Songs from the Old Files
Of Dave Beckwith

These songs were all made up by real people, generally undiscovered songwriters and poets, who wrote about struggles they were in at that moment. Most were made up in workshops on organizing, and the songs went right away back to the picket line or the yellow bus to raise peoples' spirits and poke fun at the big shots. Where I kept names, dates or background, I've included them. I hope these songs remind us that every woman and man is a songwriter - it's part of our power. As my old friend Tim Sampson would say, "Onward!"

1. From New Jersey Community Organizing for Community Developers Training, 199?

Tune: "People Get Ready, There's a Train A'comin'"

People we're ready, cause we've been through training
We don't need permission, we just or-ga-nize!
First we'll talk to folks and get that mo-ti-vation,
We listen carefully and then issues arise.

One or two will never be enough
We'll need hundreds and hundreds just to get real stuff
If I run into trouble I'll call my learning partner
She'll give good advice and keep me fighting tough.


2. From the Summer Institute 1997, Montreal, Canada, sponsored by the Institute in Management and Community Development. The by-line reads, "Original and unedited versions of songs created in the workshop: Charette on Obstacles and Responses to Recent Social, Political and Economic Realignments. All rights (whatever they may be) reserved."

Tune: "Three Blind Mice"

We will win, We will win,
We'll organise, we'll win the fight,
We'll get al the people to mobilize
We'll show our power before their eyes
They've never had such a fight in their lives
As when we or-ganize!

Tune: "Daisy, Daisy, Give me your Answer, Do…"

Lady, lady, give us your welfare cheque
You don't need it, it's us who need high tech
Change your daily habits to fit the new regime
The times are tough
The deficit's high
So pull up your socks and work!"

Tune: "If I had a Hammer"

If I had an ally, that I could really count on
I'd meet him in the morning
We'd make a great plan
We wouldn't bicker on tactics
We'd never fight about values
We'd talk about the way…to make..the system work for people
All over this land.

If I had a vision, I'd sing it in the morning,
I'd paint it in the evening
I'd sing a new song.
I'd plan better meetings
I'd know where I was going
I could mo-bilize the folks that are affected, their brothers and their sisters
All over this land!

If I had some action,
I'd push around the powers that be
I'd make them see the wisdom, of doing the right thing
We'd change the way they treat us
We'd make them share the goodies
We'd make a way to work together…towards social justice
All…all over this land!

Tune: The Power of ?

(Entitled "The Power of Oui!")

The power of we is enough you'll see
It can build a better world
For you and me, the power of we.
We discuss, we debate, we communicate
We share, we build, we educate
One by one we will connect
Locally, globally, on the Internet
We'll use our skills and share our tools
For our cause we'll change the rules
The power of we is enough you'll see
It can build a better world!


3. Finally, a chant - I only have the half-page xeroxed words, torn off to distribute, obviously on an 'action' where people went to the home of the target - Sherm - and urged his neighbors to call and put pressure on him.

Tune/chant - the soldier's marching cadence …

Here's your neighbor, he's ours too;
Watch out, this could happen to you!
Sound off, call the bum
Sound off, Sherm's the one