by Steven Jonas, MD
crossposted on Buzzflash.com
December 19, 2008
Walking home from seeing “Milk,” I found myself humming a song about another great American leader of people, Joe Hill. He was an organizer for the International Workers of the World who was framed on a murder charge and killed in Utah in 1915. A song by Earl Robinson that was famous when I was a boy (frequently performed by Pete Seeger) goes in part:
“I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night, Alive as you or me. Says I, ‘But Joe, you’re ten years dead,’ ‘I never died,’ says he, ‘I never died,’ says he. ‘The copper bosses killed you, Joe, They shot you, Joe,’ says I.
‘Takes more than guns to kill a man,’ Says Joe, ‘I didn’t die,’ Says Joe, ‘I didn’t die.’ And standing there as big as life, And smiling with his eyes Joe says, ‘What they forgot to kill, Went on to organize, Went on to organize.’”
Joe Hill’s spirit remains alive among the few militant unions and workers that the Republicans, with the complicity of many Democrats over the years, have not managed to kill. That process began with the passage of the union-busting Taft-Hartley Act in 1947 and has been followed by the many state “right-to-work” laws (e.g., Alabama and Tennessee) enacted since then. And so, I thought, where is the spirit of Harvey Milk now?
Filed under: Civil Rights, Dandelion Salad Featured Writers, Dandelion Salad Posts News Politics and-or Videos 2, Dandelion Salad Videos, Labor, Politics, Republicans, Sexual Orientation | Tagged: gay marriage, Harvey Milk, Jonas-Steven, Video | 9 Comments »