American Folksongs of Protest

By John Greenway | Go to book overview

5. The migratory workers

The Wobblies, Hoboes, and Migrants

He built the road,
With others of his class he built the road.
Now o'er it, many a weary mile, he packs his load,
Chasing a job, spurred on by hunger's goad.
He walks and walks and walks and walks
And wonders why in Hell he built the road
.


THE MAKING OF A MOVEMENT: THE WOBBLIES

The Industrial Workers of the World, the revolutionary organization founded to destroy the forces of avarice, and the "one big union" which first made songs of militant action out of songs of discontent, ironically enough became a singing movement through the mercenary scheme of a professional spell- binder.

In the fall of 1906, a year after its inception as a combination of such radical groups as the Socialist Labor Party, the Western Federation of Miners, and the American Labor Union, the IWW went through its first great crisis. A disagreement in philosophy between the syndicalistic ("red") and the socialistic ("yellow") factions split the union in two. The red faction, com

-173-

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American Folksongs of Protest
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • To Ruth v
  • Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • Introduction 1
  • 1. an Historical Survey 21
  • 2. Negro Songs of Protest 67
  • 3. the Songs of the Textile Workers 121
  • 4. Songs of the Miners 147
  • 5. the Migratory Workers 173
  • 6. Songs of the Farmers 209
  • 7. a Labor Miscellany 225
  • 8. the Song-Makers 243
  • Appendix 311
  • Bibliography 329
  • List of Composers 339
  • List of Songs and Ballads 341
  • Index 345
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