London and the coronavirus crisis: Clampdown by The Clash

As London approaches lockdown, it's time to play Clampdown by The Clash

As London heads into an anticipated total lockdown with reports of the army being drafted in by the weekend, there’s only one song to play:

Wikipedia says that the lyrics “are seen to refer to how one gets caught by the capital economic system and its ethos of work, debt, power, position and conformist lifestyle.”

With the capitalist system falling apart in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, let’s hope we get some Strummer-style socialism in its wake!

Join in with the online discussion

Although social media can be very effective in times of crisis, it can also spread dangerous and confusing misinformation. There’s some particularly well informed discussion taking place on the dedicated Coronavirus (COVID-19 forum on the urban75 forum:

One Comment on “London and the coronavirus crisis: Clampdown by The Clash”

  1. Urbanista ( born 1965) Clampdown is a great great educational lesson for the youth written when I was a kid in Brixton. It’s about the realities of growing up during mass unemployment and getting snared into humdrum jobs and then trapping others into being a wage slave without thought in an uncaring industrial hopeless existence. Strummer uses fascist street happenings In the line ‘taking off his turban.. ( or the I’m alright Jack attitude used by closed shop unions) in such lines as ‘ you grow up and you calm down’ or ‘ you start wearing blue and brown’ don’t forget the killer line ‘the men in the factory are old and cunning, you don’t owe nothing so boy get running, it’s the best years of your life they want to steal’. I’m not sure that this song is in anyway a call for socialism. Try Armagideon Time or Charlie Don’t Surf or even Career Opportunities where it’s clearer.

    It’s got nothing to do with coronavirus either in my opinion. This govts clampdown is a cackhanded attempt to save lives. Strummer called it correctly when he wrote this as the NF was on the streets, and the Unions ( including cuddly Ricky Tomlinson and the Liverpool dockers were also protesting against anyone non English or non white daring to take a job in their industry)

    I think the OP wasn’t there in 1978 when this song was written and doesn’t understand the context and the time.

    Mind you the police are easily as politicised as they were back in 1978/9 when London Calling was written. But now they have more power. Fight it people – but on behalf of everyone and be kind

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