|Joe Hill's IWW Funeral, 1915|
Labour today doesn't have much to sing about. Organised labour – organised into structured unions tied to collective bargaining contracts, that is – is on the ropes. By all indices, Americans are working harder for less money – that is, when they are working at all. Unemployment and under-employment numbers at anywhere from 25 to 30 million, and the angry, unorganised jobless have yet to fight back except for the self-destructive manifestations of frustrated rage. Republicans in Congress hate the unemployed. If they could, they'd get rid of unemployment insurance altogether, which GOP minority whip Jon Kyl sneers at as a "disincentive for them to seek new work".
Kyl and his Republican and Blue Dog Democrat colleagues – direct descendants of Gilded Age barons who ordered workers shot down – with an enabling President Obama, who hasn't lifted a finger to help unions he once promised to meet on the picket line, have united to declare old-fashioned class war on working people. Joe Hill and his spirited IWW comrades like the "rebel girl" Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, anarchist Emma Goldman, Big Bill Haywood and Gene Debs would immediately get it. The same victims, same union-busting tactics only now with $1000-per-hour billable lawyers: and the same enemy.