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Thursday, May 01, 2008

May Day

Despite a panoply of holidays celebrated this first day of May, some religious, some political - I choose to recognize and celebrate the International Workers Day aspect of "May Day."

dils chip jumping

The Dils, pictured above, were California punk rock's closest thing to old skool socialists in sentiment with songs like Class War and I Hate the Rich.

avengers BW

The Avengers, another seminal punk rock band from San Francisco, and frequent co-headliner of shows with The Dils were just as political, proclaiming "We are not Fascists" (we are the one) and sang about The American in Me with a vigor and conviction that gave the perception of a unified youth culture.

Meanwhile, over in England, Sham 69 did proclaim "If the kids are united, we will never be divided."

sham 69 live
Sham 69 in 2007, still going strong

May Day cannot pass without a big tip of the hat to one Billy Bragg. (Sorry no photos. Why? dunno. Good question. I've seen him perform hundreds of times!) If anyone is still waving the flag of the International Worker, it is Mr. Bragg. Spiritual son of Emma Goldman and Woody Guthrie... indeed, beloved he is by the Guthrie family. Billy sings of the "power in a union" and uses his celebrity for good, not evil... his punk rock as agit prop, just like Woody Guthrie before him, and like Guthrie and Joe Strummer, his guitar is a machine that kills fascists.

If you have to work on May 1, power up your iPod, your workstation computer or whatever/however you listen to music with selections from Woody Guthrie, The Clash, Sham 69, The Dils, The Avengers and Mr. Billy Bragg. You'll be glad you did.

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