Today is a global day of blogging on the subject of poverty.
In my humble contribution I am going to link to some historic musical contributions on this subject, some with a good left-wing political perspective.
There are various versions of a traditional weavers song -including a popular recent one from Chumbawamba - Poverty Knock
Chumbawamba's version is here -
When people are poor, it does not mean that they should lie down and be patronised, or be prey to snake oil merchants no matter how "charitable". Some of the great songs popular in the hard times of the 1920s and 1930s in the USA not only poked fun at the religious organisations that sought to exploit misery to gain recruits alongside their charity, they showed a confidence in the power of poor, working and unemployed people to take control of their situation and make a better world. Maybe we need more of that spirit today and less grandstanding from popstars and politicians...
Here are Harry McClintock's Hallelujah, I'm a Bum and Big Rock Candy Mountain -
Beyond this gentle mockery, the singers associated with the Wobblies, the Industrial union spread by boxcar riders and itinerant workers across the States in the years before, during and after World War One (and still existing today) showed the strength that could be gained to fight poverty through fighting in unity for better wages and working conditions, with an eye on the final prize.
Solidarity Forever -
Power In The Union
Of course, as an ecosocialist blogger I cannot avoid mentioning the importance of environmental limits and climate change when discussing the question of poverty. It will be the poor who will pay the highest price for the inability of governments and corporations to tackle these problems. It is a good sign that alongside the long term social campaigning of the Green Party in England and Wales, groups such as Friends of The Earth are now trying to tackle issues from the point of view of "environmental justice" - a case in point being their recent challenge to the UK government over fuel poverty.