‘Property is theft’, declared Pierre-Joseph Proudhon in 1840. ‘This land is your land/This land is my land’, wrote Woody Guthrie one hundred years later. Guthrie’s song, stripped of some of its more worryingly communist-sounding verses, has since become a surrogate national anthem in America, unironically celebrated by the same people who think Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Born in the USA’ translates as ‘I was born in the greatest country on earth’.
‘This Land is Your Land’, a cry for the possibilities of human cooperation and an angry response to the complacent patriotism found in the popular music of the day, is the end point for Nick Hayes’s new graphic novel, Woody Guthrie and the Dust Bowl Ballads. Hayes, a Guardian and