Incarceration Nation

Free Mumia Abu-Jamal

Speech at the ILWU Port Shutdown, February 16, 2023

By Maria Cristina Gutierrez, Compañeras del Barrio

Brothers and Sisters,

As we gather here today, fighting for the freedom of political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal, this nation is preparing to unleash a third world war, spending trillions of dollars on wars of aggression. Meanwhile, refusing to home the homeless, they send billions of dollars to the so-called Zionist state of Israel, to continue the genocide of the Palestinian people and the occupation of Palestine—all crimes against humanity—but they have no money to give paid sick leave to the railroad workers. It is also responsible for the coup d’├ętat in Peru, where hundreds of people are being murdered with our tax money. But this nation refuses to provide totally free education from kindergarten to university levels.

You will ask me what does this have to do with Mumia? Everything, brothers, and sisters, because Mumia is in jail—not because, supposedly, he killed a police officer—he is in jail because of his political beliefs.

Let us be clear. Mumia is innocent. He was framed after an attempt to murder him failed. The Philadelphia police department—the whole of the police force, under the mandate of the rich and powerful—needed to disappear him because he was exposing the corruption of the government and its institution, the police department.

Mumia is a revolutionary journalist—a revolutionary who wanted to change this capitalist world. He is a socialist at heart. This is why he is in jail, why he was on death row for decades, and remains in jail, until we—the power of people—get him out of there.

This is why they don’t want to give him a new trial—not because he is a Black man—but because he is a Black revolutionary.

Think, brothers and sisters, the majority of the people in this nation don’t know that today in the United States we have political prisoners.

Mumia is one of them. Many comrades of the Black Panther Party, and the Native American Indigenous movement, the Puerto Rican liberation movement, have spent 30-40-plus years in jail for daring to fight for justice, peace and equality and for denouncing the evils of capitalism, and for talking about socialism.

The fight to free Mumia is a fight against capitalism. Imperialism, Zionism, and racism are real, we know. But in the final analysis these are tools that the ruling class uses to divide the workers, so that we keep looking at each other as enemies.

The fact that this city has a mayor, a district attorney, and a chief of police who are Black, and have done nothing in the interest of the Black working class—poor, vulnerable Black people in this city—should teach us something.

The fact that we had a Black president that bombarded Africa every day for eight consecutive years should teach us something. Let us be clear, every time the police murder a Black man or women, it is a political statement to divide the working people with this racist ideology.

Brothers and sisters, Mumia gave his freedom for our freedom. From jail he keeps denouncing capitalism, imperialism, Zionism. Let us, in the fight for his freedom, rescue his teaching, his courage, his love for humanity, and begin to organize for his freedom together with our freedom—to stop believing in a capitalist system that is destroying humanity. Let us unite, organize, rise up, and overcome racism, white supremacy, Nazi ideology, and lets get rid of capitalism and build socialism.

Free Mumia!

Free all political prisoners!

Long live socialism!