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The Relationship Between Music and Politics

            With reference to the Love Music, Hate Racism (LMHR) campaign, as a "response to rising levels of racism and electoral successes for the Nazi British National Party" (Love Music Hate Racism 2012, About), this essay explores the relationship between music and politics. This aforementioned subject matter has been chosen for a case study as the two campaigns represent opposing sides. The BNP have a reputation for supporting the notion of 'keeping Britain British', and carry with them racist connotations, as apparent from the use of phrases such as "undeserving foreigners", and "foreign workers flood into Britain, taking our jobs" (British National Party 2012, Introduction). Opposing these ideals are the supporters of Love Music Hate Racism, "who celebrate diversity and involve people in anti-racist and anti-fascist activity" (Love Music Hate Racism 2012, About). Drawing on these examples, the aim is to discuss the way in which music is used to educate, influence or re-enforce an audiences ideals and political viewpoints (Horner and Swiss 1999, p.60). Key terms, such as 'politics' (within the context of popular music), will at first be explained. Following this, the evidence and arguments will be presented, with the intent to determine how music and politics can be interlinked. A concluding paragraph will then bring together the key points. .
             Shuker argues that "there have always been attempts to harness music to social and political ends" (2001, p.217), and the use of the word 'political', in the context of music, can be used to describe a number of situations. One meaning refers to party politics, and is associated with "songs which either serve or struggle against dominant institutions like the state and economic system" (Horner and Swiss 1999, p.55). In this context, it could mean that a particular political party uses a 'rallying song' in order to attract more potential voters.

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