Video Exclusive: Ani DiFranco’s “Which Side Are You On?”

Ani DiFrancoShervin Lainez

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“Which Side Are You On,” the haunting 1931 labor classic by Florence Reece, the wife of a union organizer, has been covered by Pete Seeger, Billy Bragg, Natalie Merchant, and Dropkick Murphys, to name just a few. In January, with the release of her album of the same title, the inimitable Ani DiFranco added her name to the list. Actually, it’s always been pretty damn clear which side DiFranco is on. (In this 1999 interview, we spoke at some length about her collaboration with labor organizer and rabble-rousing storyteller Utah Phillips.) DiFranco’s reworked version updates Reece’s sparse union-versus-management call to action to focus on the contemporary political machine. This exclusive video below, seen here for the first time, combines DiFranco’s update with a montage of images submitted by her fans who were inspired by the song—you can find plenty more here. You can also download a free MP3 of the song here. And if this makes you want to hit the barricades, well, it just so happens that the Occupy and labor movements have big plans for tomorrow, so check back, because we’ll be covering the protests as they happen.

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You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

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