Natalie Merchant mobilizes anti-Bush voters

NEW YORK — Singer Natalie Merchant’s second song at her Aug. 5 Town Hall concert here was Florence Reece’s pro-labor song, “Which Side Are You On?” She made it clear why she chose to include the song in her new album, “The Carpenter’s Daughter.”

“I just came from Boston and the Democratic National Convention. I am not exactly sure which side I am on, but I know what I am opposed to, and if they try to steal this election, well, we are going to fight like ... hell!” The sold-out crowd went wild.

During the first intermission, she introduced the head of the Center for Constitutional Rights, Ron Daniels. Daniels addressed the importance of protecting the constitutional rights of people in this country as well as the prisoners in Guantanamo and in Iraqi prisons. Despite a few hecklers, the audience listened quietly. Merchant invited the hecklers to join her on stage, but they declined.

She proved herself to be a great entertainer who can combine incredible talent with a strong social conscience and commitment. The concert took place on the same day that Bruce Springsteen and other performers announced a month of rock concerts in October to defeat Bush.

The author can be reached at pww @ pww.org.