The mighty Clash bashed capitalism hard back in 1980. Workers eventually get placated by an economic system that exploits them, Losing their determination, they spend a life “working for the clampdown,” supporting the very system that demeans them and keeps them from achieving the success they deserve.
This is clearly a Marxist interpretation of Great Britain, back in Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s days. This was a leader that at the time was also reducing funding for social programs to assist the unemployed. What to do, Joe Strummer?
Curiously, the first verse, describing the kingdom being ransacked and the jewels returned, may suggest a worker’s revolution. Wouldn’t this be better at the end of the song?