Ghosts of ’29

Image:  Unemployment benefits aid begins. Line of men inside a division office of the State Employment Service office at San Francisco, California, waiting to register for benefits on one of the first days the office was open. They will receive from six to fifteen dollars per week for up to sixteen weeks. Coincidental with the announcement that the federal unemployment census showed close to ten million persons out of work, twenty-two states begin paying unemployment compensation  Farm Security Administration LC-USF34- 018312-D


  They’re strechtin’ ‘round the block in the breadline
The waitin’s getting longer everyday
‘Cause each new man applying at the factory here
Is another man who’s gotten turned away
The Ghosts of ’29 are restless in the night
Stirred by the shout-out-loud injustice that ain’t never been set right
‘Cause the Ghosts of ’29 lived through times like these before:
And they’ll be damned if we impoverish willing workers anymore

The idled hands of willing workers in their millions
Are crying out to heaven “this can’t stand”
Wherever “liquidation” is the watchword
At factories up and down this whole hard land
The Ghosts of ’29 are having trouble lying still
‘Cause hard times hit the worker hardest then and it seems they always will
So the Ghosts of ’29 are gonna rally to the call
As long as rich men do the dirty deeds, but the poor man takes the fall
I hear the Ghosts of ’29 in the factories and the fields
On the shop floors, in the shotgun shacks, and in the union halls
I hear the Ghosts of ’29 in the corridors of power
In the mansions on the hilltops behind their high stone walls
As the Ghosts of ’29 awake and raise their voices
From the first whistle in the morning till the last shift ends at night:
Inspiration to the worker, and a warning for the bosses:
“You can’t undo the past’s injustice but tomorrow you can start to set it right”