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Joe Hill Again!

Paul Buhle Portside
The centennial celebration of Joe Hill's execution is being marked by concerts, symposiums, meetings and forums, and the publication of new books, or new editions. Labor historian Paul Buhle reviews two of these. Franklin Rosemont's Joe Hill: The IWW & the Making of a Revolutionary Workingclass Counterculture, with a new introduction by David Roediger; and Philip S. Foner's The Letters of Joe Hill, with new material by Alexis Buss and foreword by Tom Morello.

100 Years Later: 5 Timeless Lessons From Joe Hill

Nadine Bloch Waging Nonviolence
Joe Hill -- executed 100 years ago by a Utah firing squad -- knew the power of harnessing creativity. The Wobblies embraced songs, comics, soapboxing, and other creative tactics in reaching out to unorganized workers as well as in direct actions on the job site. “A pamphlet, no matter how good, is never read more than once, but a song is learned by heart and repeated over and over,” Hill wrote in a letter to the editor of Solidarity in November 1914.

labor

I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night

Lily Murphy Counterpunch
Alfred Hayes wrote it as a poem in upstate New York at a left wing retreat called Camp Unity during the Summer of 1936. Hayes met Earl Robinson there and upon hearing Hayes recite his poem Robinson instantly put the words to music as part of a campfire session celebrating the trade union icon. By that September the song had been published in The Daily Worker and became a popular song with members of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade fighting Franco’s fascists in Spain.

Joe Hill Documentary

Joe Hill was a Swedish-American immigrant, IWW labor organizer and author of biting labor songs, including Casey Jones -- Union Scab. He was executed by firing squad, despite a worldwide movement in his defense, after being convicted of murder in a controversial trial in Utah. This Swedish documentary is a fresh exploration of his roots and life.  
 

Pete Seeger - Casey Jones

Casey Jones -- Union Scab, was written by IWW songwriter Joe Hill in 1911 during a nationwide railroad strike. It is a parody of a then-popular song romanticizing a loyal railroad employee. 

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