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Never Mind the Ballots - Organise!

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Here's The Rest of Your Life

From the Chumbawamba record Never mind the Ballots,
recorded May 1987 in England.

Why settle for what we're shown
When there is so much more? Sometimes the Book of Law
Is only half the story

Means and ends
Deciding where to draw the line
Loss of work in Sellafield homes
Or the threat of cancers yet to come?

The choice is obvious
There is no choice.
Only the option of looking outside
This narrow definition of
"What you see is all there will ever be"

There comes a time - that time is now
When every second, every day
When every action, every thought
Will tell the world how you cast your vote

They break our legs and we say
"Thank you" when they offer us crutches

Tired of mild reform
Sick of hand-me-downs
We topple all the theories to the ground
All real change Must come from below
Our bosses must live in fear
Of the factory floor
And when they smile
And they ask for my support
I'll give them these words
And a bloody nose
You don't help your country
When you're at war

There are moments in all our lives
Tiny sparks still deep inside
When a new-born baby cries
When you're watching clouds in a summer sky
The first time you walked out on strike
Love and sex and holding tight
Things that can't be bought
By promises and votes

I hate the things I love being criminalised
I hate the straight-jacket schools I grew up in
I hate MP's, Judges and magistrates
I hate being taught to base my life on TV stars
I hate being kept waiting by bureaucrats
I hate wars, and all the people who love them
I hate the idea of living on other people's backs
I hate being filed, registered and classified
I hate being watched and monitored
I hate police
I hate the way you talk down to me
I hate being told what to do
I hate you when you don't listen
I hate the way you distort my sexuality with pornography
I hate the pain we inflict on each other,
On animals and the earth
And I hate how love songs have become cliches
through endless, shallow repetition

Each angry word
Every cynical put-down
Every song is carefully born
From a hope of something better to come

All jumbled up
Love and hate and love
Each prompted by the other
For the cause of peace we have to go to war

Refusing to sleep
Whilst there's a world to win
Yet happy to dream
Dreams make the plans to change this world

Not just some future heaven
But today and every day
In our place of work
In the queue for the metrobus

Here's the rest of our lives!

...A tiny spark still deep inside

We can and will run the factories and mills
We can and will educate ourselves
We can and will work the fields
We can and will police ourselves

We can and will create and build

Here's the rest of our lives!
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Chumbawamba Statement - 1987    

We are not saying "Don't Vote". Whether we vote or not, or who we vote for, is largely unimportant. What is important is realising that it is not a cross on a piece of paper which counts, but how we spend the rest of our lives. Real change comes about not because we vote for it, but because we fight for it, shout for it, work for it. Placing hopes and fears on who holds power, or who will gain power through voting, is wasting time which might be spent in creating alternatives, both for ourselves and for our communities. Whether you choose to vote or not does not interest us. But we ask you: Organise! Educate! Participate!

For more information about Chumbawamba visit their website at:
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Last modified: October 4, 2001

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