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May Day music mix

May Day is Saturday, the international worker's day. It's a holiday remembering the murder of protesters in Chicago in 1886 who were on strike for the 8 hour work day, but has grown to be a day for calling out against systems of oppression, and particularly war and capitalism.

It's celebrated almost everywhere around the world, although notably not here in the United States where the murders took place.

May Day is also an important pagan holiday (more widely known as Beltane).

Since May Day has a pretty broad focus, the songs here are a bit of a random sampling of some of my favorite protest tunes - what are your faves?

The Most Dangerous Woman - Ani DiFranco/Utah Phillips
London Calling - The Clash
Mississippi Goddam - Nina Simone
Homophobia - Chumbawamba
Strange Fruit - Billie Holiday
Army Dreamers - Kate Bush
Underdogs - The Coup
What If We All Stopped Paying - Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings
Combat Rock - Sleater-Kinney
Give The Anarchist A Cigarette - Chumbawamba

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All-Spanish Protest Song Mix

these are not really all of my favorites, or even my most favorite, but in honor of May 1 marches for progressive immigration reform, and against the continuing idiocy in Arizona's legislature (now spread to its and Department of Education), my (brief) All-Spanish Protest Song Mix. Explanations are hardly necessary to people who listen to music in Spanish, but if you don't, consider it an invitation.

  1. "Sólo le pido a Dios", written by León Gieco. "I only ask God that I am never indifferent to injustice." For truly awesome female vocals, here's the version sung by Mercedes Sosa.
  2. "El barzón", written by Miguel Muñiz. A classic from the Mexican Revolution about the exploitation of agricultural workers. For truly awesome female vocals, here's the version sung by Amparo Ochoa.
  3. "Clandestino", by Manu Chao. An immigration anthem (No awesome female vocals available, though).
  4. "Voto latino" or "Frijolero" by Molotov. They're both super rousing and fun, and both a little problematic, and I really can't decide which is more of which.
  5. "Canción protesta", by Aterciopelados. Which is my favorite protest song in Spanish, for being so straightforward about it and so fun, for having truly awesome female vocals, and for including the lyrics "Atahualpa, oh, yeah!"

Great songs

I love "Clandestino" and "Mississippi Goddamn." I'll have to check out the others!

Pete Seeger

Pete Seeger has written and performed some of my favorite protest songs; especially inspiring is his version of "Solidarity Forever":

When the union's inspiration through the workers' blood shall run,
There can be no power greater anywhere beneath the sun;
Yet what force on earth is weaker than the feeble strength of one,
But the union makes us strong.

CHORUS:
Solidarity forever,
Solidarity forever,
Solidarity forever,
For the union makes us strong.

Is there aught we hold in common with the greedy parasite,
Who would lash us into serfdom and would crush us with his might?
Is there anything left to us but to organize and fight?
For the union makes us strong.

Chorus

It is we who plowed the prairies; built the cities where they trade;
Dug the mines and built the workshops, endless miles of railroad laid;
Now we stand outcast and starving midst the wonders we have made;
But the union makes us strong.

Chorus

All the world that's owned by idle drones is ours and ours alone.
We have laid the wide foundations; built it skyward stone by stone.
It is ours, not to slave in, but to master and to own.
While the union makes us strong.

Chorus

They have taken untold millions that they never toiled to earn,
But without our brain and muscle not a single wheel can turn.
We can break their haughty power, gain our freedom when we learn
That the union makes us strong.

Chorus

In our hands is placed a power greater than their hoarded gold,
Greater than the might of armies, magnified a thousand-fold.
We can bring to birth a new world from the ashes of the old
For the union makes us strong.