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My other name for the song is "Labor History 101." I used to call it "Ballad of the Proletariat," but Pete Seeger suggested I change the title, pointing out that "proletariat" is a "long, Latin word" which "might as well be in Swahili, or Chinese."
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David Rovics
David Rovics 1998 All Rights Reserved
We Just Want The World
Tue Jun 14, 2005
Acoustic : Folk
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» highest in sub-genre:   # 120   (13,469 songs currently listed in Acoustic > Folk)
About the song
I already recorded this song on my CD, Make It So, and might not have recorded it once again, except that when Anne Feeney heard me sing it around a campfire at the Kerrville Folk Festival, she said she liked it but that it might stand a little editing. I had long thought that myself, and after she made the suggestion, Chrysler helped me cut out half the verses during a long drive one night someplace in the midwest. My other name for the song is "Labor History 101." I used to call it "Ballad of the Proletariat," but Pete Seeger suggested I change the title, pointing out that "proletariat" is a "long, Latin word" which "might as well be in Swahili, or Chinese." I originally wrote the song in the spring of '93, and it has obviously been a victim of the "folk process."
Lyrics
I pulled the stones for the emperor, stacked 'em up and made that wall
I thought, a mountain lasts forever but the rain must always fall
I worked the mines in Chile for conquistador
Died there in the pitshaft, joined my family with the ore

I tapped the trees for Leopold, and then he took my hands
The sap sailed to Brussels and my blood stained the lands
I cut down the sugar cane on the islands off the coast
Oh but the sweet taste of freedom is the stuff that I love most

(chorus)
Tell me who am I
Do you know my name
Will I lie forgotton
Or arise in glory and fame

I fought with Poncho Villa, stood with him side by side
When the Bluecoats took the land, I thought how long is freedom's ride
I was there at Haymarket with the martyrs eight
For striking in Chicago, death would have to be my fate

I cut the timber in Centralia, nearly broke my back
Tried to organize a union and they tied me to the tracks
I fought in Barcelona, kept the fascists there at bay
Then when Hitler's tanks came rolling, I knew we couldn't stay

(Chorus)

I mined the ore in Arizona, last of the Navajo
Got that radium a-glowin' then it was time for me to go
I marched in South Africa, found myself in Sharpeville
Once the police came and went I was lying oh so still

I campaigned for Allende for a nation without fear
Didn't look behind me for the day I'd disappear
I spoke at Tiananmen to revive the revolution
Didn't think for Deng Xiaoping, rolling tanks were his solution

(Chorus)

I grew the mangos in Somalia for the people in the west
And when the price of fruit went down, I went down starving with the rest
I worked the plant in Bangkok, breathed the dusty air
When the cotton started burning, I knew my life would not be spared

The cops beat me in Los Angeles but I would not be scared
When they sent the Army in, I thought next time we'll be prepared
Yes I've been yearning for a new day, all the world wide
Some day my time will come and you will have to step aside

(Chorus)

----

Created December, 1998
Copyright David Rovics 1998, all rights reserved