Folksinger and labor activist Bill Friedland was born in Staten Island, NY, in 1923. The son of Russian immigrants active in the Jewish labor organization the Workmen's Circle, he found himself attracted to Trotskyism while a student at Wagner College, and as a result of his growing proletarian leanings he accepted a factory job following graduation. In time, Friedland allied with the Trotskyite splinter group formed by Max Shachtman, who viewed Soviet-styled Communism as the catalyst behind yet another class-ruled society. Seeking to establish a "third camp," the Shachtmanites dispersed their members to other U.S. industrial regions in the name of "colonizing," and Friedland ended up in Detroit, where took a job with the Hudson factory and joined the Walter Reuther-led United Auto Workers association. After a Communist faction assumed control of the UAW, Friedland lost his job and went to work at the Ford Motor Company's Highland Park plant; around this time, he immersed himself in the folk music movement, learning guitar and collecting labor songs.