Wisconsin Uprising and an ode to the unions

by Julian Paul Keenan, Director of the Cognitive Neuroimaging Laboratory and Professor of Psychology, Montclair State University

The labor movement over the past year in Wisconsin has reminded many of us what unions mean to the world. Left unchecked, power always corrupts, and when politicians and corporations join hands, the only defense for the people is the people. NYU Press has a great tradition of publishing books that are progressive and speak for the people. Wisconsin Uprising, published by Monthly Review Press, has just done what was needed, which was publishing a book for the people’s movement. This is what I try to do. As a professor I try to educate my students and force them to use their brains. And in my other life as a musician I try to push myself to be political, progressive, and to make music that inspires.

My band is Let it Slide, New Jersey’s premier progressive hard rock band. In honor of Wisconsin Uprising, here is a free download of “Oh Union,” which is a tribute to our greatest defense against corruption, the Union. Inspired in part by recent events in Wisconsin, the song describes the world without unions. (Note: the speaker at the beginning of the song is Cesar Chavez.)

from the album, One Bad American, released 01 February 2012

lyrics

Oh Union
Oh union, oh union
They’ve come to burn my land
Oh union, oh union
They’ve come to burn my land
Just need a brother, just need a helping hand

Oh union, oh union
The grass turned to dirt
Oh union, oh union
The grass turned to dirt
Took away my belt, and now they’ve come for my shirt

Oh union, oh union
I’m down on my knees
Oh union, oh union
I’m down on my knees
Baby’s going hungry, wife died from disease

Oh union, oh union
Where did you go?
Oh union, oh union
Where did you go?
Lost my land in the rain, lost my farm in the snow