From LABOR-L@YORKU.CA Fri Sep 15 06:58:46 2000
Date: Thu, 14 Sep 2000 13:16:23 -0400
Reply-To: Forum on Labor in the Global Economy <LABOR-L@YORKU.CA>
Sender: Forum on Labor in the Global Economy <LABOR-L@YORKU.CA>
From: Torvald Patterson <torvald@QUEERNET.ORG>
Subject: Labor for Mumia fwd


Labor for Mumia letter

Labor for Mumia, a letter to Janet Reno from U.S. Trade Unionists, [14 September 2000]

The following Labor for Mumia ‘Letter to Janet Reno from US Trade Unionists’ demanding justice for Mumia and a background piece framing the case for union members is available at for download and/or as a hard copy.

Initiators of the letter have set an initial goal of having 10,000 signed letters completed as soon as possible.

The letter offers union activists a tremendous opportunity to reach out to the rank and file with some literature that helps to broaden awareness of Mumia’s case as well as the broader questions raised by the case. We appeal to every union member to consider the possibility this offers to you to help your union do the right thing.

If your union already supports the case, there should be no problem including the letter and background piece in the next mailing to the membership. There could be a report at the next union meeting with an appeal for members to sign the letter and take some back to those not attending. An article could be prepared for the next issue of your union newsletter or local labor publication. Where possible the letter could be reprinted in your union’s national newspaper and/or website.

Whether your union is ‘on board’ or if you’re having trouble getting ‘official’ support, this campaign offers an opportunity to carry on this discussion among the rank and file. If sufficient support can be gathered,a committee can be established to assist in this process. Every situation will be different. We’re more than happy to dialog with you regarding the particular challenges you face.

An e-mail version of the letter is included below. We prefer that you send in signed copies, but if that’s not realistic, please complete the info and e-mail back. Feel free to pass the letter along via the ‘e-mail trail.’ Though we haven’t set a time-frame on the campaign, we request your input as soon as possible. If you’d like us to mail hard copies, please let us know. Send your request to ‘Labor for Mumia’ c/o San Francisco Labor Council, 1188 Franklin St., suite 203, San Francisco, CA 94109.

In Solidarity,
Randy Christensen
Labor for Mumia

An Open Letter to Attorney General Janet Reno and the Department of Justice From U.S. Trade Unionists

We trade unionists demand justice for our union brother, award-winning journalist and National Writers Union member (UAW Local 1981), Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Abu-Jamal has been on death row for the last 18 years, convicted of killing a Philadelphia police officer and sentenced to death in a trial that can only be described as a travesty of justice: Abu-Jamal was denied a competent defense, refused the right to represent himself, and even barred from the courtroom during much of the proceedings. African-Americans were systematically excluded from the jury. Witnesses were intimidated and coerced by the police. Vital evidence was falsified or suppressed.

The trial was presided over by a judge who has sentenced 33 peopleto death (all but two of them people of color), more than any other sitting judge.

. . .for cross-examination during the trial.

In the sentencing phase, the prosecutor, in arguing for the death penalty, cited Abu-Jamal’s writings, in effect, condemning him for the expression of his beliefs.

In short, it is clear that Mumia Abu-Jamal was denied his basic Constitutional rights. He was targeted for this treatment because, as a Philadelphia journalist, he stood up for poor and working people.

He was spied on and harassed as a part of the illegal government COINTELPRO operation against Black and other anti-establishment organizers, even though he had never been convicted of breaking any law.

In spite of new evidence indicating Abu-Jamal’s innocence, including witnesses recanting their original testimony, Abu-Jamal’s right to a fair trial has been consistently denied in the courts. This is a situation all too common for people of color on death row, a product of the racism and class bias in the criminal justice system.

The injustice that has been done to Mumia Abu-Jamal—the denial of his Constitutional rights- is an injustice and a threat to us all. Attorney General Janet Reno, justice demands that you intervene to guarantee the rights of Mumia Abu-Jamal. We demand that you guarantee Abu-Jamal’s right to a new trial. We demand justice. Anything less would amount to your complicity.