ORG TELLS DANCERS: “DO NOT SELF SUBMIT!” Dancers’ Alliance, an organization that seeks to strengthen unions and look after the economic rights of their fellow music video dancers, has launched a “DO NOT SELF SUBMIT” campaign aimed at educating and empowering music video dancers about their economic power and rights. Dancers’ Alliance wants to let dancers be aware…
APR 30 – TulsaWorld.com has a cool article up about the Okemah, Oklahoma museum featuring the top American musical-activist, the granddaddy of them all, Woody Guthrie. The Woody Guthrie Center, which opened up one year ago, will be celebrating all week with exhibits and musical performances from such acts as Parker Millsap and John Fullbright celebrating the life of the troubadour that led the fight for organized labor and sang about the plight of the common man. He even started the folk scene and helped guide young Bob Dylan musically. Nowadays, his music and legacy is guarded and the creation of the Woody Guthrie Center is all due to the hard work of his daughter, Nora Guthrie. The director, Deana McCloud, wanted to make the center appeal to everyone, so even a third-grader can discover this great man, or one of his fans can reminisce and even discover new things about Woody. Read more about the 1 year anniversary of the Woody Guthrie Center on TulsaWorld.com here. (photo credit :Al Aumuller/CC)
APR 17, 2014 – John Mellencamp, a strong musical-activist and supporter of unions, was worried the union-busting, corporate tax-cutting Scott Walker might start using his music again at his rallies for his re-election, and Tuesday he did. Mellencamp has repeatedly told Walker to not use his music, for Walker has tried to use his songs "Pink Houses" and "Small Town" that have strong American imagery in their lyrics in his previous campaigns.
Mellencamp's publicist Claire Mercuri told Scott Bauer of HuffPo and Dinesh Ramde of AP in an email that after becoming aware that "Pink Houses" was used last Tuesday to launch Walker's re-election bid, John felt he wanted to strongly reiterate his support of unions and collective bargaining, and to tell Walker to stop using his music…AGAIN. Read more on HuffPo here. (photo credit: Fred W. Baker/CC)
August 19, 2013 – After posting about the oft forgotten battles (literally!) for worker's rights at the turn of the century in this country, a JTMP supporter passed on this great song about the struggles in the song, "Battle of Blair Mountain", played by Louise Mosrie. Great stuff….watch her perform it live below.
What do you think? Start a conversation or leave a comment on our Justice Through Music Facebook Page.
(Photo: company thugs – 1912 – credit: Charleston Gazette)
August 18, 2013 – Watching one of my favorite shows "Diggers" last night, I was reminded of the actual battles for worker's rights, including guns and all, that took place in this country at the turn of the century. With the Republicans lately attacking unions and eroding worker's rights, I thought I would blog about a hidden history of the United States; something you don't find in any textbooks. They never taught me this when I went to public school.
In our Industrial Age in the 1800s coal miners were horribly exploited even to the point of "company scrip", where workers would get tokens for pay, and be forced to buy only from the company store. Misery and death ruled their lives; from poor working conditions, long hours, death and disease from "black lung", and very low pay while Robber Barons lived in the lap of luxury. Around 1910 the workers had had enough, and started to form unions demanding better pay and better working conditions. Coal companies responded by firing union-sympathizing workers, blacklisting them, evicting from their homes, and even hiring armed thugs who would beat, intimidate and even murder workers trying to organize. The coal companies would bribe government officials to arrest union-sympathizers on flimsy charges and to hire these squads of well-armed thugs.
In West Virginia in 1912, after enduring this brutality for too long, and fired up by Mary Harris "Mother Jones", miners started fighting back. They formed unions and started strikes such as "The Paint Creek-Cabin Creek" strikes. This led to many armed confrontations such as "The Battle of Blair Mountain" where over 10,000 striking coal miners attempting to rescue three workers from a jail and armed with only "squirrel guns" (small caliber), marched to the jail and faced high-caliber rifles and machine guns manned by government agent thugs. When all was said and done, 30 were dead on the coal company thug side, and over 100 coal miners died. 985 miners were indicted for murder, but acquitted by sympathetic jurors. The coal companies won in the short term, it wasn't until the 1930s under FDR's New Deal until workers would get the right to form unions and unions expanded to steel workers and beyond. Now we have Republicans trying to erode all those rights workers have actually fought for. Of course JTMP does NOT suggest or condone violence in any way, but JTMP does urge our supporters to work peacefully through the ballot box and other ways to protect and secure those rights all those men died for back then. We urge you to make sure you constantly tell your lawmakers in the state and federal level that you want them to protect worker's rights, protect unions, and stand up to Republican thugs trying to enact this stupid, "Right to Work" insanity. (photo credit: Blair Mountain Reenactment Society)
Justice Through Music Project and Op-Critical have released another musical activist video, this one makes a statement on the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster, and the failure of Massey Energy to protect those coal workers. In a statement Op-Critical said, "Coal Miners Family is dedicated to all those who work in the mines and to all those families who have lost loved ones in the mines. The song and video were inspired by the senseless loss of life at the 2010 Upper Big Branch mine disaster. Massey Energy’s failure to follow safety regulations was the direct cause of that nightmare. We, as Americans, need to make sure that those responsible are held accountable and that similar disasters never happen in the future." Watch below.
OCT 13, 2012 – Activist musician Bruce Springsteen, known for his support of unions and the working man (or woman!), will be campaigning for President Barack Obama in Ohio where unemployment has plummeted due to President Barack Obama's bailout of the auto industry and stimulus funds helping middle class working folks out. He will surely be singing his working class anthem, "We Take Care of Our Own" which Obama uses at his rallies. Read more on NBC News.com here.
MAY 10, 2012 – Photographer Amara Betty Martin was up in New York for the recent May Day march, and she caught so many scenes of the day in rich black and white photography, freezing a moment in life and preserving it, while at the same time making a piece of art out of these moments in history. Below is one of her pictures of an activist musician drumming, his drumming frozen in time, his energy bottled.
You can check out more of Amara's pictures at her Facebook page.
MAR 22, 2012 – Hailing from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, musician activist Tokyo Rosenthal brings a rich southern country sound and terrific songwriting to speak for the common working man. His latest song "What Did I Used to Be?" speaks about the plight of many today: unemployment, credit card debt, etc. He told us he wants it to be an, "Anthem for job loss, outsourcing, and desperation." He also said, "It's a song that captures the frustrations and shattered illusions of workers all over the globe. Outsourcing, reinvention, natural resources, and desperation…" (photo credit: Tokyo Rosenthal/Facebook)
Tokyo adds, "It didn't take much to inspire me to write this song. All you have to do is turn on TV and the stories are all there. These are tough times and hopefully the tune and the video capture some of the frustration and misery that's all over the world. If it gets people to stop, think, and react, then I'll be happy. I don't expect to change things with a song, just stir things up a bit and document our present history." Check out his great song and video below, and connect on the Web and Facebook.
DEC 1, 2011 – Union Rocks is an organization up in Canada that is using the inspirational power of music and concerts to spread support and raise awareness on unions, labor (or "labour" as our friends in the Great White North spell it) and voting rights, along with urging young people to get out and VOTE! On their website they say, "Because when the music stops, the mosh pit is quiet, and the smoke clears with the crowd…too many children wake up in poverty, too many young people will go to unsafe jobs, untrained, unprepared and underpaid, more workers will be downsized, outsourced, or forced to devalue themselves. That's why our fists are still in the air!"
They are also affiliated with Fair Vote Canada to protect and expand voting rights, and to change the current Parliamentary system where it is "winner takes all". Fair Vote has a petition up that calls for a more fairer system to represent Canadian citizens. The petition can be found here.
Check out Union Rock's website by going here. We look forward to affiliating ourselves with Union Rocks going into 2012 so we can all Rock Our Rights!