solidarity idol

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logohomeThe Solidarity Idol song quest is a hunt for a new anthem for working people. The big prize? Well, that would be fame and glory. Not to mention immortality. (Hey, if it's money you're after you wouldn't have won anyway). At the risk of confusing you, we're also running a poll for the best workers' song of the last 50 years. You can cast your vote for the latter competition here.

The Entries So Far...


You can download individual songs (we have the artists' permission for this) by clicking on the icon below, or click here.
You can add a song by emailing it to:

music  Solidarity is Easy - Jerzy Dymny

music  The Right to Strike - Steve White

music  The Workers' Song - Mark Lunn

music  Radio Independence - Aidan Jolly and friends

music  General Strike - Jerzy Dymny

music  Firemaker - Choir Choir Pants on Fire - composed by Anna Kenny

music  Stand Tall - Chris Knox and friends

music  The Union's On Your Side - Wayne McCallum

music  Donovan Dylan and Dug - Beatnik



1] What's the preferred style for this new anthem?
Accent on New. Then, kind of... you know... Anthematic. Well duh. Other than that it can be anything you like: any genre, any style, any language, any which way. And you can enter two songs max, and/or send updates or replacements.

2] What about cover versions?
One problem: all entries need to be public domain. That doesn't mean that it can't be a cover version; it just means that you need to get full permission first from the owner of the song.

3] Can I send a song by someone else?
Same as above. If we receive the owner's permission, it's fine.

4] We can't think of lyrics. Any ideas?
Want us to see if there are any poets in the network who'd be willing to help you? We'd be glad to put word out, if asked, Ditto if you're short a sousaphonist, or whatever.

5] How do I/we enter a song?
You can email it (mp3 format preferred) to Alternative contact details are here.

6] Who decides the winner?
Two groups -- members of the network and the general public -- each get 50% of the votes.

7] When's the decision made?
The competition closes when we have entries from 20 artists.

  Featured Artist #4: Jerzy Dymny  

new jerzy dymnyJerzy "Smokey" Dymny started playing publicly in the 80s, while organizing demonstrations with ACT for Disarmament, a peace group in Toronto. He played at demos and hosted the “Fallout Shelter” coffeehouse. Since then he's played strikes, rallies, picket lines, labour conventions, anti-poverty events, and anti-nuclear events, and has written over a hundred songs. As well as two entries in our Solidarity Idol competition (above right), he also leads song-writing workshops, and wrote four collaborative songs with the homeless community at the “No Place Like Home” conferences in Toronto. In the late 80s he compiled the first Canadian Industrial Workers of the World “little red songbook”. The songbook hit the streets on May 1, 1990 when the Toronto Wobblies (IWW) spread the last of Joe Hill’s ashes at the Sears picket line on Jarvis Street and at the May Day celebrations at Trinity Bellwoods Park.

A recent project was in response to a call from the Christian Peacemakers group in Toronto. He helped organize six week-end performances to raise money to help free C.P.T. members who had been abducted in Baghdad. In 2006 he held his first CD release concert in Toronto, backed by Kevin Barrett (guitar) and John Millard (cittern). For the west coast release the back-up was Moe Davenport (electric guitar), Steve Moore (drums) and Jaron Freeman-Fox (fiddle). Each year he celebrates May Day at the Free Times Café, and will play any other political gigs that come up. See for free downloads.



Vote here    
  Get up, stand up!
youtubeBob Marley & the Wailers
  There is power in a union
youtubeBilly Bragg
  Between the wars youtube
Billy Bragg
  Fight the power youtube
Public Enemy
  None of us are free youtube
Solomon Burke and the Blind Boys of Alabama
  The revolution will not be televised
youtubeGil Scott-Heron
  A change is gonna comeyoutube
Sam Cooke
  El Pueblo Unido
youtubeSergio Ortega
  Part of the Union youtube
  Working class hero
youtubeJohn Lennon
youtubeSly and the Family Stone
  Man in black
youtubeJohnny Cash
youtubeBlack Eyed Peas and Sting
Phil Ochs
youtubeBlack Uhuru
Working Week with Claudia Figueroa
, RobertWyatt & Tracy Thorn
  Walls Come Tumbling Down youtube
The Style Council
  10 most wanted list
Eugene Chadbourne
  Mean things
Little Axe
  See the fire burning
  Masters of war
youtube Bob Dylan
  And justice for all
  Build High the Bridge
Ronnie Gilbert
  Mosh youtube
  Le chiffon rouge
youtubeVidalin and Fugain
  General strike
  The Workers' Song
youtubeDropkick Murphys
youtube Bruce Springsteen
  Huelga en General
El Teatro Campesino
  Jobs with Justice
Si Kahn
  Working Class Man
youtubeJimmy Barnes
  Proud to be a Union Man
Neil Young
Pretty Girls Make Graves

Other (specify title/artist)



Best workers' song of the last 50 years

Get Up, Stand Up by Bob Marley and the Wailers has won our readers' poll for best workers' song of the last 50 years. Wa yo yo yo! Union conferences need never be the same again! Your next 4 choices were:
2. There is Power in a Union (Billy Bragg)
3. Between the Wars (Billy Bragg)
4. Fight the Power (Public Enemy)
5. None of Us are Free (Solomon Burke and the Blind Boys of Alabama).

The poll is ongoing, so let's see if Bob still holds top rankin' on May 1st next year. To nominate a song, or cast a vote for one on the list, use the form at right.

By the way, the artist's name we have given is that of the initial writer/performer. In giving this, we intend to include all cover versions. Wherever possible we've also linked to the lyrics (which is how come T. Rex's "Children of the Revolution" didn't make it - ugh, check out the words!).

And for wiseacres and trivia hounds, Part of the Union by Strawbs is NOT ironic. The song was an old one they'd performed as The Strawberry Hill Boys, with lyrics filched from the folk standard Union Maid. The band themselves said they'd meant every word, and it became an instant fave at union meetings in the face of the dreaded Thatcherism (deceased 2008).



unionsongIf you want to find out more about union music, there's no better place to start than UNIONSONG.COM - run by network member Mark Gregory.