Is “Maggie’s Farm” a labor song? Well, it’s a Bob Dylan song. And it certainly is calling for worker autonomy, even if that worker is only Dylan himself. Apparently, it is seen as Dylan’s complaint about the constraints of folk music. But I think that reading is all hindsight — based upon the arc of his creative life. But regardless how you see the song, it is about a man saying that he isn’t going to live his life according to others’ ideas. It is a song about self-empowerment. And that is ultimately what the labor movement is about. That’s why the current workingman’s worship of the rich is so dangerous: it is un-empowering. Just like with Christianity that tells workers to suffer now for a great future, the hope of future riches is just a lie.
Morning Music: Bob Dylan
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