‘Solidarity Forever’ 100 years old

iww songbook coverJanuary 17, 2015,  marked the 100th anniversary of the writing of the labor movement anthem Solidarity Forever. Attorney Jonathan Rosenblum provides a brief history of the song and its writer.

“On a windblown, gray Chicago day 100 years ago, January 17, 1915, Ralph Chaplin left his home on the South Side for a raucous, poor person’s rally at the city’s famous women’s center, Hull House. He asked a visiting friend he’d met organizing coal miners with Mother Jones to listen to the lyrics of a new tune he had been working on: Solidarity Forever,/ Solidarity Forever,/ Solidarity Forever,/ For the union makes us strong!

“The self-described Chicago “stiff” and “rebel editor” wanted to write a song that could be for workers what “John Brown’s Body” and “Battle Hymn of the Republic” were for abolitionists. In fact, he borrowed that very melody.

“One hundred years later, despite the rise and precipitous fall of workers’ movements in the U.S., Chaplin’s song is a classic still widely sung with fists raised and demands for justice submitted. It’s an international and national anthem, the official song of the United Auto Workers; it was regularly belted out by “Occupy,” and it’s still sung every weekday by crowds from 20 to 100 protesters at the Wisconsin State Capitol rotunda.”

An attorney and writer (National Writers Union Local 1981), Rosenblum has also written for the Center for Media and Democracy. He wrote Copper Crucible: How the Arizona Miners’ Strike of 1983 Recast Labor-Management Relations in America.

For the complete article: http://www.portside.org/2015-01-19/%E2%80%98solidarity-forever%E2%80%99-written-100-years-ago-today .