“Some will rob you with a six-gun, And some with a fountain pen.” (Woody Guthrie) This year marks the one hundredth anniversary of Woody Guthrie’s birth. Guthrie sang for the people of America and the world, for he was both a patriot and an internationalist. He honoured the working man, the outcast and the refugee. He sang of ruthless bosses and a system designed to crush the hopes of ordinary people. He also sang of dreams and desires for a better world. His great song “This Land is Your Land” was sung at Obama’s inauguration by Pete Seeger, Bruce Springsteen and others. Their version included the often missing verses about unemployment and private property. Sadly the spirit of the song was not taken up by the Obama administration and the system in America remains a plutocracy rather than a democracy. Sadder still, Obama has become yet another President of War, issuing executive orders authorising even the assassination of American citizens. Drone attacks on “terrorists” and civilians have grown dramatically under Obama’s watch and guidance. Drone warfare, in a sense, is his preferred method of killing – perhaps a chilling way to put it but we should not put a smile button on high-tech murder. Meanwhile, as traditional means of war have yet to be made redundant, America’s military presence on Australian soil will increase, letting our neighbours know yet again what the term “lackey of Yankee imperialism” actually means (apologies to those who recoil from nostalgic leftism).
Recommended CitationAshbolt, Anthony, Illawarra Unity: Editorial & Contents 2012, Illawarra Unity - Journal of the Illawarra Branch of the Australian Society for the Study of Labour History, 11(1), 2012.