Union Songs

The Workman's Square Deal

- [play]

What does the workman want?

He wants his own, 
The honest share of what his hands produce,
He craves no charity and begs no bone,
But only asks for freedom from abuse.

He wants goodwill,
But not at cost of justice and of life,
Not if it means that he must needs be still,
While others rob his baby and his wife.

He wants fair play and equal rights 
And equal chance for all,
And privilege for none to steal or slay 
Or force his weaker brother to the wall.

What does the workman want?

He wants his right,
Against the vain traditions of the law,
Against the sophistries of age and might,
Against religion's oft mistaken awe.

The workman wants the reign of commonsense,
He wants the true democracy of man,
Not any patronage nor all pretence,
Will hold him long to any other plan.
The common welfare is the workman's goal,
The common use of all the commonwealth,
The common rights of every common soul.
And common access to the springs of health.

And everyone a worker by and by,
His own employer, his own king and priest,
Nor any rich nor poor, nor low nor high,
When all the world monopolies have ceased.


Anonymous poem published in 1924 by the Australian Railways Union.in the "Railway Union Gazette".

From the "Trains of Treasure" CD, recited by Denis Kevans.

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