Union Songs

Solidarity Forever

A Song by Ralph Chaplin©Ralph Chaplin 1915

- [play]

When the union's inspiration through the workers' blood shall run
There can be no power greater anywhere beneath the sun
Yet what force on earth is weaker than the feeble strength of one
For the Union makes us strong

Solidarity forever, solidarity forever
Solidarity forever
For the Union makes us strong

Is there aught we hold in common with the greedy parasite 
Who would lash us into serfdom and would crush us with his might?  
Is there anything left to us but to organize and fight?  
For the union makes us strong

It is we who ploughed the prairies, built the cities where they trade
Dug the mines and built the workshops, endless miles of railroad laid
Now we stand outcast and starving 'mid the wonders we have made
But the union makes us strong 

All the world  that's owned by idle drones is ours and ours alone 
We have laid the wide foundations, built it skyward stone by stone 
It is ours, not to slave in, but to master and to own  
While the union makes us strong

They have taken untold millions that they never toiled to earn
But without our brain and muscle not a single wheel can turn
We can break their haughty power gain our freedom when we learn
That the Union makes us strong

 In our hands is placed a power greater than their hoarded gold
Greater than the might of armies magnified a thousandfold
We can bring to birth a new world from the ashes of the old
For the Union makes us strong

Solidarité Mes Frères Et Mes Soeurs

Paroles françaises: J. Baumgarten 1915

Nous engraissons le capital et ses usines
Enchaînés du matin au soir à la machine
Pour notre peine, des salaires de famine
Mais l'union nous rendra forts

Solidarité mes frères et mes soeurs
Solidarité mes frères et mes soeurs
Solidarité mes frères et mes soeurs
Ensemble nous vaincrons

Mais si un jour nous arrêtons tous nos machines
Mais si un jour nous occupons tous nos usines
Puissants patrons vous ferez alors tristes mines
Car l'union nous rendra forts.

En combattant pour elle, la classe ouvrière
Apportera un ordre nouveau sur la terre
Au coude à coude restons unis, prolétaires
C'est l'union qui nous rend forts. 


Ralph Chaplin was a poet, artist, writer and organiser for the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). He wrote this song in 1915 just six months before his fellow IWW songwriter Joe Hill was executed. It was to become the anthem of the American labour movement and soon spread to other countries. On 17 January 1915 the radical labor organizer and anarchist Lucy Parsons lead a hunger march in Chicago; Ralph Chaplin wrote "Solidarity Forever" for the march. It goes to the tune of the American Civil War song John Brown's Body. Ralph Chaplin said "I wanted a song to be full of revolutionary fervour and to have a chorus that was singing and defiant"

Thanks to Bernard Carney for permission to use his version of the song from his 1996 CD "Stand Together". Visit Bernard's website at http://bernardcarney.com/

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