Woody Guthrie, America's most revered troubadour for social justice, would be 103 years old if he were alive today. He was born on July 14, 1912. Although he died in 1967 at 55, his songs have endured. They are still sung around the world. In fact, his popularity has grown in recent decades as we learn more about the treasure trove of Guthrie's remarkable songbook.
This is a wonderful piece. When a real mass movement arises Woody’s music, and Folk in general, will again ring out. For now, his, and Folk music in general, is in a sort of limbo, but it will come back, its message is universal. Occupy didn’t pick up on it, indeed, sadly, some ridiculed Joan Baez’ appearance, which showed a complete lack of appreciation for the connectedness of things. Woody’s is a speical democratic contribution to American culture.
Culture is what defines how we see ourselves, each other. It is how we understand society and our relationship to it. Without progressive culture we can only recreated what we already have.
Real sustained progress requires an organized ongoing mass movement. Ensuring the vigor, popular support and duration of that movement requires a cultural paradigm shift. We must see a rejection of the alienated, divisive, violent egoist culture promoted by corporate media, reclaiming and strengthening a culture of class-conscious solidarity. That’s what Woody and the Weavers were about. That too is why I publish the Blue Collar Review, journal of Progressive Working Class Literature. We all need to support and to be part of efforts to reclaim and promote healthy, responsible progressive culture if we are to heal ourselves and our world.