We all grew up singing what we thought was a very patriotic song. But, once you closely examine the lyrics and review the two versions that were ultimately cut from the song, you realize this is an extremely Socialist / Communist propaganda song.
The lyrics for This Land is Your Land were written around 1940. I don’t say the “song” was written, because Woody Guthrie used an existing melody of the Carter Family’s “When the Worlds on Fire”.
Guthrie wrote his lyric as a slap in the face to Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America”. The story goes that Guthrie was sick and tired of hearing the song sung all across the country by Kate Smith.
Guthrie, an aggressive supporter of communism and the Soviet Union, wanted to call his song, “God Blessed America for Me”. Two of the verses were specifically critical of the United States especially in the area of private property. He didn’t believe in private property. He believed everything belonged to everyone. So, even if you pulled yourself out of object poverty, worked hours upon hours, missed family time and essentially worked yourself to the bone, Guthrie and all of his do-nothing friends were entitled to participate in the fruits of your labor. They could waltz into your house and sleep in your bed, they could camp out in your backyard, eat your food, and use your utilities. After all, they were “made for you and me”.
Guthrie was very anti-war except he fully supported the Soviet invasion of Poland, blasted Franklin Roosevelt for loaning money to Finland so it could defend itself against the Soviets and was critical of the lend lease program to England. But being the typical hypocrite that Socialists are, he changed to a fully vigorous backing of the US in its fight against the Germans when they attacked the Soviet Union. And he never served. Another typical Socialist protocol – demand that the holes be dug but never pick up a shovel to help. Make sure someone else is doing all the work. He just sat back singing around the campfires while members of the Greatest Generation were dying to protect his commie idols. There are versus and versions of the song which are obvious shots at the income inequalities of the Great Depression and post-war periods.
And here we were, young, very impressionable grammar / primary school children, idolizing our teachers and following their lead. We forget we grew up in the era of the Vietnam War and most of these young teachers were probably war protestors on the weekend and Socialists when ever it suited their needs. So, when these protest songs and Socialist songs became part of our Music Class curriculum, we put out heads back and sang at the top of our lungs.
Recently, some of our more liberal leaning entertainers started incorporating the verses critical of the United States and private property back into their performances. It’s astonishing that these very same performers, basking in the freedoms that are the United States, bash it every chance they get. I wonder, when was last time these super rich entertainers shared the fruits of their labor like the true Socialists they dream to be.
In 2002 the Library of Congress chose the song as one of fifty to be added to the National Recording Registry.
I think this anti-American, Socialist song should be removed from that registry.