Total recallin’: 11 worker anthems for Wisconsin’s summer of recalls
We recently heard that Wisconsin governor Scott Walker is very unpopular in certain circles. But since Walker’s not eligible for recall until next year, lefties will have to settle for six state senators. Those initial recall elections were yesterday (the final elections are scheduled for August), and something tells us we might see some sort of gathering at the capitol building in the near future, where you can enjoy your worker-ness and sing songs about it. But just in case your plan is to sit at home staring at a computer like usual, here’s a handy collection of dirty, lefty, pinko-commie worker anthems that can help you celebrate your pro-labor stance without exerting any actual effort.
IfIHadAHiFi, “Imperial Walker”
Milwaukee’s premier noisemongers wrote this song in a heartbeat specifically to voice their displeasure with the Walker agenda. They even made a spiffy video for it.
Pearl Jam, “Bu$hleaguer”
In keeping with his other populist crusades, like boycotting Ticketmaster venues so none of his fans could see him play, Eddie Vedder wrote this none-too-subtle attack poem for George W. Bush back in the early aughts, and donned a W. mask for its performance at shows.
Simon And Garfunkel, “Cuba Si, Nixon No”
Originally intended for inclusion on the duo’s final album, Bridge Over Troubled Water, Art Garfunkel purportedly wasn’t enough of a hippie to agree with the overtly anti-Nixon message. He wouldn’t even sing a sweet harmony part for the only documented live performance of the song.
Christy Moore, “Ordinary Man”
Apparently, Margaret Thatcher’s anti-trade union stance in the ’80s was unpopular among a majority of folk singers. Christy Moore, one of Ireland’s best-loved bards, took many opportunities to spout off in support of unions. Here’s a good example.
Billy Bragg, “There Is Power In A Union”
Believe it or not, there are even pro-union people in England. Billy Bragg adopted the traditional folk song “Battle Cry Of Freedom” and created one of his most enduring tunes.
Ani DiFranco, “Millennium Theater”
Something you may not know about Ani DiFranco is that she is decidedly liberal. Here is a rare example of the lil’ folk singer injecting politics into one of her songs.
John Lennon, “Power To The People”
In his usual shrewdness, John Lennon crafted a populist anthem without really even getting political. Still, this song is probably less likely to conjure up images of Republican lobbyists or corporate union-bashers than ordinary working people.
Neil Young, “Let’s Impeach The President”
The title pretty much sums it up. (Hint: It’s not about Obama.)
Dropkick Murphys, “Take ’Em Down”
This Boston-area band jumped on the anti-Walker train as well, releasing an advance video of this raucous pro-worker rant, which will also appears on the group’s latest album, Going Out In Style.
Woody Guthrie, “Union Burying Ground”
Woody Guthrie was probably the most influential folk singer since the dawn of recorded music, and if you go to Madison for any protests, you’re pretty much guaranteed to hear folks singing one or more of his songs.
Bruce Springsteen And The E Street Band, “The Promised Land”
Finally, here’s one of the more uplifting working-class anthems we could think of. Politics aside, we can all believe in the struggle for something greater. Right?