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Subject: wwnews Digest #783
Date: Tue, 23 Mar 2004 03:31:01 -0500

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Date: Mon, 22 Mar 2004 22:50:09 -0500
Subject: [WW] Mumia Abu-Jamal: A powerful voice against war and racism

A powerful voice against war and racism

By Betsey Piette, with excerpts from message to March 20 protests by Mumia Abu-Jamal, Workers World, 25 March 2004

The U.S. used the lie of weapons of mass destruction to unleash a war against a sovereign nation and now occupies a nation torn by conflict with a very real threat of civil war. Americans should reject the policy of pre emption, which really means ‘might makes right.’

If we have learned anything from history, it is that the strong are not strong for long; that empires rise and empires fall; that fates of nations are written in how they use their powers. The same class, and in some cases the very same people who supported the Iraqi regime militarily, damned them a decade later for using the very weapons they provided them with.

They used the resolutions of the U.N. to justify a mindless cruel war of regional conquest. The people were right in spring 2003 when they demanded ‘no war for oil.’ They are right now. Let the world hear your demand, ‘End the Occupation!’

Since Sept. 11, 2001, African-American political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal has written scores of political commentaries focused on issues relating to war and U.S. foreign policy, while sitting in a small cell 23 hours a day on Pennsylvania's death row. For those who may ask, What does Mumia have to do with the anti-war movement? the answer is: everything.

This is a time when the link between U.S. wars and corporate profits could not be any clearer, and when infiltration, surveillance and intimidation of social movements, particularly those led by people of color seeking justice against the system, are heating up.

From the time he joined the Philadelphia chapter of the Black Panther Party as a teenager until he became a well-known political writer and commentator, Mumia Abu-Jamal devoted a great deal of attention to police brutality and racism. At a news conference in 1978, he challenged Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo's account of the killing of a police officer during an assault on the MOVE family that resulted in the false imprisonment of nine MOVE members. The FBI's COINTELPRO program conducted surveillance on Abu-Jamal for his political activities in similar ways that the government is targeting anti-war and anti- globalization activ ists working against U.S. foreign policy today.

We would like to make it clear that our definition of war implicates not only U.S. foreign policy but U.S. domestic policy, says Teishan Latner, an organizer with the International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal in Phila delphia. At its foundation, war is about power and control. War is bombs dropping on Iraq and Afghanistan, but war is also 2 million people in the U.S. prisons and the neo-slavery of corporate prison labor where people of color and poor whites are better represented than in almost any other institution.

ICFFMAJ is organizing contingents for the March 20 protests, where they will demand freedom for Abu-Jamal, and justice for all victims of war, criminalization and oppression.

We strongly believe that Mumia's struggle cannot and should not be separated from the conventional anti-war movement, Latner continued. It is the same struggle, or should be. The movement for Mumia's freedom is a struggle against the war machine of prison expansion, police violence, the racist death penalty and the criminal injustice system, and the very arrangements of white supremacy and capitalism on which they stand--the same foundations on which the imperialism of wars on Iraq and Afghan istan rests. In the age of globalization, what happens in U.S. prisons and what happens in Baghdad streets are linked by corporations and powerful institutions of war and profit making.


Since Dec. 9, 1981, the United States has imprisoned Mumia Abu-Jamal, accused of fatally shooting Philadel phia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner. From the moment of his arrest and shooting by Phila delphia police, to his kangaroo-court-style trial by white supremacist Judge Albert Sabo, on through numerous appellate court reviews, the documented misconduct by police, prosecutors, and judges spell injustice with a capital I.

Everything that is wrong with our legal system and death penalty is evident in this case, said San Francisco lawyer Robert R. Bryan, who is filing a new round of appeals for Abu-Jamal in Pennsylvania and federal courts. I've never seen a case with so many problems in 30 years of death penalty litigation.

On March 8, Bryan filed appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court asking whether it is permissible under the Fifth, Sixth, and 14th Amend ments for a judge to preside over a capital murder trial in which he--Judge Sabo-- was overheard saying during the proceedings in reference to Abu-Jamal, Yeah, and I'm going to help fry the n****r.

Racism is a thread in this case from the point of arrest, said Bryan. His petition focuses on the political and legal repression in Abu- Jamal's case.

Abu-Jamal remains on SCI Greene death row despite a 2002 ruling by Fed eral Judge William Yohn reversing the death sentence--and despite the taped admission by former mob hit man Arnold Beverly that he, not Abu- Jamal, killed Faulkner.

On April 24--the eighth anniversary of President Bill Clinton's signing of the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, and in celebration of Mumia Abu-Jamal's 50th birthday--demonstrations will be held in Philadelphia, San Francisco, and outside the United States calling for freedom for Abu-Jamal and all political prisoners. In Philadelphia, organizers are calling on everyone who has been touched by him, from former comrades in the Black Panther Party to those who know him from his writings and commentaries, to march in the streets in recognition of Mumia Abu-Jamal's heroic leadership in the struggle against war, racism and the brutal prison system.