Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism

'Historical materialism is the theory of the proletarian revolution.' Georg Luk√°cs

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Listen, Marxist!

Histomat's former Latin American correspondent Paddington - about to return to Latin America - has, possibly out of pity for my primitive taste in music, kindly compiled a list of his 350(ish) top musical monads. Among those listed is 'on a rope' by rocket from the crypt, which I had forgotten about until I suddenly remembered it a few days ago - it is good to see it there. However, while there is Billy Bragg, I was disappointed not to see any Levellers or Pete Seeger there - nor Rage Against the Machine's 'The Battle of Los Angeles' (particularly 'Testify'). And how could Paddington miss out The Redskins and their 1986 album Neither Washington Nor Moscow? To remember the 20th anniversary of the Redskins sole album, I will put up the lyrics to one of their songs below.


Russia sparked the fires in 1917
First workers revolution
The first workers revolution in history
Working people forced the bosses' backs against the wall
First steps taken for a better life for all

It's a shame
It's a crying shame
When our past is buried
And our victories go un-named
It's a crying shame
When our history books
Talk of kings & men of fame

And in another country workers rose again
1919, 1919 in Berlin
But they didn't learn the lessons
From the Russians that they should
Revolution, revolution was drowned in blood

It's a crying shame
But the lessons plain
It's a crying shame
But the lessons plain

All things are possible

Hunger of the 30's
Hunger of the 30's back again
And the rich still rich
And the poor still the same as they ever were
And it seems to me
We're still not learning from our history

And it's a crying shame
Those who hold the future hold themselves in chains
It's a crying shame
Those who bear the pain hold themselves to blame
It's a crying, it's a crying shame
It's a crying shame

Look at Petrograd!
Look at Barcelona
Fight against the land
Fight against the land & the factory owners
Same fight today against another ruling class
Learn a lesson from your past

It's a crying shame
But the lessons plain
It's a crying shame
But the lessons plain
It can happen again
It's a crying, crying, crying shame
But the lessons plain
It can be done again!



At 2:00 pm, Blogger paddington said...

Without wishing to be rude, haven't you just answered your own question?

At 2:52 pm, Blogger Rob said...

First workers revolution in history? Really?

At 3:28 pm, Blogger Snowball said...

Rob - They are wrong of course - they miss out the Paris Commune. I think they mean the first successful workers revolution in history (but they are allowed some artistic license surely)...

At 3:30 pm, Blogger Snowball said...

Paddington - hmm, almost certainly.

However I have been looking for an opportunity to mention The Redskins on this blog for a while now - and well, I thought this was as good a place to do so as any...

At 5:46 pm, Blogger paddington said...

The best explicitly left-wing political album I have ever heard is Robert Wyatt's Nothing Can Stop Us (which is in my list).

It is unusual because, although it seethes with anger, it is a quiet, deeply eccentric, really rather sweet album. All the RW songs bar one are covers (Red Flag, Strange Fruit and Guantanamera are among them), and there are guest appearances by a group of Bangladeshi trade unionists and Peter Blackman, who reads a poem about the Battle of Stalingrad.

Joe Strummer was right : anger CAN be power, but a quiet storm can be pretty powerful too.

At 11:04 pm, Blogger syndicalist81 said...

The Redskins are a groovy band, though the name is quite unfortunate, even though there is a good reason for it (Socialist Skinheads or something like that, right?).

If you like ultraleftism, try Propagandhi.

For anti-war, pro-trade union punk, try the Street Dogs. Their most reason album released a few weeks ago is brilliant. Their song "Final Transmission" is one of the most heart-wrenching anti-war songs ever. Here are the lyrics. The lead singer served in the Gulf War, which is interesting. He was also the original Dropkick Murphys frontman in the mid-1990s before they had a following outside Boston.

At 5:19 pm, Blogger Adam Marks said...

My gosh, what doggerel! I hope it had a good tune.

At 4:47 pm, Blogger syndicalist81 said...

Quite a good tune!


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