Chumbawamba – Revolution (1985)


If our music makes you happy, but
content, it has failed. If our music
entertains, but doesn’t inspire, it has
failed. The music’s not a threat. Action
that music inspires can be a threat.



“After all, we need each other. Radical disarmers musn’t let themselves get so divorced from “ordinary people” that they lose support and backing, and, by the same token, those involved in more traditional political struggles need the strength, energy and commitment of people working more “outside” the system. We need each other. Each time they tread on another isolated group, we all suffer another defeat. Each time we help each other to protect the little space that is ours, we win a victory and assert the strength that will one day topple the institution that would stamp us out.” (Rich Cross, Peace News 1985)

Surrounded by walls and fences. Forever trapped in corners, neatly boxed, labelled, and ignored. Is this really a movement for change? Or are we just treading water? Our boundaries are self-prescribed: “Our revolution is better than your revolution.” Keeping the curtain closed… instead of letting the world in. Stop pussyfooting around? This world is ours: let’s reclaim it, together!

“The thing that thrilled me was that four of the Greenham women who has been on the ‘Mines Not Missles’ march actually appeared on our picket lines, and it was really nice, because they were coming and saying “Look – we are supporting you. We supported you on the march, we’re supporting you on your picket lines, you come to Greenham and support us,” and they went up with us onto the picket line. I think that in a way they have a calming effect on us, because them ??? wives have been in a long struggle. We are tired, frustrated, and they come along, and they support and calm us; which is nice. We just work together.” (Betty of Wooley, 1984)


A dog stares into a gramophone trumpet, waits for his call to action; mute and obedient, standing to attention. Look a little closer: the dog is a man, working on the factory floor as hard as he can… the trumpet is a loudspeaker fixed into the roof – the man can hear His Master’s Voice and it always tells the truth. The man obeys his Master, and carries out his work, and of course he is rewarded with bonuses and perks. You see, they have an understanding, and this is it: the man stands under Master whilst his Master has a shit.

Natural Response

The famous Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov discovered that it was possible to train animals to make an unconditioned response to new stimuli. He showed that if food were given to a dog each time a bell sounded, after several trials the dog would salivate at the sound of the bell, before the food was given. Once this conditioned response is learned, it is not easily lost. People, too, react to conditioned stimuli in the same way.

Pavlov was a vivisector. His experiments show above all that futile scientific curiosity proves little that we don’t already know: that people can be taught to act without thinking and that, like robots, we too can be programmed and controlled. Like the vivisectors.


Thirty years of the same old shit: of music, of money, of hit after hit – smiles, lies, sales, walls; that’s thirty years of Rock & Roll. They changed it’s name once or twice, dressed it up different, upped the price. Get rebellious! With a company deal (business thrives where honesty fails). Contracts? Con tricks! Sing revolution, wait ’til it starts – one eye on the bank account, one on the charts – Government-sponsored rebellion: BUY IT! A bit more product to keep us quiet… shhh

“They’ve got a Wall in China – it’s a thousand miles long. To keep out the foreigners, they made it strong. And I’ve got a wall around me that you can’t even see.” (Paul Simon)

Product Sells, people die; same revolution, wrapped in lies. In these sexist, drugged-up Rock & Roles – the biggest prizes to the biggest fools. Ask the Puppet-Masters who pull the strings: “Who makes the money when the puppets sing?” Ask the Corporations: “Where does the money go?” Ask the empty-bellied children: “What are we singing for?” Until we pull down the walls, it’ll stay the same; until we find something new – make it change! I know there must be more, so what are we singing for? These puppets, underneath the skin, have the same problems as you and me – they want to be loved, don’t know where to begin. Just a walls-width away, but impossible to get close… offstage, with nothing to hide behind, the puppets are running away. And meanwhile, we’re running away from ourselves.



HMV, in their moral righteousness, refuse to sell records which contain four-letter words as they are regarded as obscene and in bad taste. Yet Thorn-EMI, their parent company, manufacture and export weapons or war and instruments of torture worldwide.
Does that cause a public outcry? Does it fuck.


One day, a fifty-year old student of enlightenment said to Shinkan, “I have studied the Tendai school of thought since I was a little boy, but one thing in it I cannot understand, Tendai claims that even the grass and trees will become enlightened. To me this seems very strange.”
“Of what use is it to discuss how grass and trees can become enlightened?” asked Shinkan. “The question is how you yourself can become so. Did you ever consider that?”
“I never thought of it in that way,” marvelled the old man.
“Then go home and think it over,” finished Shinkan.

You stay in your box and I’ll stay in mine… We spent so much time stumbling around in the dark that we are becoming accustomed to it, and no longer worry about looking for the light. In moments of mutuality and honesty, we step out of our boxes and meet, blinded by light, scared. Look inwards! For too long we’ve been smashing others’ windows before repairing our own. We are such liars! We deceive ourselves and others, we know the truth but refuse to recognise it… THE REVOLUTION IS HAPPENING NOW, day to day. It is at the same time angry, positive, and gentle. Our thoughts are a product of this revolution; and it is for sharing… if the world is too dark, let’s change it TOGETHER!


Packaged and marketed, we become the product… the music industry is capitalism in practice: the manipulation and selling of people as commodities, the an audience of consumers. Everything within it is dictated by big business – from the passive diluted radio crap to our taste for that product. We like what we get, and get what we’re given; and what we’re given is any old rubbish that won’t upset the apple cart. The only choice we seem to be left with is to play the part of the bad apple, the exception to the shiny, polished rock ‘n’ rules.
The irony is that in order to reach a position where we can effectively spread ideas within that commercial market-place, we have to make compromises, accept paradoxes. It’s no use existing entirely apart from it all – we have to get stuck in there and try communicating with people who, like us, are taught to pander to capitalism’s youthangle rock ‘n’ roll.

“Like a lot of bands these days, we’re talking revolution.” (Anon, 1983)

Same here… the revolution will be built on the spread of ideas and information, on reaching people, rather than on our habit of creating ghettoes within which to stagnate.

There are a thousand million useless workers inside the pop & rock fashion factory, and a big glossy sign outside to avert your eyes from the wholesale destruction of our planet by decadence and greed. It’s no use us standing outside shouting. We have to start kicking down he doors!

1……….HMV Side, introduction to History and where we stand. Which side of the

2……….Fence Side, and it’s application to everyday life. The R’n’R Factory Strike.

Recorded at Woodlands Studio
Engineered by Neil
All songs written and produced by Chumbawamba

Chumbawamba on this record are:

Alice Nutter…….vocals
Man Afraid…guitar,drums
Danbert Nobacon….vocals

Box 4, 52 Call Lane, Leeds 1, UK


There’s always been a pattern of struggle and defeat, never that cycle incomplete. Never enough to tip the scales – too many people rotting in jails, or bloodied on the battlefields. The history books from every age have the same words written on every page; always starting with “Revolution” and ending with “Capitulation”. Always silenced by the truncheon or bought out with concessions. Always repetition.

“I’m the Boss of the factory. I’m in charge of the United Kingdom Company. Shop floor workers run and fetch as I sit around and smugly watch – and the process makes me stinking rich.” We’re all links in the factory chain, and the chain grows longer day by day; And whilst we’re apart, the process won’t stop… but we’re kept apart by philosophies, and moral stances, and policies; we’ll be stuck in our own little ghettoes forever until we start to work TOGETHER. Together in the open or together in our little heaven? Fighting for total change, or working concessions? Do we take what is ours, or ask that it be given? Are we stealing it together, or asking for permission?

Even though we disagree, we share a common enemy – our methods may not be the same, but TOGETHER we can break the chain! Different aims, different means, with common ground inbetween – Don’t sit back, it’s time to act! This life is ours! Let’s snatch it back!

The time has come to make a choice:

an agit-prop rekawrd
distributed by Red Rhino – The Cartel

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