Labor Speaks – The most famous Labor Song, at least to us

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Lots of music this week, why, because I love union music. It’s just another part of our history that is not as well known as it should be. I’ve yet to work at a local that knew much if anything about labor songs, other than the few that get a big play with the AFL/CIO (Union Maid, Solidarity) But there are hundreds of more songs out there. I’ll post more over time, as well as some links where you can buy some of your own. Play them at your meetings while people are arriving, or play them during breaks, heck, just play them so people can learn from their past.
With that said, here’s the most famous of Union Songs, sung by a modern music icon, Tom Morello, the Nightwatchman.

2 thoughts on “Labor Speaks – The most famous Labor Song, at least to us

  1. I am a Union member. My first job after high school was Union (APPW, pulp and paper workers). My first job after college was Union (United Brotherhood (sic) of Carpenters and Joiners, Lumber and Sawmill Workers) and my current job is AFSCME. I was a member of the Industrial Workers of the World for years. Ralph Chaplin was a member of the IWW when he wrote “Solidarity Forever”. The second verse is “Is there aught we hold in common with the greedy parasite/Who would lash us into serfdom and would crush us with his might?/Is there anything left for us to organize and fight?/For the Union makes us strong.” Once the AFL-CIA expropriated “Solidarity Forever”and called it the “Anthem of the American labor movement” our union mis-leaders have consistently dropped the second verse down Orwell’s “memory hole”. Why? The hypocrisy is obvious. Can you imagine Trumka, who makes around $400,000 a year, urging dues paying serfs to organize and really fight the greedy, blood-sucking Capitalist parasites and build a new society in the ashes of the old? I can’t. Five days a week I pass Ralph’s grave. It makes me sad and angry when people fail to share Ralph’s full message. Next time, Fellow Worker Tom Morello, please sing all the verses. In Solidarity…

  2. Thanks for the history lesson Allan. I imagine Trumka does not even use the word capitalist.

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