Wednesday, September 20, 2006

 

A Feeling Of Deja Vu

I mentioned the other day in passing my involvement in the anti NF struggle in the UK in the 70's. It is true that with age I have come to believe firmly in the rights of free speech, within certain limits, this means that far right wing parties and beliefs should be able to express themselves as abhorrent as their view might be, this does not necessarily mean that they have the right to carry out the beliefs. I guess it is maybe the aging liberal in me that does not accept that someone can be a lost cause. It was nevertheless in my opinion a black day for Europe last week-end when an average of 7% of those that voted in Germany choose to support Neo Nazi parties. I rather liked the analogy in the German press where they likened the situation to that of an alcoholic taking a drink!
With the undeniable rise of right wing politics in Europe, and the steady increase of the percentage voting extreme right I though some anti racist music is well in order today. First up the debut single from Elvis Costello 'Less Than Zero' that uses the rise of UK fascism in the years between the two world wars to get his point over. The Stranglers are not considered to be a political band, indeed feminists would put up a good argument against this. Their second album 'No More Heroes' had a political feel about it from it title, and the opening track 'I Feel Like A Wog' was a very upfront in your face way to make a comment. Of note to non UK readers wog was a degrading term used to describe black people, the word itself was derived simply enough from gollywog. The Specials were a highly committed political band, supporting many worthy caused during their short existence. I have always like the song 'Racist Friend' for no other reason than we all know someone who has dubious or ill thought out views and in my opinion there are more and more people who fall into this category. Now it would be unfair not to post anything American on the subject, after all American history is full of racism, don't forget that the Klu Klax Klan did exist and it was no joke if you were black and found yourself face to face with them. Our US contribution comes from Garland Jeffreys and is 'Don't Call Me Buckwheat' a very catchy song about racist name calling.
Of course these songs are others like them did not and will not change the world, it is very often a case of preaching to the converted, though if they make people think that can't be a bad thing.

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