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We Are The Many

By , November 14, 2011

Performing at what was probably the most secure place on the planet – an APEC dinner attended by President Obama and about 20 world leaders – Hawaiian musician Makana opened his suit jacket to reveal an “Occupy with Aloha” T-shirt and then spent 45 minutes repeatedly singing his terrific, newly released protest song, “We Are the Many.” Makana’s action was assisted by the Yes Lab and Occupy the Boardroom.

via The Bidding of the Many, Not the Few: APEC Gets Occupied and Serenaded | Common Dreams.


Taken on 11.12.11 in Honolulu on the grounds of the Hale Koa

My guitar tech shot this with a camera phone during my performance for the World Leaders Dinner at APEC, which was hosted by the First Family.

He had to be extremely discreet as Secret Service had warned those on site that any phones used to capture photography or video would be confiscated. Since he has a guitar tuner app on the phone we were able to justify having it out, but grabbing video was not easy. We were under constant surveillance. Personally I like to have video of every performance. It’s my art and my right.

About an hour into my set of generally ambient guitar music and Hawaiian tunes, I felt inspired to share some songs that resonated with the significance of the occasion.

I sang a few verses from “Kaulana Na Pua” (a famous Hawaiian protest song in honor of the anniversary of our Queen’s passing), then segued into Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower”, Sting’s “Fragile”, and finally my newest song “We Are The Many”.

My goal was not to disturb the guests in an offensive fashion but rather to subliminally fill their ears and the entire dinner atmosphere with a message that might be more effectively received in a subconscious manner. I sweetly sang lines like “You enforce your monopolies with guns/ While sacrificing our daughters and sons/ But certain things belong to everyone/ Your thievery has left the people none”. The event protocol was such that everyone there kept their expressions quite muffled. Now and then I would get strange, befuddled stares from heads of state. It was a very quiet room with no waiters; only myself, the sound techs, and the leaders of almost half the world’s population.

If I had chosen to disrupt the dinner and force my message I would have been stopped short. I instead chose to deliver an extremely potent message in a polite manner for a prolonged interval.

I dedicate this action to those who would speak truth to power but were not allowed the opportunity.

Me ka ha’aha’a,

We Are The Many

Ye come here, gather ’round the stage
The time has come for us to voice our rage
Against the ones who’ve trapped us in a cage
To steal from us the value of our wageFrom underneath the vestiture of law
The lobbyists at Washington do gnaw
At liberty, the bureaucrats guffaw
And until they are purged, we won’t withdraw

We’ll occupy the streets
We’ll occupy the courts
We’ll occupy the offices of you
Till you do
The bidding of the many, not the few

Our nation was built upon the right
Of every person to improve their plight
But laws of this Republic they rewrite
And now a few own everything in sight

They own it free of liability
They own, but they are not like you and me
Their influence dictates legality
And until they are stopped we are not free

We’ll occupy the streets
We’ll occupy the courts
We’ll occupy the offices of you
Till you do
The bidding of the many, not the few

You enforce your monopolies with guns
While sacrificing our daughters and sons
But certain things belong to everyone
Your thievery has left the people none

So take heed of our notice to redress
We have little to lose, we must confess
Your empty words do leave us unimpressed
A growing number join us in protest

We occupy the streets
We occupy the courts
We occupy the offices of you
Till you do
The bidding of the many, not the few

You can’t divide us into sides
And from our gaze, you cannot hide
Denial serves to amplify
And our allegiance you can’t buy

Our government is not for sale
The banks do not deserve a bail
We will not reward those who fail
We will not move till we prevail

We’ll occupy the streets
We’ll occupy the courts
We’ll occupy the offices of you
Till you do
The bidding of the many, not the few

We’ll occupy the streets
We’ll occupy the courts
We’ll occupy the offices of you
Till you do
The bidding of the many, not the few

We are the many
You are the few

Credits:
Directed & Edited by Kamuela Vance
Filmed by Tom Hackett & Kamuela Vance
Creative Consultant: Evan Tector
Thanks to ‘Olelo Community Television
All images Fair Use.
Our heartfelt gratitude to the Artists and Photographers.

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