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Punk Traditionalists Dropkick Murphys Support Health Care Union Drive

The Dropkick Murphys have a legacy of supporting working class causes. The Dropkick Murphys have a legacy of supporting working class causes.

Punk rockers have a long history of being socially conscious and politically active. Although a faction of the music genre’s musicians and fans are often stereotyped as chaos-loving nihilists, many punks around the world have proven to be anything but. Add the Dropkick Murphys to that list. The Boston-based band filmed a video for their song “Tomorrow’s Industry” aimed at supporting their hometown healthcare workers. Boston area nurses, paramedics, and others are campaigning to join 119SEIU, one of the biggest healthcare unions in the U.S.A.

The “Tomorrow’s Industry” video features the band and actual healthcare workers involved in the campaign as text appears alongside the narrative, which follows a member of the Murphys on a hospital visit. “Thousands of healthcare workers who care for us when we need it most cannot afford healthcare themselves,” reads a portion of the clip.

The lyrics to “Tomorrow’s Industry” themselves are critical of the healthcare industry in the U.S. “They know your paying, they don't think twice / There's a dollar value on your life,” sing the Murphys’ vocalists Al Barr and Ken Casey.

In addition to celebrating their Boston and Irish roots, the Dropkick Murphys are well known for getting behind working class causes. The band has a long-standing relationship with the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO).

Of course, the Dropkick Murphys aren’t the first punk group to vocalize their stance on socio-political issues.

London’s The Clash are widely considered the band to have had the biggest influence on loudly leftist punk artists. As early as the ‘70s, Joe Strummer and company were championing working class causes and anti-fascist issues.

Soon punk bands around the world were singing out about leftist ideologies. In the late ‘70s, Northern Ireland’s Stiff Little Fingers, Canada’s D.O.A., San Francisco’s Dead Kennedys, and Washington, D.C.’s Bad Brains all drew influence from The Clash while illuminating working class struggles, race issues, and institutional corruption.

The Clash’s music and lyrics continued to inspire punk acts as well as musicians of other genres into the ‘80s. L.A. punks Bad Religion are notable descendents in The Clash’s lineage, but so are the likes of English rocker Billy Bragg and Ireland’s U2, who are one of the biggest musical groups in history and openly acknowledge their debt to The Clash.

Today, The Clash’s influence continues to be so deeply felt that songs like The Dropkick Murphy’s “Tomorrow’s Industry” would sound right at home on a Clash recording. And that’s good news for Boston area healthcare workers campaigning to join 1199SEIU. A major rock act backing their cause can only help raise awareness, and hopefully lead to an improved standard of living for people in need.

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Last modified on Tuesday, 12 April 2011 14:14

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