Focus on Philly Hearings
Mobilize for Mumia
Revolutionary Worker #1051 April 23, 2000
Sisters and brothers, we are at a critical time in the fight to stop the execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal. We must make it known to millions, through our actions, that the execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal is unacceptable, that it is an intolerable injustice, and that the people are determined to stop it. Throughout the U.S. and around the world, we need to reach out so that millions of people believe that this execution should not happen, and there is a powerful and passionate movement of people for whom this cannot happen.
With the filing of the habeus corpus appeal in federal court--under the shadow of temporarily stayed death warrant--the struggle to stop the execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal has entered an important new stage. The case is now before Judge William H. Yohn at the Federal District Court--and this Federal District Court is now the only place where all the new evidence that the Pennsylvania state courts refused to allow into the record can be admitted--and therefore be available for examination in higher appeals. Going into these Federal District Court hearings, it is crucial that the movement to stop Mumia's execution be `heard' in new ways--and with new scope.
Judge Yohn is expected to begin by hearing oral arguments on whether Mumia should be granted an evidentiary hearing, or whether the federal courts will review Mumia's case based solely on the Pennsylvania court record developed by the notorious "hanging judge" Sabo.
This court appearance could come at any time. But whenever it is, we must be there in our thousands!
The first day of the hearings has particular importance. Mumia will be at this hearing--in open court for the first time since 1997. When Mumia steps into court, we need thousands of people in the streets of Philly, and during this time, we need to awaken people all around the country to the importance of this case and send a clear message to the power structure that there are increasing numbers of people paying attention to this case, that many more are coming to oppose this execution, and that there are serious forces determined to prevent it.
Mobilizing for the first day of hearings poses new challenges to the movement to stop the execution. But as the "Letter to the Movement: The Next Critical Period in the Battle to Save Mumia Abu-Jamal" pointed out, the time "leading up to the Federal District court's decision...must feature our best efforts, our strongest measures, our most creative energies."
The story of Mumia is the story of a Black revolutionary and journalist under police surveillance for years; of a police department and court system that stands out for its racism, corruption, and brutality; of a war against Black radicals by powerful forces in the Philadelphia power structure; of a trial so racist and biased that it defiles every standard of fairness and justice; and of a man who refuses to bow down or give in--and who, from his cell on death row, makes his voice heard against the death penalty, the criminalization of the youth, the inhumanity of the prison system, and the living legacy of white supremacy in this United States of America.
This story needs to reverberate throughout society. There is so much at stake for the people in this fight. If the system succeeds in executing Mumia, the people will suffer a bitter loss that will have heavy consequences for Black people, for the poor, for the youth, for all those unjustly imprisoned, for all those on death row, and for anyone who cares about justice and equality--for years to come. The more that people understand that stopping the execution of Mumia is "a benchmark for where you stand on fundamental issues of social justice," the more determined they will be to do what needs to be done.
An ambitious plan of action came out of the February Emergency Conference to Save the Life of Mumia Abu-Jamal--to push this battle out in new ways and with new scope. And this whole period around the opening of the District Court hearings is shaping up as an intense time of heightened mobilization to stop the execution. Mumia has contributed a powerful weapon with his new book All Things Censored; Amnesty International has published a new pamphlet on Mumia's case; educators around the country are preparing a statement to be published in the New York Times; a major rally is called for May 7 at Madison Square Garden in New York City; May 13 marks a regional west coast mobilization in the San Francisco Bay Area; and around the country people are preparing for the hearings in Philly.
The fight to stop this execution will test us all in new ways. We have to dare to struggle, dare to win.
From our revolutionary Maoist point of view, we see the struggle to save Mumia as a crucial battlefront in the all-around revolutionary political struggle of today--to prepare for the time when it is possible for the people to rise up in revolution and put an end to this brutal and unjust system.
For our part we are determined to stop this execution. And we believe that we need to unite all who can be united--and, together, we need to dare to struggle in a way that lets the power structure know that their whole system is on trial in this case. To those who are fixated with taking Mumia's life, we must raise the specter of opposition so broad, so diverse and so determined that the rulers of this society would have to pay an unacceptable price. And then and only then--and not for reasons of right and justice--will the rulers of this country back down on the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal.
"Revolutionaries must not be killed for their beliefs-- the people must defend them."
This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
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