Protest Song of the Day: ‘Have You Been to Jail for Justice?’ by Anne Feeney
There are some really brave and courageous women and men, who are fighting the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline in Texas. They have been disrupting TransCanada’s effort to destroy forest and create a pathway for the pipeline . They have put their bodies in the way because of their conviction that this pipeline will fuel climate change, create more oil spills, contaminate water, lead to less jobs, etc. And they have been joined over the course of the past month or so by people like actress Daryl Hannah and Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, who have been arrested with them.
For those in East Texas taking on a multinational corporation (and their paid police goons on duty to harass, intimidate and arbitrarily enforce the law on behalf of TransCanada), the song of the day is “Have You Been to Jail for Justice?” by Anne Feeney. It was requested by a regular reader.
Feeney is a political activist and folk musician. The song was released in 2001. In the song she sings, “Have you been to jail for justice? I want to shake your hand/Cause sitting in and lyin’ down are ways to take a stand/Have you sung a song for freedom? or marched that picket line?/Have you been to jail for justice?/Then you’re a friend of mine.”
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, Dorothy Day and Cesar Chavez are people who went to jail for justice. Anyone who goes to jail is in good company, Feeney sings.
More critical, however, is that, “Laws were made by people, and people can be wrong.” Unions were once outlawed and slavery was legal. In the case of those protesting the pipeline, a multinational corporation has convinced the law and government to serve its interests. Eminent domain or private property rights are being violated so TransCanada can seize up land and build this 500-mile long pipeline. The police officers hired to work for TransCanada are enforcing the law however they want as they patrol.
The Tar Sands Blockade, like Feeney sings, has people who have found courage in their convictions and they are willing to be hauled off to jail.
The Dissenter will be putting one of these up every weekday morning. If you have requests for songs that should be featured or if you have a protest song you recorded, which you would like to see featured, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
And all previous Protest Song of the Day selections can be found here.