Up In Heaven (Not Only Here)” sounds a rather lot like “Police on my Back.” I mean, they’re pretty different songs, but there’s something about the two tracks that is pretty similar.
The Clash revisit the idea of class conflict several times on this album. Joe Strummer later apparently said that he wouldn’t have necessarily known Marx from a hole in the ground, but his lyrics demonstrate sympathies for both the working man and those fighting against oppression. Since people who sympathize with the plight of workers and wish to aid those fighting against oppression tend to be viewed automatically as socialists, I suppose that’s a label he’ll have to bear. Besides, they named the album after the Sandinistas so, I mean, come on.
Let’s talk about the Sandinistas for a moment. The U.S. did not care for them (and there is a long history behind this, dating back to a U.S. occupation of Nicaragua in the 1930′s. However, democracy ultimately came to the region and – lo and behold – in 1984, they were fairly elected into power. The U.S. didn’t like this and started funding the Contras to fight against them.
Flash forward to the free elections in Palestine a few years back where Hamas was voted into power during free elections.
Or, of course, Hugo Chavez. Democratically elected.
We sort of lost the moral right to criticize other country’s elections after 2000, so let’s unfairly gloss over that question for the moment to pose this one:
Is Democracy truly the best form of government? Well, you might argue, yes because even though the people get it wrong, they sometimes get it right as well. Of course, look at the history of monarchy and you’ll see that monarchs also had about the same record of getting it right and wrong, the main issue being that a good monarch had the ability to have it right for much longer, while a bad monarch could do the opposite.
In my opinion, groups of people don’t often genuinely have their own long term best interests at the front of their mind. Indeed, I think individual people also don’t have their own long term best interests in the front of their mind either. This explains tattoos.
Anyhow, my point is that if you’re just as likely to have a great king as a dreadful king, or a great president as a dreadful president, then, perhaps, it doesn’t especially matter if you elect a leader or let a trick of birth determine leaders. In so much as an enlightened populace is pretty much a myth, democracy is a dangerous and ineffective form of government that rewards immediate popularity over long term prudence.
As is any form of government.
EDIT: I clear this up a little bit here, but just to be clear, I recognize that the Contras weren’t funded by Reagan until several years after Sandinista! was released. I’m just going off here.