Veteran’s Day is the time we honor people who served in the military. These are people who often have seen the horror of war and try to express this to those of use divorced from its reality, and even today are among those most opposed to war. My hope for this and every Veteran’s Day is that our military is used wisely and that there we don’t end up with more people to remember on future Memorial Days.
Bruce Springsteen :: “Born in the U.S.A” – The bombastic chorus is often misinterpreted as blind patriotism, but the verses tell of the long lasting effects on a veteran of the Vietnam War.
Creedence Clearwater Revival :: “Fortunate Son” – Who goes to war often has less to do with patriotism and more to do with one’s position in society.
Eric Bogle :: “The Green Fields of France” – November 11th commemorates the end of The Great War which was supposed to be “The War to End All Wars” but still young people are sent off to fight.
Phil Ochs :: “I Ain’t Marching Anymore” – Tells the story of a veteran of all the United States’ wars who decides to refuse to fight any loner.
Bill Withers :: “I Can’t Write Left-Handed” – Another view of the lasting damage on a veteran of war.
The Clancy Brothers :: “Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye” – The families and friends of veterans also suffer the iniquities of war.
Today is Indigenous Peoples’ Day so the mixtape celebrates the native people of North America and their continuing struggle against discrimination and elimination by European colonizers.
Buffy Sainte-Marie:: “Now That the Buffalo’s Gone”
Indigo Girls :: “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee”
A Tribe Called Red x Prolific The Rapper :: “Black Snakes (Remix)”
Peter Gabriel :: “San Jacinto” the culture clash between Native America and present-day America
Neil Young :: “Cortez the Killer”
Grant-Lee Phillips :: “Buffalo Hearts”
Robbie Robertson :: “Showdown at Big Sky”
I’m sure there are some knowledgeable people who can add to this mixtape with some terrific music, especially by Native American artists. If so, post them in the comments.
We are a nation of immigrants, although some like to act like we’re not, but our musical heritage is rich in songs of the travails and contributions of immigrants.
“Thousands Are Sailing” by The Pogues tells the first person stories of generations of Irish arrivals on American shores.
“America” by Neil Diamond is a cheerful ode to the ideal that’s not always realized.
“Fam Jam (Fe Sum Immigrins)” by Shad is a Canadian hip-hop exploration of the same theme.
“Paper Planes” by M.I.A documents the red tape and paperwork needed to cross borders today.
“Deportee (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos)” by Cisco Houston reminds us that not everyone who makes it here is allowed to stay, and often human live are treated as disposable
“Esta Tierra Es Tuya” by Sones de Mexico Ensemble. But, all the same, “This Land is Your Land,” no matter what language you sing it in.
There are hundreds of songs I could share here, so please let me know some good ones I left out in the comments.
This is a week late, but every day is Labor Day as far as I’m concerned. So here are some songs celebrating the working people.
“Bread and Roses” by Judy Collins
“Gonna Be An Engineer” by Peggy Seeger
“Helplessness Blues” by Fleet Foxes
“I Guess I Planted” by Billy Bragg & Wilco
“Joe Hill” by Paul Robeson
“More Than a Paycheck” by Sweet Honey in the Rock
“9 to 5” by Dolly Parton
“Talking Union” by The Almanac Singers
“Working Class Hero” by John Lennon
I’m trying to make this a more regular feature, but until that time, enjoy some earlier Resistance Mixtapes:
I’ve been meaning to make this a regular feature, and this is a good time to collect some songs written in opposition to fascists, white supremacists, and right-wing extremists of all stripes. It seems that folk and punk are the favored genres of anti-fascism, but if you know a good ripping tune from some other genre to add to the fight, let me know in the comments.
Woody Guthrie – “All You Fascists Bound to Lose”
Peggy Seeger – “Song of Choice”
Fishbone – “Subliminal Fascism”
Anti Flag – “This Machine Kills Fascists”
MDC – “Born to Die”
Aus-Rotten – “Fuck Nazi Sympathy”
Sonic Youth – “Youth Against Fascism”
Rage Against the Machine – “Killing in the Name”
Over the past few months I’ve been collecting songs for what I call the Resistance Mixtape.
Music can soothe and inspire. Songs can tell stories and instruct. And most importantly music brings people together.
Here are some songs for the Resistance Mixtape for Independence Day.
Let’s begin with Paul Robeson, singing about “The House I Live In.”
Woody Guthrie’s famous response to “God Bless America” noted that even in a land where people wait in line at the relief office and signs say “No Trespassing” that the reality is that “This Land is Your Land.”
Prince & the Revolution similarly question the premise of “America the Beautiful” and whether or not the grace of God trickles down to our children.
Kim Weston sings a stirring version of the song known as “The Black National Anthem.”
Finally, the love we have for our own nation need does not mean we hate or demean other nations as we learn in the hymn “This is My Song” written by Lloyd Stone.
What other songs would you add to the mixtape?