Ian MacDonald: Revolution in the Head – Extracts Featuring Marx & Mao! (18.4.2023) 

This is a selection of pages exploring Ian MacDonald’s take on the perceived left-wing politics of The Beatles! Of course, there is no reason to think that any individual member of The Beatles subscribed to far-left political ideology! Indeed, it is the music that appears ‘Revolutionary’ – and not necessarily the makers of the music. Music, in this instance, is just like any material commodity that comes off the average production line in any factory! A car, fridge or carpet, as a finished product, tells us (the ‘consumer’) absolutely NOTHING about the thought processes, opinions or ideology held by the workers carrying-out the productive labour! The Beatles did not produce these types of everyday objects used in the home to make life easier for the average person, but their music, which was spread around the world on vinyl discs (records), had a vast cultural effect that seems to immediately arrest the thought processes as they exist – and make way for entirely NEW ways of seeing (and interpreting) sense data relating to the physical world! 

The Beatles, as individuals, were not Professional Revolutionaries! There is absolutely no reason for any of them to know anything about Karl Marx or Mao Zedong! As professional musicians, their main priority was to generate as much income as possible from within the capitalist society they inhabited! These four working-class men sought to ‘exploit’ their music-making capabilities by extracting as much money as possible from other working-class people (who did not possess anything like the financial resources The Beatles possessed). Greed was a major aspect of this process – but a ‘greed’ justified as a means to alleviate (and reduce) the likelihood of experiencing ‘poverty’. Poverty is an ever-present reality for the majority of working-class people and The Beatles managed to assemble a team around themselves that packaged their musical talents to maximum effect! Whilst pseudo-historians like Bill Flanagan produce work that drips with the poison of anti-China ‘racism’ – the Communist Party of China (CPC) actively encourages the population of China to steadfastly ‘study’ the musical output of The Beatles as a means to understand the ‘Revolutionary’ spirit of the 1960s in the West!  

Imperial Japan initiated military violence against the people of China between 1931-1945. This was a fascist expansion that spread throughout Asia and even threatened the US! I am told that around 60 million men, women and children were killed and wounded during these terrible years throughout China – a number that includes Europeans. A fact often ignored is the part that Yoko Ono’s family played in this era. Her family were ardent ultra-nationalists who supported this racist war. Yoko Ono defied the ‘racist’ attitudes of her family by entering into a relationship with a ‘White’ foreigner. Indeed, when touring Japan during 1966 (and before meeting Yoko Oni) – The Beatles would encounter this evil face of Japanese racism when they played the Budokan! Ultra-Nationalists in Japan threatened the life of The Beatles if they played in a sacred arena – as their ‘Whiteness’ threatened to spiritually ‘pollute’ the arena usually reserved for the devout practice of Japanese martial arts! Yoko Ono may have defied her parent’s anti-Western racism – but she definitely retained their attitudes pertaining to anti-China racism! All the evidence points to Yoko Ono attempting to ‘cure’ John Lennon of his infatuation with ‘Maoism’ (and of course, ‘May Pang’)!