is beautiful,'" Rodriguez-Seeger said. "That really did it for me. The cops recognized what we were about."
[Pete] Seeger's voice first rose in the 1930s against Hitler. He met Woody Guthrie, Alan Lomax and Lead Belly, and began to advocate for migrant workers and miners in the 1940s. He stared down Sen. Joseph McCarthy and endured a blacklisting he simply shrugged away. In middle age, he was a key figure in the folk revival that produced Dylan and, later, the protests that helped shape modern America.
Seeger still takes delight in lending his presence to important things, even if his voice doesn't carry like it used to. He found himself attracted to the studied inorganization of the Wall Street protesters.
"Be wary of great leaders," he said Sunday in a phone interview full of songs and stories when asked what he identifies with in the Occupy Wall Street message. "Hope that there are many, many small leaders."
Rodriguez-Seeger said he was attracted to the nascent Occupy Wall Street movement when he joined a support march two weeks ago in Las Vegas. He was drawn to the anti-establishment message but noticed immediately that something was missing.
"I saw a lot of people getting angry at us for marching, getting out of their SUVs and giving us the finger and screaming obscenities" and using anti-gay slurs, Rodriguez-Seeger said. "I thought, if we were singing right now my gut tells me they'd be less inclined to behave like that because it's very difficult when you're hearing music to get that angry."
[Guy] Davis, a 59-year-old Bronx bluesman who has been friends with the Seegers for 50 years, saw more than a little something of the grandfather in the grandson when he looked over at the pair Friday night. Rodriguez-Seeger helped organize the march, which came together in 30 hours and was driven for the most part by social-media sites like Twitter, Facebook and now YouTube, where dozens of videos mark the night.
And of course as Pete has always worked to bring attention to the plight of others, and to give a voice to the voiceless, he prefers to direct the spotlight back to the people and the movement itself:
"Of course it's a great honor, but I'd just as soon be anonymous," he said. He would like to go down to Zuccotti Park, the heart of the movement, but he hopes he can just do it on the sly without the star power. Maybe next week on Halloween. "I won't be recognized," he muses. "Everybody will be in costume."
Seeger joined in the Occupy Wall Street protest Friday night, replacing his banjo with two canes as he marched with throngs of people in New York City's tony Upper West Side past banks and shiny department stores.
The 92-year-old Seeger, accompanied by musician-grandson Tao Rodriguez Seeger, composer David Amram, and bluesman Guy Davis, shouted out the verses of protest anthems as the crowd of about 1,000 people sang and chanted.
They marched peacefully over more than 30 blocks from Symphony Space, where the Seegers and other musicians performed, to Columbus Circle. Police watched from the sidelines.
At Columbus Circle, Seeger and friends walked to the chant of "We are the 99 percent" and "We are unstoppable; another world is possible." Seeger stopped to bang a metal statue of an elephant with his cane – to cheers from the crowd.
At the center of the plaza, Seeger and Amram were joined by Guthrie in a round of "We Shall Overcome," a protest anthem made popular by Seeger.
After more singing, Seeger asked for a mic check to tell the crowd: "The words are simple: I could be happy spending my days on the river that flows both way-ay-ays."
During the march, the younger Seeger, in troubadour fashion like his grandfather, walked among the protesters playing songs. Amra took up a flute and others enlivened the night protest with the sounds of the accordion, banjos, and guitars.
At the front of the throng, marchers held American flags and a large blue flag that said: "Revolution Generation ... Debt is Slavery." Along the way, the crowd sang protest songs made popular or written by Seeger, Woody Guthrie, and others of the protest era.
And look for Pete waving his cane at the 50-second mark:
Edited by Sci-Fi Girl, 06 November 2011 - 12:02 AM.