Project Question

Check your Tags

Featured version – with Anitek (download)
Vocals: Lonnie Ray Atkinson
Music Track: Instrumental (Cradle Militia) by Anitek
(http://www.jamendo.com/en/track/839535 and Anitek)

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This is a song about sweatshop labor, export processing zones, and the economy. If you are interested (or you think you know someone that might be interested) in adding some music/tracks/beats to the mix, you can download the raw a capellas here at ccMixter (just click on the word “download” under the word “stream”). When you are done, you can email me any mp3s here.

All contributions will be considered Creative Commons License: Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0.

Your time and talent is greatly appreciated.

Melody and Lyrics: Lonnie Ray Atkinson

Lyrics:

verse one:
narration: what does it mean if our shopping sprees rest on the misery of other human beings working in zones with no regulations, no protections, no labor laws
- when it’s profit or people / we know which comes first
when talks of unions can get you fired or worse
- forced overtime / but no overtime pay
insult to injury /  no minimum wage
- health and safety standards / now that’s a mistake
sexual harassment / come on give me a break
- and speaking of breaks / how many a day do you take
imagine losing bathroom trips for productivity’s sake
- we got the luxury to choose / to look away from the abuse
of countries we’re allowed to use / on the tags but not the news
- and history will tell you that this ain’t no fad
while rich economists tell you ain’t so bad
- and i ask what you were doing in your early teens
bet it wasn’t stitching jeans / sleeping under your sewing machine
- or even so, would you want your daughters
cramped in one room huts, with no running water
- working up to twenty hour shifts at 17 cents an hour
where overwork death is their only bargaining power
- still they insist, that it’s not so hard
then why the razor wire and why the armed guards
- why the beatings and why the locks on the doors
why the tears in their eyes and urine on the floor

chorus:
check your tags – if you wonder how this stuff’s so cheap
check your tags – that’s the other half of your receipt
check your tags – add them up and throw it on our debt
check your tags – do you know if you shopping in sweat

verse two:
- and what’s worse is when the prices are still jacked
it’s like twisting the knife deeper in each worker’s back
- who would it hurt to pay an extra quarter or more
satirical narration: good lord, child, do you know just what you’re asking for
sure, a better life the workers may be getting
but what kind of example would we be setting
it’s not the money, it’s the unacceptable invasion
of factoring human dignity into the equation
and besides, they’re happy to have this work
without these jobs they might be starving or worse
- so, yo, i guess they should thank y’all for cracking the whip
paying less than a dollar for making a hundred dollar kicks
- like telling a slave that they should rejoice
satirical narration: the master’d love not to beat you, but he ain’t got a choice
- straight rationing crumbs while you eat till you sick
then make it sound reasonable, that’s the trick
- ’cause only a great man can make his way to the top
steady blaming on the victims while he’s calling the shots
- and if you blame it on the system, well, I’m right there
i say we trade in this system for one more fair

chorus:
check your tags – if you wanna see how workers get beat
check your tags – that’s the other half of your receipt
check your tags – add them up and throw it on our debt
check your tags – do you know if you shopping in sweat

verse three:
- there’s a sale on aisle nine while the trade deficit throbs
can’t give up these low prices, still wonder why you’re losing jobs
- guess that’s the price you pay in a market economy
keep losing exports, maybe you can sell irony
- i ain’t just talking protectionism, but solidarity
we should demand living wages for all humanity
- it’s time we work together against a common enemy
it’s not us against them, unless them is corporate greed
- we gotta organize, unionize, strategize
or you can roll the dice like you rolling your eyes
- cause eventually them tags will be sporting your town
but there’s two different ways they can come back around
- when we demand a fair economy and call their bluff
or when the race to the bottom finally ends with us

chorus:
- check your tags – if you wonder why the economy’s weak
check your tags – that’s the other half of your receipt
check your tags – add them up and throw it on our debt
check your tags – do you know if you shopping in sweat
- check your tags – cause this stuff don’t come out thin air
check your tags – why you ain’t got one thing made here
check your tags – that’s the record of their sacrifices
they the ones that pay for our everyday low prices

check your tags

This song is under the Creative Commons License: Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0.
You are free to download this song and share it with as many people as you like (please respect and include attributions).