“We Are the Many,” by Makana (w/ lyrics and chords)

(Return to the Contents Topics page.)

Matthew Swalinkavich is a well-known Hawaiian slack guitar specialist who calls himself Makana (the Hawaiian word for “the gift”).  Recently he gave us all a gift with a new Song called “We Are the Many.”  Reminiscent of Bob Dylan’s folk anthems from a half century ago (especially “The Times They Are a’Changin”), this one focuses on the Occupy movement and, getting right to point, asserts that the many will not be denied.  Here is his well-produced video, posted November 11, 2011:  Makana – We Are the Many.

Makana had an unusually spectacular opportunity to introduce such a song to the world.  Saturday night (11/12/11) he performed his song for President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and the leaders of 18 other nations.  At first he played traditional Hawaiian-style music as the leaders arrived at Honolulu’s Hale Koa Hotel: “He continued his performance during dinner, positioned next to the four tables where leaders and their spouses dined.  Eventually he unbuttoned his shirt to reveal a t-shirt that said, in handwritten letters, ‘Occupy with Aloha,'” [1] and began playing his new song:

Video recorded on a cell phone by Makana’s sound technician showed some leaders turning their attention toward him as he sang the song, but most appeared not to notice.  “I started out very cautiously because my intention was not to disrupt their dinner. My intention was to subliminally convey a message that I felt was paramount to the negotiations,” Makana told CNN.  “Eventually I got enough courage to go into it for an extended period of time. And I ended my show with the line ‘the bidding of the many not the few.’  I sang it about fifty times in different ways for them to hear.”

Makana said President Obama’s table, located on the far side of the tent from where he performed, appeared engaged in conversation throughout the meal and it was unclear if the president heard the protest song.  Aides were not present at the dinner, Makana said, and the wait staff only made brief appearances to deliver courses. [2]

This is a good song, lyrically.  Many singer-songwriters are responding to the challenge of the Occupy Movement with some fine songs.  I expect Makana’s song to be among the main candidates for the Occupy Movement’s anthem.  Requests are already going out for the guitar chords and lyrics to this song.  Here are the chords and lyrics I copied for myself.  I have determined chords based both on viewing the video and listening to the guitar.  His guitar is in standard tuning, and my chords are, I believe, mostly accurate.  Some variation (for example, choices between a C fingering and an Am7) based on the discretion of the performer will be natural.  The key thing to replicate is the guitar sequence he uses in his introduction and turnarounds:

 We Are the Many by Makana

Key: E    capo: 9    chording: G

Intro: G, Gsus4, G, Em7 x 2

         G                 D                            G                 D                             C                  Em7               1. We come here, gather ‘round the stage / The time has come for us to voice our rage

G                                  D                        G             D                           Am7           Em                    Against the ones who trapped us in a cage / To steal from us the value of our wage

              G                        D                  G              D                  C                       Em7                      2. From underneath the vestiture of law / The lobbyists at Washington do gnaw

    G                 D                         G                  D               Am7                            Em                      At liberty; the bureaucrats guffaw / And until they are purged we won’t withdraw

Refrain                                                                                                                                                               Am7                                  D                                        G                                  C(+2)        We’ll occupy the streets, we’ll occupy the courts / We’ll occupy the offices of you                          G               C                      D                      G, Gsus4, G, Em7 x2                                    ‘Til you do  /  The bidding of the many, not the few

3. Our nation was built upon the right  /  Of every person to improve their plight

The laws of this republic they rewrite /  And now the few own everything in sight

4. 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


5. You enforce your monopolies with guns / While sacrificing our daughters and sons

Well, certain things belong to everyone / You’re thievery has left the people none

6. So take heed of our notice to redress / We have little to lose we must confess

Your empty words leave us unimpressed / A growing number join us in protest


7. 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

8. Our government is not for sale / The banks do not deserve a bail

We won’t reward those who fail / we’ll not move ‘til we prevail


Repeat Refrain

C                            D                 G                                                                                                        We are the many, you are the few.

Thank you Makana, for your fine gift!

JMH – 11/14/11  


[1] Occupy sympathizer plays APEC dinner, posted by , The 1600 Report, November 13, 2011

[2] Id.

(Return to the Contents Topics page.)

This entry was posted in - FEATURED POSTS -, - MOST RECENT POSTS -, Arts and Music, Occupy. Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to “We Are the Many,” by Makana (w/ lyrics and chords)

  1. Nice to have the chords to help spread the word(s)! Thank you.

  2. Rik Elswit says:

    Good work. Thank you. Reminds me very much of when Dylan was one of us.

  3. Mari says:

    WOW – you are brave. I am in awe of the strength & power of the people of this movement. I am currently making a decision about my own role in this revolution … and how best to bring my own message to this endeavor.

  4. Ron Letnes says:

    A truly great, moving song. Already a classic that will stand the test of time and be considered one of the greatest protest songs. Thank you, Makana.

  5. NullEntry says:

    Thank you so much for posting the chords! I wish more of the Occupy songs being written had this available! Great song. 😀

  6. Kwame says:

    put this on iTunes to raise money…I’ll buy it….

  7. Mike Wong says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I’m an old hippie and Viet Nam war army deserter and remember well the days of Bob Dylan – you are indeed his peer in song and protest! Thank you for your gift, and for your courage.

  8. Makana, this is wonderful. Please write some more to help us in the protest movement. I was a great Dylan supporter back in the day, but YOU are the voice of the NOW! Keep on, keepin’ on! You Are being heard around the world.

  9. Andre Schwarz says:

    Since the news about this young man broke, I wanted to hear the lyric’s and it came through a soul brother who turned friend for life, Jim Poushinsky.

  10. Pingback: The Progressive Economics Forum » We Are The Many

  11. https://acivilamericandebate.wordpress.com/2011/11/14/we-are-the-many-by-makana-w-lyrics-and-chords/ … this one works Tim! In Solidarity Brother! Michael Buell 2011 … You have an SUPPORTER here Brother … SOLIDARITY until JUSTICE DAWNS!

  12. Destination Wedding Neat, there is certainly basically some beneficial details on here some of my viewers will probably obtain this relevant, will deliver a link, many thank you.Destination Weddings

  13. gulrotkake says:

    gulrotkake i langpanne Hrm, Not the best post unfortunately. Sorry to be so blunt! You should try some Norwegian carrot cake ( gulrotkake ) to cheer you up instead.

  14. cultureboy says:

    It’s on my Facebook Wall, it’s on my blog. It’s on my lips and its in my heart. May it inspire my actions and build a movement of solidarity and social change. With thanks from Queensland Australia

  15. Lirik lagu says:

    Thanks for Lyric, visit mine Song Lyrics

  16. Pingback: Occupy |

  17. Pingback: We Are The Many | OccuWorld

  18. I’m not positive where you’re getting your information, however great topic.

    I must spend some time learning much more orr figuring out more.

    Thanks for magnificent info I was in search of this info for my mission.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s