Here’s the song The Boss killed a man for singing:
This is a parody of In the Sweet By and By sung by Cisco Houston and written in 1911 by Joe Hill, a Wobbly who was killed by the State of Utah for a crime he didn’t commit. Given Twain’s irreligiosity and his hatred of economic inequality, he probably would’ve liked Hill’s song.
I confused a few issues today in class. Just for the sake of clarity, the Bread and Roses strike occurred in 1912 in Lawrence (not Lowell) Massachusetts. See https://dp.la/exhibitions/breadandroses for a basic outline. The IWW (Wobblies) was deeply involved in the strike and included people such as Big Bill Haywood and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn (the latter became one of the founding figures of the ACLU).
The Paterson strike, which also involved the Wobblies, was the strike that Jack Reed covered as a reporter. He was almost immediately swept up in events and this was a turning point in his political development. Here is an article he wrote for The Masses, a publication that would be suppressed by the federal government for its anti-war position.
Here’s the cover. Note the name of the artist.
Here’s the link for Wednesday’s lecture, “Nothing in Common”: The Wobblies vs. the Bosses’ Government.
Here’s a great video. Words and music by Phil Ochs, performed by Billy Bragg.
Joe Hill’s The Rebel Girl. The introduction includes an excerpt of the speech by Elizabeth Gurley Flynn we read for class.
More Billy Bragg. This time playing Joe Hill’s There is Power in a Union in the GDR. Song kicks in @ 3:13.