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Dignity of Labor Redux

September 6, 2007

On labor day, Policraticus at Vox Nova wrote a nice post lamenting that in the United States we are losing a sense of the dignity of labor. In my comment to his post, I argued that in large part, this is because of the decline of the union movement in the United States, and that in times and places where organized labor is stronger, the dignity of labor is embraced. (In my own labor day post, I point out that this decline is largely attributable to violations of the right to organize in the United States.)

The topic actually brought a particular song to mind — British folk-rocker Billy Bragg’s “Between the Wars.” It’s a beautiful evocation of the dignity of labor, a vision of a just society, and the ambiguities of economic prosperity tied to the military-industrial complex. Flat out, one of the greatest songs ever. The fact that Bragg could get superstar status in Britain for singing songs like this illustrates my point.

Anyway, meandering around YouTube (I don’t call myself Lackadasia for nothing!), I actually ran across this video of Bragg performing the song on a British top 40 TV show. (Here are the lyrics.) Enjoy!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. loweb3 permalink
    September 6, 2007 12:48 pm

    The singing is a little too British sounding for my American ear, but I like the words a lot.

    I’ve always thought the money you earned by the sweat of your brow was the best money you could earn, and should be honored as such in the tax codes.

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