Australian Folk Songs
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The Agitator (1909)
(From Brisbane "Sun.")
Come, listen for a moment to this spouter of Insanity,
This Socialistic agitator's doctrines of Inanity,
Emphasised when needful with some blasphemous profanity,
You seldom see him working--but he's making easy cash.
You shearers in these modern days are really housed Imperially,
There's a nice cheque coming to you when you're finished shearing wearily.
And you move on to another station ; Why not "do so cheerily ?"
For this chap who hisses "Strike Boys!"--Has he ever "rung" a shed ?
You men who work as miners in the womb of dark perpetual.
The thought of two pounds five a week seems greatly to upset you all,
But there's one thing that tho writer is quite prepared to bet you all
It's a screw that Tom Mann isn't worth as miner.
You clerks who work for slender screws, of course you can't live whistfully,
But you seem to feed and clothe yourselves and dress, your women tastefully,
To the office agitator then you need not hark too hastefully,
For it's pretty near a monte he cant keep a ledger straight.
Let Socialistic agitators blatherskite eternally
They really must be suffering some malady internally,
And working men with common sense are sick of them infernally,
For there's not an agitator who is really worth a damn.
--E. G. K.
From the Queensland Newspaper the Beaudesert Times Fri 5 Mar 1909 p. 4.
In 1901, Tom Mann (mentioned in verse 3) emigrated to Australia, to see if that country's broader electoral franchise would allow more "drastic modification of capitalism". Settling in Melbourne, he was active in Australian trade unions and became an organiser for the Australian Labor Party. However, he grew disillusioned with the party, believing it was being corrupted by the nature of government and concerned only with winning elections. He felt that the federal Labour MPs were unable and unwilling to change society, and their prominence within the movement was stifling and over-shadowing organised labour. He resigned from the ALP and founded the Victorian Socialist Party. He returned to Britain in 1910. [ From Wikipedia ]
australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory