Political Punk / Folk Lyrics

My People Are Rising

(The theme song of FCC-silenced "San Francisco Liberation Radio.")
 

You can't lock an innocent man away
Hide the evidence from light of day
While those responsible are free.

You can't pardon the rich, leave the poor to rot
Steal from the bottom to gild the top
And wonder at the swell of solidarity!

     My people are rising, my people are rising
     My people are rising up!
     My people are rising, my people are rising
     My people are rising up!

Can't beat 'em down, jail 'em, gas 'em
Without igniting the righteous passion
To turn the power around.

What the constitution guarantees
Freedom of assembly and the freedom of speech
We demand it on the streets!

     My people are rising, my people are rising
     My people are rising up! ...

Seattle, Davos, D.C., L.A.
Chiapas, Paris, Quebec City
My people are rising up!

From California to the New York Island
'Cross the mountains, seas and oceans
Cities, farms and factories!

     My people are rising, my people are rising
     My people are rising up! ...

(C) Zoo Chernos 2014

 

 

Just Needed to Borrow Your Saw

 

I came by your shed without making a sound 
Borrowed your saw and brought it back around
You can keep all the things you've hid
I wouldn't want to frighten you or your kid
I wouldn't touch the dust on your antique bridge
Just needed to borrow your saw

If you don't pay for the place you sleep
Or pave for footsteps to your horse and wheat 
It's a crime and they can take you in
Lock you up in a eight-foot bin
Folks standing 'round will be paying in
And not one would think to lift a hand 

Just needed to borrow your saw, friend
Needed to borrow your saw
Splinters and rust before you use it again
Just needed to borrow your saw

There's a law, you gotta stay in one place
And one puts a price on the length of your days
You can have your rent and your eight-fifteen
To buy your own breath back and cash it in
The air's still free but all the land I've ever seen 
Is land that someone owns

Just needed to borrow your saw, friend
Needed to borrow your saw
Splinters and rust before you use it again
Just needed to borrow your saw

 

(C) Zoo Chernos 2014

 

 

Dig Roads

 

I heard a voice
It said there's a plan
It said, "Here is the plan ..."
"Dig roads, build pipes
"Put your hand on the earth
"Clench your fist, make your mark."

So I took me a hammer
And I raised it high
And I brought it down on the garden of Eden
I dig roads, I build pipes
But I wish I'd snapped a picture of the garden of Eden

So I still hear a voice
But the voice is mine
I'm proud of what I did in my time ...
I dig roads, I build pipes
But I wish I'd snapped a picture of the garden of Eden
I wish I'd snapped a picture of the garden of Eden
I wish I'd snapped a picture of the garden of Eden


(C) Zoo Chernos 2014


 

 

The Union Grand

(Theme song of the Million Worker March on Washington.)
 

Come all you miners, you truckers, you welders
You dock workers, pipe fitters, pickers, hops, belters
From all walks of life, from each union and local
Come join the Union Grand
 

Come all you marchers, you chanters, you posters
You tree sitters, sign holders, letter writers, jail goers
For peace and for justice, for the people, for the planet
Come join the Union Grand
 

    Come join the grand, grand union of unions    
    Come join the Union Grand    
    All struggles for justice are struggles united    
    Come join the Union Grand

 

Solidarity, my friends, there are forces ahold
Institutions and systems running out of control
To harm us and rob us and, worst, to divide us
Come join the Union Grand
 

Solidarity, my friends, the cogs are upon us
It is life on this planet against the great maw of profit
We must organize and unite if we're ever to stop it
Come join the Union Grand
 

    Come join the grand, grand union of unions ...

Solidarity, my friends, it is a thunderous word
It can shake the tall towers and roil the wide earth
We are the tide, we are billions!
Come build the Union Grand

    Come build the Union Grand    
    Come build the grand, grand union of unions ...

 

(C) Zoo Chernos 2014
 

 

Who Owns Your Dial?

 

Hey, who owns your dial?
Hey, who owns your dial?
You're not gonna hear it on the radio
With the NAB at the microphone
Airwave monopolies are now legal!

Hey, who owns your dial?
Hey, who owns your dial?
The Telecomm. Act of 1996
Was a silent coup of the public interest
Two corporations now own most all the larger stations!

Hear all about it, but only on the street!
The N.A.B. bought the F.C.C.
Hear all about it, but only on the street!
The news of the corporate buyout of the news
Does not make the corporate news

Hey, who owns your dial?
Who owns your TV, newspapers, music, books, movies and magazines?
I'm afraid it's basically down to six
If that doesn't scare you, nothing will
Democracy with a highly-centralized media is a sham

Hear all about it, but only on the street!
The N.A.B. bought the F.C.C.
Hear all about it, but only on the street!
The news of the corporate buyout of the news
Does not make the corporate news

 

(C) Zoo Chernos 2014

 

 

The Change

Hope is the red blood that flows through my veins
Carrying forth the message of my beating heart
So true it will survive the cold outside

The dream is a vision of a new world reflected from the old
Shining ‘cross the deep, still waters of my yearning soul
So bold it will be recognized over the waves of turmoil
 

    The change, the change, the change is going to come    
    The change, the change, the change is going to come    

    Wash down like righteous rain, and rise like the sun
 

A movement’s the united hope for the realization of a dream
From separate hearts and souls, maybe isolated, few, but still pursuing
Having faith that someday the great joining will be seen    

    The change, the change, the change is going to come    

    The change, the change, the change is going to come    

    Wash down like righteous rain, and rise like the sun

 

(C) Zoo Chernos 2014

 

 

 
Sold Down The River

(The song played in continuous-loop from the Steelworkers' billboard truck during the WTO protests in Seattle in late 1999.)

The President signed the GATT treaty into law
Fast-tracked through Congress with only hours of debate
We've ceded our authority in the blink of an eye
To a group of corporations that have purchased the right

They call it 'free' trade, I'll tell you what that means
You can have your unions here, but the factory is overseas
Putting poisons in the water and paying pennies

   We're being sold down the river to the WTO
   Sold down the river, sold down the river
   Sold down the river to the WTO!

They're meeting in Seattle to plan the next century
And we need to be there in the streets
When the size of corporations exceeds the finances of nations
The democratic process can not compete

They call it 'free' trade, and I'll tell you what that means
Your health and safety laws, democratically made
Can be challenged from abroad as barriers to foreign trade

   We're being sold down the river to the WTO
   Sold down the river, sold down the river
   Sold down the river to the WTO!

 

(C) Zoo Chernos 2014

 

 

The Silence of Good People

(A song inducted into the National Civil Rights Museum.)

It once was asked of Martin Luther King
How the progress of rights could be so long coming
His answer was not the evil of some
But the silence of good people

Although we may never arrive in the garden
The sin is not in failure, but never starting
My silent friend, it is you that I am speaking of
Of the silence of good people

We, we will not be silent
We, we will not be silent
We will not be silent

Although we have only hearts, bodies, and minds
Against guns and clubs, lies and threats and money
When the truth is released, each echo comes louder
On the voices of good people

We, we will not be silent ...

I've taken my place on the streets of our land
With my sisters and brothers by the tens of thousands
And I have sweet hope, because I can hear
The rising voices of good people

We, we will not be silent ...

 

(C) Zoo Chernos 2014
 

 

Hey, Rich King Midas

 

Hey, Rich King Midas, what are you going to turn to gold?
Hey, Rich King Midas, what are you going to turn to gold?
You can use the mighty river by the factory
To carry away the poisons of manufacturing
Increase the bottom line with a sewer to the sea
Put your finger to the living water, turn it to gold


Hey, Rich King Midas, what are you going to turn to gold?
Hey, Rich King Midas, what are you going to turn to gold?
A grand expanse of ancient wilderness
Where the last of countless species can exist
But the earth can be mined, and the trees can be sold
Put your finger to the living land, turn it to gold


Hey, Rich King Midas, who are you going to turn to gold?
Hey, Rich King Midas, who are you going to turn to gold?
There's money to be made with workers overseas
Where unions are not allowed and work protections are weak
And there's razor wire around factories
Put your finger to a living child, turn her to gold
Put your finger to a living child, turn her to gold
Put your finger to a living child, turn her to gold


(C) Zoo Chernos 2014

 

 

Taking New Patriotism Blues

 

I went out to vote on voting day
Headed down the strip to the polling place
And all along the way I was stepping over flags,
  stooping under flags, side-stepping flags, and dodging flags.  
And in the deluge of red, white, and blue's
I must have got confused
  ... 'Cause I turned in to vote at the wrong flag.


This place had beer kegs with flags, booze with flags
Pool tables with flags, and five tv's -- each had a flag.
I'd walked into a sports bar ... full of patriots.  
And they was eating and drinking and watching and talking and rooting
And some folks were rooting for some teams
Other folks were rooting for other teams
Some folks wanted the rooting folks to keep it down
And some of the folks weren't happy with any of the teams
    ... wanted to change channels.
Well, I went around and asked the various patrons if they had
    any information about the location of the polling place
And some folks thought it was up the street
Some folks thought it was down the street
Some folks thought it was 'cross the street
Some folks thought it was on a whole 'nother street. 
Seemed no one in the place agreed on much of anything
  ... 'Cept maybe all the flags.


So I walked back out and looked around
'Cross the street and 'bout a half-block down
    (don't know why I hadn't seen it before)
Was a huge flag, a monstrous flag, a flag so big it covered a building!
And the flag was covering what had been windows
And the setting sun was shining through the flag
And when I stepped inside
The place was drenched in reds, blues and whites ... and it was truly beautiful. 
And they had flags on every counter, flags on every rack and shelf
Flags layed out ceiling to floor
  ... at first I thought I'd found me the flag store.
But the price tags weren't posted on the flags
But rather, on the knick-knacks and do-dads between the flags
Which made all the knick-knacks and do-dads
   and the folks in the store seem pretty patriotic. 
And I said, “Hello”
And they said, “Can I help you?” 
And I said, “Yeah, I’m just trying to find the voting place” 
And they said, “Aah ... Voting?”

 

So I turned around and went back outside
Took a long look left, and a long look right
Never seen so many flags in all my life
  ... 'cept maybe some footage from Nuremberg. 
Well, the hour was getting late
And I figured I wasn’t going to find the place just asking 'round 
So I went back home
Picked up my official voter's guide with the actual address
And headed back out, down the strip, past all the flags
Until I finally arrived at my official neighborhood polling place
Where a citizen of this great nation can vote
On ballots of plain green card stock printed with plain black ink
Bearing choices, explanations, and expositions
For candidates, initiatives, bond measures, and propositions
For a government Of The People, By The People, and For The People
  ... Just like in a democracy.

But when I looked around
I saw that all those plain green card-stock ballots were still stacked up high
And they told me that all the ballot boxes were still pretty much empty
And across the room I saw four polling booths
And those four booths were empty, empty, empty ... 
          Empty.


And so, what I would like to know is: 
Where exactly were you, John Q. Flag-Waving Public?
Voting for your flag?
 

 

(C) Zoo Chernos 2014
 

 

Turn This Train Around

 

You can throw all your sympathy cards out the window
The only thing from this train that will ever be found
Little lambs that trust what they're told
Every night die out in the cold
It's time to turn this train around

For every cloud that passes, I miss one on the other side of the train
Even in my dreams I'm afraid I'll never see open skies again
The power lines float up and down
Built by men who fear the ground
It's time to turn this train around

Turn this train around
Turn this train around
The iron is cheap, the engines don't sleep
The gears don't run on sympathy
It's time to turn this train around

I didn't load all the folds of your robes to be one of the bums that remains
And I won't be patient for an invitation to arrive from a choir on a silver tray
Enough hands are in pockets alone
To lift this train and head it home
It's time to turn this train around

Turn this train around
Turn this train around
It's clear to me from the little I see
We're a long way down the wrong way
It's time to turn this train around

 

(C) Zoo Chernos 2014