The following pledge is being circulated by Refuse & Resist!

Stop The Execution!
A Pledge of Conscience

Revolutionary Worker #964, July 5, 1998

This is a new pledge of support for Mumia developed by Refuse & Resist together with the International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal. The pledge allows the widest range of people to express their determination to oppose the government's attempt to execute Mumia.

It is intended to be used by everyone working on the campaign as a regular part of our on-going work. It can be distributed at programs, through mailings, and printed in publications. Groups distributing the pledge can use it to develop local mailing lists and emergency response networks, but the information collected should be forwarded to the Family & Friends in Philadelphia.

Mumia Abu-Jamal is still on death row. His fate, and the cause of justice itself, depend on us.

A decision in the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal is coming soon from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The chances are great that he will be denied a new trial, and the governor of Pennsylvania has promised to sign a new death warrant immediately. Although a federal appeal will stay that execution date, a new death warrant would be a major turning point in Mumia's case. It would signal that a political decision has been made to push ahead with Mumia's execution. A stay is nothing but a temporary postponement.

The trial that put Mumia on death row was a legal travesty. Because of the circumstances surrounding his conviction and sentencing, his case has become a touchstone internationally and in the U.S. Therefore:

  • In face of the threat of a new death warrant, I pledge to speak out for a new trial and to prevent the execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal.
  • In the event of a new death warrant, I pledge further that I will devote whatever effort is needed to prevent the first execution of a political dissident in the U.S. in over 45 years.

    The whole world is watching.
    I will not stand by in silence.

    Why YOU Should Sign the Pledge

    In 1995 Mumia Abu-Jamal was only 10 days away from execution when massive worldwide protest forced the government to grant a temporary stay of execution. Today, he awaits one last decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. If they decide against him, a death warrant will be signed. After this, his case will go to federal court. In today's climate of "rush to the death penalty," no one can predict how quickly and on what terms his case will be decided.

    Mumia's original trial was a travesty. He was denied the right to act as his own counsel. His court-appointed attorney was so incompetent he was later disbarred. Witnesses who could give testimony supporting Mumia's innocence were coerced and suppressed. Hundreds of Philadelphia cases have been overturned in recent years based on federal charges of corruption and documented official lying by the Philadelphia police department. Even if one were to fully accept the police version of the facts, it would not have been a first degree murder/death penalty case. It came to be so only through political motivations, evidenced by the prosecutor arguing for the death penalty by reading revolutionary quotes from Mumia's writings ten years earlier.

    Indeed, Mumia's case cannot be separated from who he is and what he represents. As a high school student, he was a founding member of the Black Panther Party in Philadelphia. Mumia's FBI file begins at age 15. Later, as a prominent radio journalist, he developed a style of radio journalism that put the voices of the inner city onto the airwaves. He exposed a corrupt Philadelphia police department, and its war against the MOVE organization, and thus became a police target himself--charged with the murder of a police officer, which many eyewitnesses testified he did not commit.

    For these reasons, many have come to oppose Mumia's execution, and join the fight for a new trial.

    "If you look today at the movement to save Mumia Abu-Jamal's life, what do you find? You find there are many people who believe that he is totally and completely innocent, that he is in prison because he is an ex-Black Panther, because he is a MOVE supporter, because of the racism of this country. There are plenty of people who believe just that. But there are others who know about what went on in Judge Sabo's courtroom. And they look at how unfair that trial was, and they know about how the police pressured the witnesses against Mumia and they know as time has gone on how almost all of those witnesses have recanted. And they look at a trial like that and they say, we don't know whether he is guilty or innocent but we know that was an unfair trial and a trial that is so unfair can't prove anything. You shouldn't even take someone's drivers license away in a trial like that, let alone put him on death row. And then there are those who simply say the death penalty is wrong and that this killing has got to stop."

    Robert Meeropol,
    son of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg

    The case of Mumia Abu-Jamal has become a touchstone in society. It has come to concentrate a whole political atmosphere of blame and punishment aimed at society's most oppressed--criminalization of Black men, suppression of dissent, expanded death penalty, and the gutting of defendant's rights.

    This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
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