East Kilbride

from by David Rovics

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Recorded for Historic Times.

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Jet fighters bombed the palace, we all watched it on TV
The 11th of September, 1973
All across the world people cried in vain
As we heard stories of the people being tortured and slain
Stories of the workers, shop stewards and the rest
Being slaughtered at the new dictator's behest
Labor groups condemned it, said we were on the workers' side
Including all the engineers of East Kilbride

People organized a boycott of General Pinochet
Who had overthrown Allende with a Hawker Hunter jet
Then a few months later, March of '74
Bob Fulton came to work at the Rolls Royce factory floor
He looked at the orders that had come in that day
And found crates with jet engines from Chile
Jet engines from the Air Force across the ocean wide
Sent to be repaired in East Kilbride

It didn't take a minute for Fulton and his mates
To come to the decision that they would not touch these crates
Soon four thousand Rolls Royce workers voted they agreed
To stand with the Chileans in their hour of need
Management decried them, the Tories screamed and cussed
But the Hawker Hunter engines were left to sit and rust
Nowhere else on Earth were workers qualified
To repair the engines sitting there in East Kilbride

It's often hard to know if you've changed anything a whit
But decades later a Chilean general would admit
For a time in Santiago there were no fighters in the sky
Because the whole Chilean Air Force had not one jet that could fly
They may not have changed the world, this group of union engineers
But these crates of metal sat corroding for four years
So here's to British labor, how for four years it tried
To do what could be done from East Kilbride

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from Historic Times, released May 1, 2019

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David Rovics Portland, Oregon

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