There Is Power In A Union

Words: Billy Bragg
Melody: George Frederick Root, 1861
Arranged: Christine Evans

There Is Power In A Union,  is an American Civil War tune with a new set of words – these by Billy Bragg. Today everywhere you look anti-worker governments are attacking the principle of collective bargaining. Bragg’s song may have been a response to Thatcherism in Britain, but the song worked equally well when we sang it on the picket lines for the Maritime Union Workers during the lock-out of 1998.

Lyrics:

There is power in a factory, power in the land.
Power in the hand of the worker;
But it all amounts to nothing if together we don’t stand.
There is power in a union!

Now the lessons of the past were all learned with workers’ blood.
Mistakes of the bosses we must pay for!
From the cities and the farmlands to trenches full of mud,
War has always been the bosses way sir.

[chorus]
The union forever, defending our rights!
Down with the blackleg!
The workers unite!
With our brothers and our sisters in many far-off lands
There is power in a union!

Now I long for the morning that they realise
Brutality and unjust laws will not defeat us.
But who’ll defend the workers who cannot organise
When the bosses send their lackeys out to cheat us?

Money speaks for money, the Devil for his own.
Who comes to speak for the skin and the bone?
What a comfort to the widow!
A light to the child!
There is power in a union!

Author: solidaritychoir

Activist choir in Sydney Australia

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