Behind the Barricades

When the world has gone crazy
And it’s all becoming clear
When they’re gunning down our comrades
And it seems the end is near
As they’re loading up the launchers
For the tear gas grenades
We can take off our bandanas
And kiss behind the barricades

When it’s madness all around
You can see this at a glance
We will cry and we will sing
And we will laugh and we will dance
As they shout their marching orders
Beneath the helicopter blades
We will seize the moment
For a kiss behind the barricades

They will try to break our spirit
And at times they may succeed
But our love for the world
Is stronger than their greed
When the building is surrounded
And hope begins to fade
In my final hour
A kiss behind the barricades

As the movement grows
There will be hills and bends
But at the center of the struggle
Are your lovers and your friends
The more we hold each other up
The less we can be swayed
Here’s to love and solidarity
And a kiss behind the barricades

Sheet music:
Behind the Barricades

“Behind the Barricades” originally appeared on Living In These Times CD in 2001. It has appeared on several other CDs since then, including Hang A Flag in the Window (2002) and Live in Rostrevor (2016).

I wrote the song after the police riots in Genoa during the G8 meetings there in the summer of 2001. I wasn’t there — I was at a much smaller protest camp in Bonn, Germany, during climate negotiations that were taking place in that city. But many people from the climate protests there went to Genoa midway through, as there was an overlap between the two protests. We were still in Bonn when many of them came back, looking much worse for wear than they had appeared when they commandeered the train and went to Italy a few days earlier. I read a piece on the web somewhere (Indymedia?) that my beloved friend and comrade, Starhawk wrote at that time, from Genoa, about the importance of taking care of each other after terribly traumatic experiences, such as large-scale police riots that involve a lot of your friends getting their bones broken and such.