Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats. –H.L. Mencken

Friday Music: With a Pocket Full of Shells

“The bulls are my best friends.”
I translated to Brett.
“You kill your friends?” she asked.
“Always,” he said in English, and laughed. “So they don’t kill me.”

~Ernest Hemingway – The Sun Also Rises

450px-Sanfermines_Vaquillas_Pamplona_03Having come to anarchy – or perhaps more accurately, anarcho-capitalism – from the right, I am always surprised when there is a convergence of leftism and anarcho-capitalism.  Take, for example, the lyrics of “Bulls on Parade” by Rage Against the Machine. I know the name of the band tells me that I should love them – but the term ‘rage’ goes a little too far. Rational persuasion trumps ‘rage’ every time. But ‘Rational Persuasion Against the Machine’ is not exactly a good band name. If I may be so bold as to insert my translation into the lyrics:

“Bulls On Parade”

Come wit it now! (2x)
The microphone explodes, shattering the molds
Either drop tha hits like de la O or get tha f__k off tha commode
Wit tha sure shot, sure ta make tha bodies drop
Drop an don’t copy yo, don’t call this a co-op
Terror rains drenchin’, quenchin’ tha thirst of tha power dons
That five sided fist-a-gon
Tha rotten sore on tha face of mother earth gets bigger
Tha triggers cold empty ya purse

The military are a bunch of trained killers who, along with the government and crony capitalists are fed by terror and the theft of your money to buy more guns.

Rally round tha family! With a pocket full of shells
They rally round tha family! With a pocket full of shells (3x)

These may be de la Rocha’s best lines in the song, with great insight into the mind of a war hawk. The call from the war hawks is always for ‘national defense’, an attempt to make us all feel unified. These people are attempting to make their conglomerate into a ‘family’. This is both a perversion of what a family is and a disgusted acknowledgement that this nebulous entity (government) has emotions attached to it by those seduced by its charms.

Weapons not food, not homes, not shoes
Not need, just feed the war cannibal animal
I walk tha corner to tha rubble that used to be a library
Line up to tha mind cemetary now
What we don’t know keeps tha contracts alive an movin’
They don’t gotta burn tha books they just remove ’em
While arms warehouses fill as quick as tha cells
Rally round tha family, pockets full of shells

Here de la Rocha delves a bit into economics, providing his own short rebuttal to the broken window fallacy: Why, instead of growing crops and building houses, are they continuing the war machine? Libraries – stores of real knowledge – are being destroyed while the military-industrial complex covers its crimes with secrecy and lies. The police state is growing alongside the military industrial complex.

Rally round tha family! With a pocket full of shells
They rally round tha family! With a pocket full of shells (3x)

Bulls on parade

Come wit it now! (2x)
Bulls on parade! (5x)

de la Rocha saves a fantastic metaphor for last, likening the military to the bulls running in the Festival de San Fermin. The bulls – arrogant, musclebound, and armed – are running to their deaths, yet they strut and swagger on their way.

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