Revolutionary Worker #1115, August 19, 2001, posted at http://rwor.org
The state authorities of Pennsylvania have launched an underhanded attack on the movement to save the life of Mumia Abu-Jamal.
On July 9, the Pennsylvania Bureau of Charitable Organizations sent a letter demanding that the International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal (ICFFMAJ) stop soliciting funds in Pennsylvania until it delivers financial information demanded by the authorities. ICFFMAJ has played a key role in the movement to stop the execution of Mumia, including in the raising of much-needed funds for the struggle.
On August 9 came a second stage in this attack. The Philadelphia Inquirer published a hostile and misleading article on ICFFMAJ’s fundraising efforts. The article quoted the government’s July 9 letter. By pasting together various rumors and unsubstantiated speculations, this Inquirer article tried to give the impression that the Mumia movement has somehow been financially sleazy and even that its fundraising over the last decade has been illegal.
The people must widely expose and oppose this attack on ICFFMAJ and step up the campaign to save the life of Mumia Abu-Jamal.
The current hand-in-hand operation between the government authorities and the Philadelphia Inquirer is similar to the 1999 attack on the Black United Fund of Pennsylvania (BUF/PA). The BUF/PA, a respected nonprofit organization, provides a service where it collects contributions earmarked for various organizations, including ICFFMAJ, and assists in professional oversight of the funds. In June 1999, the Philadelphia city government threatened to destroy the local BUF if they didn’t sever ties to the Mumia campaign. Meanwhile the Inquirer ran articles that tried to portray BUF’s relationship with the Mumia campaign as something sinister and suspect.
The ICFFMAJ is facing an attack that combines a state attempt to forbid fundraising for Mumia, a scheme to extort information about the movement’s finances, and a sordid campaign to smear this movement in the press.
Pam Africa of the ICFFMAJ has pointed out to reporters that the ICFFMAJ has worked all along to comply with state requirements for receiving nonprofit fundraising status. ICFFMAJ has offered to help resolve any outstanding issues. But the real issue for the state authorities is obviously not "discrepancies" over paperwork. They are pressing ahead in their intense two-decade-long attempt to carry out the state murder of Mumia. They are mobilizing the forces at their disposal (in this case, the state bureaucracy and the ever-willing Inquirer) to create legal roadblocks, financial problems and hostile public opinion for the movement to save Mumia.
In a recent radio interview on New York’s WBAI, Pam Africa said that while the state Bureau of Charitable Organizations seems intent on forbidding ICFFMAJ from soliciting funds in Pennsylvania--it cannot prevent anyone from contributing funds. An August 7 statement by ICFFMAJ said: "Currently all of our donations should be sent to The Black United Fund and earmarked Mumia Funds and sent to 2227 Broad St., Philadelphia, PA 19132."
A protest will be held on August 16, at 4 p.m, in front of the Inquirer building on 400 N. Broad Street in Philadelphia.
This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
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