Mumia Abu-Jamal

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Wettlauf gegen den Tod

Mumias eigene Worte

Prisonradio

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Prison Radio

Hier werden in unregelmässigen Abständen mp3s zum Download und anhören vom Prison Radio veröffentlicht. Immer mal wieder etwas Neues. Also ab und zu mal reinsehen!

mit offizieller Genehmigung von Mumia Abu-Jamal/Prison Radio, copyright 2007

Hier gibt es deutsche Übersetzungen von Mumia Abu-Jamals Kolumnen


Gigantische Show für Reiche - Kolumne Mumia Abu-Jamal

Am Mittwoch, 27.07.2016 hat sich Mumia Abu-Jamal wieder einmal direkt an ein grösseres Publikum gewendet.

lesen...

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Mumias Botschaft an alle Demos, VAs etc.

Mumia Abu-Jamal nahm anlässlich seines Geburtstages eine Audio-Grussbotschaft an alle Unterstützer*innen auf, in der auf den Kampf gegen die Masseninhaftierung und für eine solidarische Gesellschaft eingeht. Diese Aufnahme ist auf Prison Radio veröffentlicht.

anhören...

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Mumia Abu-Jamal's statement on the FOP Blocking Obama's Adegbile

Mumia Abu-Jamal's statement on the FOP Blocking Obama's Adegbile nomination to DOJ post "Bullies of Babylon" (2:48) by Mumia (mp3)

Hier geht's zum Anhören...

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Geburtstagsgruss von Mumia an Lynne, zu ihrem 74 Geburtstag

Birthday Message from Mumia Abu-Jamaln...

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Mumia Abu-Jamal über den Revolutionären 1. Mai in Berlin

Hier klicken zum Hören...

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Interview with Mumia Abu-Jamal, on Radio Pacifica - Sep. 4, 2012

Mumia Abu-Jamal discusses black political thought, the great thinkers, movement builders, decolonization of the mind, his biggest political influences and political "menticide" of today's youth.

Mumia Abu-Jamal is an American political prisoner currently serving a life sentence for an alleged murder of a Philadelphia police officer. Incarcerated since 1981, in a trial that was plagued with blatant judicial disregard, Mumia was originally sentenced to death and that was successfully appealed in 2011 and commuted to a life sentence. His efforts to get a new trial continue. Before his incarceration Mumia was a member of the Black Panther Party, radio journalist, served as president of Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists, and embraced black nationalism. Mumia has published several books which includes Death Blossoms: Reflections from a Prisoner of Conscience, All Things Censored, Live From Death Row, and We Want Freedom: A Life in the Black Panther Party. Despite being incarcerated Mumia is a very active movement builder and social commentator for many progressive causes, and he continues to fight for his complete freedom as a political prisoner.

click to listen...

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Mumia Abu-Jamal's statement on Solitary Confinement at Riverside Chruch, NYC on September 14, 2012

Sept. 14th Statement on Solitary [Speech writ. 95/12] (C) '12 Mumia Abu-Jamal

Brothers and Sisters! Mis Hermanos y Hermanas! Comrades!

Thank you all for coming together here.

You may think that you know something about solitary, but you don't. You may have a loved one in prison who has experienced it, and told you about it.

But still I say, you don't know it.

You know the word; but between word and the reality, a world exists.

You don't know that world.

But the closest we may come is to say it must be like life on another planet. One where the air is different; where the water is different, where wildlife and flora and fauna mean different things.

For, as you know the word torture, you don't know how it feels.

For solitary is torture.

State torture.

Official torture. Government sanctioned torture.

Some may call that hyperbole, or exaggeration.

But I've lived in solitary longer than many - most, perhaps -Americans have been alive.

I've seen men driven mad as a hatter by soul crushing loneliness. Who have sliced their arms until they looked like railroad tracks. Or burned themselves alive.

This isn't something I've read about in psychology books, or newspaper reports.

I've seen it with these eyes with which I write these words. I've smelled the blood. I've smelled the nauseating stench of the smoke.

Why? Because human beings are social creatures; and solitary confinement kills that which is human within us.

Why did these men do these things (to themselves)?

We can't really know, but if I could guess I'd say they simply wanted to fee. To feel something. To feel as if they were alive.

I've seen men beaten while handcuffed; shocked with Tasers and electrified shields; and gassed with pepper spray – really a form of liquid cayenne pepper, which inflames the eyes, nasal passages and mouth.

As America embarks on its second century of mass incarceration, breaking every repressive record ever made, it's also breaking every record in regards to solitary confinement: locking up, isolating and torturing more and more people, for more and more years.

As I've noted elsewhere (in my Live from Death Row (1995), for example) In 1890 the U.S. Supreme Court, in the case re Medley, held that solitary confinement for a man on Colorado's death row was unconstitutional. In a sense, over a century later, the law has lurched backwards!

Today, such an idea would be laughable, if not unthinkable.

According to some estimates, there are over 100,000 people in solitary across the country (I happen to believe this is a conservative estimate). But no matter the number, the reality is stark: under international law – solitary confinement is torture.

Period.

And if it happens to one man, one woman -one child - it is torture nonetheless, and a crime under international law -or, put another way, the law of nations.

That's because such a policy has one primary purpose; to destroy human beings, by destroying their minds.

Is it cruel and unusual, and thus violative of the 8th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution? Apparently this was so in the 1890's, but not so in the present, probably because of who was in prison then – and who are now.

It may surprise you to know that at the end of the nineteenth century, Blacks were a distinct minority of American prisoners, and while numbers certainly swelled post-slavery (to build the prison-contract-labor industry—really slavery by another name), the biggest bounce in Black imprisonment came in the aftermath of the Civil Rights and Black Liberation movements, when Black people, en masse, opposed the system of white supremacy, police brutality and racist juries.

And then – The Empire strikes back!

Indeed, never in the history of the modern world have we seen such a vast machinery of repression, and the U.S. is the world's undisputed leader in imprisonment of its citizens.

Neither China, Russia nor any other nation comes close.

As scholar/law professor Michelle Alexander had aptly described it, the U.S. has reconstituted the `New Jim Crow'.

And as prison populations explode, the law becomes increasingly more supportive of this repression, and less tolerant of the notion of equal rights, or even equal access to courts.

These factors have continued to be problems irrespective of whether under Republican or Democratic administrations.

For, repression is apparently bipartisan.

But all is not gloom and doom.

People have the power to transform their grim realities.

All they have to di id fight for it.

Organize.

When people get together –and fight together – they create change.

They make change.

If you want to shut down solitary confinement, you can do it.

You've got to organize – and fight for it.

If you find the prison industrial complex intolerable, then organize – and fight it.

This is not Pollyannaish, or pie in the sky.

This is as gritty and as down to earth as spinach.

It's as real a dirt. As real as steel. As real as blood. As real as life.

Whenever any social advance has happened it's because people fought for it. Often, against their own governments, for governments ever embrace the status quo.

During the U.S. Civil War, one of Lincoln's severest critics was Frederick Douglass, the fiery Black ex-slave and abolitionist.

When Lincoln died a few years later, Douglass would both mourn his passing and laud his accomplishments.

It was Douglass who said: "Power concedes nothing without demand. It never has, and never will."

That lesson of our Ancestor is still true.

We must demand what we want - and fight for it!

Period.

If we want the closing of solitary confinement, we can make it happen.

If we want people like Delbert Africa, Mike Africa, Russell `Maroon' Shoatz, Janet Africa, Phil Africa, Janine Africa, Chuck Africa, Leonard Peltier, Jalil Muntaqim, Ed Africa, or [Dr.] Mutulu Shakur freed, we can make it happen.

Really. Truly. But we gotta fight for it.

Movements make change.

So let us build such a Movement, that it shakes the earth!

Don't rely on voting, for politics is but the cruel art of betrayal.

Rely on working together and fighting for change.

For "Power concedes nothing without demand!"

Build the Movement!

Let us go forth and make the change we want, for we are the hope of more people than we know - and People make change!

Ona Move! Long Live John Africa!

"Power Concedes Nothing Without Demand!"

Down With Solitary!

Shut Attica Down!

Down with the Prison Industrial Complex!

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Jailhouse Lawyers - Knastanwälte

Strafgefangene im Kampf gegen die Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika

von Mumia Abu-Jamal

Im Oktober bringt der UNRAST Verlag die deutsche Übersetzung von "Jailhouse Lawyers" raus, in dem der Autor Mumia Abu-Jamal den selbstorganisierten juristischen Widerstand zehntausender Gefangener in den USA beschreibt.

Mehr hier...

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Big Brother 'legal' in US: Mumia Abu-Jamal exclusive to RT

Deutsch synchronisiert

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Nachricht von Mumia an all diejendigen, die er im Todestrakt hinter sich zurücklassen musste

English Original...

Meine Brüdern und Schwestern im Todestrakt

Es ist nicht ganz eine Woche her, dass ich aus dem Todestrakt entlassen wurde. Zwar kann ich nicht helfen, aber zurückblicken auf die Vielen von euch, die Ihr in meinem Herzen seid. Ich werde nicht länger in der Todeszelle sein, aber durch euch ist der Todestrakt weiterhin gegenwärtig bei mir. Wie kann es auch anders sein, wo ich doch mehr Jahre meines Lebens im Todestrakt verbrachte als in "Freiheit"? Oder mehr Zeit in der Todeszelle verbrachte als mit meiner Familie?

Ich schreibe, um euch allen - auch denen, die ich niemals persönlich traf – zu sagen, dass ich euch liebe, weil wir etwas ausserordentlich Seltenes miteinander teilen. Ich habe Tränen und Gelächter mit euch geteilt, die niemand ausser euch in der Welt jemals kennen oder sehen wird. Ich habe eure Seelenqualen mit euch geteilt, wenn irgendein Richter eure Hoffnungen zerstört und ein weiteres Mal eine Enttäuschung bereitet hat. Oder wenn Politiker euch missbrauchten, um die Karriereleiter hochzuklettern.

Wir haben erlebt, wie Zeit und Krankheit einige von uns aus unserer Mitte rissen. Wir haben einige gekannt, die selbst den Zeitpunkt ihres Todes bestimmt und den Henker mit ihrem Suizid überlistet haben (William "Billy" Tilley, Jose "June" Pagan). Aber, Brüder und Schwestern im Todestrakt, ich schreibe nicht vom Tod, sondern vom Leben.

Wenn ich der Todeszelle entkommen konnte, könnt ihr das auch. Macht weiter Lärm, kämpft weiter, bringt die Wände zum wackeln. Prüft alle Möglichkeiten, mit Mills euer Urteil anzufechten. [Mills issue: Entscheidung des Supreme Court von 1988 im Fall Mills, das Todesurteil aufzuheben, weil die Juryinstruktionen nicht eindeutig waren.]

Aber da ist noch mehr. Lebt jeden Tag, jede Stunde, als wäre es die einzige Zeit, die Ihr habt. Lebt heftig. Lernt Neues. Eine Sprache, Kunst, Wissenschaft. Haltet Euren Geist wach. Haltet euer Herz am Leben. Lacht.

Seht euch gegenseitig nicht als Konkurrenten, sondern als Reisegefährten auf derselben roten Lebenslinie. Unabhängig davon, was die Welt über euch sagt, seht das Beste im jeweils anderen und strahlt gegenseitige Liebe aus.

Seid gut zu euch selbst.

Wenn Ihr das Glück habt, eine Familie oder Angehörige zu haben, lasst sie eure Liebe spüren, komme, was da mag. Wenn ihr einer spirituellen Familie oder einem Glauben angehört, praktiziert das aus vollem Herzen, weil dies euch mit etwas Grösserem als euch selbst verbindet. Egal was, Christentum, Islam, Judentum, Hinduismus, Buddhismus oder Santeria oder Move. Das erweitert euren Horizont und festigt euch.

Ich hatte das Glück, viele von euch als meine Lehrer zu haben, oder als meine Schüler. Einige waren meine Söhne, andere meine Brüder. Ja, ich sehe euch alle als einen Teil meiner Familie.

Habt Mut, denn die Todesstrafe ist selber dabei zu sterben. Die Staaten und Bezirke des Landes können sie sich schlicht nicht mehr leisten, und Politiker, die darauf setzen, finden immer weniger Anhänger. Geschworenen-Jurys (vor allem in Orten wie Philadelphia) werden zunehmend zurückhaltender bei der Verhängung der Todesstrafe, sogar in Fällen, in denen sie unvermeidlich scheint.

Schwestern in den Todeszellen, obwohl wir uns nie begegnet sind, hat mein Herz eure Tränen gespürt, weil ihr gezwungenermassen von euren Kindern getrennt wurdet, ohne die Möglichkeit, sie im Arm zu halten und zu küssen. Schwestern, auf vielfältige Weise sind Eure Seelenqualen die schlimmsten, weil eure Liebe und Gefühle die tiefsten sind. Meine Worte an meine Brüder sind auch an euch gerichtet: Haltet Euren Geist wach. Haltet eure Herzen am Leben. Lebt. Liebt. Lernt. Lacht!

Ich kenne euch alle so, wie es wenige Aussenstehende tun. Ich habe Künstler, Musiker, Mathematiker, Manager, Knastanwälte und Aktienhändler gesehen. Ich habe gesehen, wie Jungs, die keine gerade Linie zeichnen konnten, die sich zu meisterhaften Malern entwickelten (Cush, Young Buck); ich habe Jungs gesehen, die sozusagen Analphabeten waren und später fliessend Fremdsprachen sprechen konnten; ich habe Lehrer getroffen, die Werke von überragender Schönheit und Kunstfertigkeit erschufen (Big Tony).

Ihr alle seid viel mehr, als andere über euch sagen, und der Funke des Unendlichen glüht in jedem von Euch. Ihr seid im Todestrakt, aber was schliesslich in euch steckt ist grösser als die Todeszelle.

Also gebt Acht aufeinander. Nicht in Worten, sondern im Herzen. Denkt mit Freundschaft und Sympathie aneinander.

Und schliesslich, verpfeift einander nicht. (Wenn Verpfeifen so angesagt wäre, hätten sie mich aus dem Trakt herausgeprügelt.)

Schlagt weiter Lärm, denn euer Tag wird kommen.

---Mumia Abu-Jamal, M.A.
Death Row (1983-2011)

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Message frin Mumia to those he left behind on Death Row

Deutsche Übersetzung...

To my brethern & sistas on the 'Row

It has been barely a week since I departed Death Row, yet I cannot help but look back, for many of you are in my heart. I may no longer be on Death Row, but because of you Death Row is still with me. How could that not be so, when I've spent more years of my life on Death Row, than in "Freedom?" Or, more time spent on Death Row, than with my family?

I write to tell you all---even those I've never met---that I love you, for we have shared something exceedingly rare. I have shared tears and laughter with you, that the world will neither know nor see. I have shared your anguish when some judge shattered your hopes and spit disappointment; or when some politician sought to use you to climb to higher office.

We have seen time and disease take some of our people off the Row. We have seen several choose their own date to die, cheating the hangman via suicide (William "Billy" Tilley, Jose "June" Pagan). But, Brothers and Sisters of the Row, I write not of death, but of life.

If I can walk off, so can you. Keep rumblin'; keep fightin'; keep rockin'. Check out your Mills issue.

But, there is more. Live each day, each hour, as if it is the only time there is. Love fiercely. Learn a new thing. A language. An art. A science. Keep your mind alive. Keep your heart alive. Laugh!

Look at each other not as competitors, but as fellow travelers on the same red road of life. No matter what the world says of you, see the best in each other, and radiate love to each other.

Be your best self. If you are blessed to have family, send your love to them all---no matter what. If you have a spiritual family or faith, practice it fully and deeply, for this links you to something greater than yourself. No matter what, Christian, Muslim, Judaism, Hindu, Krishna Consciousness, Buddhism, or Santería (or Move). This broadens you and deepens you.

I have been blessed to have many of you as my teachers, and my students. Some have been my sons; some have been my brothers. Yet I see all of you as part of my family.

Take heart, for the death penalty itself is dying. States and counties simply can't afford it, and politicians who run on it are finding fewer and fewer buyers. Juries (especially in places like Philly) are increasingly reluctant to vote for death, even in cases where it appears imminent.

Sisters on the Row, while we have never met, my heart has felt your tears as you are forcibly separated from your children, unable to hold or kiss them. In many ways, as women, your anguish has been the worst, as your loves and sensitivities are deepest. My words to my brothers are yours as well: keep mind alive. Keep hearts alive. Live. Love. Learn. Laugh!

I know you all as few outsiders do. I've met artists, musicians, mathematicians, managers, jailhouse lawyers, and stockbrokers. I've seen guys who couldn't draw a straight line, emerge as master painters (Cush, Young Buck); I've seen guys come from near illiteracy to become fluent in foreign languages; I've met teachers who've created works of surpassing beauty and craftsmanship (Big Tony).

You are all far more than others say of you, for the spark of the infinite glows within each of you. You are on Death Row, but what is finest in you is greater than Death Row.

So, care for each other. Not in words, but in the heart. Think good vibes on each other.

Lastly, don't rat. (If ratting was so cool, they would've beat me off the Row).

Keep rumblin', 'cause your day is coming.

---Mumia Abu-Jamal, M.A.
Death Row (1983—2011)

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Mumias Grussbotschaft an Anti-Afghanistankriegs-Demo

Anti-Kriegs Transparent an der Demo

in Bonn am 3. Dezember 2011

Lang lebe John Africa - Grüsse
(Anmerkung der Übersetzung: dt. im Original)

Meine Schwestern, Brüder und Freunde,

Ich bin glücklich, mit euch zumindest im Geiste gemeinsam gegen diese unaufhörliche Pest des Krieges zu protestieren, welche eurem Land genau wie meinem Schaden zufügt.

Der US Staat und seine intellektuelle Klasse machen Überstunden, um diejenigen zu besiegen, die es wagen, den Todesmaschinen zu widerstehen.

Solche Kriege, wenn sie ungehindert stattfinden können, finden ihren Weg immer ins Land der Verursacher. Und während sie schwere Gewalt im Ausland verursachen - z.B. im Irak, in Afghanistan oder auch Somalia - senden sie Wellen des Unglücks und menschlichen Leidens in dieses Land.

Das ist unvermeidbar - und es ist auch imperialistisch.

Nur wenn diese Erscheinungen erkannt, bekämpft und überwunden werden, gibt es wirklichen Frieden und den Übergang einer Gesellschaft von Imperium zur Zivilgesellschaft.

Sogar während ihr euch heute organisiert, werdet ihr die Konzernmedien dabei beobachten können, wie sie ihre Maschinen anwerfen, um noch einen weiteren Krieg zu verkaufen.

Zehn Jahre nach dem das Disaster im Irak begonnen wurde, spüren die politische Klasse, die Konzernmedien und die Waffenindustrie nun ihre Chance, den Iran zu bombadieren und dort einzufallen.

So schlingert das Imperium von einer Katastrophe zu einer noch grösseren Katastrophe.

Anti-Kriegs Transparent an der Demo

Kein Krieg für Öl - kein Krieg für das Imperium!

Überhaupt kein weiterer Krieg!

Danke sehr, aus die Todesstrafe - hier spricht Mumia Abu-Jamal
(Anmerkung der Übersetzung: dt. im Original)

Übersetzung: Berliner Free Mumia Bündnis

 

Die Rede im Origianl als mp3
many thanks to Prison Radio

 

Anti-Kriegs Transparent an der Demo

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The State and Repression

by Mumia Abu-Jamal

Speech Delivered to International Anti-Repression Congress, October 8-10, 2010, Hamburg, Germany

For those of us active in social movements, I'm often surprised at our surprise when the State acts in a repressive or oppressive fashion. It teaches us that the cloudy dreams of Western liberalism have pierced and permeated consciousness, often against our own stated perceptions or ideological persuasion.

We have seemingly forgotten, it seems, the fundamental nature of the state, as held by Marx and Engels over 100 years ago in The Communist Manifesto, where the state is described as but “the executive committee” of the bourgeoisie.

As such, there are hardly limits to the repression it will utilize to serve the rulers, especially in the stark absence of an effective counter-force.

That force must be - must be - an organized, resistant people, who will fight for another way; a way out of the trap of the state - as presently conceived.

As a man born in the West (specifically the U.S.), I am actually quite ignorant of the vast scope and breadth of European history, but some years ago, I read a book covering over 500 years of Europe's revolutionary history. Although perhaps little known today, that history is vibrant, insightful and inspiring.

It should inform and inspire us today as we face this new empire of neo-liberalism, the latest expression of capitalism, which is a force which exploits not only external, but internal targets.

Thus, societal resources are mobilized to attack foreign subjects (usually in the so-called developing world) while denying social services to the domestic population, like healthcare, education, housing and other such necessities.

Indeed, the very notion of “social” is attacked by the rulers, and their corporate media, as the business model is raised and reified as the only reasonable structure upon which society is organized.

In truth, for more than half a millennia, figures arose in Europe, and as part of sometimes, huge social movements, to challenge the powers and hierarchies which ruled, because they were too repressive, too exploitative or fundamentally unfair. And while many of these leaders and movements were brutally suppressed, their efforts cast long shadows through time, which we may excavate for the struggles of this hour.

These historical resistance figures, many from religious dissenting groups, or small political opposition formations, did not, of course, prevail. Yet, like isles on the face of the ocean, they were tips of social mountains that were unseen, mostly unheard, yet were there nonetheless.

From the late 1200s to the early-mid 1300s, arose several figures who rocked their societies with new, radical ideas. Among them, were the German monk, Meister [Johannes] Eckhart, the Florentine protester, Giano della Bella, and the Flemish Jacques van Artevelde.

Of these, perhaps best remembered is Eckhart, a Dominican theologian and mystic, who raised the quite radical suggestion that man created God, and not the reverse, for which he was forced to recant. In 1329 Pope John XXII condemned his writings.

Of della Bella, he put forth the Ordinances of Justice, based on radical republican ideas. Van Artevelde was a leader of several successful worker revolts in Flemish towns.

These figures were followed by people like the Czech priest, Jan Hus, who, influenced by the English theologian John Wycliff, opposed the doctrine of papal infallibility; John Ball of Kent County, England, called “the crazy priest" for his popular outdoor speeches, called for an end to rule of the rich over the poor, who were but "slaves," and, Bohemian Martin Huska was a revolutionary, a free thinker and a 15th-century communist.

Of course, the German priest Martin Luther, was a religious revolutionary (at least in his earlier days) who rocked the Church and state by his opposition to indulgences. He was excommunicated, after which he both married and founded his own church, which still exists today. There are over eight million Lutherans in the U.S. today.

Some of these rebels fought wars against the powers of their day, Like Bohemian Hussite, Jan Zizka, who fought in some 12 battles against the Holy Roman Empire, and was considered the “Cromwell of the Bohemian Revolution.” Or Prokop Holy (Veliky), a Czech Hussite successor to Zizka, who was part of a Hussite militia called “Warriors of God,” which swept across Europe for a decade.

These figures would be succeeded by English revolutionaries like Gerrard Winstanley, John Lilburne, and Abiezer Copp, who were generally more concerned with the crown than the church. Winstanley was considered an early socialist, who opposed royal and landlord ownership of land, which he considered the common property of all mankind. Lilburne, similarly was called a “Leveller," who was whipped in 1638 for distributing anti-clerical literature. Some time thereafter he was a Lieutenant Colonel in Cromwell's New Model Army, the force that usurped, imprisoned and later beheaded an, English King, Charles I, in 1649.

Of course, to most of us, this sounds like ancient history, and we've not even rapped about François “Gracchus" Babeuf, the French revolutionary journalist, or Marx, or V. I. Lenin; or Rosa Luxemburg, for that matter.

I say all this to say, revolution is in your blood. You are the great grandchildren of revolutionaries who fought across the vast expanse of Europe to try to live in freedom and equality.

You may not remember them, it’s true.

But when you study them, they can almost come alive again, to enrich and inspire your tomorrows. For a revolutionary tomorrow! I thank you!

Ona Move!

Death Row/USA

[Source: 500 Years of Revolution: European Radicals from Hus to Lenin by Charles H. George]

Recorded speech at Prisonradio.org, October 2010

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"The New Jim Crow"

[Book Review: 6/30/10] (c) '10 Mumia Abu-Jamal

Alexander, Michelle, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. (NY: The New Press, 2010, pp.290)

The book, The New Jim Crow, offers an unflinching look at the US addiction to imprisonment, and comes up with a startling diagnosis; American corporate greed, political opportunism and the exploitation of age old hatred and fears have congealed to create a monstrous explosion in the world's largest prison industrial complex. Further, the author, a law professor at Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law, Michelle Alexander, digs deep into US history, and deeper still into US criminal law and practice to conclude that the barbarous system of repression and control known commonly as Jim Crow, had a rebirth in this era. That's why she calls it: The New Jim Crow.

This system of legal discrimination came into being much as the first one did. After the rout of the South by the Civil War, millions of newly freed Africans exercised these new rights under Reconstruction. Black men became senators and legislators across the South. But this period was short lived, and as soon as possible, states passed harsh laws known as Black Codes, which denied rights and criminalized behavior by Blacks, and exposed them to the repression of southern prisons, where convicts were leased out to labor for others; it was the rebirth of slavery by other means.

This present era began at the height of the US Civil Rights Movement, when millions of Blacks fought for their rights denied for more than a century.

Alexander concludes that this new system, this new coalescence of economic and political interests, targeted Blacks, especially those engaged in the drug industry, as the human capital with which to provide massive construction, huge prison staffs, and the other appendages of the apparatus of state repression.

But perhaps Alexander's most salient point is her finding that America's Black population constitutes a 'racial caste' that feeds and perpetuates mass incarceration [195]

Indeed, every other societal structure supports this superstructure, from broken schools, to de-industrialization, to population concentration in isolated urban ghettoes, to the violence of police, and the silence of the Black Middle class.

One might argue that such a claim seems unsustainable when we see a Black president, hundreds of black political figures and those in entertainment and sports. But Alexander explains that every system allows exceptions, for they serve to legitimize the system and mask its ugliness and its gross effects upon the majority of Blacks.

For example, while it's well-known that apartheid was an overtly racist system, it allowed Asian and even African American diplomats to live and work in such a regime, by the political expediency of identifying them as "honorary whites" in their official papers.

When comparing both systems, Alexander argues that the US imprisons more Blacks both in raw number and per capita than South Africa at the height of apartheid!

The New Jim Crow - indeed!

--(c) '10 maj

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The Power of Truth is Final -- Free Mumia!

Audio of most of Mumia's essays are at: http://www.prisonradio.org

http://mumiapodcast.libsyn.com/
Mumia's got a podcast! Mumia Abu-Jamal's Radio Essays - Subscribe at the website or on iTunes and get Mumia's radio commentaries online.

Mumia Abu-Jamal's new book -- JAILHOUSE LAWYERS: PRISONERS DEFENDING PRISONERS V. THE USA, featuring an introduction by Angela Y. Davis -- has been released! It is available from City Lights Books: click here...

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The Man Called Robert C. Byrd

[col. writ. 7/4/10] (c) '10 Mumia Abu-Jamal

The Longest-serving member of the U.S. Senate would've been a title cherished by Robert Carlisle Byrd, who became, among many other things, a respected historian.

Byrd's beginnings were from the white southern poor, and he hailed from a family of coal miners. Despite this poverty, Byrd had a prodigious memory, and he excelled in high school.

But Byrd, being politically ambitious, was much more than a bright schoolboy. By his young adulthood he was a ranking member of the Ku Klux Klan, the white terrorist arm of the southern Democratic Party. In West Virginia, this was a ticket to high political office, and Byrd punched his ticket well.

He began, as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives in 1953. Six years later he entered the Senate and except by death, never left. From 1959 to 2010 he became the embodiment of West Virginia, and the state became a reflection of him. There are so many roads, schools, airports and government buildings named after him that the state might best be known as Byrdsylvania, or, perhaps better, Byrdistan.

His biographers cite his KKK membership as a youthful indiscretion, a passing fancy almost. But Byrd, historian that he was, made history of sorts when he opposed the elevation of Thurgood Marshall to the Supreme Court in 1967. Marshall was, at that time, one of the most successful lawyers in America, winning 29 of 32 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court (including Brown v. Bd. of Education) He was a Federal Appeals court judge for the 2nd Circuit (up in New York) for 5 years, and he was U.S. Solicitor General for 2 years.

Why did Byrd oppose Marshall, perhaps the most distinguished lawyer of his generation? Because he didn't want to see a Black man on the court. Period.

Youthful indiscretion? Byrd was 50 when he voted against Marshall's confirmation.

Two years before, when riots erupted across America, Sen. Byrd would opine on the Senate floor that perhaps planned parenthood should be introduced to Blacks so that they wouldn't have so many children who would grow up and be unemployed.

Sen. Robert C. Byrd, born Cornelius Calvin Sale, Jr., in North Carolina, was a man of his time and place.

Perhaps he distinguished himself from the pack best when he rose to the floor, a copy of the Constitution in his shaking hand, and denounce the Bush regime's mad march to war in Iraq, as a violation of the constitution. He voted against authorization for war, saying it was the duty of the Congress to declare war - not the president.

He rose from humble beginnings, with pluck, smarts and dogged determination. He held his office like a pit bull on a bone. He played the fiddle with considerable skill.

But he was a Klansman at heart.

-(c) '10 maj

[Source: Berry, Mary Frances, Black Resistance; White Law (N.Y.: Penguin, 1996 (orig. 1971), p.169.]

----------------------------------------------

The Power of Truth is Final -- Free Mumia!

Audio of most of Mumia's essays are at: http://www.prisonradio.org

http://mumiapodcast.libsyn.com/
Mumia's got a podcast! Mumia Abu-Jamal's Radio Essays - Subscribe at the website or on iTunes and get Mumia's radio commentaries online.

Mumia Abu-Jamal's new book -- JAILHOUSE LAWYERS: PRISONERS DEFENDING PRISONERS V. THE USA, featuring an introduction by Angela Y. Davis -- has been released! It is available from City Lights Books: click here...

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For Lynne Stewart: FREEDOM!

[col. writ. 6/26/10] (c) '10 Mumia Abu-Jamal

Lynne Stewart, targeted by the Bush-era Justice Dept. for daring to forcefully advocate for her client, is in danger - and only immense popular support can save her.

She's in danger not just of a recent cancer diagnosis, but of the cancerous decision of the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals to re-sentence her to a longer, harsher term than the trial court decided.

Stewart has had an exemplary career as a defense lawyer for the poor, the oppressed and those deemed unpopular by the establishment. It was in this context that she was targeted by the state and unjustly convicted of providing material support to an alleged terrorist conspiracy, for speaking out on behalf of her client, the blind, Egyptian cleric.

The late William Kunstler, a radical lawyer who represented similar clients, recently that defense attorneys should be "officers of their clients", instead of "officers of the court." *

Lynne Stewart was, like Kunstler, an "officer of [her] client", which is another reason she was targeted.

She violated what was essentially a prison regulation (called a SAM - for Special Administrative Measure), one that she probably rightly thought couldn't possibly supersede her constitutional and professional duty to defend her client. But she underestimated the base opportunism of government and the subservience of the courts, even at the costs of constitutional rights and alleged 'guarantees.'

On the evening of July 6th, at Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square South (in NYC), friends, admirers and supporters of Lynne Stewart will gather together to express their solidarity with an extraordinary woman, a gifted lawyer and a person convicted for her political ideas and affiliations.

Show your love!

--(c) '10 maj

[*Source: Kunstler, William M., The Emerging Police State, (Melbourne/New York: Ocean Press, 2004, p. 41]

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This Time, Times Square

[col. writ. 5/8/10] (c) '10 Mumia Abu-Jamal

A young, naturalized American lights a match, exits his car parked in Times Square, laden with incendiary materials, and walks away, igniting, if not a firestorm in fact, an explosion of media speculation, legislative threats, and finally, most fundamentally, fear.

The explosion that failed did not fail to turn eyes, mouths and minds to U.S. wars, conflicts and contradictions in the Middle East and Asia, and back to the issue of terrorism.

So occupied have Americans been with their own economic troubles, that the wars abroad have fallen off the headlines, forgotten by most, while only a tiny segment of Americans, soldiers and their families, policy works at think tanks, foreign policy scholars and diplomats, for the most part, attend to the fires raging in millions of hearts overseas, as a direct result of misguided and short-sighted imperial policies abroad.

If a U.S.- educated, bilingual naturalized citizen can contemplate, plot, and attempt such an act, ostensibly as a direct response to U.S. drones unleashed on Pakistani territory which killed a friend of his, then who is the next to try to strike such a blow?

We may not have to wait long to find out.

And while the crowing about 'success' is deafening, it's also true that danger was barely averted. In my humble opinion, Faisal Shahzad failed, not because he was improperly trained, but because either he intentionally sabotaged the mission, or his trainers did so, to show what could have happened in the heart of Neon city, if only......

The nation's fear index has hit the roof, and in that sense, has had a psychological payoff among the planners of this plot that cannot be discounted.

Less than 6 months ago, a young man from a wealthy Nigerian family also almost caused a disaster in a major American city that would've killed thousands. In half a year the name Abdul Mutallib has been almost forgotten.

But, what if....?

What if these were but dry runs, meant to show how easy such attacks could be?

U.S. foreign policy, of attacking and bombing people willy-nilly, can create blowback that can cause considerable American causalities.

We may be seeing the first wave of much more to come.

--(c) '10 maj

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Grussbotschaft von Mumia: Der 1. Mai inmitten globaler Verwüstung

von Mumia Abu-Jamal, 31.03.2010

Während sich der 1. Mai nähert - einem Tag, der seit über einem Jahrhundert als Sympol von Arbeiter Macht gefeiert wird - scheint er sich zum Symbol des Zerfalls zu wandeln.

Während das ökonomische System ist durch Beben, Nachbeben und Erschütterungen gegangen ist, sind sozialer und kommunaler Wohlstand an Bank und Konzerne verschoben worden. Finanzhilfen für Millionäre, während ArbeiterInnen bestenfalls die Qual von Lohnkürzungen ertragen mussten, im schlimmsten Fall Massenentlassungen. Gleichzeitig erneuert sich die Wirtschaft noch ArbeiterInnen-feindlicher.

Marx und Engels haben richtiger weise festgestellt, dass der Staat nicht mehr als als das ausführende Komitee der Bourgeoisie (1) ist. Warum auch sonst giessen die Wirtschaftsmächte der Welt ohne irgend eine Nachfrage Milliarden in Konzernkassen, während sie Almosen an ArbeiterInnen und deren Familien verteilen, fast wie Münzen in eine Betteldose.

Der 1. Mai begann in Amerika während der schicksalhaften Vorgänge des Haymarket Aufstandes im 19. Jahrhundert, als ArbeiterInnen für die 40-Stundenwoche und eine Abschaffung der Kinderarbeit kämpften.

Noch immer steht der 1. Mai für den Kampf der Arbeitenden in Amerika, Europa, Afrika und Asien gegen die staatliche und kapitalistische Unterdrückung und Gier.

Im wesentlichen ist der Kapitalismus in einer schweren Krise. Die wahnsinnigen Kriege als auch der sehr reale Anstieg der Vetternwirtschaft spiegeln diese Krise wider. Wenn die Milliarden Arbeitenden die Welt verändern wollen, müssen sie sich über die falschen Barrieren hinweg die Hände reichen, um eine neue und bessere Welt zu errichten, in der Leben und Freiheit kostbarer sind als der Profit.

Dass ist nicht nur möglich, das ist notwendig!

Danke. Ona Move!
Genosse Mumia

Mumias Verteidigung

Petition:
Mumia Abu-Jamal und die globale Abschaffung der Todesstrafe

--------------------------------

(1) Marx/Engels - Manifest der kommunistischen Partei 1848:
"Die moderne Staatsgewalt ist nur ein Ausschuss, der die gemeinschaftliche Geschäfte der ganzen Bourgeoisklasse verwaltet."


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Der 1. Mai

von Mumia Abu-Jamal

Es mag viele überraschen, aber der 1. Mai als internationaler Tag der ArbeiterInnen begann in den USA.

Seinen Ursprung nahm er in der Haymarket Kundgebung in Chicago, Illinois am 1. Mai 1886, als Tausende und Abertausende von ArbeiterInnen sich mit ihren Familien versammelten, um für den 8-Stundentag zu kämpfen.

Ihre weiteren Forderungen? Das Ende der Kinderarbeit und das Organisationsrecht für ArbeiterInnen (damals behandelten Gerichte Gewerkschaften als "kriminellen Syndikalismus").

Die Kundgebung wurde von der Chicagoer Polizei brutal angegriffen. Kurz darauf wurde eine Bombe geworfen. Es gab Verletzte und mehrere Polizisten starben.

Die GewerkschaftsaktivistInnen wurden verhaftet und mit der Durchführung des Bombenattentats angeklagt. Sie wurden in manipulierten Schauprozessen abgeurteilt. Einige wurden hingerichtet, andere wurden inhaftiert.

Die Haymarket Prozesse radikalisierten die ArbeiterInnen landes- sowie weltweit. Sie wollten dieses Ereignis im Bewusstsein behalten.

Seit 1889 wird dieses Datum weltweit als Erinnerung und Ausdruck von ArbeiterInnenmacht wahrgenommen, durchgeführt und gefeiert.

Mumia Abu-Jamal, 20.März 2010
Übersetzung: Berliner Free Mumia Bündnis

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Mumia Abu-Jamal - The Prison Industrial Complex (Video 1996)

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Corporate Supremacy - Still!

[col. writ. 2/14/10] (c) '10 Mumia Abu-Jamal

The recent Supreme Court decision on corporate personhood, The Citizen's United case, has evoked considerable comment, and even some indignation: "Corporations have the right to spend unlimited amounts of money on politicians?!" - "outrageous!"

Really? While people have every right to be outraged, we should inform our outrage, for, in truth, corporate interests have owned the political process -- and politicians -- for the better part of a century.

In the classic history book, The Robber Barons, by Matthew Josephson (Harcourt: 1969), one encounters scenes of major industrialists buying politicians outright with satchels of money - on the floor of State Senates!!

The buying is not so overt now, but politicians are still being bought like hot dogs. What is a modern congressional, presidential or judicial campaign today - but a race for the money? For the man (or woman) who gets money can buy media - and the media decides races.

In a real sense, all the court did was open up the spigot for more dough from corporate coffers. In essence, the court said, it's not enough to rent politicians; now you can own them.

And they will own them.

And where will much of this money go, but into the pockets of corporate media? And what is this but a corporate media stimulus package?

What makes this case remarkable isn't so much the result (for this was politically predictable), but the court's reliance on precedent that actually wasn't precedential.

For, in the case Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Co. (1886), used as the foundation for the principle of corporate personhood, that principle appears nowhere - but the court clerk wrote it into the head notes of the case, which is not legally part of the case - and 124 years later an error became law, which became precedent, which guides decisions today, which favors corporate wealth and power over democracy.

In the 1880's, during the age of the captains of industry who came to be known as the "robber barons", multi-millionaire Andrew Carnegie, threatened with legal action to restrain his corporate excesses, remarked: "What do I care about the law? Ain't I got the power?" (Josephson 15)

Thanks to the Supreme Court, they've got even more.

--(c) '10 maj

PLEASE CONTACT:
International Concerned Family & Friends of MAJ
P.O. Box 19709
Philadelphia, PA 19143
Phone - 215-476-8812/ Fax - 215-476-6180
E-mail
AND OFFER YOUR SERVICES!

Send our brotha some LOVE and LIGHT at:
Mumia Abu-Jamal
AM 8335
SCI-Greene
175 Progress Drive
Waynesburg, PA 15370

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Tribute to Paul Robeson, by Mumia Abu-Jamal

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Inheriting an Empire

[col. writ. 2/21/09] (c) '09 Mumia Abu-Jamal

Of all the myriad things to inherit, perhaps the worst is an empire, for such a transmission brings with it the duty of defense, which, in time, invariably becomes defending the indefensible.

For empires are constructed of crimes, and similarly so maintained.

They are birthed in invasion, nursed on occupation and raised on the cruel gruel of repression, torture and brutality.

That is their intrinsic nature as shown by the abundant examples of history.  This was shown best by Rome, which ravaged the then-known world to enrich the 'eternal city'. Nations were invaded, their nobles either slain or enslaved, puppets were installed, and the natural resources extracted to feed the ever-hungry maw of Rome.

For millions of Blacks, the Obama election has sparked a new way of thinking and speaking of an America that has, heretofore, been a subject of considerable ambivalence. For perhaps the first time in U.S. history (certainly since Reconstruction), millions speak of the U.S. as "we", instead of "they."

This may well be a turning point in American history.

But is the American Empire "ours" simply because a Black man is the nation's chief executive?

Did we vote it into being, or did we merely inherit it?

Most who voted for Obama certainly didn't vote for the Iraq War, one of the most overt imperial projects in modern U.S. history. They supported a quick and decisive end of the war - not its continuation nor its expansion.

Indeed, of all Americans, Blacks opposed the war the most vehemently, according to national polls.

Perhaps it was the deep memory of national oppression that made it so unseemly to support such an oppressive occupation against the Iraqi people; perhaps it was the clumsiness of the government's lies used to 'sell' the invasion.

But empires begotten by violence and exploitation are poisonous things that damage both sides of this deadly duo.

The British Empire toiled for generations to conquer and exploit over 1/2 of Africa, most of Asia and two-thirds of the Americas. But all of that crumbled when the nation was almost broken under the weight of the Germans, and she was too weak to hold her colonies. Indeed America, as the strongest to emerge from the war, inherited much of Britain's loss, as well as other European powers.

It inherited the Vietnam War when the French could no longer sustain it, and paid a heavy price of death and defeat.

Empires shouldn't be inherited lightly, like knick-knacks from an elderly grandma.

This is especially so in democracies, where the people allegedly determine public policy, for what public policy could be more dire than imperial war?

--(c) '09 maj

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Mumia über Oscar Grant

OSCAR GRANT -- and YOU
[col. writ. 1/17/09  (c) '09 Mumia Abu-Jamal

Like you, I've seen the searing phone-camera tape of the killing of 22-year-old Oscar Grant, of Oakland, California.

And although it's truly a terrible thing to see, it's almost exceeded by something just as shocking. That's been how the media has responded to this police killing, by creating a defense of error.

This defense, that the killer cop who murdered Grant somehow mistook his pistol for his Taser, has been offered by both local and national news reporters - even though they haven't heard word one from Johannes Mehserle, the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) cop who wasn't even interviewed for weeks after shooting an unarmed man!

If you've ever wondered about the role of the media, let this be a lesson to you. You can see here that the claim that the corporate media is objective is but a cruel illusion.

Imagine this: if the roles were reversed, that is, if bystanders had footage of Grant shooting Mehserle, would the media be suggesting a defense for him?

Would Grant have been free to roam, to leave the state a week later?

Would he have made bail?

The shooting of Oscar Grant III is but the latest, West Coast version of Amadou Diallo, of Sean Bell, and of hundreds of other Black men - and like them, don't be surprised if there is an acquittal - again.

Oscar Grant is you - and you are him, because you know in the pit of your stomach that it could've been you, and the same thing could've happened.

You know this.

And what's worse is this: you pay for this every time you pay taxes, and you endorse this every time you vote for politicians who sell out in a heartbeat.

You pay for your killers to kill you, in the name of a bogus, twisted law, and then pay for the State that defends him.

Something is terribly wrong here - and it's the system itself.

Until that is changed, nothing is changed, for we'll be out here again (in the streets) - chanting a different name.

--(C) '09 MAJ

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Time for Troy is Now!

[col. writ. 10/22/08] (c) '08 Mumia Abu-Jamal

As these words are written, Troy Davis's life may be measured in hours, if Georgia has its way.

His case is proof positive of how easy it is for a state to send someone to the death house, and how hellishly difficult it is to fight one's way out.

His case is ripped throughout with false testimony, with 80% of his trial witnesses now admitting as much. Of 9 people who testified at trial, 7 have recanted, saying they were forced by the cops to lie on him.

One, Jeffrey Sapp, swore by affidavit that "The police came and talked to me and put a lot of pressure on me to say 'Troy said this' or 'Troy said that.' I got tired of them harassing me, and they made it clear that the only way they would leave me alone is if I told them what they wanted to hear. I told them that Troy told me he did it, but it wasn't true. Troy never said that or anything like that."

But these recantations have fallen on deaf judicial ears, both in Georgia, and in Washington. Indeed, there has never even been a hearing on these recantations."

In another era, Davis would've had a new trial. But that was before the draconian AEDPA (Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act), of 1996, (signed into law by Bill Clinton, by the way), that makes it increasingly difficult for judges to grant relief - or even to get hearings.

In fact, even the state court judge, Georgia's Supreme Court Justice Leah Ward Sears, in her dissenting opinion, noted that the bar has been set so high for granting a new trial that no one could meet it.

Not even Troy Davis - an innocent man.

If Troy Davis is to be saved, it will take the People to demand it.

For more information, contact: here... or here...

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Mumia on BLACK AUGUST month of action

"I would like to leave behind me the conviction that if we maintain a certain amount of caution and organization we deserve victory... You cannot carry out fundamental change without a certain amount of madness. In this case, it comes from nonconformity, the courage to turn your back on the old formulas, the courage to invent the future. It took the madmen of yesterday for us to be able to act with extreme clarity today. I want to be one of those madmen. We must dare to invent the future."
Thomas Sankara, 1985 - The spirit of Black August moves through centuries of Black, Indian and multi-cultural resistance. It is an emblem of the spirit of freedom. It is a long smoldering spark of the fire in the hearts of a people, hearts burning and yearning for freedom. - Mumia abu Jamal

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Eine Rede für Schüler_innen, die der ehemalige Mitschüler Mumia Abu-Jamal wohl beinahe jährlich an die neuen Schüler_innen seiner ehemaligen Schule hält. Aus bekannten Gründen muss sie immer eingespielt werden.

Goddard IMA Commencement Speech by Alumni Mumia Abu-Jamal

By Taína AsiliWatch

video of introduction
Listen to full speech

This year's graduating class of the Individualized Master of Arts program at Goddard College proudly invited Mumia Abu-Jamal to be the keynote speaker of their commencement this past Sunday, August 10th 2008. It was a unanimous decision made by all of the graduates to invite Abu-Jamal, alumni of the college, to shed his wisdom and insight as a renowned journalist, freedom-fighter, and scholar. Mumia Abu-Jamal first walked upon the grassy hills of Vermont's alternative college as a student working towards his BA in the 1970's. Unable to complete his degree work then, it was Goddard who he once again approached in the 1990's, yet this time as a U.S. political prisoner. He chose Goddard because, "Goddard was ahead of the curve, transforming individuals and their respective communities by expanding the realm of knowledge based on the fundamental principles of democracy."

It was during this work that he met his adviser and ally, Margo MacLeod, who guided Abu-Jamal through the difficult process of completing his BA degree from behind prison walls. Years later, MacLeod became the founder and Program Director of the IMA program, which these graduates have just completed, helping to support a unique form of education for hundreds of students, just as she had for Abu-Jamal. It is for this reason MacLeod, who is no longer working at the college as of this year, was chosen by the graduates to introduce Abu-Jamal during their commencement. In her introduction MacLeod shares, "It seems to me that Mumia has achieved the kind of integration of body, mind, and spirit that we strive for within this program, and that each graduate today has achieved in some measure in their work."

Following MacLeod's introduction, Abu-Jamal's voice rang strong through two large speakers facing the audience, a packed house of eleven graduates, their family members, fellow students and college faculty. Some graduates had worried that not having his physical body present might create a vacant atmosphere. However, this fear was dispelled, as evidenced by the resounding standing ovation following his speech by a great majority of those in attendance.

During this passionate speech Abu-Jamal shared his fond feelings towards the college, and his appreciation for what he termed "one of the finest and most unique colleges in the country." He also warned the graduates, "You leave Goddard at a time when the nation and the world faces serious challenges, as do indeed you all. What the nation needs, and indeed what the world needs as well, is new clear thinking about the challenges facing us." Later adding, "But as Goddard grads you are all fully equipped with the ability to think, a faculty I might add not much in evidence in our national political life I'm afraid. But this ability when used critically and flexibly may yet result in finding sane, humane solutions to our problems."

One graduate, James Rose, reacted to Abu-Jamal's speech by stating, "I was inspired by Mumia's speech. His voice and words invoked a renewed commitment to truth and compassion, a commitment I need to practice every day. As a graduate with the privilege of a higher education, he reminded me of my new roles of teacher, leader, and an open-minded thinker." As one of the graduates myself, my hope is that Mumia Abu-Jamal's voice at our graduation will help to shed light on his unjust incarceration reflecting the work he has done to shine light on us all.

Listen to Mumia Abu Jamal's 2008 Goddard College IMA Commencement speech here.

View clips of the introduction by Margo MacLeod here.

For more info on Mumia Abu-Jamal go to...

On July 22, the US Third Circuit Court ruled against Mumia's en banc appeal, thereby affirming the court's March 27 decision denying him a new guilt-phase trial, or even a preliminary hearing that could have led to a new trial. Mumia is now appealing this to the US Supreme Court. The DA is expected to appeal to the US Supreme Court regarding the component of the March 27 ruling that overturned the death penalty and requires a new sentencing-phase jury trial for the death penalty to be reinstated.

Read the response from Mumia's attorney

and articles by Linn Washington Jr

Jeff Mackler

and the Philadelphia Inquirer

Original Artikel

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Brief von Mumia ans PEN Zentrum

Mumia Abu-Jamal
# AM-8335
SCI Greene
175 Progress Drive
WAYNESBURG, Pennsylvania 15370-8082
USA

18. Juni 2008

Dr. Winfried F Schöller
Frau Sabine Kebir
PEN-Zentrum
Deutschland, Berlin

Meine lieben Freunde und Schriftstellerkollegen,

als ich erfuhr, dass Mitglieder des PEN-Deutschland im letzten April aus einigen meiner Werke gelesen haben, wollte ich kaum meinen Ohren trauen.

Das war zugleich ein Geburtstagsgeschenk und ein Geschenk des Lebens, das mich mitten ins Herz traf.

Noch vor wenigen Jahren hätte ich es mir nicht träumen lassen, dass meine einsam geschriebenen Essays aus dem engen, isolierten Raum einer Todeszelle so weit reisen würden, wie sie es letztlich taten.

PEN-Deutschland hat uns wahrlich gezeigt, dass "Literatur keine Grenzen kennt...". Schreiben ist schon für sich genommen ein einsames Unterfangen. Schreiben aus der Todeszelle aber ist so ähnlich wie der buddhistische Brauch, etwas in den Sand zu zeichnen.

Nachdem ich erst jüngst Mitglied des PEN-America geworden bin, vermag ich kaum die Gefühle zu beschreiben, welche die Solidarität, die mir von Mitgliedern aus aller Welt entgegengebracht wurde, in mir ausgelöst hat.

Als gefangener Schriftsteller verbindet mich eine besondere Seelenverwandtschaft mit allen, die auch hinter Gefängnismauern schreiben - sowohl in den USA als auch anderswo.

Eure Arbeit ist ein profunder Ausdruck der Opposition gegen die Todesstrafe und der Solidarität im langen, harten Kampf für die Menschenrechte.

Ich danke euch allen!

Mumia Abu-Jamal,
aus der Todeszelle
Vereinigte Staaten von Amerika

(Übersetzung: Jürgen Heiser)
Dieser Brief wurde zuerst auf der Webseite des Bremer IVK
veröffentlicht.

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Interview mit Mumia über die schwarze Bürgerrechtsbewegung und die Black Panther Party 1996

zum Video

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Kommentar über Ralph Nadar, 2007

zum Video

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Mumias Grussbotschaft für Antifademo in Hamburg und revolutionäre 1. Mai Demo in Berlin

May Day against Imperialist War!
(message writ. 4/27/08) @'08 Mumia Abu-Jamal

Ona Move!

To all the German people who stand against imperialism, racism, and the resurgence of fascism-I greet you!

To our friends in Hamburg, in Kreuzberg, and beyond, it is a joy to join you on May Day, if only in spirit, and this day of celebration and remebrance of the power and sacrifice of labor.

I write these words in knowledge that a great American labor union, the International Logshoreman & Warehouse Union (ILWU) will mark May Day by an 8-hour shut down of all ports on the US West Coast, from Mexico to Canada! This labor action is against the imperial war in Iraq and for peace!

I salute you in Germany on May Day, as you battle against imperial war, against fascism, against racism, and for solidarity among the peoples of our world!

Aus die Tödeszelle,
(From Death Row)
hier sprecht,
Mumia Abu-Jamal

Grussbotschaft als Datei

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"The Idea of a Black President" by Mumia Abu-Jamal

* The Idea of a Black President *

* [col. writ. 12/18/07] (c) '07 Mumia Abu-Jamal *

For much of the US populace, the very idea of a Black president is one so new, so novel, that it forces many people to think of it as if it is barely possible; as if it is the stuff of fiction, not fact.

Fiction has indeed been the realm of this idea, as in movies, and television series, actors have played the part, but that, of course, is on TV.

Of course, time will tell if that is more than imagination, but for millions of people who share this vast land space we call North America, the idea is neither new nor ground-breaking.

That's because there are some 100 million people living in Mexico, and that country had a Black president (albeit briefly) --some 173 years ago.

It was during their war for independence from Spain, when a warrior emerged, a Black Indian named Vicente Guerrero.

In his first battle, he was commissioned a Captain. As the independence war raged on, many of the leading revolutionaries were either killed, or captured. Guerrero fought on, leading some 2,000 men into the Sierra Madre mountains to continue the fight.

By 1821, the Mexicans were prevailing over the Spanish, and Guerrero was hailed as an incorruptible independence fighter. In 1829 he became President of Mexico, and as scholar William Loren Katz writes in his 1986 book, Black Indians :

He began a program of far-reaching reforms, abolishing the death penalty, and starting construction of schools and libraries for the poor. He ended slavery in Mexico. Yet, because of his skin color, lack of education, and country manner, he was held in

contempt by the upper classes in Mexico City.

This president who had, according to {US. historian M.H.} Bancroft, " a gentleness and magnetism that inspired love among his adherents." was still " a triple-blooded outsider."

Black historian J. A. Rogers summarized Guerrero's striking accomplishments by calling him 'the George Washington and Abraham Lincoln of Mexico."[p.48]

Guerrero, who in his youth was an illiterate mule driver, once bitten by the bug of Mexican independence, rose to the highest office in the land.

He learned to read when he was about 40, and helped craft the Mexican Constitution, of which he wrote the following provision: "All inhabitants whether white, African, or Indian, are qualified to hold office." He wrote this in /1824/, over 30 years before the US Supreme Court's infamous Dred Scott decision, which announced, emphatically, that"...a black man has no rights that a white man is bound to respect." and that black people weren't, /and could never be/ citizens of the United States.

In that era of revolution and social transformation, a Black man became president of the second largest country in North America.

Today, 178 years later, we still wonder if such a thing is possible.

What does that say about the United States?

--(c) '07 maj

{Source: Katz, William Loren, Black Indians: A Hidden Heritage (New York: Simon Pulse, 1986 [Simon Pulse/pb ed.,2005], p.42

anfang

The Law That Promotes Punishment (Instead of Education)

October 30, 2007

By Mumia Abu-Jamal

It's been 5 years since the No Child Left Behind law was put into place, and around the nation, it has left wreckage in its wake.

That's because, like many such laws pushed by the paranoid right wind, what a law is called has little (or nothing) to do with what a law does.

Calling it No Child Left Behind gave it the benign imagery of caring for children and their futures. It's like the so-called Patriot Act - an act, to be sure, but one so patently unconstitutional in its evisceration of the 4th Amendment (and other constitutional provisions) that no true patriot could ever support it.

While the imagery of a catchy title might've helped in it's selling, the lesser known side of the law is now about to kick in - and it threatens to transform public schools into private businesses, transfer them into charter schools, allow state takeovers -- or close them.

This law is of a piece from the right's central array of evils - an attack on the very idea of public education, and a fixation with privatizing everything.

Who will suffer more from these transformations? School staffs, or children?

For No Child Left Behind was but another example of business uber alles, and the poor be damned.

Can the same states that made boot camps into squalid hellholes of torture for children, somehow make schools pristine halls of learning? Indeed, in many states, the 'business' of boot camping children has been tried, and while it has made money, it has been the epicenter of abuse, mistreatment, and actually, state-subsidized child abuse.

So much for the business model.

The law was both a punishment for the poor, and a cold, calculating recognition that some children have no real place in the post-industrial society being built, and thus, were to be left behind.

Uneducated, left to the tender mercies of the streets, to stew in a hopeless funk, or to feed the cavernous maw of prison...how left behind can you get?

According to a recent report in the New York Times, Florida faces the closing of 441 schools; Baltimore has 9 schools on the failure list; in New York State, 77 schools face so-called restructuring; and in California, over 1,000 schools have been designated chronic failures.*

By the year 2014, all of the schools located in California's poorest districts, some 6,063 schools, are expected to be on that list!

No Child Left Behind was designed to fail, to deliver the coup de-grace to public education, and also to disable or destroy the hated teacher's unions.

It was a law designed to fail, not to solve a pressing social problem.

The question shouldn't be whether this new (and supposedly 'improved') Congress should tinker with the law.

Congress should repeal it.

(c) '07 maj

{*Source: Schemo, Diana Jean, "Failing Schools Strain to Meet U.S. Standard," New York Times, Tues., Oct. 16, 2007, pp A1, A21.}

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Original Content at OpEdNews

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anfang

Of 'White Trees', Black Boys and Jena, Louisiana [col. writ. 7/21/07] (c) '07 Mumia Abu-Jamal

recorded 7/21/07

I you asked me two weeks ago if I've ever heard the name of a little town in Louisiana called 'Jena', I would've drawn a blank. Jena? Never heard of it. It made me think of the ill-fated Palestinian village called Janin, that Israel crushed into oblivion several years ago. I think the incumbent president's daughter has that name (with and additional 'n').

But, that's it.

When a friend sent me several internet articles about recent events there, I was, quite frankly, flabbergasted. I was astonished to learn that today, in the first decade of the 21st century, in Jena High School, there is still a 'white tree', called that not because the leaves are white, but because it is a generous giver of shade, and only white students sit under it.

In Sept. 2006, a young student named Kenneth Purvis asked the school principal for permission to sit under the 'white tree.' The principal answered that he could sit where he liked. So, they did. The next day, the 'white tree' was festooned with three nooses, in school colors.

In the South (or the North, for that matter), nooses have one clear meaning -- they are threats of death. People naturally got riled up, angry, or scared. Jena's High School principal looked into the matter, found the three white students responsible, and recommended that they be expelled. The school superintendent felt otherwise, rescinded the expulsion, and instead recommended a 3 - day suspension. Speaking to the Chicago Tribune, the superintendent said, "Adolescents play pranks. I don't think it was a threat against anybody." (Perhaps he meant anybody important - or white). For Jena's Black community, this was but the latest slap in the face.

Black students at the high school decided to resist by holding a sit-in under the 'white tree' to protest the light suspensions given to the 3 white noose-hangers. When word got out about the pending sit-in, the local DA came to a Jena school assembly, with several cops to threaten the students who dared to think they could do what people did some 40 years ago throughout the South (before the so-called 'New South'). He told them if they didn't stop making a fuss about this 'prank' he could be "your worst enemy." To make the point plain, he told the teen gathering, "I can take away your lives with a stroke of a pen." Several days later, a white Jena student, who reportedly made racist taunts, including calling Black students 'niggers', got knocked down, punched and kicked. The boy was taken to the hospital, treated and released. That very night, he was well enough to attend a public event.

Within days six Black Jena students were arrested and charged with attempted second degree murder. All six were also immediately expelled. The 6 teens were given bails set from $70,000 to $139,000. Bail at these ranges could've just as easily been set at $1 million, for they were at rates that none of the local parents could afford. That meant, of course, that all of the accused were held in jail for months, awaiting trial. And if money for bail was out of reach, what about money for attorneys? Again -- out of the question. That meant that public defenders were appointed by the court. For one of the accused, Mychal Bell, this meant little better than no counsel at all, for his trial was soon decided by an all-white jury, who promptly convicted him of aggravated second degree assault, battery and conspiracy. Bell now awaits sentencing which may put the teenager in prison for the next 22 years. The public defender never challenged the all-white jury pool, put on no evidence, and didn't call a single defense witness. The law of aggravated assault requires the use of a deadly weapon. What was the weapon? Tennis shoes. Families and friends of the Jena 6 are organizing against this case, and are also being threatened by the local establishment. One woman told Louisiana ACLU member, Tory Pegram, "We have to convince more people to come rally with us.....What's the worse that could happen? They fire us from our jobs? We have the worst jobs in the town anyway. They burn a cross on our lawns or burn down my house? All of that has happened to us before. We have to keep speaking out to make sure it doesn't happen to us again, or our children will never be safe."

To contact the Jena 6 Defense Committee, write:
P.O. Box 2798
Jena, Louisiana 71342

Or on the web:
ena6defense@gmail.com.
--(c) '07 maj [Sources: Quigley, Bill, "Injustice in Jena: Black Nooses Hanging From the 'White' Tree", July 3, '07; Quigley@loyana.edu.
Mangold, Tom, "'Stealth racism' stalks deep South",
BBC News, 5/24/07 online]
[Mr. Jamal's recent book features a chapter on the remarkable women who helped build and defend the Black Panther Party: *WE WANT FREEDOM:
A Life in the Black Panther Party*, from South End Press (http://www.southendpress.org); Ph.
#1-800-533-8478.]

anfang