April 24:
Taking the Streets for Mumia

Revolutionary Worker #1005, May 9, 1999

April 24--This was the biggest day of protest yet in the fight to stop the execution of revolutionary political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal. Over 20,000 people came out to Philadelphia--while, across the country, 15,000 marched in San Francisco. There were reports of other actions around the world, including a blockade of the U.S. embassy in Norway.

In both Philadelphia and San Francisco, youth and students were a major force. But there were many different people there, of various nationalities, ages, and political views. What united everybody was a fresh determination to step up the struggle to prevent the government from stealing Mumia's life from us.

Last October the Pennsylvania Supreme Court denied Mumia's appeal for a new trial--a clear sign that the power structure is pressing ahead with its vicious plans for the first execution of a political prisoner in the U.S. since the Rosenbergs in the 1950s. Mumia will file an appeal in the federal courts, but the Effective Death Penalty Act (EDPA) signed into law by President Clinton limits evidence these courts can hear on death row appeals. In response to this grave danger, Mumia's supporters made various plans to intensify the battle, including the call for Millions for Mumia demonstrations worldwide on April 24--the anniversary of the passage of the EDPA and Mumia's 45th birthday.

The demonstrations on April 24 strengthened the basis for raising the movement to the breadth, diversity and determination that is required to stop the government from proceeding with its plans to kill Mumia. Those in power must be made to feel that it would be simply too dangerous for them to execute this revolutionary. As C. Clark Kissinger wrote: "We have to think about what it really means to `take the struggle to a whole new level.' It means that Mumia's case must become the unavoidable topic of talk shows and radio call-ins, of debates and columns in newspapers, in the arts and major cultural events, of campus teach-ins, of union resolutions, and in religious gatherings. It means that Mumia's name has to be so well known that millions are following the debate and the struggle over his case. It means that elected public officials, major social and religious organizations, and prominent figures cannot avoid taking a stand. Because today, where you stand on the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal is the benchmark of where you stand on social justice."

This week, the RW coverage of the April 24 actions includes a reporter's notebook from Philadelphia and a report from San Francisco. We will have further coverage next week, including excerpts from speakers at the stage in Philadelphia.

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