“Which Side Are You On?”


The Union comes to town to protect the miners from boss J.H. Blair. The workers are told "In Harlan County, there are no neutrals there," and asked, "Which side are you on (x4)." They are reminded "Us poor folks haven't got a chance unless we organize."


The radical National Miners' Union (N.M.U.) attempted to organize miners in the 1930s, but were defeated by the mine owners after bitter and bloody conflicts. The United Mine Workers of America (U.M.W.), part of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (C.I.O.) succeeded a few years later, again after terrible struggle. - PJS

Same tune

  • I Am a Union Woman (by Aunt Molly Jackson) (File: Arn174)

Cross references


  • Almanac Singers , "Which Side Are You On?" (on Almanac04, PeteSeeger1, PeteSeeger48) (on Selma)


  1. Scott-BoA, pp. 342-343, "Which Side Are You On?" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. PSeeger-AFB, p. 94, "Which Side Are You On?" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Greenway-AFP, pp. 170-171, "Which Side Are You On?" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. Silber-FSWB, p. 134, "Which Side Are You On?" (1 text)
  6. Roud #15159
  7. BI, SBoA342


Author: Words: Florence Reece / Music: Traditional
Earliest date: 1941 (recording, Almanac Singers) (reportedly composed 1931)
Found in: US