Championing for Social Change: From Woody Guthrie to Bernie Sanders

Folk music and politics have long been intertwined in American history, and some of the most powerful statements for social change have come out of the folk song tradition.

A classic example is Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land,” which many of us learned and committed to memory grade school.

Less known is the fact that he originally titled the piece “God Blessed America” when he wrote in 1940 in reaction to Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America.” It was a disdainful commentary on the social injustice Guthrie saw across this country.

Guthrie’s view was put forth forcefully in some of his original lyrics for the song, which included:

“There was a big high wall there that tried to stop me. The sign was painted, said ‘Private Property.’ But on the backside, it didn’t say nothing. This land was made for you and me.

One bright sunny morning in the shadow of the steeple, by the relief office I saw my people. As they stood hungry, I stood there wondering if God blessed America for me.”

We found similar passion for righting social injustice and promoting income equality in Bernie Sander’s campaign for President. That is why we decided to write and dedicate a song in the folk tradition to the movement that he inspired.

“The Song That Needs to be Sung” is a music/video tribute to the protest songs that came before and to the ones that are yet to come. It is a call to action, and also an acknowledgement of the great achievements Bernie’s campaign has made in fighting for a progressive economic agenda in America… so that one day, we can really say, “This land is our land.”

H/T DailyKos

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