rivalsanlendo's current selection is:
Joe Hill
by Paul Robeson
#aprilmusicchallenge

Day 27 : favorite holiday song

I don’t really have a favorite holiday, I’m pretty okay with most of them. I figured there’d be a smattering of Xmas tunes & a lot of Halloween stuff from the cool kids.
But I doubted there’d be any references to May Day, and I’m not talking about that pagan crop circles thing, which is fine if that’s your thing, but you can have it.

May Day (May 1st) is International Workers Day, somehow strangely not acknowledged in Murikah. Hmmm.... I wonder why? *hand on chin guy emoji*
We do have Labor Day & to be honest, I’m surprised we even have that.
I live in Pennsylvania, for fucks sake, and I’m bombarded with a constant shit-stream of anti-union sentiment. I think people genuinely just think that bosses decided to be nice one day & just give us the 8 hour work day (still too long, but better than the past), Weekends (much too short, but whatever), and all the other various protections in place. Well, that’s not what happened. Folks fought and died for it.

Okay, end of soapbox.

Joe Hill was a labor activist & member of the Industrial Workers Of The World aka the IWW. He was accused of murder with little to no evidence, basically steamrolled for his labor connections & union activity. This was a very real thing at the time, and not so long ago, despite our short memories. Many prominent figures of the time voiced outrage & demanded his freedom (including Hellen Keller, who popular history has whitewashed of her activist past). He was executed in 1915 at the age of 36. His last words are reported as “Fire! Go on and Fire!” (To The firing squad he faced). Bad ass.
Hill wrote many early protest songs including “There is Power In A Union”.

Paul Robeson was a genius polymath, lawyer, actor, singer, celebrated college athlete, and activist. During the various “red scares” in US history, he was often targeted for his ties to the USSR, a place he said had never treated him with the racist contempt of his own birth country. He was blacklisted during the McCarthy fiasco. I never learned any of this in school, not even during Black History Month. Upon learning about his activism when I was in college, I said “the old man river guy???” An important and unsung figure that really needs to be rediscovered.
And one helluva voice.

Anyway, sorry to bog everyone down with my commie crap. It looks like a nice day outside & I have some errands to run. This weekend marks the end of my week long vacation from work; something that wouldn’t have even been possible if not for people like Joe Hill. Oops, there I go again.

“My will is easy to decide
For there is nothing to divide
My kin don’t need to fuss & moan
‘Moss does not cling to rolling stone’...”
(From Joe Hill’s last will, 1915)
 
Posted: 27th April 2019
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