A plea to end the violence

New Anti-Flag song calls for action against racism

On+Nov.+4%2C+punk+band+Anti-Flag+released+%E2%80%9CA+Dying+Plea+Vol.+1%2C%E2%80%9D+a+song+begging+the+United+States+to+change+their+ways+before+the+country%E2%80%99s+divide+grows+any+larger.+The+song+features+other+artists+in+the+punk+scene%2C+like+DE%E2%80%99WAYNE+and+Tom+Morello%2C+the+guitarist+from+Rage+Against+the+Machine.+

Josh Massie

On Nov. 4, punk band Anti-Flag released “A Dying Plea Vol. 1,” a song begging the United States to change their ways before the country’s divide grows any larger. The song features other artists in the punk scene, like DE’WAYNE and Tom Morello, the guitarist from Rage Against the Machine.

By Rachel Laposka, Starr's Mill High School

2020 has been, without a doubt, one of the most devastating years the United States has seen in a while. With things like the current COVID-19 pandemic, the presidential election, and the ongoing civil rights battle, our country has been torn to shreds. 

If we were to look at the positives from this year, we should look to the music scene…”

— Op-ed Editor Rachel Laposka

If we were to look at the positives from this year, we should look to the music scene, specifically the punk genre. 2020 is overflowing with political unrest, which is the perfect fuel for the political genre. 

The political unrest is positive for the genre but negative for everybody that has to live through it. When the punk genre is overflowing with fresh, up-to-date content to write songs about, it should be seen as a cry for help for the country to change their ways.

The most recent example of punk music taking the world by storm is with Anti-Flag’s new single, “A Dying Plea Vol. 1,” released Nov. 4. The song features verses from DE’WAYNE, Marcia Richards from The Skints, and Jalise Della Gary, and backing guitar riffs from Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine.

Following the release of the song, Anti-Flag posted a message to their social media that summarizes the song in a bone-chilling way — it truly is “a dying plea.” Their message describes what we as American citizens can do to combat the ever-growing divide our country is facing.

The change we seek doesn’t come from Presidents, Prime Ministers, or the Pope, it has historically and will always come from The People,” Anti-Flag said. 

According to Anti-Flag, if we hold politicians accountable, we can fight racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and ableism. By holding people in positions of power accountable for their words and actions, we can rebuild this country from its current pile of rubble.

“A Dying Plea Vol. 1” is one of the more powerful songs I have had the pleasure of hearing. Right off the bat, the lyrics kick-in with “We can’t breathe” repeated, a mantra used by protestors at the height of the Black Lives Matter movement in June as a reference to George Floyd, an innocent black man murdered at the hands of police in Minnesota. 

The emotion in lead-vocalist Justin Sane’s voice in the intro alone is haunting. You can hear the rage in his voice so clearly, followed by that recurring theme of a “dying plea.” 

To say DE’WAYNE’s verse is emotionally charged would be an understatement.”

— Op-ed Editor Rachel Laposka

The intro of the song blends perfectly into the first verse, sung by DE’WAYNE. To me, DE’WAYNE’s verse seems like a continuation of his song “National Anthem,” a song about growing up black in America in the midst of yet another civil rights movement.

To say DE’WAYNE’s verse is emotionally charged would be an understatement. His verse dives right into the heavy topic of police violence towards BIPOC, the lines “But what about my rights? What about my life? We / ain’t equal to them,” delivering like a punch in the gut. 

DE’WAYNE also tackles the topic of difficult conversations BIPOC parents have to have with their children. Warnings to not go outside during unsteady times, warnings when it comes to interacting with the police, warnings that white parents would never dream of telling their children.

The most powerful lyric in this song is in the pre-chorus, a line that speaks volumes for the neverending fight for equality — “With others oppressed no one is free.” We are not done fighting until everyone is free. We are not done fighting for basic civil liberties until everybody is treated as equals. 

It is stated in our constitution that all men are created equal. If that is the case, then why are American citizens being discriminated against due to their skin color or their sexual orientation? If the United States is so free, why are people being targeted for being themselves?

In the bridge of the song, the lyrics depict the fear and anxiety people feel, wondering if the situation at hand will ever get any better or if we will be stuck in this white-washed world forever. That message is dispersed throughout the song, especially in the chorus with the lines “Your freedom falls only skin deep / Out of reach like an American Dream.”

Anti-Flag never shies away from a daunting political situation. With this latest release, the band lives up to their true punk nature by exposing the harsh realities of the world we live in, one political controversy at a time. Above all else, if you get any message from “A Dying Plea,” it should be “With others oppressed no one is free.”

This story was originally published on The Prowler on November 5, 2020.