Inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement, Arlan Feiles wrote "However I Choose," a rallying cry that acts as a backdrop to scenes from the ongoing protests. Here, he talks about why artists are an important part of the occupation.
I got involved with the Occupy Wall Street movement like everyone else: I jumped right in. A handful of brave individuals did what I (and a lot of people) have been talking about doing for a long time. I followed their lead.
I've been trying to do my share from home because I haven't been present for the protests. I’ve been anxiously awaiting the birth of my daughter and didn't think it prudent to risk incarceration at this time. I hope the protests continue so that I can join them. But I started my own Facebook page, "Occupy yer voice," where artists can share their music, photos and poetry inspired by the movement. It’s not just boots on the ground. It’s about people from around the world putting out the message that we aren't going to take it anymore.
My media choice for following the protest is Facebook. Turns out it’s an excellent source for direct info on the protests worldwide. The media is certainly doing a lousy—and in some cases deceitful—job covering the events. The best thing I’ve seen is the protest itself. Liberty in action. Of course this leads to the worse thing I've seen: The forceful arrests of people in peaceful and nonviolent gatherings.
I borrowed the photos for the video from folks posting online—and everybody’s favorite media sources. Yes, I pirated them. These images belong to the world now. These are the images we will be looking at for decades.
I downloaded all the photos and put them together with the song I recorded. A five year old could do it really. The song has been extremely well received. The video has been shared so many times that YouTube contacted me to let me know that it was eligible for profit sharing and that they wanted to put corporate ads a long side of the video. The fucking irony.
I’ve received letters of support from around the world. People write to say they think we are brave Americans. I don't feel so brave.
I do write politically charged songs quite often. I think it’s our duty as citizens of this country to participate in the dialogue. As an artist, it’s the best way I know how to join the conversation.