MSNBC's Face of Labor.
"Some may find them [songs] merely diverting melodies. Others may find them incitements to Red revolution. And who will say if either or both is wrong? Not I." - Pete Seeger, banjo/12 string guitar/vocals CPUSA
Here's Ol' Pete
and acontemprary Young 'un
Ol' Commie (sorta"drifted away") Pete Seeger* had a song called Talkin' Union
If you want higher wages, let me tell you what to do;
You got to talk to the workers in the shop with you;
You got to build you a union, got to make it strong,
But if you all stick together, now, ‘twont he long.
You'll get shorter hours,
Better working conditions.
Vacations with pay,
Take your kids to the seashore.
It ain’t quite this simple, so I better explain
Just why you got to ride on the union train;
‘Cause if you wait for the boss to raise your pay,
We’ll all be waiting till Judgment Day;
We’ll all he buried - gone to Heaven -
Saint Peter’ll be the straw boss then.
Now, you know you’re underpaid, hut the boss says you ain’t;
He speeds up the work till you’re ‘bout to faint,
You may he down and out, but you ain’t beaten,
Pass out a leaflet and call a meetin’
Talk it over - speak your mind -
Decide to do something about it.
‘Course, the boss may persuade some poor damn fool
To go to your meeting and act like a stool;
But you can always tell a stool, though - that’s a fact;
He’s got a yellow streak running down his back;
He doesn’t have to stool - he'll always make a good living
On what he takes out of blind men’s cups.
You got a union now; you’re sitting pretty;
Put some of the boys on the steering committee.
The boss won’t listen when one man squawks.
But he’s got to listen when the union talks.
He better -
He’ll be mighty lonely one of these days.
Suppose they’re working you so hard it’s just outrageous,
They’re paying you all starvation wages;
You go to the boss, and the boss would yell,
"Before I'd raise your pay I’d see you all in Hell."
Well, he’s puffing a big see-gar and feeling mighty slick,
He thinks he’s got your union licked.
He looks out the window, and what does he see
But a thousand pickets, and they all agree
He’s a bastard - unfair - slave driver -
Bet he beats his own wife.
Now, boy, you’ve come to the hardest time;
The boss will try to bust your picket line.
He’ll call out the police, the National Guard;
They’ll tell you it’s a crime to have a union card.
They’ll raid your meeting, hit you on the head.
Call every one of you a goddamn Red -
Unpatriotic - Moscow agents -
Bomb throwers, even the kids.
But out in Detroit here’s what they found,
And out in Frisco here’s what they found,
And out in Pittsburgh here’s what they found,
And down in Bethlehem here’s what they found,
That if you don’t let Red-baiting break you up,
If you don’t let stool pigeons break you up,
If you don’t let vigilantes break you up,
And if you don’t let race hatred break you up -
You’ll win. What I mean,
Take it easy - but take it!
'Problem is Old Pete was howling to actual workers about bein' workers, back in the day. Commies were and are dead set against a middle class and that is what American labor built along with a standard of living that was the envy of the free world.
Along abouts the 1960's, lefties gulled Mayor Wagner of New York into padding the tax-rolls and public service employees became the rage. Civil Service was not near enough - a worker needed to qualify for a position.
Private sector union membership declines through the 70's, 89's, and 90's and public sector labor swells with members and dues paid to SEIU and AFSCME and salaries paid through taxes of real labor - carpenters, sheet-metal workers, coal miners, auto workers, pipe fitters, &etc. Pete's team won the battle. Taxes shrunk the American Middle Class and bankrupted local and state economies.
Thus, the war in Wisconsin.
Gov. Walker of Wisconsin looks to be winning the war.
The photo above is what passes for workers these days, kids, lay-abouts, MSNBC's Big Ed and Hunger Striker Michael Moore.
* In 1936, at the age of 17, Pete Seeger joined the Young Communist League (YCL), then at the height of its popularity and influence. In 1942 he became a member of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) itself. He eventually "drifted away" (his words) from the Party in the late 1940s and 1950s