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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Protest Song Has Echoes for 2011

When it comes to messaging directly to the public, one strong protest song can sometimes do the work of ten good political speeches, which is why The Nation is asking readers to submit the name of “your all-time favorite protest song” on this form. (Nation writer Peter Rothberg has a pretty good list here to joggle the memory). It’s a tough call with so many great protest songs, but I don’t see how you can do much better in terms of relevance to the current political moment than this prescient little ditty, penned by a reluctantly prophetic songwriter, Iris Dement and first recorded by her in 1996:

When Tampa community radio station WMNF played the song back in 1997, Republican state Senator John Grant reportedly got so ticked off that he pulled $104,000 of the station’s public funding. Over the next day and a half Florida listeners raised $122,000 for the station in an emergency appeal.

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