Mumia's Life Is on the Line

By C. Clark Kissinger

Revolutionary Worker #1088, January 28, 2001, posted at

An outrageous precedent of criminalizing political speech and protest is being set with the imprisonment of C. Clark Kissinger--revolutionary journalist and correspondent to the RW, founding member of Refuse & Resist!, and a leading organizer in the movement to stop the execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Clark has been behind bars since December 6, 2000, for "violating the terms of his probation" stemming from an arrest in July 1999 at a protest in support of Mumia at the Liberty Bell. On August 1, 2000, Clark, along with many leaders of the Mumia movement, went to Philadelphia to speak at the protests outside the Republican National Convention. For this, Clark was charged with violating the terms of his probation. At the hearing on these charges, the prosecutor revealed the real reason for this attack. He declared Clark's speech was "not lawful speech." He even quoted from the speech as evidence that Clark should be punished to prevent him from further acts of protest and to deter others from taking political action! Clark was found guilty and jailed for 90 days.

This past week Clark's appeal for a stay of execution of his sentence was denied by the courts.

From behind bars, Clark continues his revolutionary journalism and his work in support of Mumia. Following is the text of a taped message sent to demonstrations at the Bush inaugural.

This is Clark Kissinger, speaking to you from the federal detention center in Brooklyn.

Today, the evil empire inaugurates its new president. Selected 5-4, from a field of two, as undistinguished as they were indistinguishable, the principal claim to fame of George W. Bush is his record as an executioner. In fact, he revels in it.

The state of Texas alone has executed 239 people since the re-introduction of the death penalty in the U.S. That's more executions than any other jurisdiction in the Western world. 152 of these executions have taken place since George W. Bush became governor in 1995. That's approximately one execution every two weeks. One of his first acts as governor was to deny clemency to Mario Marguez, a man whose brain injury left him with the mental skills of a 7-year-old. George W. went on to lead the Texas state legislature to speed up the appeals process for death row inmates and to defeat attempts to outlaw the execution of the mentally retarded.

Perhaps George W.'s towering crime was the execution of Shaka Sankofa, a palpably innocent young black man. All the undeniable right on the side of Sankofa could not stop the relentless machinery of injustice with Bush at the helm. The morality of Sankofa's case meant nothing to those whose morals are reckoned in profit and power. His execution made clear to millions what it is going to take for our own side to win.

Now, the life of Mumia Abu-Jamal is on the line. And the outcome of this case is going to affect the legal and political climate of this country for years to come.

If you are someone who is profoundly disturbed by what happened to Mumia in his sham trial, then we need your voice.

If you are disgusted by the pervasive white supremacy of the judicial killing machine, then here is where to draw the line.

If you are someone whose principal concern is the death penalty itself, this is the showdown case.

If you are someone who is convinced of Mumia's innocence, then don't let a miscarriage of justice happen.

If you are someone concerned about the suppression of dissenting voices, then help make Mumia's voice be heard.

All are needed in building this great movement, even though we will not all speak with the same voice nor carry out the same tasks. But together we will seize on every new outrage to expose the executioners and to tell Mumia's story to ever wider audiences. Together, we must present the rulers with the specter of a situation that threatens to spiral out of their control and is dangerously unacceptable to them.

We must raise the specter of high schools and universities across the nation shut down by striking students.

We must raise the specter of people of conscience chaining themselves to the White House gate.

We must raise the specter of debate and controversy breaking out in every sector of society.

We must raise the specter of millions marching in the streets.

We must raise the specter of teachers, artists, and influential writers losing faith in the system itself--and communicating their infection to others.

We must raise the specters of Los Angeles and Seattle.

And we must make the United States a pariah in the international community, a country whose very name is synonymous with racism and legalized murder.

In short, we must present them with a situation where they will have to pay an unacceptable price in every arena of society. Then, and only then, will the rulers of this country step back from the attempted murder of Mumia Abu-Jamal.

We must all be in Philadelphia for Mumia's first day in federal court!

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