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Musicians & tQ Writers On Anti-Fascist Anthems
Luke Turner , October 4th, 2016 08:32

Featuring contributions from Ben Durutti, Penny Rimbaud, Bobby Barry, Jeremy Allen, Ben Myers, Kevin McCaighy, Stewart Smith, Neil Cooper, Matt Evans, Tony F Wilson, Leo Chadburn, Emily Mackay, David Bennun, Phil Harrison, Arnold De Boer, Joel McIver, Russell Cuzner, Jeremy Bolm, John Doran, TV Smith, James Sherry, Jonathan Meades, Tristan Bath, JR Moores, Julian Marszalek, Captain Sensible, Andy Moor, Christine Casey, Nic Bullen and Stewart Lee


Crass - Bloody Revolutions

As much a pro-pacifist than an anti-fascist anthem, 1980's 'Bloody Revolutions' provocatively pointed out how aspects of totalitarianism could be found across all political actions, including those by anti-fascist campaigners. Written by Penny Rimbaud and initially delivered by Steve Ignorant over an uneasy rendition of 'La Marseillaise' (neatly linking it to The Beatles' 'All You Need Is Love'), they question those who "speak of liberation..." and "talk of overthrowing power with violence..." by asking "what about those people who don't want your new restrictions?" The plainly-stated paradox for any 'freedom fighter' was, in part, a response to the confusion the band felt after SWP members and other anti-fascists started a violent fight against Sieg-Heiling neo-Nazis at one of their gigs. But perhaps most succinct is Eve Libertine's verse that opens in prim, mock-nationalist-hymn fashion with the startling lines "What's the freedom of us all against the suffering of the few? / That's the kind of self-deception that killed ten million jews". It is followed by a rousing rant over one of punk's most joyously explosive transitions to conclude "You romanticise your heroes, quote from Marx and Mao / Well their ideas of freedom are just oppression now". Despite a stance that risked alienating large sections of Crass' audience, the single, a split with Poison Girls, managed to raise £20,000 to set up an anarchist centre in Wapping. Putting their money where their mouth is, 'Bloody Revolutions' typically posed difficult questions with courage of conviction - are there any bands that are doing this kind of thing today?
Russell Cuzner