Songs to spice up your January | What's Left

Through a guest submission to What's Left, we present some carefullyselected songs to beat-back the winter blues.

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“My hometown” by Bruce Springsteen

The so-called golden age of capitalism cast an idyllic veneer over a powder keg of brutal racism and white supremacy that erupted in violence during the Civil Rights movement. Subsequently, deindustrialization due to the relocation of sites of capital accumulation to the global South, leading to widespread urban decay and emigration, would once again show our nostalgia to have been illusory.

“Born In The U.S.A.”

The innate patriarchal violence of American working-class life prepared me for the racist violence of imperialist war in Southeast Asia. I returned from war a domestic victim of aggressive US foreign policy, only to face high structural unemployment due to deindustrialization. The death of the “American dream”.

“The times they are a-changin’” by Bob Dylan

The current social upheaval represents a stark challenge to the powers that be. Members of the Establishment will suffer a reversal of fortune if they show themselves to be on the wrong side of history.

“It Ain’t Me Babe” (originally by Bob Dylan)

Unquestioning patriotism and blind obedience to state power requires the uncritical suspension of basic human decency. I cannot participate in this “relationship”, so I ask that you recruit someone else into your ideological façade.

“War (What is it good for?)” by Edwin Starr

Armed conflict is an unnecessary and immoral waste of innocent human life, and fails to solve the problems it purports to address. Therefore it serves no rational purpose.

“Fortunate Son” by Creedence Clearwater Revival

I do not share in the naked bourgeois class interest that is the source of American imperialism and foreign policy. Therefore military service in support of US aggression must be out of the question.

“Fight the Power” by Public Enemy

Revolutionary action and popular organization against state power are the only viable means of opposing institutionalized oppression. White America clings to heroic myths that occlude the record of open racism of certain revered historical figures.

“911 is a joke”

Emergency services’ response times in the context of racialized poor communities would be farcical, were they not tragic. American state power is organized to oppress, not serve the interests of, the black minority.

“Express yourself” by Madonna

A partner’s sexual prowess, patriarchal notions of “romance”, ostentatious displays of material wealth or the showering of commodities upon an individual – while appreciated – are no substitutes for an egalitarian relationship based on mutual respect and the capacity to openly communicate one’s thoughts and feelings in a non-oppressive context.