What Does It Mean To Be A Marxist Band?

Music for the film marxism today (prologue) by Phil Collins was provided by Laetitia Sadier and Nick Powell. The band Stereolab, in which Laetitia Sadier wrote and sang the lyrics, was sometimes referred to by critics as a “Marxist band”. This was probably based on the lyrics, more than the music, more than the esthetics, more than the way the band was organized and the way they operated. The lyrics from the song Ping Pong are often quoted when referring to the political outlook of Stereolab:

Music video for Ping Pong by Stereolab

“It’s all right ‘cause the historical pattern has shown
How the economical cycle tends to revolve
In a round of decades three stages stand out in a loop
A slump and war then peel back to square one and back for more

Bigger slump and bigger wars and a smaller recovery
Huger slump and greater wars and a shallower recovery”

Laetitia Sadier herself denies being a Marxist, or being influenced by Marxism:

“I never read Marx, so I can’t claim to be a Marxist, but I know that there are principles in Marxism I agree with, strong points about discovering how the system works, and the hope that one day the capitalist system will be made obsolete, and another more human one will emerge. I find it interesting to observe the tendencies of economics. And I feel that it’s not beyond our means to change this system to suit what people need better.” – quoted from this interview

She prefers the work of Greek socialist philosopher Cornelius Castoriadis, founder of the group – and the magazine – Socialisme ou Barbarie.

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