Pray for the Dead and Fight Like Hell for the Living

They bombed Philadelphia, killed women and children and men
It’s an old story, we see it again and again
Shot into houses while people burned inside
So many have fought and so many good people have died
They murdered and put MOVE in prison — now they’re bringing more forces to bear
Are we gonna let them strap Mumia to the electric chair? Or…

Will we pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living
Stand up on our feet or die in slavery
Is there somebody here whose live is not worth giving?
Who’s it gonna be if it isn’t you and me?

They killed Crazy Horse, drove his people onto the reserve
Killed children and buffalo, some lower power to serve
The people starved and they died behind the impassable wall
In tipis and churches, even ghost dancers would fall
Now from Ecuador to Big Mountain, relocation is rearing it’s head
Will we turn our backs or recall what the good woman said?


They poisoned the water, poisoned the air and the earth
Who here believes that the dollar is all that our planet is worth
They cut down the forests, cut down the mountains and anything else they could take
What a cynical greed to do business, knowing all life is at stake
Now as they destroy all that remains, who here will part with the last
Will we raise our voice to the madness — rise up, lock down, stand fast?


From Manilla to Managua, how many have died in our names
From Santiago to Santo Domingo, it is a murderous game
From Baghdad to Belgrade, mass murder from ten thousand feet
But from Hanoi to Havana, there is talk of the tiger’s defeat
Will we wait for the next time, to kill kids on some far-away shore
Or will we throw a wrench in the gears as we shout, “no mas, no more”


Sheet music for this song may be found inĀ Songbook Vol I (1997-2004).

“Pray for the Dead and Fight Like Hell for the Living” appears on the 2000 CD, Live at Club Passim.

The title is a reference to one of the most famous sayings of radical labor organizer, Mary “Mother” Jones.