DAILY KOS: Pulaski WI Marching Band Plays "Union Maid" in Rose Bowl Parade

January 3, 2012

The Pulaski High Marching Band, of Pulaski Wisconsin, made an awesome statement in yesterday's Rose Bowl Parade.

It was quite an honor for the Red Raiders from this small town (pop. approx. 3000) northwest of Green Bay to be marching in 80-degree weather in Pasadena, while their proud community looked on from windy 18-degree Wisconsin.

The TV coverage started as they marched along playing "On Wisconsin," looking properly Badger-like in their red uniforms.

And then they got to the grandstand, at about 1:15 in the YouTube ... listen to what happened.

There once was a union maid, She never was afraid
Of goons and ginks and company finks
And the deputy sheriffs who made the raid
She went to the union hall, When a meeting it was called
And when the company boys came round
She always stood her ground

Listen to the announcers -- they have no idea what's going on, what the tune is, what statement is being made here.  "They just stopped in the middle, this band, and they're gettin' down!" says the announcer.  Oh yes, they're gettin' down -- to Union Maid, written by Woody Guthrie!

Oh, you can't scare me,
I'm sticking to the union
I'm sticking to the union,
I'm sticking to the union
Oh, you can't scare me,
I'm sticking to the union
I'm sticking to the union
till the day I die

The cheers as they finish the song are great.  I bet there were more than a few people in the crowd who realized what had just happened.  "The crowd likes them!" declares the announcer, blissfully unaware.

I hope it was the musicians themselves who selected this song, who planned this action.  It would be reminiscent of the students from East High in Madison who determinedly marched out of school down East Washington last February to swell the protests at the Capitol.

My favorite verse of the song is one that was added in the 1980s, and is included in the Solidarity Singalong songbook.

You women who want to be free
Just take a tip from me
Break out of that mold we've all been sold
You got a fighting history
The fight for women's rights
With workers must unite
Like Mother Jones, bestir them bones
To the front of every fight!

The struggle continues here in Wisconsin.  Two more weeks to get those recall signatures -- rumor has it that we're over the top with the Walker sigs, but we're not stopping now!  Onward to a million!