Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Ex-1936 (Spanish Revolution) EP (1986)

"Well I used to be disgusted/but now I try to be amused"-Elvis Costello, "Red Shoes"

"A cheap holiday in other peoples' misery...."-Johnny Rotten, "Holidays in the Sun"

I was going to post The Proletariat's 1985 Lp, "Indifference," to celebrate 9/11, but zippyshare has dropped every LP I've tried to upload for the past two days.

So instead, to celebrate the atrocity generator that was 9/11/01, I give you The Ex's "1936.' For those of you who haven't heard it or them, the Dutch band covered four original Anarchist songs from the Spanish Revolution (or Civil War, depending on who you are). Folk songs they ain't, though: "No Pasaran" is a wrecking ball, with all the urgency that the workers and peasants of Spain must have felt when they rose up against the planned military coup of Franco and his goons in 1936. The other three songs are in the same vein: bracing, intense-in-a-non-hardcore-or-noise sorta way. The highest compliment I can give the Ex is that they did justice to songs that were originally sung by people fighting and dying against Fascism.

THEY SHALL NOT PASS. You really should buy a physical copy of this album, at The Ex's website.: the booklet is a beautiful, heartbreaking collection of photos of the people who made the Spanish revolution, along with an unabashedly partisan history of the war from an Anarchist perspective.

As mentioned, I'm posting this to commemorate 9.11. Listening to this music in 2012, I can't help but feel perverse, in much the same way I would imagine it would feel reading pamphlets from 1789 in post-Waterloo, Restoration-era Europe ca. 1820: this is an artifact from a moment when people saw a chance to create a liberated existence, and took it. That moment was drowned in blood, at the hands of Communists, Liberals, Fascists, and the Nazis; but at least they fought for it. Looking back, it's almost impossible to conceive of that moment as having existed anywhere in the world.

Americans certainly can't say that. Occupy? Give me a fucking break. Even more than that, this album makes me cringe thinking of self-styled American anarchism: vegan assholes denouncing each other for being insufficiently freegan does not a revolution maketh. Ultimately, I think that 9/11 was only a tragedy for the rest of the world, particularly the global South, since it's the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, etc. that have to live with the consequences. Sure, drones are being deployed in American cities and NYC itself more and more resembles a prison, but ultimately, us Americans deserve it: what goes around comes around, and the American middle class is finally learning what it feels like to be targeted by the state. Good fucking riddance.


  1. Great record, great post. I posted this back on May Day with a survey of the revolution itself.

    I think the next few decades are going to be scary as shit, but it's gonna get worse before it gets better.

  2. "vegan assholes denouncing each other for being insufficiently freegan does not a revolution maketh"


    But no need to be fatalistic, its gonna get better.

    P.s. I am an anarchist musician too :)

    anarchist songs

  3. @Zen: I just noticed yr posting of 1936-great write up!

    @Ben: Diggin' yr Sumerian track, direct and to the point ina very quirky way.

    Re: the wider picture: "Of course there is hope, all the hope in the world. Only not for us."-Franz Kafka to Max Brod, 1920s.