You are about to be told one more time that you are America’s most valuable natural resource. Have you seen what they do to valuable natural resources?! Have you seen a strip mine? Have you seen a clear cut in the forest? Have you seen a polluted river? Don’t ever let them call you a valuable natural resource! They’re going to strip mine your soul. They’re going to clear cut your best thoughts for the sake of profit unless you learn to resist, because the profit system follows the path of least resistance and following the path of least resistance is what makes the river crooked!
The Earth is not dying-it is being killed. And the people who are killing it have names and addresses.
Kids don’t have a little brother working in the coal mine, they don’t have a little sister coughing her lungs out in the looms of the big mill towns of the Northeast. Why? Because we organized; we broke the back of the sweatshops in this country; we have child labor laws. Those were not benevolent gifts from enlightened management. They were fought for, they were bled for, they were died for by working people, by people like us. Kids ought to know that.
The state can’t give you freedom, and the state can’t take it away. You’re born with it, like your eyes, like your ears. Freedom is something you assume, then you wait for someone to try to take it away. The degree to which you resist is the degree to which you are free.
I said, “OK, Ammon [Hennacy], I will try that.” He said, “You came into the world armed to the teeth. With an arsenal of weapons, weapons of privilege, economic privilege, sexual privilege, racial privilege. You want to be a pacifist, you’re not just going to have to give up guns, knives, clubs, hard, angry words, you are going to have lay down the weapons of privilege and go into the world completely disarmed.”
The degree to which you resist is the degree to which you are free.
The most un-American thing you can do is to stifle dissent
Time is an enormous, long river, and I’m standing in it, just as you’re standing in it. My elders are the tributaries, and everything they thought and every struggle they went through and everything they gave their lives to, and every song they created, and every poem that they laid down flows down to me – and if I take the time to ask, and if I take the time to see, and if I take the time to reach out, I can build that bridge between my world and theirs. I can reach down into that river and take out what I need to get through this world
Every good educator knows that true teaching is to teach kids how to ask the right questions.
Children, be worried when they call you America’s most valuable natural resource. Have you seen what they’ve done to the other natural resources?
When I went to high school – that’s about as far as I got – reading my U.S. history textbook, well, I got the history of the ruling class. I got the history of the generals and the industrialists and the presidents that didn’t get caught. How ’bout you? I got all of the history of the people who owned the wealth of the country, but none of the history of the people that created it.
I’m here to change the world, and if I am not, I am probably wasting my time.
But if it’s true that the only true life I had was the life of my brain, what sense does it make to hand that brain to somebody for eight hours a day for their particular use on the presumption that, at the end of the day, they will give it back in an unmutilated condition? Fat chance!
As I have said so often before, the long memory is the most radical idea in America…
Sing your song Dance your dance Tell your story I will Listen and remember
My pacifism came after I joined the army and was shipped over to Korea. There was a little one-room orphanage there called Song-do. There were 180 babies in there, and they were GI babies. The U.S. government would not acknowledge this, and the Korean government had nothing to do with them. They were living on a 100-pound bag of rice a month. Some of those kids, when they were old enough, would go out and shine shoes. They would show up at the gate of our compound to shine shoes, and you’d swear they were looking for their fathers.
I guarantee, that if I am elected, I will take over the White House, hang out, shoot pool, scratch my ass, and not do a damn thing . . . Which is to say, if you want something done, don’t come to me to do it for you; you got to get together and figure out how to do it yourselves. Is that a deal?
They’re going to clear cut your best thoughts for the sake of profit unless you learn to resist, because the profit system follows the path of least resistance and following the path of least resistance is what makes the river crooked!
Folk music isn’t owned by anybody. It is owned by everybody, like the national parks, the postal system, and the school system. It’s our common property. There is nobody’s name on it. Nobody can make money on it. It’s not copywritten.
Chris Chandler is the best performance poet I have ever seen.
Laurie Lewis’ songs combine passion and sheer craft in a way you don’t hear very often. Whatever country music is supposed to be, she’s at the center of it.