Reading The Nation’s new list of protest songs, I’ve finally figured out what’s wrong with the whole genre: it assumes you’ll never be able to change anything. It’s like naming your magazine Dissent. You’ll always be on the sidelines, complaining.
An outlier on this second Nation list is “The Internationale,” which is about transformation, not whining. But they pick the Billy Bragg version, which drains the song of a lot of its militance in that folky way.