Let me tell you of a sailor, Harry Bridges is his name,
An honest union leader who the bosses tried to frame.
He left home in Australia to sail the seas around,
He sailed across the ocean to land in 'Frisco town.
There was only a company union, the bosses had their way.
A worker had to stand in line for a lousy dollar a day.
When up spoke Harry Bridges, "Us workers got to get wise,
Our wives and kids will starve to death if we don't get organized."
Oh, the FBI is worried, the bosses they are scared,
They can't deport six million men, they know.
And we're not going to let them send Harry over the sea,
We'll fight for Harry Bridges and build the C. I. O.
They built a big bonfire by the Matson lines that night,
They threw their fink books in it and they said, "We're gonna fight!
You've got to pay a livin' wage or we're gonna take a walk."
They told it to the bosses, but the bosses wouldn't talk.
They said, "There's only one way left to get that contract signed!"
And all around the waterfront they threw their picket line.
They called it Bloody Thursday, the fifth day of July,
For a hundred men were wounded and two were left to die!
Now that was seven years ago, and in the time since then
Harry's organized thousands more and made them union men.
"We must try to bribe him", the shipping bosses said.
And if he won't accept a bribe, we'll say that he's a red!"
The bosses brought a trial to deport him over the sea,
But the judge said, "He's an honest man, I got to set him free."
Then they brought another trial to frame him if they can,
But right by Harry Bridges stands every working man!
Woody Guthrie (1941)
"Song for Bridges" supported Harry Bridges, leader of the San Francisco based International Longshoreman's and Warehousemen's Union and regional director of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (C. I. O.). Bridges spent nearly twenty years fighting the government's attempts to deport him to his native Australia. The master was hastily recorded at a high level, causing distortion that could not be adequately corrected....