Ninety-nine to One

Image:  One dead, fifteen wounded in strike clash, Photograph shows armed deputy sheriffs attacking a crowd of pickets at the Spang-Chalfant Seamless Tube Company plant, near Pittsburgh. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington LC-USZ62-26197


You’d think passionate hearts, and skilled, willing hands

Would play some small part in the bosses’ grand plans

But the Fat Cats back East want to shut this plant down

Takin’ jobs down South, to some non-union town

Or over the border, down Mexico -way—

Where desperation’s making workers beg for pennies a day

‘Cause their ’s banner is the dollar, and their battle cry is “More!”

And they’ve been doing all the shooting in this haves-on-have-nots war

The bosses won’t stop pushing till your back’s against the wall

And the bosses won’t stop taking, until they’ve took it all

They’ll take from you by law, and they’ll take from you by theft

They’ll take what you’ve got coming, and they’ll take what you have left—

It’s getting to the point a man can’t care for a family anymore

From losing of battle after battle in this haves-on-have-nots war

All the politicians counsel “turn the other cheek”

Singing praises for the worker while they sell him up the creek

What they call “negotiation” means “they take and you give back”

“Just look, son, to the brighter side of getting ‘squat’ or ‘jack’”

It’s hard to play the hand you’re dealt when every deck is stacked

And the bosses’ plan ain’t compromise, it’s “attack, attack, attack”

It’s 99-to-one or worse if you’ve been keeping score

Advantage to the rich man, in this haves-on-have-nots war

The bosses won’t be happy till we’re scared to take a stand

And ain’t no unions left unbroken up and down this whole hard land

They’ll do it by dividing us and breaking locals one by one

With contracts, crooked cronies—or the policeman’s gun—

It’s getting to the point my friend where a man can’t hardly live

In this war on working people mister something’s got to give