Music- Art and politics are inseparable. With art, everyone can voice their political aspirations for the common good. One of the arts closest to politics is music. Yes, music is a universal language. So, music can connect one interest with other interests in harmony.
So, in the world of music, who doesn’t know John Lennon? Yup, this musician who is the vocalist of The Beatles often creates songs that are full of strong political nuances. In fact, many often view him as a revolutionary political activist.
He is remembered as an important figure in the anti-Vietnam war movement of the 1960s and for his siding with the working-class struggle. Politically, you could say Lennon was a socialist. Anyway, what kind of songs did he compose that were full of political nuances? Here’s the list!
1. The woman is The Nigger of The World
The song “Women is The Nigger of The World” is John Lennon’s most controversial song, but it actually has a strong ideological message. The title which means “Women are the Negro of the World” is actually the content of Yoko Ono’s interview with Nova magazine in 1969. However, because of the word “negro”, this song is accused of having racism.
Far from being accused, Lennon wants to show that women are the most oppressed subjects, both in terms of capitalism and patriarchy in the current situation. He claimed this song was from James Connolly, an Irish socialist. Connoly once said, “Women are slaves’ slaves.”
2. Power to the People
This song marks John Lennon’s political shift to the left. At that time, in 1971, after returning from a trip to Japan, he received a request for an interview with two British leftist activists, Tariq Ali and Robin Blackburn. Then, the two ran the Trotrskys’ leftist magazine, Red Mole.
After interviews with the two British leftists, John Lennon wrote the song “Power to The People”. The song was a reaction to the Bloody Sunday Incident in Ireland which made Lennon really angry. It was also what made him and Yoko Ono willing to march with leftist activists in demonstrations against British imperialism in Ireland.
3. Working Class Hero
The song “Power to The People”, marks Lennon’s political shift to the left. Increasingly sided with the struggle of the working class.
“Working Class Hero” was born in the midst of the explosion of leftist political movements in the 1960s and 1970s, from the civil rights, and anti-Vietnam war movements, to the rise of the new left. Not surprisingly, this song is very heroic-revolutionary.
“Revolution” is Lennon’s satire of leftist activists who often carry posters of Chairman Mao (Mao Zedong) at every protest action. John Lennon wrote this song while meditating in India.
While they were meditating, Europe and America were experiencing an anti-war movement and the rise of the left movement that brought some countries to the brink of revolution. When that happened, Lennon preferred the political path of peaceful action rather than violence in achieving a revolution.
John Lennon released this song in 1971. “Imagine” is one of the most popular songs of the 20th century. So, You could say, this song became the anthem of the fighters for humanity and justice around the world.
A very universal message is implied in this song. The dream of a world of peace for all, regardless of anything, and a world free from hatred, war, and greed, is the central theme.