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Talkin' Bout a Revolution

Here's Tracy Chapman performing at the 1988 London concert celebrating Nelson Mandela's 70th birthday. Mandela would be released from prison 2 years later. It strikes me as a great song both for remembering Mandela and for the season of Advent, when we anticipate that God will cast down the mighty from their thrones, and lift up the lowly. And that revolution sounds like a whisper...

 

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She sings,

Poor people gonna rise up
And get their share
Poor people gonna rise up
And take what's theirs

That reminded me of these words from “Homage to Marat,” in the Peter Weiss play "The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade:"

Marat, we're poor, and the poor stay poor
Marat, don't make us wait anymore
We want our rights, and we don't care how
We want a Revolution NOW

Thanks for this clip.  A fine performance by a wonderful singer and song-writer.  I miss her in today's popular music - of course this was "long ago" now.  I would hate to think the her sensibilities have been lost in this generation.   

Mark L

Wonderful, thank-you.  It brings to mind this old revolutionary song:

"The Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name....

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, but has lifted up the lowly.

The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty."

Luke 1: 49, 52-53

Thanks Lisa for a great song.

That "and finally the tables are starting to turn" is a great inspiration for all those working for justice and peace, and great Advent theme.

God bless

I was at Wembley for the Mandela 70th Birthday concert and remember vividly that exquisite voice rambling around ecohing off the roof of the cavernous stadium.  When Stevie Wonder couldn't perform because of a technical problem, Tracy Chapman was recruited on the spot - who had already performed earlier -  to fill-in the time instead, and that performance rocketed her career to the top.  Although, Peter Gabriel's "Biko" stole the show.

I have often fantazied this Tracy Chapman anthem, Cat Steven's "Peace Train" and Pete Townsend's "Give Blood" being used in a political campaign that would really be about:

Poor people gonna rise up
And get their share
Poor people gonna rise up
And take what's theirs

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About the Author

Lisa Fullam is associate professor of moral theology at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley. She is the author of The Virtue of Humility: A Thomistic Apologetic (Edwin Mellen Press).