Woody Guthrie’s Daughter Rips ‘Insurrectionist’ Josh Hawley Over ‘This Land Is Our Land Act’
Woody Guthrie’s daughter Nora attacked “insurrectionist” Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) over his ‘This Land Is Our Land Act.’
Hawley’s proposed law would “ban Chinese corporations, in addition to any individuals associated with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), from owning farmland in the United States.”
Sounds good to me. He should add the French to the bill for being French.
Nora Guthrie, who followed in the footsteps of her famous father as a folk singer and songwriter, is not happy about “insurrectionist” Hawley using the lyrics from her father’s most famous song:
Nora Guthrie, Woody’s daughter, said it’s not uncommon for politicians to make use of “This Land Is Your Land” because the song advocates for democratic representation. She said she didn’t mind the song being used politically, as long as it aligns with the song’s values.
“In this particular case, the co-opting or parodying of the lyric by those not aligned with Woody’s lyrics – i.e. misrepresentation by autocrats, racists, white nationalists, anti-labor, insurrectionists, etc. – is not condoned,” Guthrie wrote in an email. “We do not consider Josh Hawley in any way a representative of Woody’s values therefore we would never endorse or approve of his reference to Woody’s lyrics.”
Cry more, Commie.
Of course, all of that is a lie. Hawley is none of those things. But a case can be made that Woody Guthrie was, at least, some of those things.
For starters, Nora misrepresented her father’s song. “It is more of a vision of democracy,” she said. “The song simply reiterates the concept, ‘By the people, for the people.’”
In his day, Guthrie was a communist, socialist, and a big fan of mass murderer Josef Stalin. By any fair measure, those qualities qualify Woody as an insurrectionist. Moreover, although this specific “This Land Is Your Land” lyric is frequently ignored and downplayed, Guthrie did pen it, and the lyric is itself insurrection-ish, no?
Well, as I was walking, I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said “No Trespassing”
But on the other side it didn’t say nothing
That side was made for you and me!
And now we come to my favorite part… Did you know “This Land Is Your Land” promotes and excuses colonialism…?
I’m told that’s racist.
Hey, that’s not me claiming that. Instead, talk to American Indian writer Mali Obomsawin:
These lyrics shake me up like a soda can every time I hear them. As an activist, folk musician, and songwriter (in Lula Wiles), and recent label-mate of Woody Guthrie on Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, my social circles tend to worship Guthrie as the father of all musical protest. But as a Native person, I believe “This Land Is Your Land” falls flat.
In the context of America, a nation-state built by settler colonialism, Woody Guthrie’s protest anthem exemplifies the particular blind spot that Americans have in regard to Natives: American patriotism erases us, even if it comes in the form of a leftist protest song. Why? Because this land “was” our land. Through genocide, broken treaties, and a legal system created by and for the colonial interest, this land “became” American land.
See, two can play this relentlessly stupid game.
Hawley’s office wisely refused to play the game. When asked for comment about this non-story, Hawley’s office told the far-left Kansas City Star: “The Kansas City Star is where journalism goes to die. Josh’s bill protects America’s food chain, farmers, and national security – that’s the real story The Star should cover.”
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