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Socialist Reggae?


Gorau arf arf dysg
As you know, Jamaica was ruled for part of the 70's by a radical socialist government led by Michael Manley, which drew support from the Rastafarians and reggae musicians. Given the topical nature of Jamaican music, I assume that there must be lots of reggae in support of Manley, and maybe even Castro, his close ally. But I can only think of:

Max Romeo: Socialism is Love
Ethiopians: Socialism Train
Derrick Morgan: You Can't Stop a Socialist
Dillinger: Crashie First Socialist

There are many songs about Angloa (Tappa Zukie's MPLA, someone I can't recall's We should be in Angola), and some very well-known ones about Zimbabwe, but there must be more about socialism in Jamaica itself. Anyone know of any?


Enforced Holiday
there was actually Socialist Roots Sound System that had big Manley connections. the website's down at the moment, but there's lots to be googled.


Active Member
Linton Kwesi Johnson has to be one of the few socialist reggae stars. Bob Marley was asked once what he thought of him and replied that there was no way socialism and rastafari could mix as socialists don't believe in God (although this could be disputed)

Divisive Cotton

Now I just have my toy soldiers
butchersapron said:
Michael Smith stoned to death for political reasons - socialist, very interested in anarchism and other radical ideas.
Just John O'Farrell's Things Can Only Get Better at the weekend... and he met him at Exeter university during the early eighties. Talked too about how he died.

Fozzie Bear

Well-Known Member

Oh yeah and this.

No sound at work but as far as I can recall this features the couplet "Run capitalist / I and I want socialist"


Macaroni cheese controller
Douglas Boothe did a tune called I Want To Be A Socialist, but it's not on YouTube.


Macaroni cheese controller

How music helped Michael Manley to become PM in 1972
BY HOWARD CAMPBELL Observer senior writer
Sunday, February 26, 2012

THE proverbial wind of change was blowing across Jamaica in early 1972. General elections were in the air and the country's youth were determined to be heard.
On February 29, it will be 40 years since a restless generation helped elect Michael Manley Jamaica's fourth prime minister. His People's National Party (PNP) soundly defeated the incumbent Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), winning 37 of the 53 seats in Parliament.

MANLEY... several of the country’s top performers were part of a musical bandwagon

The growing entertainment industry played a pivotal role in the PNP victory. Several of the country's top performers were part of a musical bandwagon that accompanied the 47-year-old Manley on his islandwide campaign, promising a new day for the country's marginalised.
One of the first musicians the PNP approached was singer Max Romeo, who was riding high at the time with his song Let The Power Fall On I.
"They thought it was appropriate, so they contacted me and asked permission to use the song," Romeo, now 67, told the Sunday Observer. Given his politics at the time, he readily agreed.
"Manley was saying the right things. I liked the idea of the people having more of a say," Romeo said.
Then prime minister Hugh Shearer, Manley's distant cousin, had announced the election date on January 31. His administration had not endeared themselves to the intelligentsia and black power advocates.
It had banned books promoting Afro-consciousness and further alienated 'progressives' in 1969 by barring the firebrand Guyanese Walter Rodney, a lecturer at the University of the West Indies, from re-entering the country.
Let The Power Fall On I was just one of the songs that summed up the mood of discontent in Jamaica in the early 1970s. Other hard-hitting songs of the day included Delroy Wilson's Better Must Come, and Beat Down Babylon by Junior Byles.
They would be part of the soundtrack for the bandwagon which was organised by singer/producer Clancy Eccles. Romeo remembers the series kicking off in Central Kingston, at Paradise Street in Rae Town, with Manley in attendance.
In addition to Romeo, the bandwagon featured Wilson, Toots and the Maytals, the Wailers, and Inner Circle. Their performances in areas like Savanna-la-Mar, Montego Bay and Mandeville were enhanced by a documentary produced by Perry Henzell that projected Manley as a change agent.
In a 2003 interview with the Observer, Henzell spoke about the impact his film and music had on the people.
"It was very effective, the most striking thing about it was the effect Michael had on the crowds. It was amazing," said Henzell.
Manley added to the theatrics by carrying a cane given him by Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie I, onstage. He was likened to the Biblical figure, Joshua, and the cane was christened his Rod of Correction.
Max Romeo recalls voting early on February 29 for the PNP's Roy McGann in the East Rural St Andrew constituency and watching the election results that evening at home in Bull Bay.
"It was a big celebration that night, everybody loved Michael. It was a great feeling," he said.
Within two years, even some of Manley's staunchest supporters were uneasy about the slow pace of his promised reforms. Romeo released the critical No Joshua No, while Byles recorded the equally scathing When Will Better Come.
Romeo, who would score other big hits like War Ina Babylon, remained loyal to Manley though he said he never voted again. He tours Europe regularly and is preparing to release a new album titled The Last Hurrah.
Clancy Eccles would be involved in the PNP's re-election campaign in December, 1976. He produced the unofficial campaign song, My Leader Born Ya, by Neville 'Struggle' Martin. He died in 2005.
While he was helping the Manley campaign in 1972, Perry Henzell was putting the finishing touches to a low-budget film named The Harder They Come. Starring reggae singer Jimmy Cliff, it was released in 1972 and became an international sensation.
After years of battling cancer, Henzell died in 2006.

Read more: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/entertainment/MANLEY---the-MUSIC_10883342#ixzz2O5hm4E


Well-Known Member
I went out for drink with a black mate of mine in the mid 1980s who had a relative over from Jamaica . He said he was into socialist politics and we had a good chat but then he asked me how many guns we carried locally!

ska invita

back on the other side
Clancy Eccles, most famous as a producer, was a PNP member and an active socialist.
I was just reading about a producer who got (un)fairly sidelined (somewhat) for his always vocal 'socialist' commitments - can't for the life of me remember who it was :facepalm: in one ear out the other - i wonder if it was Clancy ?? I think someone else...

ska invita

back on the other side
Was there any controversy about this? again i seem to remember there was...(even though its just a bunch of sweet dubs)

A1 Cuddoe Dub
A2 Garvey Dub
A3 Paul Bogle Dub
A4 Malcom X Dub
A5 Martin Luther Dub
B1 Swapo Dub
B2 Guerilla Dub
B3 Maroon Dub
B4 Ethiopian Dub
B5 P.L.A. Dub