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  • Danny Sullivan

Picking Cotton (Shirts)


From the dawn of civilization there has been an underclass and an overclass. A class that does a majority of the work while receiving a minority of the benefits, and a class that does a minority of the work while receiving a majority of the benefits.


Prior to the industrial age there was the hunter-gatherer age and the agricultural age. During these two ages, the work you put in was directly proportional to the benefit you received. In the hunter-gatherer age, in order to eat the deer you had to hunt the deer. In the agricultural age, in order to reap the wheat you had to sow the wheat. This was the general rule. However, through both of these ages, the elderly and infants received benefits without work. The elderly paid with wisdom and past accomplishments. The infants paid with future work.


Starting in perhaps the agricultural age, slaves received work without benefits. They were given enough to stay alive and continue working. The excess benefits they reaped went to those who owned them. The owner's work, in other words, became to manage the labor of others instead of the labor of himself. This management of labor was done through direct force - beatings and starvation. Eventually, this evolved to threats - indirect force.


Today, we live in a world of indirect force. No one has a gun to your head forcing you to go to work each day (at least I would hope not). However, you go to work each day knowing that if you didn't, you would eventually be homeless and starving. There really isn't a choice. Similar to the master-slave dynamic of the agricultural period, our era uses a hierarchy of managers and employees. There are those who do the direct, value-added work and there are those who manage them. Then, there are those who manage the managers and those who manage the manager managers. It's a pyramid built on the backs of those who do the value-added work. And do those on which this entire system rests reap the majority of the benefits? Certainly not. They are given enough to stay alive and continue working. The benefit pyramid is inverted.


I got the inspiration to write this song while at Walmart. I saw "pickers" running around the store with their carts, grabbing various items to complete orders that other people placed online. Their paychecks sufficient to keep them alive and perhaps purchase some cotton shirts for themselves, but not much else. Modern-day cotton pickers. Cotton shirt pickers.


-START LYRICS-

I do modern work

I pick cotton shirts oh

My spite is another spur

My life for the customer

I pick the summer shades

My whip's a gutter stay oh

I stick with the other slaves

Why quit there's no escape

Picking cotton

Picking cotton

Picking cotton shirts

Picking cotton

Picking cotton

Picking cotton shirts

It's no option

It's no option

It's no option work

Picking cotton

Picking cotton

Picking cotton shirts

I work for a piece of bread

I work 'til I'm weak or dead oh

I'm a slave to the common brands

I'm a slave to the fallen man

Picking cotton

Picking cotton

Picking cotton shirts

Picking cotton

Picking cotton

Picking cotton shirts

It's no option

It's no option

It's no option work

Picking cotton

Picking cotton

Picking cotton shirts, shirts, shirts

Shirts

-END LYRICS-


Song Title: Picking Cotton (Shirts)

Artist: Danny Sullivan

Album: Slave Music

Release Date: April 24, 2024

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