These Chains Won’t Ever Hold Me

January 20, 2012 by cosmoakacitizensmith

Oh, these chains
They won’t ever hold me
Cos I sing, yes I do
Till the break of the day

Oh, these walls
Oh, they won’t confine me
Cos I sing, yes I do
Till the break of the day

And your lies
Oh, they won’t deceive me
Cos I sing, yes I do For
Till the break of the day

Your cruel words
They won’t ever hurt me
Cos I sing, yes I do
Till the break of the day

Oh your guns
They won’t ever stop me
Cos I sing, yes I do
Till the break of the day

All your fists
They won’t destroy me
Cos I sing, yes I do
Till the break of the day


We don’t want to seize power for ourselves, we want to break it into small pieces that everyone can hold.” Zapatistas

I usually trot that above definition out when anyone asks me what anarchism is about for me. The questioner is usually surprised that it’s really quite a simple idea and it doesn’t include anything about bombs, smashed windows or erm….I dunno, dead babies?

I’m sitting here writing this back at home, nursing a hangover after a year-long bender on booze, politics, gigs and heavy living. More often than not I’ve made some fantastic connections with some really amazing people around the place who are right on it. At the moment, though, I just feel like a spot more hibernation, please!

(I’m trying to wonder what the soundtrack to the revolution is, or if indeed what is going on is actually a revolution at all. I think the politically engaged sound coming up for underground is hip-hop, but I’ve tried to put out some music hall in this album, as I think that we need to look at the past as well as the future. Hmmm…)

Ed Milliband, leader of our so-called Labour Party, has just announced that he is sticking to the Coalition government’s austerity programme. If we want to fight this and create alternatives, then Parliament really isn’t the place to do it…surprise, surprise.

The population at large awaits bills fretfully and tries to balance its personal budgets, and those of us who realise how important it is to be politically active at the moment try to cast the net wider. The global uprising occurring at the time of writing, particularly the one centred around Occupy, has many diverse and contradictory strands. But the overall aim of coming out into central urban locations or neighbourhoods and meeting consensus is an example of what we anarchists like to call the “leadership of ideas”. As Tamer Mowafy, Egyptian anarchist, says “It is evident that people taking part in the ‘Occupy’ movements almost spontaneously embrace anarchist principles. The movement is leaderless, all decisions are made within a general assembly, and instead of majority rule consensus is always sought.” Whatever happens to Occupy, this fact still remains.

I watched Just Do It over the summer. It’s a film about UK-based modern day climate activists, and reminded me of the mid-to-late 90s direct action scene, where I stepped in to all of this. It was interesting to see that after a while, the activists involved in the high octane protests of the film start to make connections between what they are doing and the need to confront capitalism. Their ideas about this are nebulous by the end of the film, but it is a progression I remember making myself. I realised the rabbit hole goes much deeper, and the deep rooted issues of power, class, money, gender, race and so forth lie beneath it all. This was what made me realise I was an anarchist, rather than just an activist. (I hope it also explains why I haven’t directly dealt with climate change on what is proving to be my most political album to date!)

As capitalism struggles to reconfigure itself without dealing with its fundamental underlying contradictions, we need to ask ourselves, do we want more of the same, or are we prepared to think outside the box and do something different? Will we vote for political parties and watch the same old same old, or entertain sci-fi fantasies like the Zeitgeist conspiraloons that we can just plug into a computer and everything will be fine? Maybe you don’t want any radical re-working of society. But are you just going to sit back and watch all the important decisions taken out of your hands and put into faceless governments and corporations who don’t have your interests at heart, without even considering the possibility of radical action to prevent it?

You don’t need to sign any forms, tick any boxes, send any money or indeed buy any more of my albums, (though I’m sure that will help…me, anyway!).

The answers are down to you!


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