The kingdom is ransacked
The jewels all taken back
And the chopper descends
They're hidden in the back
With a message written on a half-baked potato
The spool goes 'round
Sayin' I'm back here in this place
And I could cry
And there's smoke you could click on

What are we gonna do now?

Taking off his turban, they said, "is this man a Jew?"
'Cause they're working for the clampdown
They put up a poster saying: "We earn more than you
We're working for the clampdown
We will teach our twisted speech
To the young believers
We will train our blue-eyed men
To be young believers"

The judge said, five to ten, but I say double that again
I'm not working for the clampdown
No man born with a living soul
Can be working for the clampdown
Kick over the wall 'cause government's to fall
How can you refuse it?
Let fury have the hour, anger can be power
Do you know that you can use it?

The voices in your head are calling
Stop wasting your time, there's nothing coming
Only a fool would think someone could save you
The men at the factory are old and cunning
You don't owe nothing, boy, get runnin'
It's the best years of your life they want to steal

But you grow up and you calm down
And working for the clampdown
You start wearing blue and brown
You're working for the clampdown
So you got someone to boss around
It make you feel big now
You drift until you brutalize
Make your first kill now

In these days of evil Presidentes
Working for the clampdown
But lately one or two has fully paid their due
For working for the clampdown
Ha! Get along! Get along! (working for the clampdown)
Ha! Get along! Get along! (working for the clampdown)

Yeah, I'm working hard in Harrisburg
Working hard in Petersburg
Working for the clampdown
Working for the clampdown
Ha! Get along! Get along!
Beggin' to be melted down

(Get along! Get along!)

Work, work, work
And I'll give away no secrets
Work, work, more work, more work
Work, work, work, work, work

Who's barmy now?

Lyrics submitted by aebassist

"Clampdown" as written by Mick Jones Joe Strummer

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Clampdown song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentI don't know if i am the only person that sees this, but the first few lines of the song have pretty strong references to nazis and Hitler's regime.

    "Taking off his turban, they said, is this man a Jew?"
    "We will teach our twisted speech
    To the young believers
    We will train our blue-eyed men
    To be young believers "

    Adolf Hitler brainwashed the blue eyed/blonde haired German youth to be "young believers".

    CubanPunkon April 22, 2003   Link
  • +3
    General Commentyou don't need to have been alive in the seventies to love the clash: 15 years old and they're possibly my favourite band!
    simonon3on April 16, 2010   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThough there are certainly allusions being made to Marxist-leninist styles of mass oppression this song to me is about the indoctrination of youth into general systems of power... whether they be national governments or work and consume business cultures.

    So often we see those that wear suits and think of them as having some kind of extra legitimacy for their success but it's a self-depraving lie. There's nothing incredibly wrong with a business lifestyle but there's equally nothing wrong with a free spirited one, especially when you're younger. So live and enjoy things.
    TSandrewson July 27, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI think this song's about people who lose their idealism as they get older, and try to conform.
    posterwithnonameon March 27, 2003   Link
  • +2
    General Commenti love this song... as a business major, it's something that i've always kept in my head... that i'll never turn into one of them... i absolutely love this line "No man born with a living soul
    Can be working for the clampdown"... and yet i've seen the effect money has on people who are generally good and the destruction it causes... don't be a corporate slave!
    nyrangerfan123on April 30, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song does have several references to the Nazi Government and thier ideals, such as the references to the Jews earning less than the "blue-eyed young believers".

    I also found the lyrics: "You start wearing blue and brown/working for the clampdown." could be used as references to Hitler's private armies, the SA and the SS, who's uniforms were blue and brown.

    This is one of my favorate songs by The Clash. Period.
    myfriendoakon May 24, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Commentrage against the machine did an absolutely terrible version of this song that i found on the net one time.
    yeah i wear blue for my clampdown job, im quitting soon though, it is true, you get treated badly working for big companies.
    oh and the strokes are shit alanna07.
    joeytheboyon March 29, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is quite clearly about oppression and revolution, obvious themes in Clash lyrics. The first verse refers to the Nazis, with lines like, "Is this man a Jew?" and "We will teach our blue-eyed men to be young believers." They also touched upon the situation of workers, how they're jobs can seem to be a type of tyranny as well. Certainly against the situation of the average factory worker. However, there is a call for revolution, although its not clear if they mean a peaceful type (as I imagine they do) or one achieved through violence. They general took stances against violence. However, the make refers to "evil presidentes" how have "fully paid their dues" which seems like a clear referrence to the success of the Sandinista rebellion, which displaced the government in Nicaragua through civil war in the year this album was released. They also later gave their name to the band's next album (that, obviously is "Sandinista!"). "The wall" in this song, may indeed refer to the Berlin Wall, as, although the Clash is generally socialist politically, they did seem to criticize the Soviet's (although more so the Americans) in "The Washington Bullets." However, this could be a metaphor, referring to any restraints on people's freedom.
    Razin1670on February 03, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthe nearly indecipherable bit at the beginning of the song?
    "The kingdom is ransacked, the jewels all taken back
    And the chopper descends
    They're hidden in the back, with a message on a half-baked tape
    With the spool going round, saying I'm back here in this place
    And I could cry
    And there's smoke you could click on"
    courtesy of Ade Marks (not me!)
    missilepenguinon May 25, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentA lot of you are overlooking the simple fact that a song can and generally does have multiple meanings. The references to Nazi Germany are metaphorical, but they're not solely so. It's not a song about any specific power or corruption, but all in one.

    The Nazi bit can easily be read as a metaphorical reference to the cut-throat capitalist business world, any of many governments imposing unneeded and unwanted restrictions on their people, and even directly a mention of Nazi Germany as a prime example.

    It could very well be read as something of an exposure of the people who claimed after the war that they knew what they had done was wrong but did it to save themselves. If you truly believe something to be wrong and immoral, and truly oppose it, you won't go with the flow to save face.

    What am I getting at with this?
    Felix, get your elitist head out of your ass. No, the wall had not fallen in '79, but the wall did exist, and was seen as a sign of repression and degradation. No, your "deep meaning" isn't all that deep, the song has multiple meanings.

    Thank you and good night (now get the fuck out.)
    12xlon July 09, 2007   Link

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