The punk rock politics of Joe Strummer

Radicalism, resistance and rebellion

Gregor Gall
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Punk rocker, Joe Strummer, was the most influential left-wing musician since the 1970s. Through The Clash especially, he was said to have changed countless people’s lives. But what were his politics and what was the nature of this influence on people’s lives?

The punk rock politics of Joe Strummer: Radicalism, resistance and rebellion finds he was a self-proclaimed socialist in his Clash years before this gave way to humanism. Despite that shift, he still desired social change and still used his lyrics and public platform to push for this progress.

Strummer provided political inspiration and sustenance to many through the cultural medium of music. He helped many find and maintain socialist and progressive world views, and this legacy lives on through his lyrics. This becomes evident when the testimonies gathered for this study speak of the influence of the lyrics from the likes of the Sandinista! album or the song, ‘Spanish Bombs’. They encouraged listeners not only to find out more about the issues and events covered but then to go out and try to do something about them too.

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