Behind Bars

Mumia’s Case Symbolic to Blacks in the U.S.

By Tagni John Bogle

Some people are celebrating the recent decision of the Philadelphia DA’s Office, not to seek a new trial, thereby placing Mumia in general population for life with no chance of parole. Nonetheless, that was a clear political move by a city who feared a new trial for Mumia would prove his innocence, indict and embarrass certain individuals who claim to have an iron clad case against him, like DA Williams and the FOP [Fraternal Order of Police]. They are liars and deceivers. If it were so definitive that Mumia was guilty then they would have no hesitation in supporting the launch of a new death penalty trial. Life in prison with no chance of parole is still a death sentence. Furthermore, it puts Mumia in a similar position as General George Jackson. The prison officials killed George Jackson because of his relentless pursuit of teaching the people about this foul and rotten system and his organizing ability. They feared George as they fear Mumia. I have no misunderstanding of history in this country or its methodology of exacting brutal attacks and preemptive murder of our people based on their fear. In the final analysis, I stand far from concluding that this is a victory for Mumia. A real victory would exonerate him (and by that, proving his innocence as he has been trying to show for now thirty years of his life).

Mumia is legally not guilty and factually innocent. Mumia’s case is symbolic to all Black people in the U.S. All Black people in the U.S. are potentially targets of this unjust and rotten system whether those Black folks know it, acknowledge it, or deny it; we are not politically free nor do we have real political power nor do we control our resources or have any in this country to control. Until we organize around the common issues that effect our lives here, state mechanisms of repression will continue to maintain the strangle hold on us all. Since early colonial periods in this country our people have remained under colonial subjectivity in different forms. First with direct chattel enslavement, to Black Codes, to Vagrancy Laws and Convict leasing (new forms of Chattel Slavery through the instrument of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution), to Sharecropping, to Omnibus Crime Bill to The Anti-Riot Bill to The McCarran Act of 1950, to The War On Drugs, which lead to our current new Jim Crow and Mass incarceration and the War on Terror and all the various acts done nationally and locally to repress our people, like Operation Safe Streets, and Operation Pressure Point here in Philadelphia (all used through the court systems of this country to ensure and maintain a relationship of subjectivity, colonial domination and slavery of our people).

This is bigger than Mumia, it is about the way the system handles our people. Both revolutionaries and reformists know that the system they call justice, for us is “just-this,” same old boy slavery politics. And for all those Negroes, kissing master’s rear-end only makes your lips browner and affirms to him his ability to be able to manipulate our people for some promise of material gain thrown from his plate. This is apropos for all those Negro politicians playing their poly-tricks.

Dread Times, December 15, 2011