I just want to start this post by saying, the greatest band of all time is Rage Against the Machine. The lead singer, Zach De La Rocha is brilliant as is the guitarist, Tom Morello. I seriously love them and everything they stand for. If you’ve never given them a legitimate chance check out these songs:
One of my favorite songs by them, despite it being a cover, is the Ghost of Tom Joad. Bruce Springsteen originally recorded it, but it’s performed MUCH better by RATM. The song was inspired by the novel, Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (One of the greatest novels ever written). The book is about a family that is travelling west to get to California, so that they can find work because Oklahoma is experiencing a drought. The entire quest for the Joad family can be looked at as a quest for citizenship and the song is a great illustration of what it looks like to not be a citizen under Judith Shklar.
Having gone to lecture all month, we all know the requirements for citizenship for shlklar, so I won’t go in depth, but they are voting and earning. Obviously, for the Joad family earning is their issue. Given the fact that they can’t work they can’t be citizens.
Man walks along the railroad tracks
He’s goin’ someplace, and there’s no turnin’ back
The highway patrol chopper comin’ up over the ridge
Man sleeps by a campfire under the bridge
The shelter line stretchin’ around the corner
Welcome to the New World Order
Families sleepin’ in their cars out in the Southwest
No job, no home, no peace, no rest
This verse shows the desperation and despair that these people are facing. Since it’s an extreme case, it’s easy to see the desperation and despair that the unemployed faced. Obviously, it isn’t like that today, but this situation applies to people today.
Wherever somebody’s strugglin’ for a place to stand
For a decent job or a helpin’ hand
Wherever somebody’s strugglin’ to be free
Look in their eyes, Ma, you’ll see me
You’ll see me
This is where we can begin to apply the situation of the “okies” to people in the modern day. This lyric in the song shows that anytime anyone is struggling, they are the same as Tom Joad, a non-citizen that can’t find work. The people described in the song and novel are obviously comparable to the homeless that are around today, but an even better comparison would be to the unemployed that still have homes. The people that have recently been laid off or completely fired. These people are the people that are similar to the family described in the song. They have recently been displaced, like the Joads and are currently struggling to find work.
This song applies to anyone today that doesn’t have citizenship because they lack the qualifications to be citizens according to shklar. Also, it’s amazing.
Here’s the song!