Revolution #253, December 18, 2011

Philadelphia: Hundreds Mark 30-Year Anniversary in Mumia Battle

On December 9, a program was held in Philadelphia on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the railroading of Mumia Abu-Jamal. The program was marked by a combination of exuberance over forcing the DA to back off of pursuing the death penalty in the case and a fierce determination to continue the struggle until Mumia is freed from prison. An 800-seat auditorium in Constitution Hall in downtown Philly was standing room only for the event.

An array of speakers, including Pam and Ramona Africa, Vijay Prashad, Johanna Fernandez, Mark Taylor, Mark Lamont Hill, and Lennox Hinds, expounded on the two themes. Ramona Africa called on people to remain alert to the continuing threat to Mumia's life as he remains in the government's clutches, and spoke to the long, bitter history that the masses of people in the U.S. and around the world have suffered at the hands of the U.S. rulers. She pointed in particular to how revolutionaries like George Jackson have been murdered in prison.

Immortal Technique performed four well-received songs. In a video message, author Michelle Alexander drew the connections between the need for continued struggle to free Mumia and the fight to end the New Jim Crow—the mass incarceration of Black and Latino people. International participation has long been a feature of the struggle to free Mumia. This was much in evidence on December 9. There were demonstrations and meetings held in Mexico City, Paris, London, Copenhagen and four cities in Germany in the week leading into the anniversary. Representatives from France, Haiti, and Venezuela were in the Philly hall.

Cornel West ended the evening with a rousing speech in which he spoke to the contrast between the dominant ethos in society of being "out for me" vs. Mumia's shining example of revolutionary love—being concerned about others—and called on the youth to be inspired by and follow that example. A highlight of the evening was when Mumia called into the event from prison and urged the crowd to continue to struggle, not just to free him but to oppose all injustice.

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