Incarceration Nation

Song for Pelican Bay

For the hunger strikers in solitary torture

Song and Lyrics By David Rovics

Some people have a lot in common

Such as the thousands and thousands of captive men

Held in windowless cells 23 hours a day

In the SHUs of Pelican Bay

Some of the smartest people you’ll never meet

Each and every day, a life on repeat

Indefinite detention is the weight they carry

Never told when they get out of solitary

Decades alone until they snitch

Those are the rules, that’s the pitch

Decades divided into different groups

A guaranteed life of repeated loops

Decades divided on different teams

With Latin, Black and Aryan themes

But those days are over and it’s been five weeks

Refusing food until the Reaper speaks

Now they’re not eating anymore

Some of them are in there for reading the wrong news

Some of them are in there for having the wrong tattoos

In the outside world they might not care

But there’s no “free speech” in there

A life lived under arbitrary authority

No human contact, no dignity

It’s no kind of life at all

So 20,000 prisoners answered the call

And said we’re not eating anymore

They say California’s a progressive state

Governor Brown, ain’t he great

You got Silicon Valley and Hollywood stars

And 120,000 men behind bars

Hunger pangs stab like a knife

But sometimes so does life

Something’s gotta change, maybe this is the start

If the people on the outside play our part

Because they’re not eating anymore

YouTube, August 11, 2013