“Jack Be Nimble” – Protect What You Love Album

I started thinking about writing this song while reading Micah White’s book The End of Protest: A New Playbook for Revolution, which explores tactics of resistance historically, and breaks down all these different theories of change, with emphasis on a pretty simple question: What actually works? What tactics of protest are more nostalgic than effective?

On January 27th, Executive Order 13769, otherwise titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” (The Immigrant Ban) was signed by the executive branch. People in Seattle, and so many other places flooded to protest overnight at the airports. They carried a simple message: This is wrong. We can’t let this happen. We can do better as a society. There is another way forward.

Historian and political scientist Erica Chenoweth has said that system change can happen when 3.5% of a population is taking sustained nonviolent resistance. That’s a lot of people…but also a number that we can wrap our head around. So…what are we trying to change?

I wasn’t able to go that night, but I watched friends’ live streams and Facebook posts, and picked up my guitar. It was powerful to see that so many people’s gut response to the injustice of that act was direct action and nonviolent resistance. Almost immediately, lawyers got to work challenging the legality of the case. People organized to create safety networks and phone trees to protect their community from ICE raids. The forms of resistance were many, and they fed off of each other.

This song was my attempt to look at the emotional landscape of how we fight, what gifts we each bring, and the complexity of searching for leverage points within our systems to bring about change.

— Erika Lundahl


Jack be Nimble


V1. Don’t fight the way they want you to

Color in the lines won’t get your due

Got to go to the far out edge

Lean in to the love, lean in to the dread

They got paddy wagons at the court house

Where they are counting on you to be

So, occupy them airports, start praying

in the Wells Fargo Lobby

Ch.Jack be Nimble, Jill be quick

We’ll jump over the candle stick

The flame is higher than it’s ever been

If we don’t give it a go, the fire might win

V2. There’s no one coming to save us, but ourselves

So, tighten up those bootstraps

Pull the history books off the shelvesa

We got a new play book, a new playbook

But first we got to play

Won’t do no good spinning circles

to bring down a God that’s got no name

V3. Where the wind whips and the sun is red

spent days just hanging my head

Want to tear down this door

everything that ever came before

won’t do no good, fire and rain

enlisting in the army of a hurricane


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