"Wobblies" was the nickname for the first iteration of the radical (I approve!) Trades Union the "Industrial Workers of the World" (I.W.W.)
The lore is that the name "wobblies" came from a Chinese member who pronounced "W" as "wobbleyou", but that tale could be an example of early 20th Century racism.
But the IWW cheerfully adopted the nickname.
The wobblies has two notable successes, the first in Spokane, WA (in truth a success for free speech and the right of public assembly, and also a victory which led to the abolition (by law) of the corrupt businesses which offered poor people a job (for a fee), most often for a job which never existed).
The second in the famous Lawrence, MA strike against the oppressive mill owners.
I've just finished "The Man Who Never Died - the Life, Times, and Legacy of Joe Hill. American Labor Icon" (William M. Adler, Bloomsbury 2011). (Joe Hill, is the American name he used, He was born as Joel Hagglund in Sweden in 1879.)
Joe Hill was the great song writer for the Wobblies. Their marches and demonstrations were empowered by song.
Singing is so powerful. Think of the early Methodists; of Welsh Rugby supporters singing "Land of my Fathers"; or of Liverpool F.C supporters singing "When you walk through a storm".
Here is one of Joe Hill's most singable offerings sung to the tune of the Christian Hymn "In the sweet bye and bye"
Long-haired preachers come out every nightTo tell you what's wrong and what's rightThey will answer in voices so sweet:But when asked how about something to eat You will eat, bye and byeYou'll get pie in the sky when you die.In that glorious land above the sky Work and pray, live on hay That's a lieThen they'll tell you when you're on the bum:And the starvation army they play They sing and they clap and they pray 'Till they get all your coin on the drumWork and pray, live on hayYou're gonna eat, bye and bye, poor boy In that glorious land above the sky, way up high You'll get pie in the sky when you die Dirty lieAnd you will eat, bye and bye,Holy Rollers and jumpers come out They holler, they jump, Lord, they shout Give your money to Jesus they say He will cure all troubles todayTry to get something good in this lifeIn that glorious land above the sky, way up high Work and pray, boy, live on hay, You'll get pie in the sky when you die. If you fight hard for children and wifeYou'll get pie in the sky when you dieYou're a sinner and bad man, they tell When you die you will sure go to hell You will eat, bye and bye In that glorious land above the sky Work and pray, live on hayWhen you've learned how to cook and to fryWorkingmen of all countries, unite Side by side we for freedom will fight When this world and its wealth we have gained To the grafters we'll sing this refrain: Well, you will eat, bye and byeYou'll get pie in the sky when you dieChop some wood, it'll do you good You will eat in the sweet bye and bye Yes you'll eat, bye and bye In that glorious land above the sky, way up high Work and pray, and live on hayThat's a lie....
The book tells his story, but it's also an exhaustive investigation into his trial for murder in Salt Lake City, and execution by firing squad. Adler asserts. quite convincingly,that it was show trial presided over by a deeply biased Judge, and that Joe Hill was unjustly convicted and executed, simply because he was the song writer for the Wobblies.