Union Thugs – Folklore Ouvrier

 

“the people are on the march and must have songs to sing” (Pete Seeger)

… absolutely overjoyed to have Union Thugs added to the “left wing mob” that comprises the Rebel Time Records line-up / family …

Based in Montreal, and made up of members of punk/oi bands like Action Sedition, Riot Porn and Mayday, this six-piece combo plays amped-up, accordian-fueled revolutionary folk-oi. As they put it, they’re here to “rock folk songs and folk rock songs in order to present a revival of classic popular and working class songs, with an original flavour.”

Union Thugs concentrate on covers of working class anthems and the album is a musical journey through the pages of the revolutionary songbook. You get fighting songs / songs of solidarity and struggle, by the likes of Anne Feeney, Jaques Brunet, Leonard Cohen, The Almanac Singers (with Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie) and Molodoi.

Band members are active in organizations like the I.W.W. (International Workers of the World), COBP (Committee Opposed to Police Brutality) and RASH (Red And Anarchist Skinheads). and they’ve played countless benefit shows for anti-fascist, anti-colonial, community organizing and student movement causes. More often than not, you’ll find the band on the picket lines and the front lines, firing up the workers!

Folklore Ouvrier / Worker’s Folklore is an exercise in international solidarity and mutual aid, with the album being released via Discos Machete (Mexico), Dure Realite (Quebec), Fire and Flames Music (Germany), Kale Borroka Records (Basque Country), Rudy’s Back (France) and Rebel Time Records (Canada).

Comes with a big zine too!!

 

In their own words:

“Hello Everybody! We are the Union Thugs, A Labor Folk band based in Montreal. Let’s get this out of the way, we are not musicians, but workers that play music. We travel far and wide looking for people like us, who are part of the working class and are pissed off!

Pissed off to always see the same fat cats getting all the wealth while our conditions stall or get set back. Pissed off to witness condos upon condos being constructed in the city while people still sleep in the streets. Pissed off to see that when we rise up, we’re getting stomped on by back to work legislation, the police and their batons.

Friends we come to you with a message. We are fed up and we want change! We don’t think that this change will come from ballots. Ignoring the problem and participating obediently and quietly will do us any good.

We think it’s through organizing our workplaces, our neighborhoods to take back control. To produce by the community for the community, without bosses to steal the fruits of our labor.

For this to work, we have to stop being afraid of differences, namely : religion, sexual orientation, skin color, gender, native language, among others. No, we have to realise the truth! The true enemies are the bosses that exploit our labor, landlords that harvest our rents every month, bankers that put us in debt and shareholders that throw workers out on the streets by voting to close a plant at the last board of directors meeting, It’s also politicians that introduce themselves as heroes of the people, but once they are in office they’ll cater to capital’s needs.

It’s high time we trust ourselves and we clean this mess up, It’s time for the revolution! If we organize properly, we’ll just have to cross our arms so every single person stops working to see that old world crumble like a sand castle, we’ll clean up the rubble after.”

Union Thugs – Revolutionary Folk & Oi From Montreal

Here at Rebel Time Records, we’re big fans of Union Thugs … revolutionary oi and folk out of Montreal … former members of great bands like Action Sedition and Mayday.  Honored to have had them play a number of our shows over the last few years.

They’re a band that has played countless benefit shows for anti-fascist, anti-colonial, union, student movement, community organizing and other righteous causes. They are involved with the Industrial Workers Of The World (IWW). Some members are also involved in the record label Dure Realitie (a self managed and militant Montreal association that wishes to promote a revolutionary culture through artistic outlets).

In 2018, the band released a fantastic 4-song demo:

Now, in 2020, we are stoked to be one of the labels (along with Discos Machete, Dure Realitie and Fire And Flames) helping to put out their upcoming release “Folklore Ouvrier.”

Here’s the song “Les Piqueteuses De La Gloire,” one of the tracks that will be on “Foklore Ourvier”:

And, here’s the first video for the song “Partisan” …

The band says: “composed for the first time in 1943 in the heart of the 2nd World War, the song was re-popularized by Leonard Cohen during the 90s. We are taking it up here in homage to antifascists from all over the world.

Freedom will come soon and we will emerge from the shadows … ”

Oh the wind, the wind is blowing; Through the graves the wind is blowing Freedom soon will come; Then we’ll come from the shadows

Les Allemands étaient chez moi; Ils me dirent “Résigne-toi” Mais je n’ai pas peur; Et j’ai repris mon arme

Personne ne m’a demandé; D’où je viens et où je vais Vous qui le savez; Effacez mon passage

J’ai changé cent fois de nom; J’ai perdu femme et enfants Et je tourne en rond; Dans la prison des frontières

Un vieil homme dans un grenier; Pour la nuit nous a cachés Les Allemands l’ont pris; Il est mort sans surprise

Hier encore, nous étions trois; Il ne reste plus que moi Mais j’ai tant d’amis; Et j’ai ma classe entière

Oh the wind, the wind is blowing; Through the graves the wind is blowing Freedom soon will come; Then we’ll come from the shadows

From their bio:

“Considering themselves first and foremost as workers and then as musicians, the Thugs are six syndicalists who moonlight as a six-piece revolutionary folk band. Union Thugs has a specific goal: to rock folk songs and folk rock songs in order to present a revival of classic popular and working class songs with an original flavour.

​ Averaging thirty concerts a year, the Thugs go where the fight calls them. The Thugs have been known to play concert venues, general assemblies, bar scenes, outdoor festivals, picket lines, you name it! With a set packed by covers of the likes of Woody Guthrie, Utah Phillips, Vilain Penguin, Corrigan Fest, Angelic Upstarts, Molodoi, Brigada Flores Magon and many others, the Thugs deliver an inspiring message of syndicalist revival that puts the emphasis on a boundless Solidarity. Through music, they continue to carry this message further, louder, and stronger.

For a union for all workers,
For industrial democracy and the 4 hour workday,
Abolish the wage system,
Down with a society based on class division,
For a fucking good Rock n’ Folk show!
SOLIDARITY!”

Here’s an excellent min-documentary about the band … :

Video – Rebel Time Records Punk Rock Matinee – February 2nd, 2020

As always, massive thanks to Steve and Stronger Than Ever Video for capturing the sights and sounds of our Punk Rock Matinees for eternity / posterity!

Below, you’ll find full sets videos of all 5 bands that played our February 2nd, 2020 Rebel Time Records Punk Rock Matinee Superbowl Sunday Edition!

THEY CALL IT CHAOS
(progressive / aggressive political skatepunk. Golden Horseshoe Hardcore)

BARBED WIRE BRACES
( old school street punk with something to say )

THE FALLOUT
(straight-up, stripped-down political punk rock)

BACK BREAKER
( working class anarchist oi punk )

UNION THUGS
( accordian-fueled revolutionary folk/oi/punk )

Spring Offensive 2019 – The Soundtrack

… Spring Offensive 2019 … three days of peace, love and anarchy … we’re putting together a bit of a digital soundtrack featuring (hopefully) all of the bands taking part in this extravaganza …

… here’s 5 of the bands / artists anchoring this event …  an eclectric and eclectic mix of punk rock, oi,  hip-hop and revolutionary oi/folk … songs for agitators, instigators, malcontents and mischief-makers …

… stay tuned for more tunes …