Magpie | When We Stand Together

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When We Stand Together

by Magpie

A collection of classic songs of labor, featuring previously unheard arrangements of original compositions by famed Wobbly bard, Joe Hill, songs of other fellow workers, and two original compositions including one about Eugene Victor Debs.
Genre: Folk: Political
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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Workers of the World, Awaken!
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2. It’s a Long Way Down to the Soup Line
3:36 $0.99
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3. Bread & Roses
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4. The Rebel Girl
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5. Stung Right
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6. Don’t Take My Papa Away from Me
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7. The Popular Wobbly
3:26 $0.99
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8. Canton, 1918
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9. Poor Old Dobbin
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10. The Banks Are Made of Marble
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11. Which Side Are You On?
3:57 $0.99
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12. Mill Was Made of Marble
4:03 $0.99
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13. Build High the Bridge
4:18 $0.99
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14. Borderlines
3:46 $0.99
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15. Something in the Rain
4:52 $0.99
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16. Vientos Del Pueblo
2:38 $0.99
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17. Links on the Chain
4:54 $0.99
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18. Same Boat Now
4:24 $0.99
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19. Paper Heart
4:21 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
For more than forty-three years MAGPIE, Terry Leonino and Greg Artzner have brought their unique sound and remarkable versatility to audiences everywhere, featuring traditional and vintage American folk music to contemporary and stirring original compositions. With two strong voices in harmony and superb instrumental arrangements, their sound is powerful and moving. Award-winning recording artists, singers, songwriters, composers, musical historians, playwrights, screenwriters, actors and social activists, Terry and Greg are proud to be, as Pete Seeger said of them, “…more links in the chain,” dedicating their lives and music to leaving this world a better place. They hail from industrial union country in northeast Ohio. Terry was born in Akron and grew up in nearby Cuyahoga Falls. Her father was a union leader among his fellow rubber workers during the days when the unions were organizing there. Greg was born and grew up in Canton, Ohio, the place where Eugene Victor Debs delivered the famous speech that landed him in federal penitentiary in 1918. Following Debs’s example, Greg was a conscientious objector during the war in Vietnam. As musicians, Terry and Greg are career-long members of the American Federation of Musicians, and are also proud members of the IWW. From 1974, when the Magpies first landed in Washington, DC, until he passed away in 2006, Greg and Terry accompanied “labor’s troubadour” Joe Glazer on every recording he made.
Terry and Greg have been singing about working men and women for their entire career, and their performances of these songs are second to none. They are diligent students of the various styles of music in American history, so their arrangements and presentation of songs spanning the history of the labor movement are true to the times and intentions of the writers, and always engage the audience in singing along. Terry and Greg’s work continues to reflect their own life experiences as they frequently raise their voices in support of the ongoing struggles for workers rights, civil rights, freedom, justice, and peace.


“When We Stand Together”
Notes on the Songs

Workers of The World, Awaken – words & music by Joe Hill (1915)
During his incarceration in Utah awaiting his execution, Joe Hill continued to write words to other tunes but also composed words and music to a few gems, and this is one of them. Borrowing on some themes from The Internationale, both in the melody and the lyric, the song is nonetheless distinctively Joe Hill and IWW and is a joy to sing. It was sung as part of the program at Joe’s funeral in Chicago in 1915, but even though it’s a major anthem, for some unknown reason, while the lyrics are often quoted, the song has been too seldom sung. Bucky Halker’s recording of the song with the St. Paul Swedish Men’s Chorus is a notable exception. While Joe’s parodies are famous and sung over and over, this, probably his greatest song, is not. This song, along with his other prison compositions, demonstrate just how accomplished a musician Joe Hill actually was, not just a lyricist of parodies.

It’s A Long Way Down To the Soup Line - Joe Hill (1915)
In San Francisco fellow worker Sam Murray wrote to Joe Hill in prison encouraging him to make new words for Jack Judge & Harry Williams’ 1914 hit song “It’s A Long Way to Tipperary”, which was one of the most popular songs in the entire English-speaking world, originally recorded by tenor John McCormack. Joe, understandably, had not heard the song, but agreed to do it if his friend would just send him the music. The economic depression was felt hard in the cities, and San Francisco was no exception. Joe offers the solution to the problems afflicting the working class: organize! Joe’s parody was first published as a song sheet for the defense fund, and then in the 25th edition (1933) of the IWW’s Little Red Songbook.

Bread & Roses - James Oppenheim & Martha Coleman
James Oppenheim’s poem was first published in 1911, well before the Lawrence Strike. But before that, the concept phrase, “bread and roses” was coined by socialist, unionist and suffragist Rose Schneiderman in a speech in which she advocated for the right to vote and for every woman’s right to “life, and the sun and music and art.” She said “What the woman who labors wants is the right to live, not simply exist… The worker must have bread, but she must have roses, too. Help, you women of privilege, give her the ballot to fight with." The phrase became forever associated with workers in the textile mills of Lawrence, Massachusetts who went out on strike in 1912, a strike led by IWW fellow workers, including Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Bill Haywood, and Joseph Ettor. The successful strike became known as the “Bread and Roses Strike.” Although there is no photographic record, Upton Sinclair included Oppenheim’s poem in his 1915 anthology, THE CRY FOR JUSTICE: AN ANTHOLOGY OF THE LITERATURE OF SOCIAL PROTEST and made the reference that connected the two for all time, "In a parade of strikers of Lawrence, Mass, some young girls carried a banner inscribed, "We want Bread, and Roses too!'". The setting here is the original and the best-known melody until Mimi Farina composed another tune in 1974.

The Rebel Girl – words & music by Joe Hill (1915)
This is another of the songs for which Joe Hill composed words and music in his prison cell. In more recent years it has been changed, adapted and updated by numerous artists. Hazel Dickens rewrote the lyrics, singing the song Bluegrass style, and her version is probably the most often sung. John McCutcheon used Dickens’ version of the words and wrote his own very contemporary melody. Our version goes back to the original sheet music published by the union. We found it exciting to realize that Joe Hill wrote what is essentially a ragtime march, and as we looked over the original lyrics, we found them to be historically strong and not requiring an update. The music is typical of the popular music of the early twentieth century, the heyday of ragtime and Tin Pan Alley. The song was first published in the1916 edition of the IWW’s Little Red Songbook, the “Joe Hill Memorial Edition.”
There were notably two young women in the IWW movement at the time that fit the description of “the rebel girl,” and both carried on correspondence with Joe Hill while he was in prison. Young Katie Phar, known as the “IWW Songbird,” grew up in a Wobbly family in Spokane, Washington, and was just ten years of age at the time of Joe’s execution. The other women was Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, who was ten years older than Katie Phar.
Elizabeth Gurley Flynn met Joe Hill only once, in May of 1915. She was the first visitor he had after he was sentenced to death. The visit had been preceded by a nearly five-month-long exchange of correspondence. So Hill was very familiar with Flynn’s views on the union and the class war, and he had also heard about her skill and artistry as an orator and organizer, undoubtedly knowing of the prominent role she played in the Lawrence Strike three years earlier. The night of November 18, 1915, his last telegram from prison was to her, and was a poignant acknowledgement that the entire time he was working on the song, he was thinking of her:
“I have been saying Good Bye now so much now that it is becoming monotonous but I cannot help to send you a few more lines because you have been more to me than a Fellow Worker. You have been an inspiration and when I composed The Rebel Girl you was right there and helped me all the time. . . . With a warm handshake across the continent and a last fond Good-Bye to all I remain Yours as Ever.”
The next morning at sunrise, Joe Hill was executed by firing squad.

Stung Right - Joe Hill (1912)
First published in the March 1913 edition (fifth edition) of the IWW Little Red Songbook.
The IWW, while not pacifist in a strict sense, has always recognized that war and militarism are the bastard children of the class war, both enriching the already rich manufacturers, while depending upon the working class to do the fighting, bleeding and dying. Joe’s parody of W.S. Weeden’s “Sunlight, Sunlight” makes this point with his characteristic humor, telling the story of an unwitting recruit into the U.S. Navy. On a personal note, we learned the song because it was nearly the same story as that of our dear friend and the maker of our guitars, the late Larry Sifel. This one’s for you, Larry!
Just a couple of months before his execution in Utah, Joe wrote to his friend and fellow worker Sam Murray in San Francisco:
"Well war certainly shows up the capitalist system in the right light. Millions of men are employed at making ships and others are hired to sink them. Scientific management, eh, wot?" ––Joe Hill

Don’t Take My Papa Away From Me - Joe Hill (1915)
This is the third of Joe’s great compositions from prison, words and music. At the time of his writing, the U.S. had not yet entered the First World War, but Joe and Wobblies all across the United States were keenly aware that fellow workers from around the world, particularly in the UK and Australia, were already dying on the battlefields and in the trenches in Europe. There were many anti-war songs that arose out of that chapter in history. Joe tells the poignant story of an orphan of the conflict, again with a musical setting that is as sophisticated as it is typical of the music of the period. This also happens to be the last song Joe Hill ever wrote. The night before he was executed he sent a telegram to Elizabeth Gurley Flynn:
“Composed new song last week with music dedicated to the dove of peace It's coming And now goodbye Gurley dear I have lived like a rebel and I shall die like a rebel Joe Hill”

Popular Wobbly – T-Bone Slim (1920)
Shortly after the U.S. entered World War I, congress passed, and President Wilson signed into law the Espionage Act, and the next year amendments called the Sedition Act extended its reach and scope. Under these two enactments and by the direction of two attorneys general, Thomas Gregory and A. Mitchell Palmer, IWW offices and meeting halls across the country were raided. From September 1917 until 1921, the IWW was subjected to violent harassment by the U.S. Department of Justice and the newly established Bureau of Investigation. On September 5, 1917, every IWW office in the country was raided by federal agents. In the raid of the national headquarters in Chicago agents made off with literally five tons of documents and material, which were later used in the prosecution of more than a hundred Wobblies who had been arrested. Arrests and deportations of Wobblies as well as other leftist activists continued right through the rest of the war. This included the arrest and imprisonment of Eugene V. Debs, and the deportation of Emma Goldman. The stories of attacks on the IWW are many, with many involving not just incarceration, but physical violence and murder.
T-Bone Slim (1880–1942) was a humorist, poet, songwriter, hobo, and IWW activist. He was born Matti Valentinpoika Huhta to Finnish parents in Ashtabula, Ohio. During his life as a Fellow Worker, he contributed numerous poems, articles and songs to IWW publications. This comment on the legal persecution of the IWW is one of the best-known of his parodies, set to the 1917 hit song “They Go Wild, Simply Wild Over Me,” by Joseph McCarthy and Fred Fisher.

Canton 1918 - Greg Artzner & Terry Leonino
Eugene Victor Debs is one of the most fascinating men in American history. He was a co-founder of the IWW, and was present at the founding convention in Chicago in 1915. While he did not maintain his membership in the union, he remained supportive of the union and its founding principles throughout his life. During his imprisonment after the Pullman strike of 1894, Debs became a dedicated activist in the Socialist movement, and as years went on, he took a greater role of leadership in the party, frequently contributing editorials to the party’s journals, including Appeal to Reason. He was the party’s candidate for president of the United States four times before the speech depicted in this song took place. The “Canton Speech,” delivered on June 16, 1918, was the one that landed him in prison. In the audience of around 1,000 Socialists having a picnic in Canton, Ohio’s Nimisilla Park, was a reporter for the Cleveland Plain Dealer by the name of Clyde Miller. Miller had been working closely with northeast Ohio federal prosecutor Edwin Wertz, gathering information on individuals who might be in violation if the Espionage Act. So, after hearing Debs’ speech in Canton, which was taken down in shorthand, Miller phoned Wertz and told him that Debs, just by what he said. was undoubtedly in violation of the law. Wertz obtained the warrant for Debs’ arrest. Debs was sentenced to 10 years in a federal penitentiary. While he was in prison, he ran for president a fifth time, this time gaining just short of one million votes. The war ended that November, but Debs still had to serve his time. After a very difficult incarceration that left an indelible mark on his physical health, his sentence was commuted to time served by the man he had run against in the election campaign, Warren G. Harding, and he was released from prison on Christmas morning, 1921. All his life, Debs never stopped fighting for the workers and the working class. He hated when people said he had “risen” from the ranks of labor, for to him, he had not risen, but had always stayed with them, side by side, and shoulder to shoulder.
Our song is in the voice of a young socialist worker hearing Debs speak in person for the first time, standing in that crowd in the park in Canton, Ohio, inspired to action and dreaming of a better world. (Greg is proud to note that this notable episode in history took place in his hometown.)
Canton 1918 words and music by Greg Artzner & Terry Leonino

Back in nineteen eighteen on a sunny day in June,
A thousand of us gathered that hopeful afternoon
In Nimisilla Park between the railroad and the creek
To see Eugene Victor Debs, and to hear him speak.
He came down to Canton to talk and take a stand
For peace and justice for the working class throughout the land
Now forever I’ll remember, wherever I may roam,
The prescient words that Gene Debs spoke in my Ohio home.

Debs had run for president; it was him I’d voted for
Then I heard that he was comin’ here with a cry against the war
When so many in our country were still itchin’ for that fight
He was a solitary beacon in a stormy night
He’d come to see our comrades in the workhouse locked away
They would not feed the war machine, their consciences betray
From the junkers to the robber barons, money’s what it’s for
Poor workers were daily dyin’ in a rich man’s war

He said, “There are better days ahead if to ourselves we’re true
And we’ll all rise in common cause, rebuild this world anew
If we just work together, stand for what is right
Make this great cause triumphant, all the working class unite!”

He stood there bone and sinew, with a fire in his eyes
And a voice full of passion, from a heart so true and wise
With courage unrelenting his words defied their power
Even though no doubt he knew the danger of the hour
He said, “A thousand times I’d rather be a free soul in jail
Than a coward in the streets, a sycophant for sale.”
So I stood enthralled there that fateful summer day
That man changed my life with every word he had to say

They hauled him off to jail, sedition, so they said
A dangerous man like Debs just has to be stopped dead
He said, “I ask no mercy, plead for no immunity
For now I see the rising of those who would be free.
I clearly see the struggle now between our human need
And the wicked powers of exploitation and of greed.
But the cross of stars is bending as we pass through the night
And the people waken joyful in the hope of morning light.”

©2015 Greg Artzner & Terry Leonino

Poor Old Dobbin - Greg Artzner & Terry Leonino
Labor activist, advocate and educator Joyce Kornbluh compiled a tremendous collection of IWW documents including articles, essays, poems, graphics, photographs and songs entitled REBEL VOICES: AN IWW ANTHOLOGY, originally published in 1964 by PM Press. One of the many gems in the compendium is the story told in this song, a 1927 article entitled “The IWW on a Full-Rigged Ship,” written by Fellow Worker Harry Clayton, who was a member of the ship’s crew. The company that owned the Star of Russia obviously wanted to maximize their profit on the sale of the ship to a French company in New Caledonia in the South Pacific, so they had workers (many of whom were undoubtedly Wobblies) load her down with lumber from the forests of Washington to be sold along the way at a port of call in Samoa. It was there that the crew, who had delivered their demands to the captain, won their strike for fair treatment and uniform scale. In all the histories of the union, despite the Wobbly reputation as the singing union, and despite the huge genre of nautical song, there are very few references to singing among Wobblies in the maritime industries. This story just called out for a song, and one utilizing the concertina.

Poor Old Dobbin words & music by Greg Artzner & Terry Leonino

We’re thirty days out from the port of Tacoma
For New Caledonia we’re bound
On an old hulk square-rigger, the Star of Russia
But she’ll ne’er again sail Puget sound
For she’s seen her day, now they’ve sold her away
Under sail it’s her last long trip
No longer at large, stripped down for a barge
Tomorrow she’ll be no tall ship

Chorus:
And it’s salt cod and poor old Dobbin
Who pulled that old “one-hoss shay”
Horse meat so tough it chews like leather
And ancient pork fat every day.

Fellow workers back home loaded her down with lumber
A million board feet, we were told
Handsome profit for someone on Washington timber
When it’s delivered and sold
But the dollars are few for us laboring crew
Hard life on these endless waves
Weak mind and strong back’s what they pay you for, Jack
To them we are nothing but slaves

Our cook hasn’t bathed since the birth of the Savior
So the galley gives off quite a stink
With the smell of the horse meat, the pig fat and fish
It’ll drive a poor sailor to drink
Hard work night and day, and a pittance for pay
And we’re livin’ like rats down below
So we all got wise, and we organized
Now we won’t be their slaves anymore

Chorus:
And it’s salt cod and poor old Dobbin
Who pulled that old “one-hoss shay”
Horse meat so tough it chews like leather
And ancient pork fat every day.

We wrote our demands and took them to the skipper
Fair treatment and uniform scale
He called, “Cast off lines!” and with arms crossed we stood
Sayin, “Agree, or the Russia won’t sail!”
So he had to choose, but how could we lose?
What else could he do but give in?
It paid to rebel, now they treat us quite well,
Each worker says, “I Will Win!”

Chorus:
No more salt cod and poor old Dobbin
Who pulled that old “one-hoss shay”
Horse meat so tough it chews like leather
And ancient pork fat every day.

So the captain he called in the handsome young mess boy
Askin’, “Are you a double-U, son?
You’d best keep clear of those double-U’s young man,
They make trouble for everyone.”
But the boy raised his head, to the skipper he said,
Standin’ so brave and tall,
“When all is done, an injury to one
Is an injury to us all!”

Chorus:
No more salt cod and poor old Dobbin
Who pulled that old “one-hoss shay”
Horse meat so tough it chews like leather
And ancient pork fat every day.

Last chorus:
Now we’re Wobblies and sea-farin’ rebels
For all each one of us stood
No longer their slaves when we stand together
Our union delivers the goods
One big union delivers the goods!

©2016 words and music by Greg Artzner & Terry Leonino

Banks Are Made of Marble - Les Rice
A New York State apple farmer in the lower Hudson Valley, Les Rice was also a one-time president of the Ulster County NY Farmer’s Union. Being caught in the usual squeeze between the big companies that sold him his supplies and equipment and the big companies who set prices for his crop, he saw the issues first from that perspective, but then went on to make the connections to the struggles of all workers. First recorded by Pete Seeger the song became very popular among union members around the country, and was printed in the IWW’s Little Red Songbook in the 35th edition, 1984
Words and Music by Les Rice
Adapted by Greg Artzner & Terry Leonino

Which Side Are You On? - Florence Reece
This classic song of Labor was written during the “Harlan County War” in Kentucky in 1931. Sheriff J. H. Blair and his deputies, hired by the coal company, had illegally raided Sam and Florence Reece’s home looking for Sam, who was a union organizer. But Sam had been warned in advance and was not there. After terrorizing Florence and their children, the men left. Florence told the story that she took down the calendar hanging on the wall and wrote the words on it, singing it to the tune of the well-known hymn, “Lay the Lily Low.” Published in 1967 by Oak Publications in HARD-HITTING SONGS FOR HARD HIT PEOPLE, compiled and edited by Alan Lomax & Pete Seeger, with notes by Woody Guthrie, the song has been performed and recorded many times over the years. It has also been adapted for other social struggles including by members of SNCC during the Civil Rights Movement. Our version returns to the original words in the Oak printing. The song was published in the IWW’s Little Red Songbook 36th Edition in 1995.

Mill Was Made of Marble - Joe Glazer
We have been singing this song ever since first meeting Joe Glazer when we moved to Washington, DC in 1974. We have often reflected on the irony portrayed in Joe’s utopian vision of the worker’s posthumous paradise. After all, wouldn’t the ideal paradise involve not working in a textile mill at all? But some people believe that our dreams are often our subconscious mind’s attempt to sort out the troubling reality of our daily lives, our waking hours. By that measure, one might easily see why a worker in such a dangerous and unhealthy place as a textile mill would dream a dream like this.
Joe Glazer, who sang for unions all across the country for more than fifty years, and was known far and wide as “Labor’s Troubadour” was also the first singer to record an entire album of IWW songs, many by Joe Hill. He probably sang “Solidarity Forever” more than any single singer in history, and he knew its writer, Fellow Worker Ralph Chaplin, who can be heard speaking to an audience on Joe’s second collection of songs of the Wobblies.
On a personal note, Joe became like a second father to us when he took us under his wing and invited us to sing backup vocals on many of his records. He also issued our second LP "Working My Life Away" on his Collector Records label, and then, in a thematic departure, in 1990 released our collection of environmental songs, "Living Planet," for the 20th anniversary of the first Earth Day. "When We Stand Together" is affectionately dedicated to him and his memory.

Build High the Bridge-Ronnie Gilbert
Famed as a member of the Weavers in the nineteen fifties, Ronnie Gilbert continued singing long after the group broke up. She also co-wrote and performed a one-woman musical portrait of Mary Harris “Mother” Jones. This song is from that show, and is sung in the voice of Mother Jones. When we first heard it, we thought it was one of the greatest union songs we had ever heard.
Mother Jones is generally regarded as one of the greatest Labor organizers and activists in history, as well as a tireless advocate for the eradication and prohibition of child labor. She was a member of the Knights of Labor, a co-founder of the IWW, and while she supported and advocated union organizing in many industries, she devoted most of her life to the cause of fellow workers in the coal mines of America through the UMW. She was once called “the most dangerous woman in America” by a West Virginia district attorney. She died November 30, 1930 in Silver Spring, Maryland at the age of 93, although it was widely believed, erroneously, that she was several years older.

Borderlines-Valerie De Priest & Gail Gingrich
We first heard this song in 1984 when we met sisters Valerie DePriest and Gayle Gingrich at a Peoples Music Network conference in Philadelphia. They sang it in a round robin on the topic of Labor. At the time big manufacturing corporations were busting unions by moving their factories to other countries where workers had not organized, thereby cutting wages and maximizing profits, at the same time pitting one country’s workforce against another’s. When we heard the song we told the sisters if there ever was a song that belonged in the Little Red Songbook it was “Borderlines.”

Something In The Rain-Tish Hinojosa
Tish Hinojosa’s stirring and touching song portrays, through one tight-knit family and in the voice of a young boy, the hardships and dangers faced by migrant farm laborers. While doing the labor that puts food on all our tables, these hard-working people and their families are exposed to the dangerous agricultural chemicals that are still used by the big, corporate food growers.

Vientos Del Pueblo-Victor Jara
The great Chilean singer-poet and political activist Victor Jara was murdered by Augusto Pinochet’s henchmen in September of 1973 after he was brutally tortured. In the years leading up to the coup, as he became more politically active and supportive of progressive causes, particularly aligning himself with Salvador Allende, Victor’s national and international profile was elevated, making him the preeminent artist on the political left, but also making him one of the most important targets of those who seized power. All along he knew the killers were “knocking on his door,” and the words to this great anthem of the people are prescient and prophetic. Indeed, the poet still goes on singing with power greater than that of the oppressors. Victor Jara…presenté!

Links on the Chain-Phil Ochs
Working men and women in America certainly had no greater champion in song than the great Phil Ochs (1940-1976). Phil penned a 7-minute-long ballad telling the story of Joe Hill (albeit with some inaccuracies) using the same tune Woody Guthrie used for “Tom Joad.” He championed the plight of immigrant farmworkers in California in his song “Bracero” and he sang about fellow workers in various industries in his powerful anthem, “Hands.” But Phil was under no illusion regarding the inconsistencies and contradictions in the story of Labor, particular those concerning the times he lived in and the relationship between organized Labor and the Civil Rights movement. Where the IWW, from its inception, practiced non-discrimination both among workers and their leaders, the history of the AFL-CIO is more equivocal and shifting. In 1959 the only black member of the AFL-CIO’s 27-member executive council was A. Phillip Randolph, organizer and leader of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. At that same time nationwide union membership was around 27% black. Randolph was harshly criticized by George Meany and censured by the executive council for his criticism of certain union leaders regarding their stand on Civil Rights. At the same time that the executive council did not formally endorse the 1963 March on Washington (organized by Randolph and others) it did lobby for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Joseph Rauh and Jack Conway of the UAW negotiated with attorney general Nicholas Katzenbach for the inclusion of the non-discrimination clause, Title VII. So while individual unions and their rank and file, particularly in the southern states, maintained discriminatory practices through the 1950s, in the 60s, they, like other groups in America, came around to support anti-discrimination legislation and action. Phil goes on to criticize other aspects of the capitalist system detrimental to workers in general, namely automation and other forces fostering the economic climate that kills jobs.

Same Boat Now-Betsy Rose
Simply put the United States is a nation of immigrants and their descendants, built on theft of land, the genocide of the original native inhabitants, and chattel slavery. Certainly its history is complex, but these simple facts underline the rest. In these times as in others, they are facts conveniently forgotten or dismissed by those who seek political advantage through their denial. Betsy Rose’s excellent chorus distills the essence of these aspects of our history, particularly in regards to women. In a few short verses, she also outlines beautifully the aspects of the capitalist system so destructive to working people, its deceptive allure, and the need for unified action to alleviate the resulting suffering.

Paper Heart-Si Kahn & Charlotte Brody
Even though true, the story of Joe Hill’s judicial murder and that of his subsequent funeral are the stuff of legends.
The day before the execution Joe wrote to his friend and fellow worker, Big Bill Haywood:

November 18, 1915
W.D. Haywood
Chicago, Illinois
Goodbye Bill: I die like a true rebel.
Don’t waste any time mourning––organize!
It is a hundred miles from here to Wyoming. Could you arrange to have my body hauled to the state line to be buried? I don’t want to be found dead in Utah.
Joe Hill

Hill had his choice of methods of death and he chose the firing squad. The executioner pinned a paper target to his chest to designate the position of his heart and he was strapped to a chair in the courtyard of the prison. There were five marksmen, but only four were issued actual bullet cartridges. One was a blank. This ensured that any one of the men could plausibly question, even for himself, whether he had actually fired the killing shot. It is said that when the command was called out, “Ready, aim…” it was Joe who shouted out “Fire!”
His body was, indeed taken well out of Utah, but not buried just over the state line. He was taken to Chicago where an enormous crowd attended the funeral, tens of thousands of people, clogging the streets leading up to the West Side Auditorium.
Joe’s body was cremated, the ashes were divided up and placed in 600 envelopes. The envelopes were sent to IWW offices around the world and distributed among fellow workers with the following note attached:
FELLOW WORKER:
In compliance with the last will of Joe Hill, his body was cremated at Graceland Cemetery, Chicago, Illinois, Nov. 20th, 1915.
It was his request, that his ashes be distributed.
This package has been confined to your care for the fulfillment of this last will.
You will kindly address a letter to Wm D. Haywood, Room 307, 164 W. Washington St., Chicago, Ill., telling the circumstances and where the ashes were distributed.
We Never Forget
Joe Hill Memorial Committee.

In the words of the chorus Si and Charlotte’s stirring tribute alludes to another famous honoring song, probably the most famous of all, penned by Alfred Hayes and Earl Robinson in 1936. In “Joe Hill,” the chorus intones, “I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night, alive as you and me…”
We never forget.






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