Labor for Mumia
Part of a dialog from Labor-L, September 2000
From LABOR-L@YORKU.CA Sat Sep 16 10:41:02 2000
> The bosses must love this! Here we have organized labour wasting it's time,
You might have a point, except that, based on my having followed this issue casually for some time, it seems a) there's very good possiblity of Mumia's innocence, b) the judicial procedures appear faulty, c) a great number of serious individuals and institutions the world over are at least very troubled by the case after having carefully reviewed it.
Even if there were no miscarriage of justice, and even if this were not just another example of police sociopathology, I think you grossly exaggerate by implying that organized labor as a whole has spent significant time and resources in defense of Mumia. Why this exaggeration? I hope it is not to divide the labor movement.
If you object to policies carried out by organized labor, I believe the appropriate course of action would be to argue your case within its democratic institutions, rather than appeal outside it. If for some reason you do not participate in such institutions, then you should at least show why the decisions of organized labor are in error. But you don't do so; you simply pass judgement as if you stood outside and above the labor movement.
In a family, our love and committment to its other members is more important than any objections we might have to their behavior. Because we love them, we are obliged to criticize their bad behavior, but we try to do it privately, or, if openly, with respect. We at least try to build a case. If the other person rejects our argument, then it's best to let the matter rest rather than let it become a source of division. Our mutual bond is far more important than any differences of opinion. I see the labor movement world wide as a kind of big family in this respect. The way issues are resolved should enhance working-class solidarity, not endanger it.
From LABOR-L@YORKU.CA Sun Sep 17 06:58:21 2000
> The bosses must love this! Here we have organized labour wasting
Then why are you wasting your time on endorsing and perpetuating the police-state/right-wing/corporate media position instead of diverting YOUR attention to "real needs"?
If there ever was a "real need" for labour to get involved, the legally sanctioned lynching of Mumia is one. If labour sits idly by while the ruling-class' racist and corrupt (un)justice system murders an outspoken opponent of the status quo they are condoning it.
It is my understanding that one of the basic propounded tenets (and myths) of a liberal democratic justice system is a fair and impartial trial. Mumia didn't get one. Even liberal groups like Amnesty International are calling for a new trial because they realize it. There is too much evidence that shows he didn't do it; witness tampering and bribery, false confessions and tampering with real evidence.
Mumia is not slated for execution because he killed a cop. He was convicted because was/is a threat to the state. Sound familiar? This pattern is all too pervasive and repetitive to those that know their working-class and activist history as well as current events. We know just how frequently the criminal (un)justice system is used as a weapon against labour leaders, black activists and anti-poverty organizers.
For labour to do nothing is short sighted. It is not the bosses who get the death penalty, but the working-class. Therefore, even on a pragmatic level labour has a stake in freeing Mumia. Ever single time that a class-based perspective exposes the inequities and the liberal ideology behind the capitalist rule of law agenda this casts doubt on its "fairness". And in so doing, challenges the ruling class and its (un)justice system. I thought that organized labour is supposed to do just that.