Today, we’ll do one of the classics, “There Is Power in a Union.” It was written by Joe Hill, just two years before the state put him to death for being a labor activist. Of course, that wasn’t the explicit reason that he was executed. But it rarely was. It was trivial to get labor organizers convicted by a jury of their “peers” for pretty much anything. It is as I say more and more: the justice system has always been about reinforcing power and never about justice.
This version is by folk musician Joe Glazer. And the video is of the violence that erupted as a result of the Little Steel strike. People talk about how violent unions are. You will note who is violent in this video — it isn’t the workers. I find it perhaps the greatest triumph of the power elite that they have managed to make most workers have a bad opinion of the one kind of institution that has done them the greatest good: unions.
Wow, that video.
I haven’t heard “unions are violent” for over 30 years — it’s a mantra my dad used to repeat, ages ago. (Since there are no unions strong enough to be worth beating up, anymore, there’s no meme that “unions are violent” — now, it’s black people in cars during traffic stops who are violent.)
I can never over-repeat how shocking it was for me to move to the Midwest and find every city has an old National Guard armory. WTF? We’re not going to be invaded by Grenada or anything up in here. Those armories were strictly for guns to shoot union strikers with. Stone morons in Texas and elsewhere think that Big Gummint means going after the guns of guys who like target-shooting beer cans on weekends. A thousand times, no. A democratically-elected government can stop rich people from shooting poor people in the face. A government owned by rich people won’t stop anything.
Yeah, the military is usually for keeping the people in check. The power elite are terrified by the power of the people and democracy more generally. Luckily, they don’t have to worry about either in modern America!
Tomorrow is a great one, “Union Burying Ground.”