Musical History Tour PDF posters to print yourself are below… Professionally-made tour t-shirts, tote bags, stickers, postcards, and A3-size posters using the “front page” below can also be found at my gigs and at my online store. You can also contribute to the ad campaign that uses this poster.
Thanks to Kalindi Jackson for the poster idea and the artistic execution of the whole thing. Below are variations of the “news” stories I came up with for the poster project.
CRUSADERS TAKE JERUSALEM
Jerusalem – July, 1099
After an epic journey and a lot of military losses along the way, Christian Crusaders have this month breached the walls of the ancient City of Jerusalem. The Crusaders, who came from as far away as the northern reaches of Scandinavia and many other Christian lands, wasted no time in trying to figure out which one of the defeated residents of Jerusalem were Muslim, Christian or Jewish – people of all ages were killed without discretion.
OTTOMAN SULTAN TO RESCUE JEWS
Izmir, Ottoman Empire – March, 1492
Ottoman Sultan Bayezid II has announced that he has ordered the deployment of the entire Ottoman Navy to sail to Spain in order to rescue the Spanish Jews. The Sultan’s announcement comes in the wake of the Alhambra Decree earlier this month, when the Catholic rulers of the newly-united Spanish nation, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, declared that all Jews in Spain have been given three months to leave Spain, upon punishment of Death.
Ship captains in the Mediterranean region have reported that the Shipping Lanes are so full of Ottoman vessels that they have had to use alternate routes in order to avoid Collisions with the Muslims.
26 PIRATES HANGED IN NEWPORT
Newport, Rhode Island – July 20th, 1723
The public execution of 26 Pirates yesterday at the gallows in the town center went off without incident. Most of the available soldiers in the Colony were to be seen guarding the gallows, a necessary precaution since the Mob seizure of the gallows and Freeing of pirates at the gallows in Boston Commons.
The Royal Navy claims success in their years-long efforts to regain control of the North Atlantic from such Renegades, Criminals, and Privateers. Asked for a comment on these claims, Captain Blackbeard lit his beard on fire and laughed heartily.
PRIVATE MILITIA MARCHES ON WORCESTER
Boston, Massachusetts – January, 1787
As we go to press, Governor Bowdoin’s 3,000-strong private militia is marching towards Worcester. Composed of patriotic mercenaries from eastern Massachusetts, the force is expected to be able to regain control of the western half of the state.
Courts in western Massachusetts have been prevented from operating since last August, when tenant farmers identifying themselves as Regulators began blockading the courts and otherwise creating an atmosphere of Terror. The resultant state of Anarchy has meant that many landlords have not been paid by their tenants since before the Revolutionary War began.
Tenant farmers such as former Continental Army officer Daniel Shays complain an allowance should be made for the fact that they were busy liberating their country from British tyranny and thus unable to work their farms for several years, at least for those who were lucky enough to come back alive.
Governor Bowdoin and the rest of the law-abiding landowners of Boston disagree with Mr Shays’ assessment, and they expect their military force to convince him and the rest of his rebels of the errors of their ways. The self-proclaimed Regulators, for their part, are reportedly organizing themselves into battalions and looting stores for supplies and ammunition.
WHITE HOUSE TORCHED
Washington, DC – August 25th, 1814
The British Navy has carried out what it claims was a retaliation for US forces burning York to the ground two years ago. Yesterday, British forces under the command of General Robert Ross burned the White House, the Supreme Court and the Congress to the ground.
Rumors abound that before setting fire to the residence of the US president, Ross’s troops took the time to finish eating the breakfast which President Madison and other White House staff were eating when they had to beat a hasty retreat from the British Naval forces that had arrived unannounced on the Potomac River.
WELSH TOWN SEIZED BY WORKERS
Merthyr Tydfil, Wales – May, 1831
With chants of “Cheese and Bread” and “Down with the King,” residents of the Welsh town of Merthyr Tydfil are in a state of Rebellion. Soldiers of the Crown have been forced to barricade themselves into a compound in the town center, and the Mob otherwise controls the town.
Workers have been complaining about recent cuts in their wages. The blood-drenched loaves of bread impaled upon the tops of poles flying red flags have become the Symbol of this Welsh uprising.
The Crown has dispatched a Scottish regiment to put down the Rebellion. They are expected to arrive in the next few days to Restore Order.
BRITAIN WINS TRADE WAR AGAINST CHINA
Nanking, China – August, 1842
The Chinese Emperor has admitted defeat in the Trade War launched by Great Britain almost three years ago. Hundreds of British soldiers and tens of thousands of Chinese have been killed in the conflict, which has been dubbed an Opium War, since it began with British retaliation against Chinese troops burning over 20,000 crates of British opium.
STATE OF INSURRECTION
Albany, New York – August, 1845
In the latest chapter of the Rent Strike Wars, Governor Wright has declared Delaware County to be “in a State of Insurrection” following the shooting death on August 7th of a sheriff’s deputy who was carrying out an eviction.
The shooting is only the most recent development in the Chaos and Anarchy that has engulfed the Hudson Valley region since tenant farmers on the van Rensselaer Estate launched a Rent Strike in July, 1839.
Originally the property of the Dutch West India Company, the van Rensselaer family has long been one of the world’s richest. The masked, armed insurrectionists on horseback that control the hills around the Hudson Valley appear to be united in the view that if their grandparents fought a revolution so that their grandchildren could be tenant farmers just like they had been when under British rule, then it is time for a second revolution.
IRISH BATTALION FIGHTS AGAINST UNITED STATES
Monterrey, Mexico – September, 1846
The US Army continues its advance into Mexican Territory. The City of Monterrey has now fallen to US forces, but there was stiff resistance from Artillery manned by a detachment of red-haired soldiers flying a green flag. Several initial attempts at taking the city center were rebuffed before the Mexican Army capitulated.
The Irish — most of whom are Catholic, and commonly referred to one another as “slaves” in their British-occupied homeland — have proven to be frequently uncooperative in this particular US imperial venture. The fact that Mexico is predominantly Catholic and has also abolished slavery, whereas the US is predominantly Protestant and has invaded Mexico largely for the purpose of preserving the institution, has been a pill too bitter for many to swallow, even in the name of Patriotism.
Whereas the number of deserters who have actually joined the Mexican Foreign Legion, the St Patrick Battalion or San Patricios, numbers in the low hundreds, the number of deserters from US ranks is thought to be in the thousands.
AUSTRIAN EMPEROR FLEES VIENNA
Vienna, Austria – May, 1848
In one more incredible development in a series of incredible developments, the revolt in Vienna that began in March has seen the Defense Minister hanged by a mob, and the Emperor has fled the City.
The chain of events that began with the Crop Failures across Europe in 1846 and mass Starvation in Ireland have seen popular revolts in France, Prussia, and elsewhere. Estimates of the numbers killed in the course of recent events is now in the Tens of Thousands.
We can rest assured that the current wave of migration from these troubled lands of Europe to the New World will continue.
WHITE HOMELAND DECLARED IN OREGON
Salem, Oregon – February, 1859
The Oregon Territory is no more – it is now the latest US State, the second full-fledged State on the Pacific Coast of this ever-expanding Nation. Once Pioneers made up more than Half of the population of the Oregon Territory, it was eligible to become a State, and Statehood has now become a fait accompli.
The thorny question of Slavery currently leading to conflict and bloodshed on the Kansas-Missouri border region has been addressed by the new state in a novel way – making Oregon the only state in the union that bans slavery, and also bans nonwhite people from owning Property or otherwise moving to the State. Exceptions are made for certain Mexicans who are of mostly European heritage, and Citizens who are less than half Indian.
Enforcement of these racial Exclusion Laws is now enshrined in the Oregon state Constitution. Anyone who does not fall within the demarcated racial categories allowed in the State shall be liable to be publicly Flogged and forced to join Chain Gangs.
OKLAHOMA INSURRECTION THWARTED
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – August, 1917
Hundreds of would-be insurrectionists have been arrested in Oklahoma as they marched in the direction of Washington, DC. Posters from a secret organization known as the Working Class Union that have been found across the state argued that if workers were to be drafted into the military and sent to risk their lives in what they denounce as “a bosses’ war,” then they might as well risk their lives trying to overthrow the US government.
The Working Class Union is believed to have tens of thousands of active members in Oklahoma and is believed to have been responsible for many of the acts of industrial sabotage that have been plaguing this state for years.
SYNDICALISTS SEIZE STOCK EXCHANGE
Copenhagen, Denmark – March, 1918
Thousands of workers have marched from Folkets Hus, the main base for trade unionists in Copenhagen, to the Stock Exchange in the city center. Stockbrokers reportedly were not harmed, but there was no trading on the floor of the Danish Stock Exchange for an entire day, as it was Occupied.
Danish authorities have announced they will be pressing charges against the ringleaders of the protest action. For their part, the Syndicalists say it is unacceptable in a country as rich as Denmark that there are hungry children living on the streets. Maintaining its neutrality throughout the Great War, Denmark has seen a dramatic rise in its fortunes in recent years as a result of what some have called War Profiteering.
GENERAL STRIKE IN VANCOUVER
Vancouver, British Columbia – August 3rd, 1918
Factories and mills were closed throughout the City of Vancouver yesterday as labor unions staged a General Strike in response to the killing last week of labor leader Ginger Goodwin. Goodwin was hunted down and killed by an officer of the law. The officer was unharmed in the encounter but claims Goodwin was threatening him.
Albert “Ginger” Goodwin was in hiding since he had been turned down for a Medical Exemption. Claiming the Great War to be “a bosses’ war,” it has been opposed by much of the Canadian labor movement. There is widespread suspicion that not all of the 50% of Canadian draft-age men who have successfully qualified for Medical Exemptions are actually significantly disabled.
FBI RAIDS UNION HALLS ACROSS US
Seattle, Washington – November 7th, 1919
The newly-endowed national police force known as the Federal Bureau of Investigation has launched raids throughout the United States against the Industrial Workers of the World. Accused of treason for opposing the Great War, the FBI has announced their intention to arrest the entire leadership of the IWW and to deport 20,000 of their membership back to Europe.
There are reports coming in from across the US that veterans from the American Legion are accompanying the FBI agents in their raids and leaving nothing but smoldering ruins in their wake.
THOUSANDS OF ARMED MINERS BESIEGE WEST VIRGINIA TOWN
Mingo, West Virginia – August, 1921
An estimated 13,000 miners have traveled from throughout the state of West Virginia for the purpose of freeing one hundred of their union colleagues from detention here in the town of Mingo. The coal operators, state and local authorities have no intention of freeing the miners, evidently – they have massed a force of 10,000 people to defend the town, including every police officer in the state.
Union miners traveling towards Mingo have commandeered private automobiles and looted stores for guns and ammunition. It’s the heat of summer, and foliage is so thick that even in broad daylight you can see very little of what is happening on the other side of the valley, where the union miners have set up their line.
Most of the men arrayed against each other on both sides of this line are veterans of the Great War. What is going to happen next is anybody’s guess. Since the shooting deaths by private Pinkerton detectives of a popular local sheriff as well as a number of women and children in the town of Sharples last week, what began as a volatile labor dispute has escalated into something more resembling the Civil War.
GERMANY LEAVES LEAGUE OF NATIONS
Berlin, Germany – October 19th, 1933
The new National Socialist leaders of Germany have continued to demonstrate the unpredictable nature of their fascist state. With a terse announcement, Germany has left the League of Nations. This is only the latest move in what is becoming a clear pattern of Nazi efforts to break international agreements and undermine domestic democratic institutions in the course of Adolf Hitler’s dramatic first year in power.
The ongoing German military buildup appears to be in contravention to the Treaty of Versailles, but it has been very beneficial to many US corporations, including the Ford Motor Company. Few observers, either German or international, seem inclined to take Mr Hitler seriously when it comes to his fantasies of empire, on the assumption that he is just trying to appeal to his base of support at home. Those in the West that do take the Fuhrer at his word are hoping that he will put an end to Bolshevism once and for all.
While there has been no English translation of Adolf Hitler’s best-selling book, Mein Kampf, in it he discusses the fate of the Armenian minority in Turkey, and his intention to systematically deal with Germany’s Jewish population similarly. A small number of Jews have been leaving Germany since Hitler came to power.
INTERNATIONAL BRIGADES TO LEAVE SPAIN
Madrid, Spain – September 21st, 1938
The Spanish government has announced that the brigades of volunteer fighters from around the world currently fighting alongside the Spanish Republican Army against the forces of General Franco will leave the country. Prime Minister Negrin is making what many observers see as a desperate move, hoping that if his government’s foreign supporters pull out, Franco will reciprocate by ordering his supporters from the fascist states of Germany and Italy to leave.
In the name of neutrality, France has prevented the Spanish Republic from importing much-needed tanks, guns, ammunition and fuel, while Franco has had a ready supply of military aid from Germany and Italy. Even if France were to reverse this policy now, it is doubtful there is any hope for the nascent Spanish Republic.
REFUGEE SHIP RETURNS TO EUROPE
New York, New York – June, 1939
The MS St Louis, with its cargo of almost a thousand German Jews, has been denied the right to dock in the United States. Having already been denied entry to Cuba and Canada, the St Louis is headed now towards Amsterdam.
President Roosevelt is resisting overtures from some quarters to lift the quota on those seeking asylum from what is frequently being referred to as the “Nazi Terror.”
Most of the Congress also remains united against loosening immigration restrictions imposed against Eastern and Southern European immigration after the 1920 bombing of Wall Street. Authorities never caught the perpetrators, but they are believed to have been Italian Anarchists.
FDR SIGNS INTERNMENT ORDER
Washington, DC – February, 1942
President Roosevelt has signed into law Executive Order 9066, stating that all Japanese nationals and other persons of Japanese descent shall immediately be detained and interned until sometime after the cessation of the current hostilities in the Pacific.
Critics of the order complain that it is a form of Collective Punishment against people, including Children, who can’t possibly have anything to do with the Japanese Empire’s attack on the US Navy in Hawaii. Others note that most of the most productive agricultural land in California is owned by Japanese farmers, and they wonder who is going to get all of their land once they are interned?
FARMERS BLOW UP DAM
Reykjavik, Iceland – August 26th, 1970
At midnight last night, a dam on the Laxa River was destroyed, blown up by dynamite. This morning, over a hundred people phoned in to the police to take responsibility for the bombing.
Farmers in the valley have been lodging complaints against the government’s plans to expand the dam, which would involve the flooding of many farms.
East Kilbride, Scotland — March, 1974
News has recently emerged that there are a number of Hawker Hunter fighter jet engines sitting on the Rolls Royce factory floor which workers are refusing to work on because they came from Chile.
When the democratically-elected socialist government of Salvador Allende was overthrown by a CIA-backed military coup on September 11th of last year, the iconic event from that day of the Chilean presidential palace being bombed by a Hawker Hunter jet was seen by many workers at the factory where the airplane’s engines were manufactured.
Four thousand Rolls Royce workers have now voted that they won’t repair fascist engines, and they have adopted the slogan from the Spanish Civil War for the occasion. Trade unions throughout the UK have been sending pledges of support for the boycott campaign.
LANDLORD KILLED IN FREAK ACCIDENT
Portland, Oregon — July 28th, 2007
Hard-pressed renters across the city of Portland and beyond have been experiencing a revived sense of religious faith, with many claiming divine intervention as the only sensible explanation for events which transpired yesterday morning.
Looking understandably dazed, a female tenant who wishes to remain anonymous had been standing on the sidewalk in front of her rented single-story home in Southeast Portland when her landlord, a well-known local tech entrepreneur and real estate developer named Taylor Zachary was struck by lightning and killed.
“Beyond the fact that lightning killing people is very rare, as far as I know,” the tenant haltingly remarked, “the thing was, it wasn’t evening raining. And he had just told me my rent was going up by $300 a month. Maybe there is a God after all.”
REFUGEE SELF-IMMOLATES ON NAURU
Darwin, Australia — April, 2016
In the ancient Persian poem, Majnun goes crazy because he can’t be with Leila, the woman he loves. On Nauru, Leila and Majnun were together, but prevented from reaching the country of their destination, Australia. They made the harrowing journey by sea from Iran. They even got refugee status from the Australian government — which then sent them to live out their lives as refugees on a tiny, mosquito-ridden island with an almost 100% unemployment rate and an environment destroyed by mining.
Like the rest of the people living there in Australia’s version of indefinite offshore detention camps, the future holds two choices, according to the Australian authorities: stay on Nauru or “voluntarily” return to the persecution or the war zone from which you fled.
Omid Masoumali chose a third option. When United Nations personnel were visiting the island, he chose that moment to publicly douse himself in petrol and set himself alight. We’re calling Omid’s girlfriend Leila because she is still being indefinitely detained by Australian authorities, and wishes to remain anonymous.
CHICKENS COMMENCE ROOSTING
Dallas, Texas — July 7th, 2016
If he had been deployed overseas in the military that trained him to be a marksman, Micah Xavier Johnson might have been commended for a day of expert sniping. But the former soldier was not in Baghdad, he was in Dallas, and his targets were not conscripts of Saddam Hussein’s army, but Dallas police officers who had been escorting a protest march through town.
The march was under the banner of Black Lives Matter, in opposition to the prevalence of police killings of people of African descent in the United States. Johnson’s internet postings make clear that he was also outraged by the lack of accountability of the killers, who are rarely punished, even when their victims were unarmed.
Five officers died of head wounds, and one woman was shot in the leg. The assailant, shooting from a parking structure, was eventually neutralized by a police robot carrying a bomb, marking the first use of a robot suicide bomber by any US police force as far as anyone knows.
London, England — June 14th, 2017
The Grenfell Tower housing estate has gone up in flames, with unknown numbers dead — certainly scores. It remains to be fathomed why the building was wrapped in a flammable plastic cladding, about which residents had expressed concern. For years, residents had also voiced their alarm over the lack of sprinklers, functional fire extinguishers, or accessible emergency exits.
While many government ministers appear to be clamoring for an investigation into what caused the deadly fire, many outside the government are pointing the blame at decades of Thatcherite and New Labour austerity budgets that have systematically gutted social services throughout the UK.
MAWDA WAS HER NAME
Brussels, Belgium — May 17th, 2018
A two-year-old Kurdish refugee named Mawda Shawri was shot dead by Belgian police on the highway in Flanders last night. She was one of 26 occupants of a van. The driver was refusing to pull over as the police were instructing him to do. If the officer had succeeded in hitting the driver instead of the girl sitting in her mother’s lap just behind him, then perhaps there would be 26 deaths to report on now instead of one.
Every night there are vans full of refugees driving from the German border to the port of Antwerp, from where they hope to get to England. And every night there is a game of cat and mouse between the police and the refugees. But it’s not a game, and the consequences of it and so many other points along the way in the journey of a typical refugee are often fatal.
KIDS KIDNAPPED BY ICE
El Paso, Texas — May, 2018
The pro-slavery rebellion against British rule that produced the United States may have been led by atheists, but this fact has not deterred Attorney General Jeff Sessions from quoting the Bible in order to justify taking children away from their parents at the US-Mexico border.
The Trump administration would appear to have not only the law on their side, but God, as well. In any case, US immigration officials and private contractors have been forcibly separating parents from their children. In many cases, parents have been deported without their children and without their asylum claims being heard, in contravention with international law.
Up to now, the largest number of deportations during a presidential administration took place during the Obama administration. This dubious record seems likely to be passed on to the Billionaire-in-Chief eventually.
Many self-identified progressives have been protesting the child separation policies. In many cases, protesters have identified the child separation policies as “un-American.” Indigenous and African-American protesters have pointed out, however, that for many generations, separating children from their parents was standard practice, both within the slave trade and within the boarding schools which most Indian children were forced to attend up until the 1970’s, where all forms of child abuse were commonplace, along with suicide.
USA DECLARED FAILED STATE
Moab, Utah — August 1st, 2018
The preeminent Research Institute for the Study of Extinction (RISE) announced today that the US is a Failed State, and shall henceforth be referred to as the Failed Sates of America in RISE publications.
“There’s no way around the designation,” explained chief researcher, Ned Ludd. “The state of democratic control over what happens in society is in a complete shambles. There is effectively no accountability. The shift to plutocracy is now complete.”
Mr Ludd went on to point out that the degree of legalized political corruption in the US was so extreme that the government had proven itself to be essentially paralyzed in the face of widespread, pervasive problems such as drought, wildfires, floods, daily mass shootings and otherwise extreme levels of gun violence, violent state repression, mass incarceration, widespread and increasingly desperate levels of poverty, outbreaks of disease and what he described as a shocking degree of denial of basic scientific realities by people at the highest levels of government.
New York, New York — September 17th, 2036
The remaining bankers and stockbrokers who had barricaded themselves within their ivory towers since the rebellion began earlier this year have today emerged peacefully from their offices.
While the wealth redistribution program adopted by the Justice and Equality Commission has been overwhelmingly popular among the majority of the people, the plan to send the bankers to the countryside has been more controversial.
“We can’t just let them fester in the wine bars of Manhattan plotting the counter-revolution,” explained an official of the new revolutionary government, Robin Banks. “With certain elements of the bourgeoisie it’s important to be a bit more proactive. And the high schools in rural America desperately need more mathematics teachers.”
DAVID ROVICS RELEASES LP
Portland, Oregon — December 1st, 2018
Award-winning anarchist troubadour David Rovics is putting out his first vinyl record.
“It’s called Historic Times because I thought that title was nicely flexible for an album that covers both historic and current events,” explained the artist during a morning walk while viewing the latest construction projects on Division Street.
The record is a compilation, sourced from a live recording made in Rostrevor, Ireland in October, 2016 (most of Side B), four songs recorded at Big Red Studio in July, 2018, and several songs from David’s latest two full-length studio recordings heretofore only released online, Punk Baroque (2017) and Ballad of a Wobbly (2017). More info at davidrovics.com/historic.
DAVID ROVICS IN CONCERT
See down at the bottom for details!
Rabble-rousing, award-winning, Portland, Oregon-based folk punk singer/songwriter, David Rovics, is on a world tour, and if you’re looking at this poster somewhere that’s not a screen, he’s probably playing somewhere near you very soon. We here at Historic Times interviewed him about the tour.
HT: It’s basically a concert tour, right? So why confuse people by calling it a Musical History Tour?
DR: I write a lot of songs about certain particularly meaningful historical events because I think understanding them is necessary in order to make sense of the world around us. So then school systems in Germany and Sweden started using my songs as teaching aids in textbooks. The Zinn Education Project and the Peace and Justice Studies Association started using my songs for the same purpose online, as have many teachers and professors around the world. I decided to put a lot of time into creating a whole musical teaching aid on my website for people to learn about social movement history and recent events.
HT: So the Musical History Tour is a concert tour promoting a free online popular education resource, rather than a new album?
DR: Yeah, pretty much. But there’s also an album, which will eventually be vinyl. It’ll be called Historic Times, actually. For now, it’s only available to CSA members and people who sign up to my email list at davidrovics.com.
HT: I have to ask, how do you survive if you’re giving away all your music like this?
DR: A combination of people volunteering to organize gigs, other folks spreading the word about and coming to those gigs, and people joining my CSA on my website. Of course if people buy merch that’s great, too, but as a significant factor in the livelihood of DIY musicians, merch sales is basically a thing of the past. It’s a brave, new, “free” world…
HT: Before we conclude this interview, do you have anything to add?
DR: I hope to see folks at the show, on the road and in the streets!