There are no neutrals
Over the last week or so I posted five YouTubes of “Which Side Are You On?” Now, this wasn’t random.
- I like the song.
- I was writing about treating signing up new members (and Fellows) like organizing, like real union work.
- Two weeks ago Jose Vilson asked for an identifying sign-off (it’s a matter of poetry), and I complied with the “only two sides” line.
But five versions?
I grew up with Pete Seeger’s.
The two women on the banjo and guitar, with the cat walking by, just sounds good.
Dropkick Murphys? I was worried, with the loud, shouted version, that the audience just liked the noise. But which line does the audience shout at the stage? “will you be a lousy scab or will you be a man?” Hard to argue with that.
Rebel Diaz is some hard political stuff. But they choose carefully, and while I’m not in love with everything they rap, the thing, the spirit is right. Very right. And don’t miss the “teachers and lunch ladies” or “a world without borders and a better tomorrow.” There’s a cleaner version, but with images only.
And then the Natalie Merchant version is just so pretty.
In the end, I was going to say that I grew up with Pete Seeger, that I like his the best, but I have replayed the song who knows how many times over the last week, and know what? The two women on the couch with the banjo, guitar and the cat? I can’t stop listening to them.