Oklahoma, 1917

from by David Rovics

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A tribute to the almost entirely forgotten period of Oklahoma history when socialism was mainstream, and a secret organization known as the Working Class Union had 35,000 active members.

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The wisdom a story imparts
Usually depends on when it starts
When it first became a state
A grand convention, a great debate
But in the end, understand
Speculators owned the land
To maximize the landlords' greed
They'd only sell cotton seed
So the tenant farmers as a mass
Formed the union of the working class

The flags were red and the corn was green
Oklahoma, 1917

Seminole, Black and white
Understood their cause was right
Young and old, women and men
Organized for a time when
There'd be no landlords, there'd be no rent
They knew precisely what that meant
They knew that words would not suffice
For robber barons don't play nice
Tens of thousands among their ranks
As they rode at night by the riverbanks

It was a time of exploitation
The Gilded Age of revolution
From Prairie Creek to Mexico
To the fields where the cotton grows
When conscription came they said no more
Shall poor men fight a rich man's war
They blew up bridges, they cut the wires
They agitated and conspired
Sometimes rebels take the reins
Other ones end up in chains

credits

from Punk Baroque, released May 1, 2017

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David Rovics Portland, Oregon

"Absolutely brilliant. David Rovics says exactly what needs to be said."
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