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    culture-anthems

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    does anyone else hav anthems important to them

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    lost

    Number of posts : 151
    Registration date : 2010-12-13

    culture-anthems

    Post  lost on Fri May 06, 2011 8:57 am

    some time ago i suggested a culture heading on this website.that idea was provoked by watching footage of the struggle in egypt,and imagining a sountrack to it.

    then i realised i know very little about anything like arabic or north african music-only a few fragments that dont even constitute a few random pieces of a jigsaw.i am ashamed how little i know.perhaps others can help me rectify that?

    in the face of such ignorance,i wondered what else would play in my head or indeed behind the then hopeful,optimistic images of what the media have dubbed the"egyptian/north african spring".

    i thought of "el pueblo unido,jamas sera vencido"(please forgive my poor spanish too)and found it on you tube though i could not remeber the band behind the recording i once had and have mislaid.

    then i thought of "political anthems".before moving on to specific pieces of music,i thought about the notion of anthems.

    forget national anthems,except....the red flag which for me is spoilt by the associatiion with the british labour party and indeed the somewhat sarcastic parody,which indldes the line(s),"..the working class can kiss my.../ive got the stewards job at last".then the internationale.then the alternative british/english national anthem,which is the hymn "jerusalem".

    i will not allow myself to be put off by the right wing claims for this hymn,sometimes sung by fascists and football fans.the key is that the main author,to the words,is william blake,who i consider one of the gtreatest writers and poets in english,and who wrote about and lived the experience of revolutionary ideas,even though they might be overlaid by a strangeness and mysticism which university english departments exaggerate i believe,to disguise the revolutionary and gnostic content.as an aside i would suggest it should be the anthem of revolutionary england,which id want to rename as albion.

    a second strand of thinking about anthems is for me the rocl and other music of the 1960s which certainly was and to extent remains the soundtrack of the lives of at least akey segment of a generation-those"babyboomers",inclduing myself drawn into the counterculture and the new left.whilst recorded music gives a mobility to music that predatse the babyboomers,it is the babyboomers who are the first to experience such a proximity between our persons,our wider culture and events themselves.films of the 1960s and later show for example Woodstock an the expression of a music antithetical to the warf in vietnam and emblematic of a generation.anthems.

    i think of the film and music of woodstock,of those same and other tunes and songs in the much later film"good morning,vietnam".i also have recolections of film footage of us military helicopters,young "grunts"hanging off them and rockets being launched all to the loud rock music of the 1960s,and expressing not the glories of imperialism but the alienation of the soldiers and the war and its victims.

    whilst it has no words to it,i think of jimi hendrix rendition of the star spangled banner"/american national anthem,which whilst being felt by hendrix to be patriotic gives a very diffrenet twsit to the usual rendition and loud and clear expression to a different sort of pride which expresses the pain of war in vietname,war against the "yellow man".then there is country joe and the fish"fixin to die rag"again about bietnam.

    whilst much less political in any overt sense,i also think of alvin lee's"going home",a white blues reworking that describes in its music if not in its words the best black-white blending of what might be good about america.and i want it for my funeral.

    decades if not generations on there is much more.to pick but three i think of amon duul IIs mazambique which describes war in mozambique from an internatrionalist perspective and ends with gthe loud whisper,"unite and fight".i always imagine that it also contains the words £black and white...(unite and fight)"but i think that might be imagination in overdrive.secondly.bruce springsteen's born in the usa"which contains a rejection of war in vietnam alongside a celebfration of being an ordinary american.the story is that gm/general motors wanted to use thsi to promote their cars,somehow erasing the vietnam reference in their heads in doing so.it is to sprinbgsteens credit that he refused to allow its usage despite what it would have earned him.indeed he went on to turn over all the royalties of another sone to a workers theatre company on los angeles and of another to the british num/national union of mineworkers during and after the greate but defeated workers strike of 1984-5.i ams also reminded of james blood ulmers punk jazz tune which is something like"how glad to be in america"but that is a different story.

    last her and sort-of third,is bruce cockburn's"if i had arocket launcher",which describes the fear and then the searing anger of being an american amiongst the local and indigenous victims of us heicpter airpower in central and south america.it includes lines like,"if i had arocket launcher,.....i would retaliate/make somebody pay/some son-of-a-bitch would die".the senteiment and anger is searing rage,though some have,in their stupidity chosen to interpret the emotion as an unpatriotic(to the usa) threat,which i reject not least because i be;ieve cockburn is canadian and not american though it would not be the first time the usa drew that conclusion-for example in the 1950s or 60s the house unamerican activities committe put a german emigre on trial for unamerican activities.bertholdt brecht tretaed this with the contempt it deserved but was nevertheless burned by the experience.

    what makes cockburns song just so powerful for me is partly because he is a christian,and is singing about experiences he did indeed experience.he expresses emotions that christians are not supppossed or allowed to feel-which is liberating for listeners like myself.whilst some defenders of the song have stressed the difference between actualk events oobserved and the imagined response,for me tit is much more ambivalentr and enigmatic.maybe he really would have used the rocket launcher.

    a third source of anthems has been generated by trhe newer dance/club music,though my recall here is less clear so i will return to this issue on a later occassion.

    if rfevolution is the fdestival of the oppressed then our actions can,in my opinion always benefit from the soundtrack that goes along with it.

    lost
    06/05/11

    lost

    Number of posts : 151
    Registration date : 2010-12-13

    some starting points to thinking about culture

    Post  lost on Fri May 06, 2011 9:37 am

    basically i define culture as telling our story to ourselves and to rasch other,the making and dissemination of value.

    university traditionally teaches certain forms of culture within an intellectual hierachy;so classics is followed by literature and then the rest.this renders for example crime fiction as genre but not literature,airport reading as trash noy literature.democratised into media studies may teach differently but it does not abolish class relations in society.

    the former model or outlook used to present standards set against a canon of authors.stephen spender,at soem level a socialist writer described this as the theory of a six foot bookshelf.i do not know what the democratised media studies does but it would certainly move the likes of george orwell from being just a journalist to someone of greater import.yet today media studies is seen by too many as an easy/easier option and of lesser standing.its critics talk not just of dumbing down but returning to the classics.yjios makes it worth hanging on to spenders imaqge of a six foot bookshelf in order to deflate such pretensions.
    -xxx-
    it has been an almightly long time since i attended the party summer school,the open educational forum of various left organisations.

    yet the model described above always made its apearance even if in distorted or inverted form at such events.

    there was usually a course on writers rather than literature-which was a good start,followed by an eclectic mix of writers which threw out a further challenge to the orthodoxy.

    yet there were always participants who whilst they did not want to rate writers according to any classically established model replaqced it intentionally or otherwise with a variant model which would ask whether a particular writer was/is in "our organisation"or its historical ancesstor.

    a parralel,in rock music asks whether a musician or a band had sold out.i remember hearing bruce springsteen condemned because he had not joined a particular revolutionary organsiation in the usa and to condemning bob geldof because he had not joined the revolutionary party.

    reality for marxists is not easy or one dimensional.it is contradictory and might even operate dialectically.we have to see the people of the world including thoes who tells us our stries in a better way than that.if we do not do so,our private hell will inlude a culture based on what we can line up on asingle six foot bookshelf.

    lost
    06/05/2011

    lost

    Number of posts : 151
    Registration date : 2010-12-13

    another anthem-run dmc its like that

    Post  lost on Mon May 16, 2011 9:17 am

    according to a lots of brits.,americans dont have a sense of irony.at least sometimes that is clearly not true,or is my hearing of this song wrong.

    it seems to me to be a young black account of what life in america,at the bottom is like.except its strikes me that it says something-actually quite a lot to me-about white working class experience anywhere under capitalism that leads me/you/us to feel angry and destructive under a system that just is and seems like it unchangeable and unchallengeable but then it goe son to subtly suggest that we can learn something and then hints we can can hit back.the last line is something like "dont be prejudiced,because we are all written down in the same list!"marx was eloquent about workers being the gravediggers of capitalism.this sone from the 1980s at the height if not the beginning of hip hop is a wonderful anthem from black voices for these times.

    id love it if this was the background ambience everytime our politicians are caught doing or saying anything.and if i cant have it happen for real,try playing this anthem in your head every time a politician speaks.its better than imagining them in their underwear because it doesnt just bring a smile but hopefully a desire to fight back.

    lost

    16/05/2011

    lost

    Number of posts : 151
    Registration date : 2010-12-13

    some more thoughts on culture

    Post  lost on Mon May 16, 2011 9:44 am

    i forgot to say where and when i first heard "its like that".i was introduced to it by a then comrade duringa stay in boston,massachusets.it struck me as an anthem for the times then,even more so now.i was staying in a household of revolutionaries.i dont know what happenned to them all but one is on the national committee of a revolutioanry socilaist organisation and another the author of a book on the vietnam war.

    and i think im still alive an in the tsruggle too.

    another very differente thought.alongside war and chaos in the russian revolution,there was a rich cultural life and wide open debate about all kinds of things.

    however much some people and some groupings think the bolsheviks shut everything down,it was not a simple,single unilinear experience.there was for an example a longstanding debate about culture and art.towards oen end of the spectrum developed an organisation and a viewpoint around the notion of proletcult,and that the state/revolution/institutions should promote the idea of proletcult-a pure proletarian culture.amongst those with diferente views was the idea that no such thing was possible because it would either be operating inside social relations in which another set of ideas dominated or in transition.movement or indeed that such a voice or mode of expression would become redundant in a class less society.

    im sure i have left a lot out.perhaps i misunderstand but it seems to me that this assumes that society moves from pre-revolution to revolution to post revolution evenly and at speed.i suggest that history shows this not to be the case but that also the newborn society is born in and out of the old,and that proletcult might not be pure but it can be experiemntal and that in organising around such ideas esytablishes soem bonds and solidarity in making a culture that consciously expresses the desires and creativity of the working class.surely this is a situation in which a plethora of different blooms,of different perspectives need not be resolved into one position.our story of ourselves cannot be pre-written.

    it is popular these days for beourgeois society to blame the 60s for the ills of now and condemn the 1970s as the worst of everything,and yet both decades in noth america,europe and elsewhere saw a huge blossooming of "our story" in music,theatre,writing,publishing,magazines,cycling,rambling,climbing,radio and lots else.

    in our struggle for a better world,it need and indeed should not just be for tomorrow.our culture and arts are not just add ons,they are fundamental to our meaning and our health and our development.those efforts might be compromises but we should now allow anything to collapse our creativity.whilst the culture of their class its seems to be to fragment or to become decadent(bloated,self important and at astronomical prices)we should be able to create a culture capable of challenging and deflating their banal view of how it is.

    the reality is that whilst run dmc with "its like that" are right,they provide an anthem from which we can make sure that it does not remain"...like that."

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    Re: culture-anthems

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