Saturday, June 20, 2009

Some new lyrics

( I am NOT Bernadette Devlin-McAliskey NOR am I connected to her in any way. I discuss naming it after her in the "notes" post)

So, this is another lyrics post. Some of these are really good, those will be towards the bottom, the okay ones will be towards the top. Also, three of them are about anti-racist skinheads, the first post I did with those songs contains some notes in the intro that you might want to read before you read those lyrics.

That's about it. Like I said, I start with the ones that are only okay and end with the ones that are the best. The ones that involve twisting lyrics I politically despise (see this for an explanation) will be identified with a ++ and I'll specify what the original is.

For the rest of the poems click on the "lyrics" label at the bottom (there are at least two pages worth of posts, so click on the "older posts" at the bottom of the first page).

(I've been and will probably continue to be, kind of lazy about indicating when the chorus is repeated twice at the end of the song, that sort of thing)

I just deleted one of the worst poems I've done, about the Black Panthers

UPDATE 12/12/10 I just took down a poem about the ANC. The quality annoyed me, AND I'm not sure I have enough knowledge about the ANC's struggle to write a poem about it, even a brief one.


“RASH” based on “One Shot Paddy” by Justice, original lyrics are here.

1. V-E day refers to the day victory was declared in Europe during WWII.
2. the last two lines don’t rhyme in the original, which seems to work for listening to the original, and I’m going to keep it as is, just changing IRA to ARA.
3. Brown is the color of fascism.
4. RASH is Red and Anarchistic SkinHeads.
5. ARA is Anti-Racist Action, a group connected to anti-racist skinheads.
**6. 24% of this version is me, 76% is the original.
7. I give this song/poem three stars out of five.
8. I don't know why I kept the first two lines as they were in the original. I would have made more sense if the poem was about Irish SHARPs/RASH (I kind of bumped into (on the web) an Irish SHARP, and when he criticized me for my position on the North, I ripped him a new one). I might change that first verse, one way or the other.
9. I am now changing this poem to being about IRISH RASH, instead of American RASH.
10. AFA is Anti-Fascist Action (Ireland)

In Ireland many years ago or so the legend says
Saint Patrick roamed the hills and glens to drive the snakes away,
But now Ireland has anti-fascist skins- they’re bad news for the brown
Their name is RASH and it’s fash that they will hound!

The fash are getting worried they’ve all gone underground
If the RASH see them they know they’re going down
So the next time that you see the fash with their faces full of fright
Look out for the RASH and make sure that your laces aren’t white

Through the cities of Ireland these gallant heroes roam
They’ll wander through the streets they like to call their home,
And when they find fash they loudly charge forward and attack
It is then that you will hear the crack of bone as the fash are pushed back


So if you’re home at night and the newsflash it is read,
The RASH has been at work – another fash bashed in the head
And when it comes time to celebrate V-E day’s cheer,
Remember the RASH and the gallant AFA!



“People’s Democracy” based on “We Are The Law” ++ RACIST by Kill Baby Kill, original lyrics are here.

1. People’s Democracy was a militant, left-wing, and initially student part of the Civil Rights movement in N. Ireland starting in Oct. 1968 (it later became a political party and then around 1980 declined, and many members joined Sinn Fein and then it adopted another name). There’s more about them here, and the first 1/3 of this. PD doesn’t exist anymore, so this doesn’t violate my rules on publishing songs about actual organizations.
2. The first line is kind of a reference to the ambush at Burntollet.
3. The references to fighting are meant to be about 90% non-violent.
4. Probably something like 50%-60% of PD in 1969 were Marxist.
5. I’m not sure how into Irish pride they were, but I think the vast majority in 1969 identified as Irish and that probably went up to 100% about 2 years later, and I only like to change as much as I need to. Irish pride, most of the time is different than white pride. (I just heard something making me think that it's probably a small minority of northern nationalists that would talk about "Irish pride"; I still feel odd completely re-writing that line, so I'm going to keep it)
6. The Six-Counties is a republican term for N. Ireland.
**7. This version is about 46% me, 54% the original.
8. I give this song/poem three stars out of five.
9. PD were very anti-racist and had connections with the Black Panthers.

Rise up all you fallen marchers, rise up and take your stands again.
Let us march for a new tomorrow, let us fight until the day we win
Marching into countless battles, students marching side by side.
Nothing stronger than the troops of Marx, nothing stronger than Irish pride.

Student legions marching for radical change, starting in Oct 1968.
To all of those who cross our path: capitalism and sectarianism we do hate
Never will they take us down, we’re born to fight and so we will.
The Six-Counties are our battleground, for the working-class we’re fighting still.

We are marching on the street.
PD… we take on the elite.
We will win and you know why.
People’s Democracy will never die.

Irish men and women the time has come,
to take down all the Unionist scum.
Our marching days are here now,
to our mighty legions they shall bow.
So listen here, we are socialists,
we keep on fighting Brits and Unionists.
We keep on fighting til sectarianism ends,
to this government we shall never bend

2nd Chorus
We are marching on the street.
PD… we take on the elite.
We will win and you know why.
we’re People’s Democracy and we will never die.


“Spirit of the Streets” based on “We Are the Law” ++RACIST by Kill Baby Kill, original lyrics are here.

1. “Spirit of the streets” is probably more associated with traditional, non-racist skinheads than with anti-racist skinheads (SkinHeads Against Racial Prejudice, SHARP) but I’ve seen SHARP youtube videos that included imagery with that phrase.
2. Skinheads have a sense of working-class pride and/or pride in being a skinhead. With the anti-racists, they do represent the best of the skinhead culture.
3. Skinheads wear different colored laces on their boots to indicated their politics or lack thereof.
4. The culture being referred to is the SKINHEAD culture, or subculture, which SHARPs feel is at risk from the Nazi skinheads (also known as boneheads).
5. The reference to workers seems to go a bit beyond how I normally talk about the working-class and anti-racist skinheads (traditionally skinhead is overwhelmingly working-class and probably remains so, or at least mostly so). If it does drift to the left, and only some small majority of anti-racist skinheads are more or less left-wing, that’s fine, I’m a leftist and that's how I'll sometimes write the songs.
6. In various ways, anti-racist skinheads are helpful to those who struggle en masse, even though probably something like 1/3 of anti-racist skinheads don’t really think about that (there’s a spectrum on this, and many are relatively non-political).
**7. This version is 33% me, 67% the original.
8. I give this song/poem three stars out of five.
UPDATE 2/1/11 9. As far as helping "those who struggle en mass." A: Although many/most SHARPs don't care about that much, if at all, the fact is that what they do is helpful for people trying to combat racism non-violently; B: I use that rhyme pretty often, because I often forget to try similar words like "last."

Rise up all you fallen fighters, rise up and take your stands again.
Let us fight for a new tomorrow, let us fight until the day we win.
Marching into countless battles, Skinheads marching side by side.
Nothing stronger than the skins of SHARP, nothing stronger than Skinhead pride.

Shaven-headed legions march for freedom, Nazis won’t escape their fate
To all Nazis who cross our path: change your laces before it’s too late
Never will they take us down, we’re born to fight and so we will.
Our streets are our battleground, for the working-class and our culture we’re fighting still.

We are the spirit of the streets
Skinheads… We’re the elite.
We wear our boots and you know why.
SHARP Skinheads will never die.

Workers now the time has come,
to save your class from the scum.
The boneheads’ days are over now,
to our mighty legions they shall bow.
So listen here, this is our town,
we keep on fighting the Nazi clowns
We keep on fighting for the working-class,
fighting to help those who struggle en masse

2nd Chorus
We are the spirit of the streets
Skinheads… We’re the elite.
We wear our boots and you know why.
we’re SHARP Skinheads and we will never die.


“PIRA” based on “CYC” ++LOYALIST by Rab C. original lyrics are here (this is probably the most offensive thing I listen to, it might be upsetting)

1. The original is loyalist. This is about the Provisional IRA.
2. The smell is from the firing of weapons.
3. AK-47s are automatic rifles, RPGs are Rocket Propelled Grenades.
4. Peeler is police. Squaddies are British soldiers.
5. The Warsaw ghetto was one of the few places where there was Jewish resistance to the Holocaust. There’s a great movie about it called “Uprising.” (see this). You might think that this reference is innapropriate, considering that the IRA accepted aid from Nazi Germany and did some things that might have slightly benefited Nazi Germany. I did an entire post about this where I ripped the IRA a new one over it, and went half as far about Irish neutrality during the war. For my post on this, go here.
6. The RUC were, until 2001, the police.
7. The song, including the last line, is not an endorsement of continuing armed struggle past 1997.
8. This is the 3rd song in which I assume that republican paramilitaries wore combat boots. It just worked too well in some ways, and it’s possible some/most/all of them DID wear combat boots. UPDATE 3/11/10: A good source has told me that, yes, sometimes they did, but it was more common in rural areas.
9. The song describes something which probably happened zero or one time the entire conflict, although some things almost as intense probably happened something like five times. I’ve seen video of one gun-fight that was sort of similar.
10. The first two lines don’t rhyme in the original or my version, but in both it seems to work.
**11. 46% of this version is me, 54% is the original. Also I ignored one entire verse that I couldn’t do much with.
12. I give this song/poem four stars out of five.
UPDATE 2/1/11 13. As far as triangulating fire, I am almost certain that's something combatants in combat do, although I can only find a small number of web-pages with that phrase. I believe it refers to pinning your opponent down, or something like that.

All told their partners when they got home that,
They didn't know where the smell came from,
They attacked with AKs and RPGs and boots on their feet,
And they forced them all the way back down the street,
Cos they hate the Queen and the House of Lords,
They’re the band that defended the Lower Falls ward
All the peelers were acting like Nazi pricks,
And the Provos triangulated their fire and put them in a fix

It was the maddest thing that you ever did see,
All the young soldiers in D Company
They battled them good and they dealt them a real blow
They fought like the Jewish resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto

When the Squaddies tried to intervene,
They got it too the best you've ever seen,
The RUC ran away in total retreat,
They left their colleagues behind, littering the street

The crowds all cheered as the Provos marched by,
All the soldiers with their head held high,
They clapped their hands and they stapmed their feet,
Republican Fighters are on the street.

So please love don't be mad with me,
Send my uniform out for a wee dry clean,
And if the peelers break down the door,
Tell 'em Ireland unfree will always be at war.


UPDATE 7/27/11 There used to be a poem here about the killing of five communists by the Klan and Nazis in 1979. Apparently there's VERY few anti-racists out there who believe that their deaths should be commemorated. There's also the fact that it had potential to give former friends and potential allies the wrong idea about my beliefs.


“Red Rider” based on “White Rider” ++RACIST by Skrewwdriver, original lyrics are here.

1. This is my 3rd song about Red and Anarchistic SkinHeads (RASH) exclsuively, which is kind of over-representing thier numbers among anti-racist skinheads, but A: I’m a leftist and close the political center of RASH, and B: I needed a color, and there’s not much of a color for the rest of the anti-racist skinheads (blue’s close, but doesn’t symbolize them the way that red symbolizes communism).
2. Historically skinheads have been into scooters, and I think that today is much more popular with anti-racist and non-racist skins than it is with Nazis. So, the “rider” part actually makes a lot of sense.
3. I’m tempted to de-sex the reference to fore-fathers, but it’s largely referring to, for example, those who fought fascism in the Spanish civil war or those who fought with the Allies in WWII (at the very least those who were motivated by anti-fascism and fought in the Atlantic/N. Africa/Europe, since we’re not talking about Japanese-imperialist skinheads), so the people I’m referring to would be something like 90% male. UPDATE 3/18/15 I added "fore-mothers."
4. Pride in this version refers to working-class pride.
5. Just like the other anti-fascist version of this song I’ve done, the reference to standing fast is a bit problematic, but works more or less, in this case, better than the other one if you consider that it’s calling on workers to oppose bigotry and fascism in whatever way they feel comfortable but to also support anti-racist skinheads (unless they're pacifists).
6. Just to be clear, that’s all peopleS meaning all cultures.
7. Overwhelmingly, when white supremacists try working within one of the two mjaor parties, it’s the Republican party (there's probably only some small minority of Republican tools who are aligned with the white supremacists, although there's a larger number that flirt with white supremacists) (I do know of at least one case where Nazi skinheads worked the election campaign of a Republican).
8. The culture referred to is the skinhead culture, which anti-racist skinheads feel is under threat from Nazi skinheads.
**9. This version is 23% me, 77% the original.
10. I give this song/poem four stars out of five.

You ride through the streets with your head held up high
For the working-class and your culture you're willing to die
Your forefathers and fore-mothers fought and your forefathers fore-mothers died
They died for a feeling they felt deep inside

Red rider, red rider, your strength is your pride
red rider, red rider, you'll stand, never hide
red rider, red rider, your boots are your voice
You scorn the conscripted, you're fighting through choice

Your banners are unfolded, carry them with love
To fight for the working-class is a gift from above
Some fools will oppose you, true workers will stand fast
But victory shall be ours for the multi-racial working-class

You feel love for all peoples, disdain for the fools
The enemy's allied with the Republican tools
You fight for the working-class which shall be proud and free
And the only reward that you crave is victory


“Stoop Down Low Party” based on “Just Look Around” by Sick Of It All, original lyrics are here.

1. Stoops are members of the Social Democratic and Labour Party, Sinn Fein’s moderate rival in the nationalist community. See this.
2. FF and FG are Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, the two main parties in the Republic and are right around the center on economics, especially FG, and FF has a history of corruption. They also don’t care about the North as much as they should, especially FG (recently FF started organizing in the North).
3. This is set sometime in the early 1990s.
4. The Irish Army is often sent overseas on UN Peace-Keeping missions. Although I think that’s great (and I think most republicans would agree), and it’s unsure what republicans would have done if they had had control of it during the conflict, I like the idea of republicans complaining about how the Army is being sent over-seas when there’s a need for it in the North! Volunteers are members of republican paramilitaries.
5. Hoods are young, usually more or less apolitical nationalist youth who engage in behavior that they more or less shouldn’t be- basically criminal, although there’s a spectrum and probably some of it is what a lot teenagers do everywhere- smoking pot for example. Because there was no support for the police, Nationalists would turn to the IRA to deal with crime, and this created a lot of hostility between the IRA and their supporters (“Provos”) on one hand and the hoods on the other hand, especially since, as far as I can tell, some large minority of the time the IRA either went too far or should have done nothing at all.
6. The majority of Provos at that time would have been against homophobia, but I know that some large minority were homophobic.
7. The three groups I chose- Provos, hoods, and gay people, seem like the best substitutes for the chorus, and it pretty much makes sense. To whatever degree the hoods are political, they’re closer to the Provos than the SDLP and we’re talking about working-class Nationalist youth who don’t benefit from the SDLP’s moderate politics. The SDLP back then were also very homophobic.
8. The SDLP is very middle-class and elements of the nationalist middle-class about that time were doing very well.
9. The Lower Falls is a working-class nationalist area where, at that point, SF was getting something like 70% of the vote.
10. Although there were other problems with the education system (it was structurally biased against working-class kids (that’s in the process of being changed, by SF)), I decided to pick on the Catholic Church and their homophobia and moderate, almost pro-British politics.
11. The Dail is the parliament in Dublin, which has basically never shown as much concern about the North as it should.
12. Squaddies are British soldiers, an estate is basically a neighborhood. The hatred is aimed at the British government and the British Army.
**13. This version is 29% me, 71% the original.
14. There are places where the lines don't rhyme in either my version or the original.
15. The line about Irish mankind is off a little bit, but it says Northern Irish (within a couple hours of publishing I added Northern) so it's referring to the Nationalist population, it's pretty accurate, unemployment back then was pretty high for Catholics.
16. I give this song/poem four stars out of five.
2/1/11 17. In the 5th line of the 2nd verse, I just replaced the word "they're" with the word "London's."

The question the stoops keep asking me
how can one so young be so bitter and angry
well, the answer is plain to see
maybe if they weren't so blind they'd see what i see
i see the Brits patrolling on our streets
on every corner they're asking for ID
i start riots whenever I can
but sometimes the Brits just keep driving by
i see the repression and unemployment of Northern Irish mankind
the greed of FF and FG has made them blind
to our problems
Dublin sends battallions overseas,
Volunteers right here are fighting a war everyday

I see the hood that hates the Provo
Provo against the gay, neighbor against neighbor
and they're all too blind to see

When we fight each other it puts the SDLP at ease
it keeps us so busy, so they can do what they please
election time comes and they're out for votes
that's when you see and hear from them the most
The North is what London's calling a democracy
that's just another word for hypocrisy
Nationalist workers keep fallin' for the SDLP’s bait
And when they realize, it's always too late


As the stoops get richer, the Lower Falls goin' hungry
i've seen the toll it takes on the workers family
education system that's obsolete
Preaches bigotry and tells kids not to riot in the street
see a father's fear, hear a mother's cry
what kind of a Dail watches our children die
The squaddies raid every single home in the estate
then you're gonna ask me why I hate

Why don't you open up your eyes so you can see
open up your ears so you can hear
take a look around and you will find
take a look around and you will find out why

One last note: Even with the songs that are only about 10% me (and at the upper end, one is 75% me), I have a request, although I don't have strong feelings or expectations about this. First, I want credit for these songs. Second, I'd appreciate it if the notes follow the lyrics around the internet. If you modify the lyrics further, please either make some notes for the changes if you leave some of my changes, or just provide a link to this URL so people can see my version. Although I'm not sure how many people will like what I'm doing with the lyrics, to one degree or another (depending on how much I changed them) I'm proud of these songs- and at the risk of getting a little personal, if people like the songs, I could really use the extra boost of getting credit for them right now (or if you don't like them, they were all written by Sarah Palin- that fascist, what kind of sick person enjoys altering racist lyrics?).


Jack said...

provo against the gay?

where did that research come from. republicans want equality for all and as such are anti-homophobic

Tom Shelley said...

I kind of screwed up a little, I could have made this a little clearer. It's set in the early 1990s. I have plenty of reason to believe that back then there was some large minority of Provos who were homophobic. In 1991, when a pro-gay article was written in the publication for POWs, the response was not good.

The main thing though, is that with the original, it's black against the Jew. Probably somewhere around 1/3 of African-Americans are anti-semitic.

So, it wasn't meant to imply a majority (if I said majority instead of minority, fuck, I'll fix that, I did an entire post about how Sf is good on gay rights and have mentioned it elsewhere, that post is "Invisible Comrades"). Hopefully that clears this up.


Tom Shelley said...

1. Although I have gotten the impression it's fairly acceptable, I usually would say "anti-homophobic" instead of "pro-gay."
2. The article I refer to made it clear there was some kind of large minority who were homophobic.
3. What I said about Blacks and anti-semitism, 1/3 is counting half the shades of grey of anti-semtism. meaning something like 1/3 are against anti-semitism (the figure of 1/3 for anti-semtic is probably a bit high, the middle 1/3 is probably low, the anti- 1/3 is probably just right)


Tom Shelley said...

I felt pretty confident about the estimate I made for anti-semitism among Blacks, but only looed up polls afterwards. However, I got it pretty close when I clarified what I meant as far as the shades of grey. What I said was largely, roughly confirmed by two polls by the Pew Research Center. 42% of Blacks in 2004 believed that Jews killed Christ. Bearing in mind what I said about shades of grey, you could say I might have underestimated it by about 5-10%, which I would consider good, considering the numbers were' looking at are 33% and 42%.