Oliver Anthony’s “Rich Men North of Richmond” became a hit song with the backing of an array of right-wing influencers largely because, after drawing in listeners with a lament about working too hard for too little pay, it takes a turn to the right to target people on welfare, throwing in a complaint about taxes and a weird Jeffrey Epstein reference along the way. But as Anthony is hailed as a populist voice, English singer-songwriter Billy Bragg has offered up a response that showed just what really taking up the cause of working people might look like—and Anthony is pushing back on the right-wing embrace of his song.
“If you’re selling your soul, working all day. Overtime hours for bullshit pay. Nothing is gonna change if all you do is wish you could wake up and it not be true,” Bragg opens in a direct rejoinder to Anthony’s song. “Join a union. Fight for better pay. You better join a union, brother. Organize today.”
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