Advocate not activist
in The punk rock politics of Joe Strummer
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Many have characterised Strummer as some kind of activist. There is no doubt Strummer saw music as a way to advance left-wing politics but that did not make him an activist, even if he advocated individuals should become politically active and activists themselves. Consequently, these characterisations are wrong. By showing what Strummer was not, this chapter demonstrates what he was namely an advocate and leader. So the locus for identifying and understanding Strummer’s influence is to be primarily found in what he said the words he spoke in his lyrics, interviews and on-stage pronouncements and not in what he did, because he was not an activist prosecuting his politics by turning words into deeds. Activists seek to generate countervailing power through their actions. Chapters 8 and 9 examine the other side of this equation his followers.

The punk rock politics of Joe Strummer

Radicalism, resistance and rebellion


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