Listening to Linda Wertheimer on NPR this morning gushing over the selection of Paul Ryan as Romney’s running mate, I thought of another Paul Ryan, a radical, communist poet and labor reporter for the People’s World, who wrote under the name of Mike Quin. Following the murder on July 5, 1934 of two dockworkers, Nick Bordoise and Howard Sperry by San Francisco policemen in an attempt to break up a maritime strike, the longshoremen’s union called for a general strike and a march down Market Street the following day.
Here’s how that Paul Ryan (aka Mike Quin) described it.
THESE ARE THE CLASS WAR DEAD
Stop in your tracks, you passer-by,
Uncover your doubting head;
The workingmen are on their way
To bury their murdered dead.
The men who sowed their strength in work
And reaped a crop of lies
Are marching by. Oppression’s doom
Is written in their eyes.
Two coffins lead the grim parade
That stops you in your tracks;
Two workers lying stiff and dead
With bullets in their backs.
The blood they left upon the street
Was workers’ blood and red;
They died to make a better world.
These are the class war dead!
Stand back, you greedy parasites,
With banks and bellies filled,
And tremble while the working class
Buries the men you killed.
This is our word to those who fell,
Shot down for bosses’ gain;
We swear to fight until we win.
You did not die in vain!
Jeffrey Blankfort is a journalist and radio host and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org