Chelsea Manning, the former US Army soldier sentenced to 35 years in federal prison after leaking government information to the public, was freed from prison this morning, 28 years early. Barack Obama commuted Manning’s sentence in one of his last acts as president before handing over the reins of the country over to this fucking idiot. But it was a sustained campaign from protesters, civil rights organizations, artists, and musicians that pushed the unprecedented injustice of Manning’s case to the president’s desk.
Today, a 32-track benefit album, Hugs For Chelsea, hit Bandcamp. It features contributions from Talib Kweli, Thurston Moore, Tom Morello, Priests, and Amanda Palmer, among others. There are some gems on here. Kevin Devine’s “Private First Class” came out on 2013’s Bubblegum, but its furious and lyrical response to Manning’s incarceration is worth revisiting now. And Against Me!’s remastered version of Shape Shift With Me cut “Provision L-3” is even more rousing in its new clarity.
“Chelsea Manning is getting out of prison this week, which is reason to celebrate,” Michael Stipe says on a spoken word intro to the record. “She’s been through so much and she needs our support. A great group of musicians have released an online benefit album with 100 percent of the proceeds going to Chelsea. This will help cover her basic needs as she transitions after seven years of incarceration.”
Listen to the album in full below and purchase it via Bandcamp.
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