by Carl Dix, National Spokesperson for the RCP,USA
Revolutionary Worker #1083, December 17, 2000, posted at http://rwor.org
On December 6, a federal judge in Philadelphia jailed Clark Kissinger, a contributing writer to the Revolutionary Worker newspaper, a founding member of R&R and a leading organizer in the movement to win justice for Mumia Abu Jamal, for 90 days. The "criminal act" that led to Clark's jailing was a speech he gave at a protest outside the Republican National Convention (RNC) in August. In this "criminal" speech, Kissinger called out the RNC as an "Executioner's Ball" and called on people to escalate the fight to win justice for Mumia.
Giving this speech was a "crime" in the eyes of the authorities because Clark had been put on a year's probation for his participation in the Liberty Bell protests in support of Mumia in July of '99. The terms of Clark's probation forbid him to travel without permission or to associate with felons. These and other conditions of his probation have been used by the authorities to try to cripple his participation in the movement to win justice for Mumia.
The authorities made clear in their actions inside the court room that they were out for blood. When Clark's lawyers argued that he had a right to stand up for Mumia at the RNC, the prosecutor said, "Once Mr. Kissinger broke the law, he forfeited his rights." The judge added, "Why are we even talking about the First Amendment? That's an issue for the appeals court. The only issue in this court is whether or not the defendant violated the terms of his probation." And just before pronouncing sentence, the judge unleashed U.S. marshals on Clark's supporters, and they arrested TWO people and brutalized others in the course of clearing the court.
This vicious attack must be beaten back. The movement for justice for Mumia faces a critical time. An important hearing in federal court could be scheduled at any time. This hearing may represent Mumia's last chance to enter new evidence that he was the victim of a raggedy railroad back in 1982. We can't let them get away with snatching a key activist out of this movement as we face such a crucial juncture. And we can't let them get away with perpetrating this kind of outrage without serious resistance because it could deliver a chilling message to others involved in this fight, or thinking about getting involved. We must make sure that this attack backfires on them. That it leads to many more people being drawn into the fight for justice for Mumia.
KILLER COPS GO FREEŚ
A REVOLUTIONARY GETS JAILED FOR FIGHTING FOR JUSTICE!
A bomb was dropped on the MOVE house in 1985, killing 11 people, five of them children. The only person who went to jail after this happened was Ramona Africa for the "crime" of surviving this murderous assault. Law enforcement agents in Philly killed Donte Dawson, Moises DeJesus, Anthony DiDonato and countless other unarmed, innocent people in the 1990's. None of these cops went to jail. Yet Clark Kissinger gets put in jail for giving this speech.
The prosecutor insisted several times that they needed to give Clark jail time because, "This court is obligated to punish criminal activity and protect the public." What criminal activity of Clark's are they trying to protect people from? Clark has been involved in the revolutionary movement since the early 1960s. For about a decade, he has poured his heart and soul into the fight to stop Mumia's execution and free him from jail. His revolutionary Maoist convictions have led him to see the necessity to build a movement in support of Mumia that is broad, diverse and determined. Clark has fought to involve the broadest sections of people in this fight for justice without either watering down Mumia's revolutionary political stance or soft pedaling how high the stakes are in this battle, for both the people and the authorities. Clark's work is an important part of why this movement has been able to involve and unleash groups and individuals from many different viewpoints and backgrounds.
This is just what the government is aiming to derail. The movement for justice for Mumia has stung them. It has stalled their attempt to murder this revolutionary and silence his voice. To go forward with their railroad, they feel the need to undercut the ability of the movement to mobilize a powerful outpouring of support for Mumia now as the important hearing in federal court looms on the horizon.
I've said many times, "We need to stop the execution of Mumia and free him from jail because we need him out here on the streets with us helping to build a revolutionary movement that can take on all the attacks this system brings down." In the same vein, we need Clark Kissinger out on the streets. We need him out here helping to build the kind of movement we need to win justice for
Mumia--a movement that's broad, diverse and determined. And we need him helping to build a revolutionary movement too. This is why we must go all out to throw this attempt to punish a revolutionary activist for speaking out for, and fighting for, justice back in their faces. We must fight this attack on Clark Kissinger and use the support we build for Clark to strengthen the fight for Justice for Mumia.
This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
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