Get Red Pepper's email newsletter. Enter your email address to receive our latest articles, updates and news.

×

21 July

'Eight hours for work, Eight hours for rest; Eight hours for what we will'

July 21, 2009
1 min read

Today in 1878, the song Eight Hours was first published by the Industrial Workers of the World, the Wobblies. Written by the Reverend Jesse H Jones (music) and I G Blanchard (lyrics), it became the most popular labour song for the next 37 years. In case you’re wondering, it was overtaken by Solidarity Forever in 1915.

We mean to make things over, we are tired of toil for naught,

With but bare enough to live upon, and never an hour for thought;

We want to feel the sunshine, and we want to smell the flowers,

We are sure that God has will’d it, and we mean to have eight hours.

We’re summoning our forces from the shipyard, shop, and mill:

Eight hours for work, eight hours for rest, eight hours for what we will!

Eight hours for work, eight hours for rest, eight hours for what we will!

The Fireside Book of Favourite American Songs, edited by Margaret Bradford Boni, Simon and Shuster, New York, 1952


Jeremy Hunt is poised to flog the last of the NHS
Peter Roderick sounds the alarm on an 'attack on the fundamental principles of the NHS'.

Viva Siva, 1923-2018
A. Sivanandan, who died this week, was a hugely important figure in the politics of race and class. As part of our tributes, Red Pepper is republishing this 2009 profile of him by Arun Kundnani

Sivanandan: When memory forgets a giant
Daniel Renwick calls for the whole movement to discover and remember the vital work of A. Sivanandan, who died this week

A master-work of graphic satire
American Jewish cartoonist Eli Valley’s comic commentary on America, the US Jewish diaspora and Israel is nothing if not near the knuckle, Richard Kuper writes

Meet the frontline activists facing down the global mining industry
Activists are defending land, life and water from the global mining industry. Tatiana Garavito, Sebastian Ordoñez and Hannibal Rhoades investigate.

Transition or succession? Zimbabwe’s future looks uncertain
The fall of Mugabe doesn't necessarily spell freedom for the people of Zimbabwe, writes Farai Maguwu

Don’t let Corbyn’s opponents sneak onto the Labour NEC
Labour’s powerful governing body is being targeted by forces that still want to strangle Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, writes Alex Nunns

Labour Party laws are being used to quash dissent
Richard Kuper writes that Labour's authorities are more concerned with suppressing pro-Palestine activism than with actually tackling antisemitism