Left-wing Welsh rockers The Manic Street preachers were the first British rock band to tour Cuba and have dedicated songs to radical miners union leader Arthur Scargill.
Now the Manics have filed a suit against the English Defence League — the well-organised fascist street gang known for organising large anti-Muslim marches — for using their song “If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next” to promote an upcoming demonstration in Birmingham.
Those who know the song will know the real stupidity on the part of the EDL in using this song. It is inspired by the stories of Welsh farmers who joined the International Brigades to Spain in the 1930s to fight against General Francisco Franco's fascist forces.
Singer James Dean Bradfield is fairly blunt, declaring in one line: “So if I can shoot rabbits, then I can shoot fascists.”
'So if I can shoot rabbits, then I can shot fascists.'
And yes, that is “The Internationale”, the famed anthem of working class internationalism, you hear playing on a music box at the start and end of the video. Presumably the EDL didn't use that part of the song in their promotion.
What's even more stunning about this boneheaded move is that it's not the first time in recent history that a far-right group has tried to use the Manics for the sake of promotion. Four years ago, the band filed a cease-and-desist against the British National Party for using the same exact song on the party's website.
It is tempting to whip out that old Marxian chestnut “first as tragedy, then as farce” here, but honestly it's always been much more farce than anything else. I'm just not sure what comes after that.
[Abridged from Alexander Billet's website, Rebel Frequencies. Billet is an editor of Red Wedge.]