Joe Hill, anarcho-syndicaliste flamboyant et poète de la révolte, a été fusillé dans l'Utah le 19 novembre 1915. Il a fallu pour ça monter une machination et le faire condamner pour meurtre par un jury «populaire». On lira pour s'en souvenir, surtout si on est né un 19 novembre, la biographie qu'en a donnée Franklin Rosemont, parue aux éditions CNT-RP. Quelques heures avant de passer devant le peloton, Joe Hill écrivait à son ami Bill Hayward, de l'IWW, ces mots restés célèbres: «Goodbye, Bill. I die like a true blue rebel. Don't waste any time in mourning. Organize... Could you arrange to have my body hauled to the state line to be buried ? I don't want to be found dead in Utah.»
If you all will shut your trap,
I will tell you 'bout a chap,
That was broke and up against it, too, for fair
He was not the kind that shirk,
He was looking hard for work,
But he heard the same old story everywhere:
Tramp, tramp, tramp, keep on a-tramping,
Nothing doing here for you;
If I catch you 'round again,
You will wear the ball and chain,
Keep on tramping, that's the best thing you can do.
He walked up and down the street,
'Till the shoes fell off his feet,
In a house he spied a lady cooking stew,
And he said, "How do you do,
May I chop some wood for you?"
What the lady told him made him feel so blue:
'Cross the street a sign he read,
"Work for Jesus," so it said,
And he said, "Here is my chance, I'll surely try,"
And he kneeled upon the floor,
'Till his knees got rather sore,
But at eating-time he heard the preacher cry:
Down the street he met a cop,
And the Copper made him stop,
And he asked him, "When did you blow into town?
Come with me up to the judge."
But the judge he said, "Oh, fudge,
Bums that have no money needn't come around."
Finally came that happy day
When his life did pass away,
He was sure he'd go to heaven when he died,
When he reached the pearly gate,
Santa Peter, mean old skate,
Slammed the gate right in his face and loudly cried:
In despair he went to Hell,
With the Devil for to dwell,
For the reason he'd no other place to go.
And he said, "I'm full of sin,
So for Christ's sake, let me in!"
But the Devil said, "Oh, beat it! You're a 'bo!"