May 30, 2008
I did a Yahoo search for Protest Songs to try and get a better idea of what to do today. About.com has a list of top ten protest songs with some great choices (“This Land is Your Land”, “If I Had a Hammer”, “Give Peace a Chance”), but it also had a link down below for Top Ten Labor Songs. Some of these I had heard and others I hadn’t. A few google and YouTube searches later and I had decided on a song. Here is Utah Phillips singing a hymn out of the I.W.W. Little Red Songbook to the tune of the old church song “Power in the Blood of the Lamb”
Bread, peace, and freedom
May 27, 2008
Yesterday was Memorial Day, which most Americans honestly celebrate by enjoying a 3-day weekend. It’s a day that was originally designed to remember the soldiers who fought and died so we can enjoy the freedom they do now, but there were many who died to secure our freedom without ever setting foot on a battle field. I was reading the Diary Rescue thread on DailyKos last night and read a great piece by Kossack gjohnsit about the Memorial Day Massacre in 1937.
Memorial Day in Chicago in 1937 was hot and sunny. On the prairie outside the Republic Steel’s Chicago plant the strikers and their families began to gather for picnics. Women were dressed in their holiday best. Children could be seen riding on their father’s shoulders.
Sam’s Place was nearby. Once a dance-hall, Sam’s was now the strike headquarters. Gradually the families drifted over to where a soup kitchen had been set up and where strike leaders gave speeches from a platform. A group of girls began singing IWW union songs, and the men joined in. Plans were being made for a mass demonstration, despite the rumors that the police had something big planned themselves.
The day seemed just too nice for anything bad to happen.
What happened next is one of the darker moments of U.S. History.
When the meeting was over, the men, women and children formed lines to march towards the Republic Steel plant. Two men at the front carried large American flags. The whole event resembled a Memorial Day parade more than a strike.
As they marched across the field, several news photographers showed up and began snapping pictures. This was to be more important than anyone imagined.
Part way across the field the strikers and their families were met by 200 blue-coated policemen about 250 yards outside the plant. Their clubs were already out. Some carried non-regulation billy-clubs that Republic Steel provided and were equipped with tear gas from Republic stockpiles as well. A police captain yelled, “You dirty sons of bitches, this is as far as you go!”
After a few heated words, a stick was thrown at the police from somewhere in the crowd. Almost immediately tear gas bombs were tossed from the police, and the strikers began moving away. A couple more things were thrown by both sides when an officer in the rear drew his gun and fired into the air.
Without a command or warning police on the front line drew their revolvers and fired point blank into the huge crowd of men, women, and children.
The entire police line moved forward swinging billy clubs. Marchers who had dropped to the ground to avoid the bullets were beaten where they lay. It didn’t matter if they were grown men, women, or even children. The beatings went on until the marchers had either ran out of reach of the police, or they had been beaten into submission.
As one newspaper reviewer noted, “In several instances from two to four policemen are seen beating one man. One strikes him horizontally across the face, using his club as he would a baseball bat. Another crashes it down on top of his head and still another is whipping him across the back.”
The film ends with a sweaty, fatigued policeman looking into the camera, grinning, and motioning as if dusting off his hands.
Four marchers had been fatally shot, while six were mortally wounded. 30 others suffered gunshot wounds, including three children. 28 required hospitalization from their beatings, while another 30 required medical treatment. The gunshot wounds for those that died were all from being shot in the back or sides. Only four gunshot wounds total could be counted as frontal.
35 police received some sort of injuries, but only three required some sort of hospitalization.
Paramount cameraman Orlando Lippert actually had a motion picture shot of almost the whole event. You can watch it all, uncut, here (it starts about 4 minutes in). It was indisputable proof. So what did Paramount do? They suppressed the film.
The reason given by Paramount News for suppressing its newsreel of the Chicago Memorial Day steel-strike massacre is an obvious sham. Audiences trained on the Hollywood school of gangster films are not likely to stage a “riotous demonstration” in the theater upon seeing cops beating people into insensibility, and worse. Against whom would the riot be directed anyway? The Board of Directors or Republic Steel and the Chicago municipal authorities are hardly likely to be found in the immediate vicinity.
The real reason behind the film suppression is its decisive evidence that virtually every newspaper in the country lied, and continues to lie, about the responsibility for violence in the strike areas. The myth that the steel strikers have resorted to violence to gain their just ends is now the basis for the whole campaign of slander and misrepresentation against them. That is why Tom Girdler of Republic Steel refuses to confer with the Steel Workers Organizing Committee, and that is why 95 per cent of the press carries on a publicity pogrom against the strikers.
Even after the St. Louis Post Dispatch performed a genuine service to the American people in breaking the story of the film (for which, though it is Pulitzer owned, it is very unlikely to get the Pulitzer award), the venal press still continued to blast away at the strikers with the same old legend. Not a comma has been changed in the editorials which, day after day, have defended the steel tycoons on the ground that there can be no compromise with labor violence.
And all this time, the film record exists–and has been described–which would enable the public to make up its own mind on this very crucial point!
– New Masses, June 29, 1937
At the end of the original Kos story, there is a poll for people to voice their opinion on if we should have a memorial day for labor. I voted, “Hell Yes!” which, as of this writing, is winning by a huge margin. The workers who died in strikes in this country are the people who gave us our overtime pay, 40-hour work week and 8-hour day. It’s time we recognized these brave fighters for freedom.
Bread, Peace and Freedom.
May 23, 2008
The first version of this song I heard was the Rage Against the Machine version. I never was really into that song, but when I was bumbling around looking for protest songs the other day, I found this version that Bruce Springsteen released on the 1995 album of the same name. Lyrics are posted here. Bread, peace and freedom.
May 20, 2008
Just from the title of this, I’m going to be watching out for lightning to strike me. Usually, Sen. Brownback is the sort of psycho neo-con that I despise, but he did something pretty good last week. I received an email from Pandora Radio saying,
I’m just writing to thank you and your, for your wonderful support of Pandora and Internet radio. Last week, played the pivotal role in reviving the momentum of the Internet Radio Equality Act, which would set music royalties for Internet radio at the same level satellite and cable radio currently pay.
After a year of fruitless negotiation with the RIAA, we are now compelled to bring the fight for rate fairness back to the nation’s capital. In an attempt to thwart the will of music fans everywhere, the large record labels have been defying a Congressional request to reach a reasonable settlement on Internet radio royalties.
For more info on this, click here. (pdf)
This is great news!!! The recording industry has been acting like they are some sort of non-profit charity that is the sole means of bringing music to the masses, and since (if you are very tech-savvy and have gobs of free time on your hands) music can be recorded from a live stream and saved on the computer, they are trying to screw people who want to offer free internet radio right out of business. Who knows if it was a sense of fair play or new medication that caused this change of heart by Sen. Brownback, but kudos to him, I say.
Here’s a little hint, Senator, direct from me to you. Continued action in the interests of the people of Kansas instead of the corporations might save your sorry ass from the unemployment line when it comes re-election time in a few years. I plan on calling Sen. Brownback this afternoon to thank him for this. Remember, if you want your Sens. and Reps. to work for you, do as much calling to thank them for the good things as you do to bitch about the bad things.
Bread, peace and freedom.
May 16, 2008
Anyone who has lived in Kansas for long knows all about Pat Roberts. This guy was a neo-con before the word was invented. He is being challenged by a former lobbyist named Jim Slattery and according to a new Rasmussen poll, Roberts might be in trouble.
Before March, the Unites States Senate election inwas a shoe-in for Republican incumbent . At that point there was no viable Democratic candidate in the race and the state has not elected a Democratic senator since 1932. However, the decision by Democratic Congressmen Jim Slattery to run for office has made the race potentially more interesting.
The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Kansas voters found Roberts leading Slattery 52% to 40%.
The incumbent leads Slattery by twenty-one points among male voters, but just six percent among women.
The Democratic challenger leads Roberts by three points among unaffiliated voters.Roberts earns the vote from 82% of Republicans while Slattery attracts 75% of Democrats.
From an ideological perspective, the candidates are tied at 46% among moderate voters.
Roberts is viewed favorably by 60% of Kansas voters and unfavorably by 34%. Slattery’s numbers are 46% favorable, 38% unfavorable, and 17% of voters are not sure.
Now I’m not sure either. For the most part, I despise lobbyists as a species. I realize that there are some good lobbyists out there, just like there are some legitimate uses for leeches in the medical field. I really want to hear more about what sort of lobbying he was up to. Looking on the website of the firm that he used to lobby for, (don’t have the link right now) he used to be a telecom lobbyist among other things. There are telecom lobbyists that have a lot to answer for (net neutrality, analog air-wave auctions, etc.) and I want to hear his answers, but for now, here’s the new ad that the KDP has launched against Roberts. Hopefully, we can send him to the special hell that is reserved for dickheads that used to be important politicians.
Bread, peace and freedom.
May 16, 2008
My buddy donuthater turned me on to the Phil Ochs version of this song. I found an updated version a few days later by Evan Greer. Evan is a member of a group that calls themselves Riot Folk. Here is the full version of the song, or watch the live version below (song is incomplete on the video).
Bread, peace and freedom.
May 14, 2008
First thing, I haven’t been very diligent in getting protest songs up the past few weeks, I know it isn’t Friday, but I couldn’t resist once I saw this video.
I love me some folk music, and I think it’s still the most effective genre for protest songs due to the fact that it’s musical, the words rhyme and you can understand them all. However, since I was in Jr. High, my favorite band has been Nine Inch Nails. Several weeks ago (after admittedly not paying much attention to what Trent Reznor had been up to for a while) I heard the song “Capital G”. With the starting line, “I pushed the button and elected him to office and/he pushed the button and he dropped the bomb” it’s pretty simple to see who is being talked about. I found this video on YouTube and just wanted to share.
Bread, peace, and freedom.
May 8, 2008
This really only applies to activists in Kansas right now, but the Democratic Party has a great new tool that will be going nationwide at some point. Here is the text that is in the email if you use the “Invite a friend” option.
I’ve decided to help Democrats win in 2008 by contacting 25 voters in my neighborhood this year. As a Neighborhood Volunteer, I’ve signed on to be part of a massive nationwide mobilization of volunteers to elect Democrats at all levels of government. Democratic candidates need people like us to reach out to our friends, family and neighbors to talk about their plans for the economy, health care and our foreign policy.
This election is so important. I urge you to join me, and the Democratic team, by signing up to be a Neighborhood Volunteer in your neighborhood:
The Neighborhood Volunteer website gives us everything we need to conduct voter contact: lists of voters in our neighborhoods, flyers to pass out and information about what is happening in the 2008 campaign.
The website is easy enough to use that you can get started in your neighborhood TODAY. Most importantly, the program is extremely convenient. You can talk to your neighbors whenever you have the time. Will you join me to bring change to our community and our country?
When you sign up, the system creates a walk list of voters in your neighborhood with a brief questionnaire and a map that shows you where the houses are. Talk is good, but it’s also pretty cheap. If you want to change things, if you want to get the power out of the hands of the corporations that have stolen it and back into the hands of We the people like it’s supposed to be, this is a good start. I know I was surprised at how many democrats are living in my neighborhood. We can talk the talk, let’s walk the walk.
Bread, peace, and freedom!
Update: I have only contacted 5 of the 25 that I got to start and I’m already in first place for voter contact in our district. Let’s get off our asses people!
I’ve come to the conclusion that we don’t know what we’re doing anymore -Lewis Black
So I was talking to my father-in-law the other day and floated a joke by him that I’ve been getting good laugh-milage on for a few days. It’s a context-specific variation on “the only way that Hillary Clinton is going to get the Dem nomination at this point is if Barack Obama sprouts fangs and eats a baby on live TV.” His precise response is lost in the fog of incredulity, but it was something to the effect that he actually thinks that this senario (fangs and baby-eating) might actually happen.
I’m now coming to the conclusion that issues don’t matter any more. The constitution was written during the Age of Reason, I guess that since the drunk cowboy in the oval office is wiping his ass with that document, this can officially be called “The Age of Bullshit”. Some examples:
As the icecaps melt and the glaciers disappear and 60% of the world’s population are looking at the distinct possibility of having their living room turning into the pool they always wanted, we are, in the US, still having a conversation about whether global warming is real, if humans are causing it, and whether it will be a good or bad thing. This is like sitting in your living room and having a drawn-out, point-by-point debate on the subject of fire, whether it exists and has it been a net harmful or helpful thing WHILE YOUR FUCKING HOUSE IS BURNING DOWN!!!!!
In Kansas, the governor and legislature are fighting over whether to put up a coal-fired power plant or build windmills in western Kansas. In Sweden, they have a power plant that uses the heat generated by the treatment of raw sewage to generate electricity. So, in Kansas, in 2008, we are debating the merits of using coal or wind (one thing that Kansas has plenty of) to generate power while the swedes are TURNING SHIT INTO ELECTRICITY!!!!!
Barack Obama was raised primarily by a single mom and his grandparents. He just recently finished paying off his student loans. Hillary Clinton still has the silver spoon that was in her mouth when she was born and has spent the last 20 years in a bubble made of money and power and she is actually getting away with calling Obama an elitist.
I’m going to finish this before my blood pressure gets into the red zone. I end with another Lewis Black quote paraphrase because I don’t have the exact quote here. He was talking about Hurricane Katrina in his Red, White, and Screwed special when he said:
There has to come a point where democrats and republicans look at a piece of footage and say “This is reality”. You can’t watch a video of a kitten getting run over by a Land Rover and say, “I think the cat was trying to commit suicide. I’m going to need at least 3 days to find the note it left.”