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May 2004 • Vol 4, No. 5 •

Two Speeches in Defense of Mumia Abu Jamal

By Carole Seligman

I was invited to speak at the demonstration organized by the Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal on Mumia’s 50th birthday in San Francisco on April 24. Bonnie Weinstein also spoke representing Bay Area United Against War. This is what I said. Bonnie’s speech follows:

Mordechai Vanunu, a peace and justice hero, was released from an Israeli prison this week after serving an 18-year sentence, 11 of those years in solitary confinement. His “crime” was telling the world that Israel had secretly become the sixth nuclear power in the world, another country capable of destroying vast numbers of the world’s people and other living species. The Israeli government tried to break Mordechai Vanunu. They did not succeed. When he came out of prison this week, he was unbowed and unbroken. He declared to the world that his spirit was alive.

Mumia Abu-jamal, has already spent over 23 years in prison, much of that time in solitary as well. He is innocent of the 1981 crime for which he was sentenced to death in 1982—the murder of police officer Daniel Faulkner. The so-called law-and-order establishment is hooting and hollering for Mumia’s execution. The courts have so far denied him the opportunity to prove his innocence in court. They have denied admittance of a sworn confession by Arnold Beverly, that he, and another man, killed Officer Faulkner, not Mumia.

Like Vanunu, Mumia Abu-Jamal refused to let the government—the racist prosecutors, the hanging judges, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court—break his spirit. (One of whose justices, Ron Castillo, prosecuted Mumia’s case and refused to recuse himself from hearing Mumia’s appeals.)

Not only is Mumia’s spirit unbroken, but from his miserable prison cell, Mumia helps to lead the social justice and antiwar movements in this prison-house country we live in, where over 2,000,000 people are imprisoned.

Mumia leads through his writings and radio commentaries which powerfully expose and condemn the death penalty, the U.S. prison-industrial complex, the racist oppression that taints every aspect of life in the USA, and every aspect of U.S. imperialist foreign policy, from the so-called “war on terrorism,” to the military assaults on Afghanistan and Iraq and U.S. support to the Israeli assault on the Palestinian people.

Mumia is an intellectual leader of the antiwar and social justice movements because he is truly independent of the ideas that come from the ruling class; ideas meant to keep people mentally enslaved while a tiny minority of billionaires rule, and ruin the world for their profits.

Mumia hasn’t fallen into the trap of thinking that meaningful reform can be won by supporting any section of the U.S. ruling class—not John Kerry, or Dianne Feinstein, or Barbara Boxer. Senator Feinstein illustrated the hypocrisy, typical of the Democrats, this week, when she went to the funeral service for police officer Espinosa, and in the church, called for the death penalty for his killer. These politicians—Democrats and Republicans—have the blood of the people dripping from their mouths, even in a church, which honors the commandment “Thou Shall not Kill.”

(Of course, no matter what Mumia’s ideas may be, we support his freedom. He is innocent. He has already served time that amounts to extreme cruel and unusual punishment. He was railroaded to prison based on every conceivable wrongdoing from prosecutors, a racist hanging judge (Sabo), a jury from which Black people were purposely excluded, and a police force so corrupt that hundreds of their arrests and convictions were overturned by federal authorities!)

But, the independent ideas of Mumia Abu-Jamal point a way forward for those who seek a different future, without war, poverty, racism, sexism, and ecological destruction.

Capitalist America leads world into the abyss

We are in a new and dangerous situation. The U.S. military has unleashed a campaign of mass murder in Iraq. Over 1000 Iraqis, mostly civilians, including small children, were killed in the last couple of weeks. A new U.S. siege on Falluja is about to begin. U.S. snipers are picking people off from Iraqi rooftops. They have bombed a mosque! They are openly planning targeted assassinations against Iraqi religious leaders and approving such assassinations of Palestinian leaders targeted by Israel.

Like Vanunu’s exposure of Israel’s nuclear weapons, Mumia exposes the main danger in the world today—the USA. In fiscal 2003, the Defense Department gave out war contracts to private corporations for nearly a quarter of a trillion dollars! They are building new nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction even though they already have enough to destroy human and animal life on the planet.

Billions of people around the world live on less than two dollars a day while U.S. war contractors are rolling in superprofits.

The big question is what to do about it. This year’s elections offer nothing. Republicans and Democrats are both war parties. Both serve the rich and trample on the poor. Both deprive us of our rights. In an immigrant nation, both oppress immigrants and minorities.

The lesson for us, in the belly of this beast, is to build a mass, independent, united, democratic, antiwar movement—in spite of all attempts by the Democrats to co-opt it. We must stay in the streets, tell the truth and ally with anti-war humanity. We must unite to free all our political prisoners, like Mumia Abu-Jamal and Leonard Peltier.

If we can build an independent movement, then we can become a true part of the human race, and not part of a social, economic and political system built on the twin pillars of genocide against the indigenous people of the Americas, and the slavery of kidnapped Africans. That system promises endless war for oil profits and world domination. That system is not in the interests of the American people—only the 1 percent on top.

An independent mass action antiwar movement—as part of a global movement of human solidarity—can lead to the kind of actions which will stop U.S. wars permanently—actions where American working people can unite with our brothers and sisters of Iraq, Palestine, Colombia, Haiti, Afghanistan, and all the world, to tell the rulers to stop their wars, and collectively strike until they do.

Bring all the troops home now! End all U.S. aid to Israel!

No to occupation!

Free Mumia Abu-Jamal!





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