By Doug Cunningham
The California Nurses Association is calling on Congress to allocate $1.5 billion to combat the swine flu virus. The nation’s largest organization of registered nurses says broader, national action is need for containment of the virus and prevention of a broader swine flu pandemic.
By Doug Cunningham
Workers and their unions gathered Friday in Chicago at the Haymarket monument to honor the significance and sacrifice of those who died in the struggle for the eight-hour day. On this day in 1886 a labor rally supporting the strike at McCormick Harvesting for the eight-hour day ended in bloodshed. Police charged into labor activists, a bomb was thrown at them and police opened fire on the crowd of activists. Many people were killed and wounded. In the immediate aftermath workers were rounded up and harshly treated. Eight Haymarket labor activists were tried and four were executed. The AFL-CIO’s Ross Hyman added a commemorative plaque to the Haymarket monument.
Happy Birthday to Pete Seeger, the legendary folk singer, union activist, environmental champion and jolly hell-raiser who turns 90 years old today.
If you get a chance, take a few minutes and hum or sing a few lines from “This Land Is Your Land,” “Turn, Turn, Turn,” “If I had a Hammer,” “We Shall Overcome,” “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy,” or any other Seeger tune and give a birthday wish to a man who has walked the walk, talked the talk and sung the songs for 90 years.
Seeger has been closely connected to the progressive movement from the 1930s through today. He was there during the 1940s and 1950s “red scare,” with black lists and Joe McCarthy, the civil rights movement, the war in Vietnam, the environmental movement and today’s continuing struggle for justice.
Washington Post music critic J. Freedom du Lac calls Seeger
one of the most significant artist-activists in 20th-century American music.
This week, Peter Yarrow, of Peter, Paul and Mary fame, told the Newark Star Ledger:
There is no person who has more influenced the world of folk music than Pete Seeger. He has forged a path that has connected social activism for greater equity, fairness, and human rights that has become deeply imbedded in the heart and history of our country. With complete humility and respect for the grassroots folks, his is a legacy of the true spirit of what America is in its finest hour.
Last week, Seeger, his grandson Tao Rodriguez Seeger and members of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band performed at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Brett Anderson of the Times-Picayune wrote:
There was no denying the power of the legend’s presence. “Turn! Turn! Turn (to Everything There is a Season)” had the Fair Grounds feeling a lot like Woodstock, and the group’s version of “I Don’t Want Your Millions, Mister” provided a sound perfectly suited to these economic times: Thousands of people singing “Give me back my job again” in unison, over and over.
“That one goes out to Wall Street,” Rodriguez Seeger said when it was over.
Today, Seeger is being honored at a special concert in Madison Square Garden—Bruce Springsteen, Steve Earle, Joan Baez, Kris Kristofferson and some 40 artists will perform, with the proceeds going to Clearwater, the environmental foundation Seeger founded in 1966 to clean up the Hudson River.