chorus: ain't it just a rip off, oi, oi, oi
ain't it just a rip off, oi, oi, oi
ain't it just a rip off, oi, oi, oi
what a fucking rip off, oi, oi, oi.

another threatening glance, another macho stance
another aggressive fist, another arsehole pissed
another vicious threat, a stream of blood stained sweat
another bottle waved in the air, another battle with tension and fear

chorus

tell me, why do you glorify violence? ain't there nothing better to give?
why fuck up the only chance to be yourself and really live?
you tell me you're a working class loser, well what the fuck does that mean?
is the weekly fight at the boozer gonna be the only action you've seen?
are you gonna be one of the big boys, well, we've all seen it before
muscles all akimbo as they boot down another door
will you see yourself as the hero as you boot in another head
when you're just a pathetic victim of the media you've been fed
you're lost in your own self pity, you've bought the system's lie
they box us up and sit pretty as we struggle with the knots they tie
okay, so you're right about one thing no-one's got the right to shit on you
but what's the point of shitting on yourself, what's that gonna do?
working class hero beats up middle class twit
media labels, system's shit
when it looks like the people could score a win
the system makes sure that the boot goes in.

yeah it's the greatest working class rip off, oi, oi, oi
just another fucking rip off, a fucking media ploy
it's the greatest working class rip off, oi, oi, oi
ain't it just a rip off, ain't it just a rip off, ain't it just a rip off, oi

Punk attacked the barriers of colour, class, and creed
but look at how it is right now, do you really think you're freed?
Punk once stood for freedom, not violence, greed, and hate
Punk's got nothing to do with what you're trying to create
anarchy, violence, chaos? you mindless fucking jerks
can't you see you're talking about the way the system works?
throughout our bloody history force has been the game
the message that you offer is just the fucking same
you're puppets to the system with your mindless violent stance
that's right you fuckers, sneer at us cos we say, give peace a chance?
Punk is dead you wankers cos you killed it through and through
in your violent world of chaos, what you gonna do?
is top the pops the way in which you show how much you care?
will you take off to the usa to spread your message there?
well mouth and trousers, sonny boy, never changed a thing
the only thing that'll ever change will be the song you sing
cos when you've bought your Rolls Royce car and luxury penthouse flat
you'll be looking down your nose and saying, Punk, dear chap, what's that??
you'll be the working class hero with your middle class dream
and the world will be the same as the world has always been
Punk's the people's music so you can stuff your ideas of class
that's just the way the system keeps you sitting on your arse
class, class, class, that's all you fucking hear
middle class, working class, I don't fucking care.

It's the greatest working class rip off, oi, oi, oi
what a fucking rip off, oi, oi, oi
it's the greatest human sell off, oi, oi, oi
ain't it just a rip off, oi, oi, oi.

Punk's the people's music and I don't care where they're from
black or white, punk or skin, there ain't no right or wrong
we're all just human beings, some of us rotten, some of us good
you can stuff your false divisions cos together I know we could
beat the system, beat it's rule
ain't got no class, I ain't a fool
beat the system, beat it's law
ain't got religion cos I know there's more
beat the system, beat its game
ain't got no colour we're all the same
people, people, not colour, class, or creed
don't destroy the people, destroy their power and their greed.


Lyrics submitted by getupgirl121

The Greatest Working Class Rip Off Lyrics as written by

Lyrics © ROUGH TRADE PUBLISHING

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The Greatest Working Class Rip Off song meanings
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8 Comments

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  • 0
    General Comment

    a classic Crass song, with a very strong message as usual.

    PineapplePrinceon May 29, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    i agree, the message is great, more people need to hear this song

    username_is_takenon June 11, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I don't know how much of it is actually opposed to class conciousness. It seems to me to be more about recuperated "class conciousness" (If you follow the situationsit jargon). The kind of blind "class conciousness" that takes a quasi-nationalistic form. Class conciousness can be useful, in asmuch as it is recognized to be a means not an end (or for that matter, the best possible means). When it becomes warped it is dangerous. It becomes exclusionary and reactionary, and thus ineffectual as securing the ends it was meant to serve as means to . Everyone is opressed by modern capitalist society (you could even argue that the opressors are), to exclude others on somewhat irrelevant notions like "class" is harmful. Social Revolution must be made by everyone who is opressed and I think that is what crass is saying. On a bit of a side note, you've got to be sure not to let a revolutionary situation be hijacked by appeaser's (of any class). Not to say that a member of lower class can't compromise or hijack a situation, but middle class participants are more likely to follow the reformist path, simply because being (for the most part) determines conciousness. The idea that being determines conciousness is of course the only reason that class conciousness is in anyway useful, but me thinks it the inclusion of "for the most part" is more accurate.

    skunkbythebrookon June 21, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    skunkbythebrook, wordy but somewhat true. The song is, I think, not as broad and much more about the Oi! "movement" and the false revolutionary mobilization of the working class that it brought-- more fighting others than fighting the system that oppresses them. Listen to "Hurry Up Garry" (the references in the title being Garry Bushell and "Hurry Up Harry" by Sham 69) for more evidence of Crass's general dislike for the skin movement, and even funnier, Chumbawamba's joke song "I'm Thick" they slipped onto a skinhead music compilation in 86 or so.

    ultramouseon October 13, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    when i firts heard this song i din't think much of it but after reading the lyrics thats deep! kick ass crass song

    rfmxon November 03, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I love this song, probably one of my favourites particularly the ranty verse at the end.

    In terms of content its a swipe at the workerism of the Oi! movement, which however sincere morphed into something else. Id take issue with MrGoodBar and skunkbythebrook, Crass however amazing they were in terms of praxis and dissenting, had really naff class politics and they're politics was too personal and lifestyle based for my liking, to say nothing of all peace/hippie stuff. You can gleam this from songs like "White Punks On Hope" and the line "Beat the system, beat its rule/ Ain't got no class, I ain't a fool"

    abclareton April 18, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    It's a dig the Oi scene in the UK at the time which walked a fine line between "working class protest" and thuggery as the song suggests. I don't think it was a blanket attack on the entire scene as Steve Ignorant was mates with The Business.

    DwarfCowboyon May 02, 2010   Link
  • -1
    General Comment

    awesome song. fuck all those douchebag oi for the working class dicks. all that working class pride shit (which is extrememly present in the 'punk' scene today) does is just create more segregation and hate.

    MrGoodBaron April 21, 2004   Link

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