Occuponics to Participate in GUITARMY Musical March, May Day, 2012

Guitarmy, AKA “The Thousand Guitar March,” has been busily preparing for the forthcoming May Day March from Bryant Park to Union Square. There will be many guitars, and many guitar heroes, including Tom Morello, leading this peaceful, musical charge.

This past Tuesday, available Guitarmy Squad Leaders converged to come up with a suitable kickoff song. We tried to make it easy and open-ended so that beginners could play the song easily but advanced guitarists could riff and improvise above it, as well as any horn players or other accompanists that might show up. We decided on “Which Side Are You On,” by Florence Reece, based on the traditional folk song, “Lay the Lily Low.”

This rehearsal captures us trying to capture the song and make sure it can be played by as many guitarists that show up. We also added some updated lyrics (below the video). If you play guitar or can make a joyful noise please come to Guitarmy – we need musicians! There are also additional performances of “Which Side Are You On” here.

Guitarmy Squad Leaders will be out early on May 1 in Bryant Park to teach you anything you need to know about playing all the songs in the set list. We tried to keep them all to a maximum of three chords, so that everyone can play and sound good.


The basic root chord of this song is drone on Em (E minor).

Beginners should strum on Em all the way through and ONLY switch to the B7 just once, toward the latter part of each verse

Advanced guitarists might want to play a D chord over the Em at a certain point.

We are the guitar army, we”re marching from this place
We march for peace and justice, to save the human race
Which side are you on? Which side are you on?
Which side are you on? Which side are you on?

Hey, hey – May Day!
Hey, hey – May Day!
Hey, hey – May Day!
Hey, hey – May Day!

We are the guitar army, our eyes are on the prize
Musicians have no chance in life unless we organize

We are the guitar army, we’re marching side by side
We’re march for those who suffer, we march for those who’ve died

Oh people, can you hear us, oh people, do you care?
You’re either with the ninety nine, or you are with the Mayor

Original version:

Come all of you good workers, good news to you I’ll tell
Of how the good old union has come in here to dwell

My daddy was a miner, he’s now in the air and sun
And I’ll stick with the union, till every battle’s won

They say in Harlan County, there are no neutrals there
You’re either in the union, or a scab for J.H. Blair

Oh workers can you stand it? Oh tell me how you can?
Will you be a crummy scab or lend us all a hand?

Don’t scab for the bosses, don’t listen to their lies
Us poor folks don’t have a chance unless we organize

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