What started with 1,000 demonstrators and 100 to 200 largely dismissed occupiers has grown into a movement encompassing thousands, camped out all across the country, as well as abroad. The local group, Occupy Charlotte, has been occupying old City Hall, at 600 E Trade Street, for just over a week.
One often overlooked but telling indicator of a social movement's reach and influence, and thereby its potential staying power and effectiveness, is whether or not it manages to produce any worthwhile protest songs.
If you don't have good music, I don't want to be in your revolution - to borrow an already paraphrased phrase from activist Emma Goldman.
Charlotte hip hop group Eyes of the Elders has stepped up to the challenge, releasing a single titled "Occupy," lending their voices to the movement.
"We purposely used a lot of stock footage, and stuff like that, because we weren't really trying to make the song about us," says emcee Ricky Radar. "We didn't want to have us in the video rapping all the lyrics and stuff like that. We really wanted to use the whole Anonymous theme that we touched on, and make it more about the movement than us, really."
It's a movement that he's been paying close attention to since the beginning.
He reports reading a lot of articles and watching a lot of videos to try to better understand what's happening with this still developing uprising.
It's also a movement that he happens to feel is long overdue.
"It's the first time for people of our generation - that I've seen - to really start to come together and speak out. I think Americans have just been putting up with a lot of bullshit for a long time, but there's never really been a concrete movement that is consistently getting people out everywhere, in cities in the United States and the world, even, to protest.
"I've been hearing a lot of critique here and there about how, you know, this movement has no focus, and blah, blah, blah, but it's all propaganda and it's all bullshit. People are trying to discredit a movement that is in its infancy. It's just starting like right now, and I just see it getting bigger and bigger. Right now, people in the occupy movement don't have to make demands. They're not trying to make demands, they're just trying to say that 'we're here, and there's a lot of us, and things have been going wrong for a long time,' and people are getting fucked, man. And they're starting to see every day, in their daily life, that the price of commodities and the basics that we need for survival continue to go up, and it's getting to a point where it's going to be a tipping point. I'm just excited to see so many people come together and voice their opinion on the subject."
While he hasn't gotten a chance to go to one of the Occupy Charlotte general assemblies, he did get the chance to go down and hang out with some of the occupiers, as well as donate some tarps, food and water.
He says the band as a whole is interested in what is going on with the Occupy movement in general, and the Occupy Charlotte group in particular, and that they are looking for ways to help out in the future if something presents itself.
As for now, the band is busy working on new material. They have also just signed with a new booking agency and plan to get back to their usual busy touring schedule. For now, their next local show is on Dec. 2, at the Neighborhood Theater.
Check out the "Occupy" video below. The single will be available for download through iTunes sometime later this week.
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