Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/594/8181
The People or the Gun, by Anti-Flag
Reviewed by Iain Dalton
The latest offering from Anti-Flag at first seems like a bit of a trip down memory lane for the band. Quite a few of the songs are rougher and shorter than their previous album and sound more like their albums from around 10 years ago.
The political content of the songs is anything but from Anti-Flag's past.
Whereas over the last few years Anti-Flag's inspiration has come from anti-war movements and general anti-capitalist angst, this album draws much more from the traditions of workers' struggles.
This is at its most stark in When All The Lights Go Out, which talks of "One million workers stand up..." whereas in the past something more vague like the word 'people' would have been used; and then states "Revolution: the engine of history".
Further on, the song speaks of how "We don't need the CEO's, they need us" and even quotes the Communist Manifesto: "Proletarians of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but your chains". And Marx is quoted elsewhere in the album's liner notes for Sodom, Gomorrah, Washington DC, a song about how religion is used by the ruling class to divide people.
The title of one of the songs is taken direct from the slogans of the May-June 1968 events in France, The Economy Is Suffering... Let It Die, the song itself being a crying indictment of how capitalists and their governments have propped up themselves whilst placing the burden of the crisis on the working class.
The song describes how they have been "Lining up their pockets with the people's cash..." whilst asking "Where are all the bailouts for the homeless and the poor?"
Anti-Flag's lyrics drew me towards the anti-war movement and eventually towards socialist and Marxist ideas, hopefully this album will draw many more young people towards political activity with the Socialist Party.
- The People or the Gun, available in CD, vinyl or MP3.
In The Socialist 23 September 2009:
War and occupation
Postal workers strike
Youth fight for jobs
Socialist Party news and analysis
International socialist news
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party reviews