The Preacher and the Slave, by Joe Hill
Long-haired preachers come out every night,
Try to tell you what’s wrong and what’s right,
But when asked about something to eat,
They will answer in voices so sweet:
You will eat bye and bye,
In that glorious land above the sky.
Work and pray, (work and pray),
Live on hay, (live on hay),
You’ll get Pie in the Sky,
When you die, (that’s a lie!)
And the starvation army they play,
They sing and they dance and they pray,
Till they get all your coin on the drum,
Then they tell you when you’re on the bum:
If you fight hard for the good things in life,
They will tell you to stop all the strife,
Be a sheep for the bosses they say
Or to hell you are surely on the way!
Workingfolk of all countries unite;
Side by side we for freedom will fight
When the world and its wealth we have gained,
To the grafters we will sing this refrain:
You will eat, bye and bye,
When you’ve learned how to cook and to fry;
Chop some wood, ‘twill do you good
And you’ll eat in the sweet bye and bye.
(That’s no lie!)
Joe Hill was born in Sweden and migrated to the US. In 1910 joined the Industrial Workers of the World. Over the next five years he campaigned for many working class causes and became popular song-writer — the Wobblies were well-known for their songs. In 1914, during bitter struggles over free speech in Utah, Joe Hill was framed on a murder charge. Joe Hill was executed on 19 November 1915. His body was taken to Chicago, where over 30,000 people attended his funeral procession.