In Jamaica, in 1968, the late Leonard Dillon recorded a song called Everything Crash with his band The Ethiopians. The year has gone down in history as one of demonstrations, disorder and violence in many parts of the world. In France, Pakistan, the USA, South America and many other places, people took to the streets to voice their frustration at governments that were ineffectual, unrepresentative or simply corrupt. In Jamaica, in 1969, the influential songwriter and producer Prince Buster recorded a version of Everything Crash. He called it Pharaoh House Crash.
"Large numbers of people wanted not just any change; they wanted a sweeping radical, revolutionary socialist change. They didn’t just want to elect somebody different; they wanted to do away with rulers and ruled. They wanted to do away with rich and poor, with bankers and bosses. They wanted to run their own lives, in what was called participatory democracy. Participatory democracy was the idea that we should have the right to make the most important decisions that affect our lives, and that we should determine the conditions under which we live. And the key word of 1968 was liberation—national liberation, Black liberation, and women’s liberation".
(Joel Geier, associate editor of the International Socialist Review, March 26, 2008).
Fast forward 50 years and once again there are riots. In Paris, South Africa, Venezuela, people are protesting about austerity, corporate tax avoidance, global warming, political corruption and police brutality. Once again those songs that were recorded in Jamaica at the end of the 1960's resonate. Their message - that the old order is going to come crashing down - is as relevant and powerful today, as it was when the songs were recorded.