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Revolution Tracks 2020’s week 1

We’re beginning playlists of political tracks from multiple genres because if punk isn’t an intersectional revolutionary movement then there’s no fuckin point. Each list will be by decade. We’re starting with now to show that our best days aren’t at all behind us. It’ll be 5 to 10 tracks added each week with a write up done by Steve. Here’s the premiere of the list. Find a new favorite artist who’s about fuckin the man. – C Fish For almost as long as language has existed, we have had evidence of music, and for as long as we have had …

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We’re beginning playlists of political tracks from multiple genres because if punk isn’t an intersectional revolutionary movement then there’s no fuckin point. Each list will be by decade. We’re starting with now to show that our best days aren’t at all behind us. It’ll be 5 to 10 tracks added each week with a write up done by Steve. Here’s the premiere of the list. Find a new favorite artist who’s about fuckin the man.

– C Fish

For almost as long as language has existed, we have had evidence of music, and for as long as we have had music, one of its roles has been political. Music is a key method of airing one’s grievances, communicating discontent, and building a community of like minded people.

Yes, music has the well documented songs of personal experience, the love songs, the songs of worship, the songs of heartbreak. But the songs we are going to look at are the songs about politics. These songs are as old as time.

De Colores dates back to the 16th century and is best known for the United Farm Worker’s Union during protests. For hundreds of years, America’s enslaved people sung Bible Hymns about Moses freeing slaves, and later, these same enslaved people would write their own songs the passed coded messages of separated family members or escape plans and safe houses. During 18th century France they sang songs like “La Guillotine Permanente” building up to the French Revolution. “The Internationale” was written in the 1880s and is still sung today.

Labor songs have existed as an arm of political music for hundreds of years as well. Well documented sea shanties existed for hundreds of years. Add in farm and field working songs, meant to pass the day away and allow community, especially in fields where people couldn’t talk to one another. “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” was one such song that combined a labor song with a coded message for a slave escape. Years later, there were chain gang songs from rail workers to mining and construction- all inherently political, and all centered around unity and community building. Always in solidarity.

Labor movements built on this history with Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Utah Phillips, all being bards of the labor movement and passing the traditions on to the likes of Leonard Cohen, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Morello, and Ani DiFranco. Music has always been intertwined with the labor movement, from strikes to telling the stories of the working class, these Hymns share messages of unity while voicing the reasons for outrage.

Many people think these traditions are something of the past, but these traditions have never died and never will. They are as important today as they have always been. As wealth inequality is as wide now as ever before, as we struggle every day, today’s artists are fighting to sing the songs of unity and solidarity, the songs of revolution. Today we are starting a playlist of songs that best represent solidarity, or call out the exploits of society. These songs bring attention to the causes we must fight for, call out the behaviors that must be stopped, call on one another to stand together and demand a better future. We will regularly update this list with more songs. We will continue to add songs and artists that speak these truths.

We are Punks in Solidarity, and these are our songs:

This week’s songs are all pretty on the nose. Not all tracks will be as straightforward or obvious as these tracks, but what better way to bring songs of revolution than songs that are in your face and demanding change in the most direct way possible. Also, this playlist will only include songs written since 2020. It is important to learn that our message is alive and well, and our message, while timeless, is also current.

Super Cassette’s “Bastille Day” immediately calls for an end to the capitalist system and the uncompromising stop to the idea of incremental change. “I think it’s time to reckon, no votes and no more begging, it’s time to kill the gentry” I can think of no more powerful way to get the list started.

Common Sense Kid’s “Less Press Reset” was written after a news story reported the murder of a child, and ties it to the violence and atrocities committed in all of our name by our governments, global warming, war, and trading humanity for profit.

J. Navarro and the Traitors wrote “MLP” as a tribute to Monica Lewis Patrick, a lifelong human rights activist focused on the fight for clean water access. This track is written based on her speech on the 11th day of the protests following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of the police. She reminds us of the importance of standing together and refusing to accept minor concessions. We must continue to demand our rights.

The Prizefighters track is “Company Time”. We’ve all seen the meme, “the boss makes a dollar, I make a dime…” This song ties that message to the long history of music in the labor movement, while also giving us a reason to stand up and fight.

Atlas & Oracle’s “American Dream” points out the absurdity of the American Dream, where everyone is supposed to want to move up in a company and not have to work while other people do the work for them. If we all move up, there is nobody below us to work. It’s necessary in the system that more people fail than succeed, and as the song points out, if the majority of people fail by design “it doesn’t sound like a dream to me”.

KRS-One’s “Black Black Black” came out in 2020, and serves simultaneously as both a history lesson and a call for action, filing grievances both historical and current, local and global, from systemic injustices to those which we bring on ourselves, and calls for action to form a community, to come together, and take our lives back, back, back.

Bob Vylan’s “We Live Here” is an appropriately in-your-face assault on racism and xenophobia, detailing the traumas experienced growing up and constantly being other othered. While the call for action may be subtle in this song, the need for action is not. The song details being attacked and told to go back home when you are home, told you are less than others as a child, details the murder of a child by racists at a bus stop. The refrain of “We Live Here” is a call for unity and for action. The right to vote is not enough, the change must be societal and systemic.

Loch Jester teamed up with EVOR3VØ⁰ to record “Heyoka”, a song about a Lakota Sioux Heyoka who warned of a massive genocide of indigenous people. This song not only teaches a message about history but also the importance of education and of teaching history, song as story-telling and creating community and calling people to action.

Jer literally describes the purpose of this project with the lyrics of “Decolonize Your Mind”. We cannot decolonize our world if we cannot decolonize our minds. We need to educate in order to bring us together, and we can use music to do that. This song perfectly connects all of the dots.

The final song on this week’s list is Faintest Idea’s “Kill ‘Em Dead”. This song is actually a musical bibliography, a listing of albums and songs that are required reading and listening for leftist theory. Books that teach community building, organizing, history of the labor movement, history of colonization and economic injustice, systemic injustices, and a history of successful movements to combat systems of oppression. Anything you hear in this album is worth looking up, listening to, and spreading.

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/138v5HKsrN5HSA30yhSZTL?si=9o7SzCmCQlGMuRvxfxT2oQ&pi=u-QRfxbRT8TX-3

Source: punxinsolidarity.wordpress.com

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