What We Saw at Occupy Wall Street's May Day Protest in NYC (feat. Rage Against The Machine's Tom Morello)


Occupy Wall Street held a "General Strike" to commemorate May Day in New York City.

Led by Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello, the "Guitarmy" of a few thousand people noisily marched 28 blocks down Fifth Avenue toward Union Square Park. was on the scene to speak with Morello, USMC Sgt. Shamar Thomas (who became a viral video sensation after screaming at NYPD officers during an #OWS protest last year), rival zombie marchers, and a few self-described lefties who've just had it with President Obama.

Runs about 5 minutes.

Produced by Anthony L. Fisher, with camera by Nathan Chaffetz, Sean McElwee, and Fisher.

Go to for downloadable versions and subscribe to's YouTube channel to receive automatic notifications when new material goes live.

Reason's Ed Krayewski filed this report from the scene yesterday. A snippet:

Though this President shares many of the same policies as his predecessor, opposition by the traditional anti-war, anti-corporatist voices that were so frequent and loud during the Bush era have been muted for this President. One woman adamantly explained to us that President Obama is not much better than President Bush, and that she would not be voting for Barack Obama again. Instead, she explained, she'd be voting against Mitt Romney (and for President Obama).

Reason on the Occupy movement.

NEXT: Jacob Sullum on a Woman Who Faces a 20-Year Sentence for Standing Her Ground Against an Abusive Husband

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Tom Morello, the Marxist Nugent.

  2. Besides performance art, what should people be doing?


    1. I caught a bit on *gag* CNN at lunch yesterday and they didn’t even have to try to find insufferable fools. The camera was like a flame to marxist moths.

      1. after watching this my cat decided to ‘Occupy The Clean Laundry Pile’…
        i can’t get away from this shit…

  3. One woman adamantly explained to us that President Obama is not much better than President Bush, and that she would not be voting for Barack Obama again. Instead, she explained, she’d be voting against Mitt Romney (and for President Obama).

    Every time I read this quote I can feel my IQ dropping 10 points. I can only imagine the towering intellect of the person who actually said it.

    1. If normal librarians speak truth to power like the one in the video, what do Hell’s Librarians say to power? Fuck off and die?

      1. Truth to power, eh? Hmmm. I haven’t ever really had that opportunity. But I generally start off in mild-mannered mode in these sorts of discussions. There is always time to rain down fire and brimstone, no point in leading with the big guns. It is always good to keep something in reserve. Finish off with “Fuck you, Slaver!” is always a classic, however.

    2. Yes, these are the people who vote. We’re doomed.

      1. do they, though? Voting would be too much like work, wouldn’t it?

        1. Voting isn’t work, it’s masturbation.

          1. Never again will I be able to drag the kiddies alone to see dad do his civic duty

    3. Its the woman 3 minutes in in this vdieo

      1. It’s really hard for me to watch these things without feeling embarrassed for these people.

        1. Embarrassed?!? I hate them with the eat of a Nova. Watching this shit makes me wonder if the eugenics pricks were not right after all. Someone needs to go down there set up a sterilization shop and put up a sign “Stop Help Stem the Population Explosion!!”

    4. Instead, she explained, she’d be voting against Mitt Romney (and for President Obama).

      This stuff should not be surprising. One merely remembers that it is all about *intent*, not *results*.

    5. I guess she’s going to vote for a third party then?

    6. Lewis Black’s overheard line that he says cost him 10 IQ points:

      “If it wasn’t for my horse, I wouldn’t have spent that year in college.”

    7. Unfortunately this attitude seems to be the norm for a lot of Team Red leaning posters around here as well…

      “Romney is bad, so I won’t be voting for him just casting my vote for him because I have to oppose Obama.”

      Perhaps one day people with these attitudes will actually cast a vote for a person they agree with whether or not they would win.

      1. Voting for Johnson or Paul is not going to change anything. TEAM RED and BLUE each have a lock on ~30% of the population. The middle 40% is far two fractured, and probably always will be. Would be great to see a President Johnson or Paul, but it ain’t going to happen.

        Yes. I am aware that I just cut my own throat here.

        *up end can of gas over self, light cigarette for one last pull … FWOOOSH!!*

  4. Led by Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello

    The original one trick free pony.

    1. Speaking of ponies, you still owe me one. Not this one, though

      1. If you were American, you could vote for him. the only politician who’s honest about his ponies for all policy.

        1. WTF?!

    2. ‘He has also found working writing a comic book’
      look, he just wants to BE in a comic book…

    3. Rage Against the Machine vs. The Machine…..redirect=1

  5. Tell me something,

    When you were interviewing the non-celebrities on the street, did Morello get pissy that you weren’t paying him any attention?

  6. In order to go on strike, don’t you need to have a job?

    1. not only did you steal my joke, but you didn’t even do it right:

      Occupy Wall Street held a “General Strike”

      Don’t you have to hold a job first?

      1. That explains the free bandwidth on the Play Station Network.

        1. ZING!

        2. Meh, the Xbox kids have their parents to pay for theirs.

    2. I always imagined a General Strike would be like a Teachers Strike or an Auto Workers Strike…and it would be the Generals on Strike. This would make all the Colonels happy, give them some hope for advancement, but I wonder how the Admirals would feel?

      1. Nobody notices you are on strike when you are floating around the Pacific.

      2. They likely all belong to the Amalgamated Union of Brass Hats.

  7. Morello’s broke, right? After having distributed all his earnings from music to the poor and downtrodden, right?

    This website calculates his personal wealth at $60M. Barely scraping by, Tom.

    1. Morello is the 1%. I wonder if the idiots following him realize it?

      1. Wonder if he realizes it.

      2. The man is just douche-chilling.

      3. Morello is biracial, so it’s all good.

      4. $60M?
        and these ‘Occupiers’ hold him up as their spokesperson?
        well, the emperor hasn’t stitch and they haven’t clue…

      5. Morello is the 1%. I wonder if the idiots following him realize it?

        Of course they do. Occupiers love a 1%er that marches with them. They believe it gives their message weight. See? Even the 1% agree with us. “We are the 100%”

    2. Like a primitivist using a computer to spread his message, the rich use their station to spread theirs. You don’t have to BE poor to be FOR the poor.

      1. Rationalization don’t cost a thing.

      2. You’re telling me that you think that someone can have millions, not give it all away to a charity or something and then bash those who have millions and not give it all away to charity?

        1. I CAN tell you that if this isn’t sarcasm then your sarcasm detector is broken. If this IS sarcasm then mine probably is.

    3. Almost 20 years since Rage hit the big time, and I’ve still never seen anyone ask them why they cut records for an eeeeeevil big corparation that makes huge profits on their music. Or why they charge admission at their shows. Or why they don’t give 75% of their own earnings away to charity.

      Come to think of it, I’ve never seen anyone ask those questions of any Hollywood leftists, either.

      1. Brian Doherty asked!…..singlepage

        1. Was just about to pull that out of my bookmarks, where it’s been since I first read it about 9 years ago.

      2. Fugazi they ain’t.

      3. From the perspective of Gang of Four, one of the obvious hypocrites in this regard, it was supposedly a torturous contradiction they were well aware of. Their argument was that they have to live in a capitalist society and feed themselves in some way too, since nothing is guaranteed. Also, one might have to sell out to reach a large enough audience with your message, which is what is important to them.

        1. Groups like Rage, Gang of Four and The Clash rationalize their hypocrisy the same way they rationalize their belief that world peace and equality will be brought about by a slavish devotion to a totalitarian-collectivist dogma which killed up to 100 million people in the past century and spread poverty and oppression literally everywhere it was implemented.

          Namely, they just don’t think about it.

      4. Almost 20 years since Rage hit the big time, and I’ve still never seen anyone ask them why they cut records for an eeeeeevil big corparation that makes huge profits on their music

        It’s been asked many times. I read an interview where they were asked about the Irony of being with Sony, and either Zach or Tom responded that it was no more ironic than buying a Chomsky book at a Barnes and Noble.

  8. “….’cause people don’t think for themselves….”

    …said the gurl doing the zombie routine.

    1. These people not thinking for themselves might be the best thing. It’s like being thankful when Congress is gridlocked.

      1. I am certain that if they tried to think for themselves, gridlock would ensue there as well.

        1. Nahhh,,,that’s too much to hope for. The thought of all the morons just stopped dead in their tracks, mouths agape, doing nothing, because of internal gridlock. A sweet thought but never to happen.

          1. Hippy-cognitive dissonance is sometimes funny to watch. More often than not, however, what happens is they get the mad-indignant-self-righteous thing where they start yelling, “Oh YEAH?? Well, you tell that shit to Malcolm X, and the fucking indians, and all the people your ideas have killed for the last 1000 years…”

            … and you are just like, “Uhm. Dude, I was talking about charter schools.”

  9. This video is private? Not that I really need to torture myself with it, anyway.

    1. Hmmm, not it works.

    1. “Defend China, Vietnam, North Korea, Cuba against Imperialism and Capitalist Counterrevolution”

      What is Venezuela? Chopped liver?

      1. Defending China against capitalism is going to be tough, these days.

        1. And those North Koreans have life soooooo good.

          Fucking anti-capitalists. How do they work?

          1. Mr. FIFY|5.2.12 @ 11:01AM|#
            Fucking anti-capitalists. How do they work?

            Uh. That’s the whole point = they don’t.

  10. OK wow so who comes up with all this stuff? Really?

  11. That was a pretty interesting comment by Morello. First, I’m going to give him credit for this:

    “That’s a good [question], I think that there was a lot of – “

    Here, he clearly realizes that he has begun by projecting the view he is about to articulate onto an amorphous and unnamed group. To his credit, he reverses, and personalizes the following statement — that is a very honest thing to do. What he goes on to say, however:

    “I certainly will admit to being swept up in some of the euphoria, like it was the president looked different than any other president before, talked different than any other president before, and ended up acting very much like than any centrist democratic president, and so there’s a tremendous amount of disappointment with regards to that.”

    Seriously, Tom, WTF? Content of their character, etc, etc. So take this opportunity to get a clue: your confusion arises from the fact that you are discriminating on the wrong basis; politicians, by definition, publicly pronounce their desire for membership in a class which exists for the purpose of wielding absolute power over their fellow men. It should not surprise you to find that such people predominantly exhibit common traits deriving from this common nature, rather than from those views ostensibly prescribed by the particular political flavor they claim to represent.

    1. I was a huge Rage fan, until I found out they’re a bunch of goddamned socialists… after that, I refused to listen to anything they’ve ever done, and sold/traded away every CD of theirs I owned.

      1. I don’t know anything about that band, but surely their name indicates what they are ? When people say they are against the system/machine/the man it almost always means capitalism.

        1. It didn’t dawn on me right away. I was kinda partying a fuck of a lot in those days.

      2. Oh, I love me some Rage, so let me try to help you: the true beauty of art is that while the artist may intend to say one thing, the receiver is likely to project his or her own meaning onto the final product. That’s the risk that’s involved, even to the point that some pieces take on lives of their own, entirely counter to the artist’s own wishes, even to a degree that in some cases the artist ends up finding it more palatable to eventually disown the piece entirely. A particular case in point, as it just happened to be on my mind yesterday, might be Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange.

        So for me, Rage says what I want it to say…they provide the drive and the form, but I provide the message. If it’s useful to you, you might even regard the artist as having suffered from false consciousness, and hold them out them out as an object of hope, in terms of the possibility of their eventually achieving intellectual self redemption. Because technically, that could possibly end up being the case.

        1. Sorry, but I refused to support them after it [finally] dawned on me that they’re just a bunch of worthless goddamned socialists.

          I also refused to buy any retail-priced Zappa material after his family decided to support Al Gore during his bid to be emperor of America.

          1. Well, you surely have to do what you have to do. Personally I find it more subversive to re-purpose their work and use it to achieve goals counter to their likely intentions.

            1. You mean like this?


              Tom’s righteous rebel music was used to torture detainees at Camp X-Ray. Oh, the irony.

              1. That is the funniest god dammed thing I have read all week. Defiling lefty music for commercial jingles, musak, or gas station bargain bin mixed cds is bad enough. Using it to torture the machines enemies’ probably brought on anaphylactic shock. On the bright side though, I suppose Rage’s message is still sort of reached its chosen demographic.

          2. Frank must have been spinning in his grave, considering what he thought about Al Gore from the PMRC days in the ’80s.

            Frank distrusted all politicians and other people in positions of power, which is far more rational than his wife’s love of the Democrats.

            1. I can’t work that way, 0x. It just repulses me.

              Chris, yeah, that’s the reaction I got. I sent an e-mail to the surviving Zappas to that effect, and informed them I would only buy Frank’s work from used CD stores or trading with friends.

      3. Rage’s crappy screamo vocals were like nails on a chalkboard to me, so I never even got to the dumbshit socialist part.

        1. A few songs I like for the massive riff work, but I can’t get over those shitty vocals either. I really discovered how good Morello is when he paired up with someone who can really sing later on.

          1. It’s best to just listen to Morello’s guitar work and ignore anything that comes out of his mouth.

            I suggest you check out his solo on Audioslaves “Like a Stone”. Unreal.

      4. Mr. FIFY|5.2.12 @ 10:34AM|#
        I was a huge Rage fan, until…

        I hated them before it was cool. Rap-Rock=Gilmore Anathama. I didn’t know they were socialists and didn’t care. I thought they were typical L.A. poseur-pussies. If I had to listen to shit like that, I’d take Soundgarden in a heartbeat. The fact Rage were also pretentious political leftards was just a cherry on top that made me say, “yeah, well, that makes sense”

        I actually like Morellos chops, but the rest of the band adds absolutely nothing to what he does.

        1. Not to mention the fact that they’re responsible for Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, ad nauseum. To paraphrase Wilde, they’re not only dogshit themselves, but the cause of dogshittiness in others.

      5. Hating music someone creates because of their politics is about the dumbest thing I ever heard. That’s like listening to Nugent JUST because he loves machine guns and so do you – even though you hate his music. If you like music, than find out the person making it stands for something you don’t like, and then you hate their work from then on because of their icky views, you are, frankly, a piece of shit. If people only subscribed to art, technology, services (or anything for that matter) created SOLELY by those who have their political views, the world would grind to a halt. I really hope your favorite band turns out to be a bunch of socialists and you, because of your stupid ideals, only listen to shitty music because “they have solid, moral, capitalistic world views.”

        1. Uh, yeah that doesn’t really apply when said politics permeate and drive literally everything about the artist’s music.

          One may as well try to ignore the Nazism in “Triumph of the Will” .

  12. Where in the hell was Warren?

  13. Rage Against Parental Supervision.

    1. Some of those at-work forces
      are the same as vote Democrat

  14. I liked Rage when I thought they were about being against the government. Then I realized that they were actually socialist and that Tom held all white people accountable for his shitty childhood and how he was treated. I laughed out loud in the student lounge when MTV announced the band had broken up.

    1. They’re essentially Public Enemy with all obliviousness to their contradictions, but without a clock-wearing crackhead for comic relief.

  15. …..the sidewalk artist in the video misspelled ‘potential’…..just sayin’……………..

    1. ………@ 2:57 btw

  16. Wherever there’s a sollipsistic campus revolutionary who needs to pretend their fetish for totalitarian-collectivism is a form of anti-establishment rebellion, Tom Morello will be there.

    Wherever a mass-murdering dictator needs to stroke his ego by holding an “anti-imperialism” rock concert whereby participation is mandatory, Tom Morello will be there.

    Wherever there’s a multi-multi-millionaire celebrity preaching against the evils of capitalism and the notion of others becoming as monetarily succesful as they are, Tom Morello will be there.

    Wherever there’s an overpowerful government or union insisting that it’s self-serving corruption is for the “people”/”workers”, Tom Morello will be there.

    Wherever there’s a linguistics professor-turned-propagandist who wants to “fix” history in order to omit the countless atrocities and killings committed in the name of Communism, Tom Morello will be there.

    Wherever there’s some hippy dipshit seeking to justify an authoritarian need to control the thoughts and actions of others by feigning concern for the poor or the environment, Tom Morello will be there.…..orello.jpg
    (link’s wonky, to view, replace “percent” with the proper character)

    Keep on raging for the Marxist Machine, Tom.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.