Monday, September 5, 2011

Happy Labor Day

Here's what sounds like a good read -- a new biography of Joe Hill, songwriter of the IWW, the Wobblies, and apropos of the day...
The IWW ignited his sense of social justice and equality and his songs gave voice to those beliefs and a voice to the workers. His songs were parodied gospels, rewritten hymns that the Salvation Army (or, the Starvation Army as Hill would call them) used to drown out the worker's protests. As he explained in a letter from jail:
"A pamphlet, no matter how good, is never read more than once, but a song is learned by heart and repeated over and over; and I maintain that if a person can put a few cold, common sense facts into a song, and dress them... up in a cloak of humor to take the dryness off them, he will succeed in reaching a great number of workers who are too unintelligent or too indifferent to read a pamphlet or an editorial in economic science."
Hill was accused, tried and executed for a murder he didn't commit.

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