The year was 1944. World War II was raging, No Exit by Sartre was first published and Bob Dylan was three years old. Woody Guthrie, Dylan’s main teenage inspiration, was creating lyrics about how fascists were never going to win. Yes, Guthrie was advancing the genre of protest folk music. As we celebrate Bob Dylan’s 70th birthday, I thought we could take a little spin on the birthday celebration and give some credit to Dylan’s folk inspiration. The reason? I need to be different. So, my gift to you on your 70th Bob is this:
Oh the 1940′s, where the term “hillbilly” was, at least in Woody Guthrie’s mind, an indication of educated patriotism. “All You Fascists” is one of the most prescient Guthrie songs, an incredible salute to an American dream that would not be realized for another 25 years.
“People of every color marching side by side
Marching ‘cross the fields where the million fascists died
You’re bound to lose, you fascists are bound to lose”
Guthrie sings of a world where race hatred is a thing of the past. He longs for great change in the country, where fascism can be ended domestically and across seas. Dylan learned from the best.