About the Song
Woody's original 3rd verse to the song is:
You gals who want to be free, just take a tip from me
Get you a man who's a union man & join the Ladies' Auxiliary
Married life ain't hard when you got a union card
A union man has a happy life when he's got a union wife
Today many unions (teachers, nurses, food workers, etc.) have women as the large majority of members. The sexism inherent in Woody's original verse rankles badly today.
In place of the above verse, someone wrote a new verse, probably in the 1960's.
You women who want to be free, take a little tip from me
Break outa that mold we've all been sold, you got a fighting hist-to-ree
The fight for women's rights with workers must unite
Like Mother Jones, move those bones to the front of every fight!
We included this verse in Rise Up Singing and credited it (as many other songbooks have) to "Cappie Israel". It now appears that this was an error. Cappy (note correct spelling) Israel tells me (Peter) that she did not write the verse above. If anyone knows anything about the origins of this verse, please write us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her brother Peter Israel wrote the "Native American verse" to "This Land Is Your Land" and Cappy was wrongly credited by Pete Seeger with having written that verse.
Here is another alternative feminist verse to Woody's Ladies' Auxiliary verse. This one was written by Nancy Katz:A woman's struggle is hard even with a union card
She's got to stand on her own two feet& not be a servant of the male elite
It's time to take a stand, keep working hand in hand
There's a job that's got to be done & a fight that's got to be won
Oh, You Can’t Fool Me (I’m Gonna Vote Now)
[words modified in 2020 by Henry Kahn from Charlotte NC from “Union Maid” (W Guthrie); music from “Redwing” (trad.)]
There was a suburban dame sho tried to play the game
Of bein’ so smart and keepin’ apart from the poor lower classes that she could blame.
She almost took the line that the KKK was fine
But she got wise and opened her eyes to the love that sets us free.
Oh, you can’t fool me. I’m gonna vote now
I’ve turned the corner. I’m gonna vote now
Come along with me. Get on our boat now
We’ll sail together on freedom’s sea.
There once was a lonely guy who bought into the lie
Of the rumor mills & corporate shills & the crooked politicians that they could buy
He wrapped himself in a flag & put his head in a bag
But he got smart and opened his heart to the love that sets us free.