Major General Despair By Crass

Christ - The Album

1982 | Punk

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“Is it some part of themselves that has died, that permits them to plan as they do? -- Or is it us that is dead, do we simply hide, from the responsibility to stop what they do?"


  • Crass were an art collective and punk band formed in 1977 in Epping, Essex, England who promoted anarchism as a political ideology, a way of life and a resistance movement.
  • The band was based around an anarchist commune in a 16th century cottage.
  • Christ – The Album was released as a boxed set double vinyl LP package, including one disk of new studio material and another, entitled Well Forked.. But Not Dead, of a live recording of their June 1981 gig at the 100 Club in London along with other studio tracks, demos and tape fragments.


Luke Tatum

Very interesting song! Lots of lyrics to parse here, but I fixated immediately on "So much money spent on war; When three quarters of the world is so helplessly poor." I'm not a savant that can memorize data tables at a single glance, (I'm no Murray Rothbard) so I did some poking around on the World Bank's website. They figure the global poverty rate in 1981 (a year before the album released to be 42.1%. The next data set is from 1984, by which this number had fallen to 39.1%. Now, bear with me here. I'm not saying that the point this song is making is invalid. It is patently absurd to support the military adventurism and gross disregard for human life that our leaders engage in on a daily basis. That should never be in question. However! Looking at this chart, the global rate of poverty (all adjusted for 2011 purchasing power) continues to fall from 1981. The most recent number is from 2015...at a mere 10% of the global population in poverty. There are many, many problems in the world. But markets have lifted so, so many out of absolute poverty. It's worth taking a moment to celebrate that.

Sherry Voluntary

If communism had a sound, it would be early British punk. While I don't agree with it's economics or philosophy, I do sympathize with it's concern for the working and poorer classes and especially their abuse by the political and upper classes. War is an especially abhorrent abuse. So often the wealthy and politically connected can get their children into safer positions of the military or out of military service entirely while others are drafted. The problem with communism is not this concern, no it's that it's solutions create more poverty and suffering, not less.

Nicky P

I realize Crass are some pretty hardcore commie types but I'll try not to hold that against them. They at the very least get the issue with the state. This song is specifically about an issue that any true libertarian can get behind whether or not they like the capitalist side of civilization. We have created a system through central banking that has allowed wholesale wealth transfer from the poorest to the richest all under the guise of safety. The government terrifies people and steals their money through both taxes and inflation due to printing. Even if i were to dismantle the government and I had a choice where to start, I'm starting with the giant and expensive murder machine and not the social programs, after all it was by design that these people became addicted to handouts in the first place.

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Nicky P