I try not to get TOO political in this space… ok, fine, in this particular series. But with the recent Labor Strikes from the WGA, SAG-AFTRA, and most recently, the UAW, I was inspired to play one of my favorite artists and talk to my students about what’s going on and my brief but formative experience organizing Adjunct Unions.

A good friend and I used to play a collaboration between this artist and another favorite on our college radio show and in our studios. So their voice was already reminiscent of good arty times. But it wasn’t until grad school, where my work was beginning to lean heavily into my tumultuous work history and Labor issues, that I really gave them another, deeper listen.

And let me tell you, this artist got me through my last year of Grad School. I can’t emphasize enough that Grad School nearly killed me, and having the supportive voice of an activist/artist in my ears inspired me to move forward with my work and eventually help get Adjuncts organized in Philadelphia.

This artist inspires me to add a hint of politics to my work. But also just reminds me to just get to work. Creating art is as laborious as any blue-collar job I’ve ever had, as well as being a more”white-collar” academic effort. Treating it like a job that I have to show up for is part of that, but doing good considered labor, and enjoying the process of just working is integral to my practice.

Billy Bragg isn’t always overtly political; his music dips into Irish Folk and punk music, romantic ballads and blues, but when he is, I can’t help but want to get back into organizing.