Sunday, August 9, 2015

The 1960s "It's Not Nice" Social Protest Song & A Black Lives Matter Protest At A Senator Bernie Sanders Event

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post showcases a video of the 1960s protest song "It's Not Nice" in part as commentary regarding the Black Lives Matter protest that occurred on August 8, 2015 at a public rally where Senator Bernie Sanders was slated to speak. Bernie Sanders is a Democratic candidate for United States President.

This post also includes excerpts from a Washington Post article and a daily kos dairy about that August 8, 2015 Black Lives Matter protest. In addition, this post includes a video of that protest is included in this post as are my comments about that protest and about Senator Sanders' presidential campaign.

The content of this post is presented for historical, cultural, and sociological purposes.

Hat tip to blogger rugbymom in this daily kos diary for posting the words to this song, thus alerting me to this song.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to Malvina Reynolds for composing this song. Thanks also to all those activists who engage in non-violent protests that are one part of making the world a better place for all. And thanks to all those who are quoted in this post.

"The Last Internationale -- It Isn't Nice" -- BJ Shea 09/17/14

BJandMIGSPublished on Sep 17, 2014

On this week's STP-CAST, The Last Internationale joined us to chat and play a few acoustic songs. Here they are covering "It Isn't Nice" by Malvina Reynolds.
"Malvina Reynolds (August 23, 1900 – March 17, 1978) was an American folk/blues singer-songwriter and political activist, best known for her song-writing, particularly the songs "Little Boxes" and "Morningtown Ride." "
Note: Malvina Reynolds was Jewish.

(Malvina Reynolds)

It isn't nice to block the doorway,
It isn't nice to go to jail,
There are nicer ways to do it,
But the nice ways always fail.
It isn't nice, it isn't nice,
You told us once, you told us twice,
But if that is Freedom's price,
We don't mind.

It isn't nice to carry banners
Or to sit in on the floor,
Or to shout our cry of Freedom
At the hotel and the store.
It isn't nice, it isn't nice,
You told us once, you told us twice,
But if that is Freedom's price,
We don't mind.

We have tried negotiations
And the three-man picket line,1
Mr. Charlie2 didn't see us
And he might as well be blind.
Now our new ways aren't nice
When we deal with men of ice,
But if that is Freedom's price,
We don't mind.

How about those years of lynchings
And the shot in Evers' back?
Did you say it wasn't proper,
Did you stand upon the track?
You were quiet just like mice,
Now you say we aren't nice,
And if that is Freedom's price,
We don't mind.

It isn't nice to block the doorway,
It isn't nice to go to jail,
There are nicer ways to do it
But the nice ways always fail.
It isn't nice, it isn't nice,
But thanks for your advice,
Cause if that is Freedom's price,
We don't mind.


[from that website]
"Notes: words and music by Malvina Reynolds; copyright 1964 Schroder Music Company, renewed 1993. This original version of the song was banned from the radio in Japan--in Japanese, but not in English!"

From drove Bernie Sanders from one Seattle stage. At his next stop, 15,000 people showed." by John Wagner August 8 at 11:30 PM
"Bernie Sanders came to Seattle on Saturday with plans to give two speeches.

The first didn’t happen. An appearance by the senator from Vermont at an event celebrating the anniversary of Social Security and Medicare was scuttled after protesters from a local Black Lives Matter chapter took over the stage.

Hours later, Sanders, who has been drawing bigger crowds than any other presidential contender, drew his largest yet: about 15,000 at the college basketball arena where the Washington Huskies play...

The first event — which was held at a city park and live-streamed by a Seattle television station — went less swimmingly.

Sanders was the final speaker on a long program held at a city park. Shortly after he took stage, a small group of protesters from a Seattle chapter of Black Lives Matter took the microphone and demanded that the crowd hold Sanders “accountable” for not doing enough, in their view, to address police brutality and other issues on the group’s agenda.

After sharing a few local grievances with the crowd, including school disparities and gentrification in Seattle, the protesters asked for a period of silence to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Michael Brown being shot and killed during a confrontation with a police officer in Ferguson, Mo.

Event organizers allowed the period of silence, as some in the large crowd booed and shouted for the protesters to leave the stage. Afterward, Marissa Janae Johnson, who identified herself as a leader of the Black Lives Matter chapter in Seattle, asked the crowd to “join us now in holding Bernie Sanders accountable for his actions.” She motioned for Sanders to join her at the microphone.

After several minutes of frantic conversations, Sanders left the stage and greeted people in the large crowd who had turned out to see him. Many chanted his name."..."

Excerpt from "Noisome Negroes Interrupting Stuff"
Sat Aug 08, 2015 at 06:02 PM PDT. by gchaucer2
"I don't care if it is a Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Jesus Christ big old rally. When someone or computer keyboard someones call for a revolution -- shite happens...

Then folks get upset and say -- shut up and get the hell out of our big old rally and go back to Baltimore, Cleveland, somewhere, somewhere but definitely France.

In other places -- Bernie Sanders and his supporters don't get all -- OMG!!!! Black People doing annoying stuff at a big old performance rally thing.

Thank heavens for Bernie who has been around longer than many of his supporters have been alive."
Regarding the title of this dairy: "Negro" is a referent for Black Americans that was retired in the 1960s. I believe the referent "Negroes" was purposely used in this dairy to suggest that people who are distainful of the Black Lives Matter movement want Black people to be submissive and resigned to their "place" in American society as "Negroes" were (prior to the 1960s Civil Rights protests and prior to the Black Power movements in the late 1960s and 1970s.)

Some commenters to that dairy wrote that the word "noisome" means "vile and smelly" and not "noisy" like they think the diarist meant.


Bernie Sanders Interrupted at Seattle Rally by Black Lives Matter Protesters

Democracy Watch Published on Aug 8, 2015

Moments after Senator Bernie Sanders started speaking at a Seattle rally, Black Lives Matter protestors interrupted the presidential hopeful. Members of the audience shouted for the protestors to leave the stage but the protestors screamed at Sanders and demanded the crowd hold the senator "accountable for his actions". After the event, Senator Sanders told reporters the incident was "unfortunate" especially since he, "wanted to talk about the issue of black lives." In July, Senator Sanders spoke at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference about policing issues in the black community.

Credit to KIRO TV Channel 7 Eyewitness News for the video footage.

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement began after the killer of Trayvon Martin was aquitted. "Black Lives Matter" means "Black Lives Matter Too". Those who respond that "All lives matter" are missing the point that unarmed Black men, women, and children are being killed by police (and those wanna be police like Trayvon Martin's killer) often without any consequences.

As to the Black Lives Movements disruption of Senator Sanders' speech in Seattle, Washington, I agree with some of the bloggers in that daily kos dairy whose link is given above that Senator Bernie Sanders is being targeted by BLM activists because he and/or his supporters have described his candidacy a revolution. Like a number of progressives, Senator Sanders has largely focused on income inequality. While income inequality intersects with systemic racism, it doesn't fully address the issue of systemic racism.

Senator Sanders is a White man who represents a state that has only 1% Black population and few other People of Color. Furthermore, the optics of his huge politic rallies to date show what appears to be all White or almost all White attendees. Those optics may largely be because of the very small percentage of Black people and other People of Color who live in the cities and states where Sanders has campaigned to date. However, I think it's quite problematic if it is true, as I've read, that Senator Sanders has no Black people in his inner circle of advisors. What is going to happen when he does campaign in cities and states where there are considerable numbers of Black people and other People of Color? Will his huge crowds look the same as they look now? If so, Bernie Sanders won't become the Democratic nominee for President.

Representatives of Black Lives Matters targeted Senator Sanders and former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley, who is also a candidate for the Democratic nomination for US President, at the 2015 Netroots Nation conference. Click for a commentary about that protest.

I've read that since that Netroot Nations protest, both Senator Sanders and Governor Martin O'Malley have spoken out more often about police brutality. However, these protestors are demanding more attention to their issues from those Democratic candidates who expect Black support (since most African Americans usually vote Democratic). I agree with that demand.

I also agree with some of those who posted to that linked daily kos article that one of the reasons why Senator Sanders was targeted at at the Netroots Nation and that Seattle event was that he is the only Democratic candidate that is holding large public events, and he doesn't have the security that the actual Democratic and Republican nominees for president will have. I also agree with those bloggers who have written in this diary and elsewhere that Senator Sanders needs to add People of Color not just to his staff but to his inner circle of advisors.

Furthermore, if not the Black Lives Matter movement, I think Senator Sanders should attend and publically support social justice movements such as North Carolina's Moral Monday movement( Senator Sanders publically joining a Moral Monday rally would give that movement needed publicity and would help convince Black people and others that Senator Sanders really "gets" that there are more issues that effect Black people besides income inequality and climate change.

While I don't fully agree with all Black Lives Matter strategies such as blocking highway traffic, I applaud the fact that that movement is drawing attention to the existence of and effects of systemic racism in this nation.
I just read two news items that pertain to my comments:
1. Senator Bernie Sanders just hired Simone Sanders (an African American female who is Chairman of the National Coalition For Juvenile Justice, as his new National Press Secretary. Simone Sanders (no relation to Bernie Sanders) just gave a ten minute speech on how close Senator Sanders' positions are to those of Black Lives Matter.

2. Black Lives Matter Washington sent this tweet on August 8, 2015:
"To the people of Seattle and Senator Sanders, we would like to issue a public statement of apology. We still want and need your support."
The implication is that those activists who shut down Bernie Sanders' speech in Seattle either don't belong to the Black Lives Matter Washington group, or are members of that organization but took those actions without the approval of those who are leading BLM Washington. But it's my understanding that, similar to Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matters organizations throughout the United States are loosely structured with no official leaders. So people who consider themselves proponents of Black Lives Matters' issues can believe that they are acting on behalf of that movement.

Here's Senator Sanders' statement about that protest:
“I am disappointed that two people disrupted a rally attended by thousands at which I was invited to speak about fighting to protect Social Security and Medicare. I was especially disappointed because on criminal justice reform and the need to fight racism there is no other candidate for president who will fight harder than me.” [link found above]
It will be interesting to see what plans Senator Sanders says going forward about criminal justice reform and the need to fight racism.

Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.


  1. While Senator Sanders has spoken out about the need for criminal justice reform and the need to fight racism,particular since that Netroot Nations Black Lives Matter protest, I’m still not convinced that People of Color are going to support his campaign over that of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or Vice President Joe Biden, if he decides to run for that Democratic nomination.

    Since I live in Pennsylvania whose primaries are scheduled late, my vote would likely not be a factor in that nomination. But I still haven’t decided which of these candidates I support.

  2. I also accept those bloggers who have written on this diary and elsewhere that Senator Sanders has to add People of Color not merely to his staff yet to his inner eliptical of advisors.