"We Are The Many" by Hawaiian artist Makana is not only written specifically as a song for the Occupy movement, it has the distinction of being a surprise act for the World Leaders Dinner at APEC when Makana pulled open his jacket and shirt to reveal an undershirt with “Occupy with Aloha” handwritten on it.“I found it odd,” he says, “that I was afraid to [sing “We Are the Many”] at first. I found it disturbing. I didn’t like the idea of being afraid of singing a song that I had created in front of any group of people.”
I knew the power in the words that I had written. And, in a world that was free of punishment for being yourself… I would have sung it at the top of my lungs. But I also didn’t want to do it out of disrespect. I did it because there was really no other option at that point. I had to do it. I had to forget about what could happen to me. I was guided by something bigger… I don’t know what it is… I can’t put a name to it… The whole thing was providence.
Makana seems to have gotten the job done, spelling out protesters’ frustrations with corporations, market capitalists, lobbyists, political leaders, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the bank bailout, while naming the refusal of party politics and the embrace of social media that makes “occupation” a much bigger ideological and practical strategy than trampling tents at Zuccotti Park or in downtown Oakland even begins to understand. And then, so not for nothing, he manages to sum it up with a catchy refrain (played, he says, some fifty times at the APEC dinner):
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
Since Makana's performance during APEC, he has become a giant among ki artists, and a growing luminary on the world music scene, earning Grammy nominations, and opportunities to play with rock legends like Santana and Sting.