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Robert Burns (1759-1796) was a Scottish lyricist and poet.

"Robert Burns…whose poems we read and discussed in English classes and whose songs we sang in music lessons, was a poet and songwriter concerned not with power, but with the politics of freedom, tolerance, individualism, and the equality of man. To me, Burns expressed, in its most succinct form, the ideal and the essence of socialism—which had to do with justice, liberty and the overthrow of tyranny. For young working class Scottish schoolboys, in the mid-1950s, nothing in Shakespeare could match Burns’ spine tingling call to liberty and resistance to oppression in Bruce’s Address to His Army at Bannockburn. Equally, who could grow up to be anything but a class war socialist reading Burns’ clarion call to egalitarianism in A Man’s a Man For A’ That. No matter how well camouflaged, the war and the welfare state had done nothing to alter the fact that the whole system existed to maintain the comfort of the few…. The hierarchical social systems, which sustained the hereditary monarchies, were more obvious in 1950s Britain, where titles, rank and station, the divisions between higher and lower classes, and priority and deference in social relations, were all-pervasive."

—Stuart Christie, My Granny Made Me an Anarchist: The Christie File: Part 1, 1946-1964 (2002) p. 85.

A Man's a Man for A' That

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