Various Artists – Occupy This Album

Aside from nonsensical slogans and pleas still tacked onto telephone poles in imbecile-friendly neighborhoods, occasional flashmob flare-ups in long-lost urban turdpiles like Oakland (Berkeley) and the usual ongoing internet propaganda, the Occupy craze has by-and-large fizzled out, its slovenly park-squatting participants having packed up the ratty tents and retreated back to the flophouses or parents basements or Warped Tours whence they oozed, at least until the next opportunity for collective failure arises.

So the May 15th release of Occupy This Album came well past the peak of the protest it was intended to support as well as capitalize on, so you probably didn’t even realize it was out. And you would be better off, unless you’ve always wanted to hear Michael Moore sing “The Times They Are A-Changin’” while somebody puffs into a penny whistle. Seriously, that’s the first song on disc two. And for entertainment value, it’s definitely the funniest thing this package has going for it – that and the fact that a purported anti-capitalist movement is attempting to raise money and awareness by selling a commercial product. This four-CD endurance test is promoted as “a benefit album for the Occupy Wall Street movement,” but what does that mean anymore, and to whom is the money going?

There’s no indication that it goes anywhere other than Music for Occupy, the New York-based “company” (my designation, not theirs) that released Occupy This Album. On their website, they make it easy to donate, accepting checks, money orders and all major credit cards. This money “will be used to sustain our organization in furthering the culture of our movement through facilitation of arts and music projects, and events.” Propaganda, essentially. You’ll be happy to know that all donations are fully tax deductible, because Music for Occupy is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization, “with fiscal sponsorship from The Alliance for Global Justice in Washington, DC,” a collectivist, anti-capitalist group that supports armed revolution and believes housing, food, health care, education and employment are all “rights.” Do you not understand that any supposed “right” that demands someone else’s labor or sacrifice is tantamount to slavery? Do you not care? Like Music for Occupy, the AFGJ is a tax-exempt, non-profit operation. For all the outrage these people always direct against corporate welfare, you’d think that, were they intellectually honest, they’d also advocate eliminating their own tax-evading legal loopholes.

The common sense answer is, it’s time to eliminate all tax-exempt laws, be they for church, radical activist group or whatever else. Get rid of corporate tax loopholes and government subsidies for favored companies, while at the same time lowering the United States’ corporate tax rate, among the world’s highest. Simplify the federal tax code and flatten the rate across the board, so everyone with an income pays an equal percentage. When nearly half the population of a country does not pay federal income tax but overwhelmingly votes for politicians that seek to raise taxes on and redistribute more earnings from those that do, it’s an untenable, dependent system that no nation can sustain.

Not that any of that means a damned thing to any of the Marxists, anarchists and plain ol’ simpleton suckers who’ve rallied around the Occupy banner, who only portray us as 99% vs. 1%, who aren’t satisfied that the wealthiest 1% of income earners pay roughly 17% of federal income tax, or that the top 10% pay 43%. Basically, when it comes down to it, they only want their free shit (including music, it should be noted), and they don’t care who pays for it or how. It’s sort of the bizarre by-product of a country whose growth and wealth during the last half-century have been unprecedented (resulting in lots of spoiled kids) but whose culture leans largely liberal (resulting in a mindset that resents traditional values, wealth and free-market capitalism). So who’s going to buy this stupid fucking CD? Shouldn’t it be free, too?

Frankly, you oughta get a tax-exempt donation from Music for Occupy to suffer these fools. A horrid if mostly predictable mishmash of forgotten ‘90s alt-rock has-beens (Third Eye Blind, Girls Against Boys, Our Lady Peace??), razor-shunning Lilith Fair leftovers (Jill Sobule, Ani DiFranco, Joan Baez, what no Indigo Girls??), tired old ‘60s and ‘70s hippies who can always be counted on to wave the lefty protest flag (David Crosby, Graham Nash, Jackson Browne, what is this, No Nukes?) and naturally Tom Morello, but primarily a bunch of idiots no one’s ever heard of, I can’t imagine anyone listening to any one of these discs without skipping over the vast majority of the tracks, let alone all four. The absolute worst are the original Occupy-themed songs written especially for this project, most of which are trite, superficial “we can make the world a better place” campus/campfire rallying cries of the worst kind. You want to make the world a better place? Stop trying to get even with people who’ve been successful, made profits and provided plenty of jobs, goods and services in the process. Get off your whiny ass, quit being a parasite and earn an honest living.

As that old hippie Jackson Browne once put it in an unrelated song that seems somehow more relevant right now than anything on Occupy This Album, “Nobody knows you. Nobody owes you nothin’.”

Various Artists
Occupy This Album
[Razor & Tie/Music For Occupy]