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Allagash

Ethan Miller & Kate Boverman
Lingua: Inglese


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[2002]
Lyrics and Music by Ethan Miller
Album: In Times of War
In Times of War


During World War II, the Maine Department of Labor (D.O.L.) created the Bonded Labor Program to address labor shortages in the north woods. The program allows companies to bring in workers from outside of the US without the usual hassle of visas and green cards. The law states that the program must be discontinued if it is proven to have and adverse effect on Maine workers. Until 1998, no study was ever done (and even that one was done by corporate puppets). Meanwhile, the J.D. Irving Company, based in New Brunswick, Canada, has been using the Bonded Labor Program and emerging free trade laws to import cheap Canadian labor into the Maine woods. Since the early 1970's, Maine workers have found it harder and harder to sustain themselves in the face of Irving's (and other such company's) exploitative, cut-throat business practices. The town of Allagash has been hit particularly hard: in the 1960's, there were more than 3,000 people in this once-vibrant Scotch-Irish logging town; today, there are barely 70 people left, most of them over the age of 60. Allagash, and an entire way of life, is disappearing under the bootheels of capitalist greed. Local loggers have organized and, building groundbreaking alliances with environmental activists, have shut down the Maine-Canada border twice in protest of Irving and the D.O.L. The Bonded Labor Program, and—far more dangerous—the regime of “free trade” (i.e., freedom for capitalists to exploit us with fewer restraints) continues. And so, hopefully, will the fight for cultural survival, economic security, and ecological sanity in northern Maine.
I was born in the town
of Allagash, Maine,
From five generations
of loggin' folk I came
For a hundred years or more
my family's worked on this land
Choppin' and haulin' logs with
the proud skill of our hands

In all my years of livin',
I've seen companies come and go
It's we who do the work for them
but its they who run the show
From far away the bosses come,
take plenty for the few
But this work is in our blood
and it's the only work there is to do

In this wild northern country,
this land of spruce and pine
Of quickly flowing rivers
and hills as old as time
We have hunted we have fished,
we have taught our children well
Now the company comes from Canada
to make our lives a living hell..

Well the livin' has been hard
in this little northern town
But we have known in work and pleasure
every inch upon this ground
Now the corporate devils come to Maine
to drive the wages down
We work for pennies if we work at all
and cut the pulpwood to the ground

Now I have stood there in that clear-cut,
seen the work that I have done
I have hung my head in sorrow
for the forest that is gone
But tell me what's a man to do
when they've got him by the balls
When he's drowning in his debt
and his back is to the wall?

In this wild northern country,
this land of spruce and pine
Of quickly flowing rivers
and hills as old as time
We have hunted we have fished,
We have taught our children well
Now the company comes from Canada
to make our lives a living hell..

All but the elders moved away from here
when the school shut down
Now one 'bout of pneumonia
could take out the whole damn town
Tell me who'll be left to tell these stories
when we're dead and gone
When I sing this song of sorrow
who'll be left to sing along?

Now I stand here by this roadside,
watch the log trucks come and go
Shippin' raw trees north to Canada
with overburdened loads
They take away our labor,
they take away our land
Now they take away our culture
and we've no place left to stand

In this wild northern country,
this land of spruce and pine
Of quickly flowing rivers
and hills as old as time
We have hunted, we have fished,
We have taught our children well
Now the company comes from Canada
to make our lives a living hell..



We tried pleadin' with the statehouse
and they gave us little heed
The cronies at the D.O.L.
they serve the company's greed
We will not cease our fightin',
though we know the cards are stacked
Corporations bought our government
and we can't afford to buy it back

We've been here a hundred winters
and we'll stay here many more
Though the greedy Irving family
'd like to drive us out our doors
We will not go out in silence,
won't go down without a fight
For them it's all for money,
but for us this is our life…

In this wild northern country,
this land of spruce and pine
Of quickly flowing rivers
and hills as old as time
We have hunted, we have fished,
We have taught our children well
Now the company comes from Canada
to make our lives a living hell..

We've been here a hundred winters
and we'll stay here many more
Though the greedy Irving family
'd like to drive us out our doors
We will not go out in silence,
won't go down without a fight
For them it's all for money,
but for us this is our life,

For them it's all for money
but for us this is our life…

inviata da giorgio - 1/2/2012 - 08:20



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