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Joe Hill Never died

Sometimes the hardest thing to do is admit success. The Black Rights Movement should have taken a bow after President Obama’s election and the Labor Unions should have stopped pushing sometime in the mid-70s. Today, when you try to place the blame for the richest country in the world being on the verge of bankrupsty, you can place the labor unions in Detriot behind greedy Wall Street bankers BUT BEHIND GREEDY WALL STREET BANKERS. When it costs more to produce a car than you can get back by selling it, you’re finished.

None of that was true in 1912 when Joe Hill started organizing labor and forming unions, saving American workers from seven day weeks and virtual slavery through such rank indecencies as the corporate store where the laborers wages were taken before they were even received. In 1915 Joe Hill was framed for murder, put in front of a firing squad and shot to death.

I know in Labor Union movements Joe Hill would have still been a byword but for people like us it is Alfred Haynes and Earl Robinson’s classic folk tribute “Joe Hill” that lives on, flys on. Covered by Pete Seeger and Joan Baez and Billy Bragg and countless others, it was the inspiration for Bob Dylan’s “I Dreamt I Saw St. Augustine” off John Wesley Harding. ‘It takes more than guns to kill a man,” goes the song, “I never died said he”. And finally Hill explains. “Joe says ‘Joe Hill ain’t never died. Where working men are out on strike Joe Hill is by their side'”. God save the Labor Unions and let’s pray we never need them again.

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