Protest 100: The Clash – ‘Clampdown’

Artist:          The Clash

Song:           Clampdown

Album:        London Calling

Producer:    Guy Stevens

Label:          CBS

Year:           1979

Notes:
Problems and solutions are presented in an increasingly binary manner. Us or them. Freedom or security. Socialist or fascist. Red or blue. This is not just a gross over simplification of existence; it’s a trap, set by those in control to maintain the status quo. It’s not even true that you must either be a revolutionary or work for the clampdown. But finding the middle ground and building your own world within it requires effort. Lose focus and the machine will swallow you.

Excerpt from ‘Unreality’
Sarge’s main dilemma was what he’d find on the other side of the door.

Lyrics:
The kingdom is ransacked
The jewels all taken back
And the chopper descends
They’re hidden in the back
With a message written on a half-baked potato
The spool goes ’round
Sayin’ I’m back here in this place
And I could cry
And there’s smoke you could click on

What are we gonna do now?

Taking off his turban, they said, “is this man a Jew?”
‘Cause they’re working for the clampdown
They put up a poster saying: “We earn more than you
We’re working for the clampdown
We will teach our twisted speech
To the young believers
We will train our blue-eyed men
To be young believers”

The judge said, five to ten, but I say double that again
I’m not working for the clampdown
No man born with a living soul
Can be working for the clampdown
Kick over the wall ’cause government’s to fall
How can you refuse it?
Let fury have the hour, anger can be power
Do you know that you can use it?

The voices in your head are calling
Stop wasting your time, there’s nothing coming
Only a fool would think someone could save you
The men at the factory are old and cunning
You don’t owe nothing, boy, get runnin’
It’s the best years of your life they want to steal

But you grow up and you calm down
And working for the clampdown
You start wearing blue and brown
You’re working for the clampdown
So you got someone to boss around
It make you feel big now
You drift until you brutalize
Make your first kill now

In these days of evil Presidentes
Working for the clampdown
But lately one or two has fully paid their due
For working for the clampdown
Ha! Get along! Get along! (working for the clampdown)
Ha! Get along! Get along! (working for the clampdown)

Yeah, I’m working hard in Harrisburg
Working hard in Petersburg
Working for the clampdown
Working for the clampdown
Ha! Get along! Get along!
Beggin’ to be melted down

Work, work, work
And I’ll give away no secrets
Work, work, more work, more work
Work, work, work, work, work

Who’s barmy now?

 —

‘Protest 100’s mission is two-fold: dispelling the myth that heavy metal is a brainless, socially unaware music genre, and raising awareness of the issues facing our country in the Nov. 3, 2020 election. The path won’t be exclusively metal—some punk and rap and other stuff will be in here too, including the classics—and is not a ranking. All songs are songs I’ve heard while putting this list together, ordered in a manner designed to entertain and educate.

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