Keepin' It Real for Mumia

Carl Dix

Revolutionary Worker #1022, September 19, 1999

1999 is a year of decision in the fight to stop the execution of our comrade and brother, Mumia Abu-Jamal. September, 1999, is a critical hour of decision. Shortly after the Week of Awareness for Mumia (Sept 19-25), his legal team will have to file the court papers that will begin the crucial and FINAL rounds of the legal battle. Everything we do now will help decide the outcome of this battle.

The power structure has continued and escalated its determined attempt to take Mumia's life. We need to meet them with the most diverse and determined struggle to date. The events of Mumia Awareness Week need to send up a roar that'll rattle the cowardly hearts of those in power with our message: WE WON'T LET YOU CARRY OUT YOUR LEGAL LYNCHING OF THIS PRECIOUS REVOLUTIONARY!

This past year, the fight to save Mumia's life has grown by leaps and bounds. This is very positive and encouraging. Our struggle has held back the executioner's hand. But it's not yet where it needs to be. We need to stop Mumia's execution and free him from their clutches. Recent attacks on Mumia and his supporters make clear that the authorities are still out to murder Mumia. To stop their murderous moves on his life will take a GIGANTIC LEAP in our struggle NOW!

The basis for making this leap with the Mumia Awareness Week is the solid foundation our struggle has laid this past year. The beautiful Oakland school teach-in, the in-their-face Rage Against the Machine concert in New Jersey, the marches of over 35,000 in the streets of San Francisco and Philadelphia on April 24th, the Evergreen College commencement that aired a tape from Mumia, a New York Times ad, the strong youth turnout for Philly Freedom Summer and the powerful Mumia 911 events on September 11--the National Day of Art to Stop the Execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal.

These have stung the enemy, and they have lashed back with blood dripping from their fangs. They're still out to legally assassinate Mumia, the only political prisoner on death row. Their vicious intent was clear in last summer's outrageous program on ABC-TV affiliate, KGO, in San Francisco, and in the two 20/20 programs hosted by hatchet man, Sam Donaldson--which all basically called for Mumia's execution.

On April 25th, the city of Philadelphia withdrew the arrangement that allowed city workers to donate to the Black United Fund of Pennsylvania (BUF/PA), a Black charitable organization, through their paychecks. The BUF/PA has not even taken a position on Mumia's case, but they do provide a service to Mumia's supporters by allowing people to make tax free contributions through them. The city's move threatens the very survival of BUF/PA and the survival of many charities that serve the Black community. By putting this squeeze on BUF/PA, the city is assaulting the entire Black community.

In Israel, the government has blown up whole Palestinian villages as punishment because some youth have thrown rocks. The attack on the BUF/PA is the U.S. government's version of the same thing. It's collective punishment against the Black community. The enemy is howling that the entire community renounce and distance itself from this unrepentant rebel-slave, Mumia. In line with Amerikkkan, white supremacist tradition, the powers' message is clear: There's a price to pay for anyone who stands up for (or even just sides with) justice and freedom, and a higher price still from Black organizations and Black people.

All this was topped off by a hit piece in Vanity Fair magazine that featured yet another fabricated confession. Hundreds of papers and TV stations ran Phil Bloch's lie that Mumia had confessed to the murder he was charged with. But the fact is Bloch was not even on Mumia's visiting list at the time he said he visited Mumia and heard him confess. Bloch wrote Mumia months after this supposed confession, stating he looked forward to Mumia getting acquitted through a new trial. And Bloch donated money to print a newspaper ad that argued the case for a new trial for Mumia years after he supposedly heard Mumia confess.

The government railroaded Mumia to death row after a trial based on a phony confession and testimony from witnesses who had been bribed or intimidated. Now as Mumia's defense exposes what a travesty of justice that trial was, they're trying to hit back with another phony confession. They're trying to use their bought and paid for media mouthpieces to subject Mumia to a trial by media, where lies that stoke the execution machine get blown up into headlines and the truth gets buried. As Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine said: "...if these people are so sure of Mumia's guilt, then why not have a new trial?" The ugliest lynch mob howls for Mumia's execution are led by the Fraternal Order of Police-the largest cop organization in the U.S. with over 283,000 members (including Judge Sabo who presided over Mumia's railroad). Their August 18th press release launching a nationwide boycott against businesses and individuals who support Mumia ends with, "And we will not rest until Abu-Jamal burns in hell." They have harassed artists who have supported Mumia and post a list of targeted artists on their web site. The FOP's actions represent a big move in the stampede towards a police state and cannot be tolerated by anyone who doesn't want to live in a society where the cops can dictate to artists and others.

Some of those who side with the FOP on this case express shock that anyone would accuse police, prosecutors and judges of conspiring to deny Mumia his rights. The Philadelphia police department has a long history of brutality and murder which especially targets the Black community and Black activists. The courts in Philly have an equally long history of whitewashing this brutality and collaborating with the cops in sending innocent people to jail--just like cops, prosecutors and judges all across the country. Mumia's arrest and railroad typifies how Black people and other people of color and the poor are treated by the truly "criminal" justice system in this country.

As we step up with broad, diverse and determined struggle during this Mumia Awareness Week, we need to have a YOUTHQUAKE at the center. Mumia has given love and inspiration to a new generation of warriors to step out to fight the power, to fight for a different future. To fight for a far better world than this dog-eat-dog nightmare. Rebel youth of all nationalities and from all walks of life can and must make an exclamation point on the end of this millennium by going all out to win justice for Mumia. Through doing this they will help shape the direction of things to come.

We need to continue making our schools, workplaces and neighborhoods into strongholds in this battle. Through the Awareness Week, we need to aim for bringing Mumia's story to millions-helping them to understand the stakes of this battle and getting many of them to become active in stopping Mumia's execution. It will require a tremendous amount of work to make his name a household word and to make our cry for justice in this case a political dividing line in this country. This is just what we must aim to accomplish. They have to fear the anger and disillusionment of millions against them and their system if they harm our brother.

Just what kind of a sick system would brutalize and try to kill a courageous brother like Mumia? It's a system that has shown through their treatment of him and millions like him that it cares nothing for the truth or justice, or even abiding by its own rules. It's a cruel system that has always used and abused millions here and worldwide, and doesn't deserve to exist another minute. It's a hateful system that will never change and must be overthrown by mass armed revolution when the time is ripe.

In order to get to the point when we can bring an end to this evil system of capitalism, we cannot let them crush our hope. We can't let them murder our revolutionary leaders and heroes. Imagine what it would mean for us to succeed and stop the government's plan to murder Mumia. It would be tremendously inspiring for the people and a huge setback for our enemy. Through taking on and winning battles like this one, we can build up the people's strength and organization for the future showdown with the system and put ourselves in the best position to win. This government is powerful, but it's not invincible when it's up against our determined struggle.

Mumia was given the death sentence because of his political beliefs-- for being an unrepentant former Black Panther who quoted Mao Tsetung's words that political power grows out of the barrel of a gun. Some other words of Mao are fitting for this decisive moment: "Dare to struggle, dare to win." And "Seize the time! Seize the hour!" It's time to go all out in the struggle for Mumia's life.

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