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Uploaded on Mar 15, 2009
"Clampdown" is a single and a song by The Clash, on the album London Calling. The song began as a instrumental track called "Working and Waiting". It is sometimes called "Working for the Clampdown" which is the main lyric of the song, and also the title provided on the album's lyric sheet. Its lyrics comment on people who forsake the idealism of youth and urges young people to fight the status quo.
"Clampdown" was written by Joe Strummer and Mick Jones.
The song's lyrics, written by Joe Strummer, have a variety of interpretions. One commonly held belief is that it refers to the Nazi regime. According to this view, the reference to "wearing blue and brown" would refer to the monochromatic military-style uniforms often worn by federal police forces in dictatorial regimes, specifically the all-brown uniform worn by members of Hitler's SA (see Sturmabteilung).
The first verse is also commonly cited in support of the Nazi interpretation of the song, containing as it does references to Jews (see the Final Solution), blue-eyed men (see Aryan race) and young believers (see Hitler Youth): Taking off his turban, they said, is this man a Jew? Cause they're working for the clampdown They put up a poster saying we earn more than you! When we're working for the clampdown We will teach our twisted speech To the young believers We will train our blue-eyed men To be young believers
Others believe that the lyrics are more broad in scope, reflecting the failures of capitalist society.This interpretation of the lyrics sees the wearing of the "blue and brown" as referring to the color of the suits that are mostly worn by businessmen to the office. This idea goes along with lyrics that refer to "young believers" who are brought and bought into the capital system by those "working for the clampdown" who will "teach with twisted speech." Strummer wrote, The men in the factory are old and cunning You don't owe nothing, so boy get running! It's the best years of your life they want to steal! You grow up and you calm down and You're working for the clampdown. You start wearing the blue and brown and you're working for the clampdown. So you got someone to boss around. It makes you feel big now...
These lyrics are seen to refer to how one gets caught by the capital economic system and its ethos of work, debt, power, position and conformist lifestyle.Strummer, who was a proud and loud socialist, also uses the songs closing refrain to highlight this mindset and potential trap and offers a warning to not give oneself over to "the clampdown". He does this by repeating as the song fades out the word "work" five times and "more work" twice. This reaffirms the idea that Strummer saw "the clampdown" as a threat to all who get caught up in the modern economic wage-hour system.