- May 31, 2012
- Reaction score
Nicole Colson tells the story of Woody Guthrie on the 100th anniversary of his birth.
In 1938, Woody drifted around Northern California, working on a series of stories covering the plight of the "Okies" in California. He performed for migrant families camped by the Sacramento River and observed peaches rotting on trees because growers weren't hiring pickers--too much fruit on the market would drive prices down. During his travels, he met members of the Industrial Workers of the World, and learned about IWW songwriter Joe Hill, who was executed in 1915 for his labor activism.
Despite this, it's important to understand that Woody saw the CP in particular, and socialism more generally, as an alternative to the viciousness and barbarism of capitalism that destroyed the lives of working people. Because of his interactions with rank-and-file CP members during strikes and organizing drives, Woody developed a deep and abiding respect for the party.
WOODY BRISTLED against the patriotism and jingoism exploding in the U.S. as America's entrance into the Second World War approached. This anger set the stage for his most famous composition in February 1940: "This Land Is Your Land."
Read all of it here.