Any comrades wanna sing on my song about J28?

Hey everyone,

So I’ve been in the studio recording for my next full-length album for a few weeks now, and am probably overdue for an update on how that’s all going.  But there’s a more immediate thing I wanna tell you about first, and potentially get some of y’all involved in.

As you probably know, I was involved in the Occupy Oakland action and mass arrest that happened on January 28 of last year, and I wrote a song about it.  You can hear a live version of it here, and read the lyrics at the bottom of this post (obvious trigger warning for the events of that day, and police repression generally).  This is definitely a stand-up-fight-back kind of song, so I’d like to invite comrades, radicals, anyone involved in the struggle to be a part of the recording that we’re about to make.

What this will basically entail is showing up this Tuesday afternoon at 3 PM to Shipwreck Studio in Oakland, all standing in a room together, and singing/shouting along to some parts of the song.  Definitely the last verse, maybe some other lines here and there too.  In the final mix your own individual voice won’t really be distinguishable, it’ll just sound like a crowd.  The whole process will probably take a few hours.

Other things to note: I can’t pay you.  I do intend to make the song available for free download, as I did with the first song I wrote about Occupy, “Witness”, but it will also be included on my album, which I will be selling (but also giving away a lot, as I tend to do).

Anyway, if you’re interested and available, I would love for people to be involved in the archiving of this song.  Email me at shareef at shareefali dot com.  The only preparation is to listen to the song once or twice with the words; it has changed a little since the live recording above, but I’ll send a more current version once we’re confirmed.

Excited to share this with you.


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“Stone’s Throw (J28)”

“The fight is dead,” the riot cop said as he sat me on the curb
with my cramping wrists, piss and apple cider vinegar.
Though I’m trembling still, from nerves and chill, I will have to call your bluff
if you think you can stop this struggle with a pair of ziptie cuffs.

A clear sky storm of flash-bangs, beanbags, hazy and surreal;
a scarlet letter spray-painted on a makeshift trashcan shield.
But they tossed our stuff before they loaded us on a stolen public bus:
goggles and a spray bottle, the only LAW I trust.

They held us twenty to a tank of cold concrete and steel,
where you’ll lose your mind trying to keep time by counting orange peels.
I don’t know which is worse, missing the warm bath of daylight,
or waking every hour to the same fluorescent night.

I got released to a fast food feast on the front steps of the jail,
but we know our work ain’t finished until we empty every cell.
So you can ban us from the Plaza, stay away from City Hall,
but sure as we burned that flag, that edifice is gonna fall!

So we rage on like a Greece fire, I heard they torched a bank today.
And we raise a fist to Cairo, we’re just a stone’s throw away.
If you’ve got a pot to piss in, don’t be afraid to call it black,
or you’ll never break the kettle and take your city back.