Mumia Abu-Jamal's Radio Essays

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Aug 21, 2015

His name is Major - (his real name); Major Tillery of West Philadelphia.

Although he had a reputation as a gangster, in prison such things matter little. It’s as a jailhouse lawyer that he shook the prison walls in the case known as Tillery v. Owens, a ground-breaking prison conditions case where double-dealing (or the placement of four men in a cell) was declared unconstitutional. The prison medical department was declared unconstitutional and living conditions in part of the prison were declared a violation of the constitution.

Shortly after his glorious win, Major Tillery was sent to a prison in another state;

Retaliation? 

Sure looks like it.

Several months ago, Major saw me in the library, and expressed shock at my appearance, my carriage, and my level of wakefulness. He argued with me, insisting I go to the prison infirmary.

I resisted, saying I was ok, or would be in a few days. Major said, “Dude - I’m looking at you - your skin is shedding; you are so tired you can’t stay awake. You ain’t cool, Mu!”

He went further. He walked up to the prison superintendent, warning him that if Jamal wasn’t hospitalized immediately, he might die.

The warden responded, “I suggest you worry less about another prisoner, and more about yourself.”

Major responded immediately: “That’s what I’m doing, cuz that’s my brother - and I want for my brother what I want for myself!”

From that day forward, Tillery was hit by daily harassments, daily shakedowns, and he was removed from his job of Peer Facilitator.

He was transferred - first to the other side of the prison, and soon thereafter, to nearby SCI- Frackville. Once there, he got another surprise: he received a misconduct for drug-trafficking (of suboxone), using stamps. He was given 6 months in the hole!

Here’s the only problem with such a charge. At Frackville (as in Mahanoy), all stamps are ripped off of envelopes by the mailroom before prisoners receive their mail.

Tillery demanded he be charged by the State Police to prove the falsity of the charge. The prison refused to do so.

Retaliation?

Sure looks like it.

To make matters worse, Major Tillery, and dozens of other men, are also suffering from skin rashes and getting little relief.

Major is in the hole not because of drugs, but because of something prison administrators hate and fear above all things: prisoner unity; prisoner solidarity.

On Sept. 5, 2015, Tillery will turn 65 years old, in the hole for blatant retaliation.


© [column written 8/14/15] © ’15 Mumia Abu-Jamal

Aug 10, 2015

Trump: And the Politics of Resentment
[col. writ. 7/31/15] © ’15 Mumia Abu-Jamal


When New York billionaire and GOP Presidential candidate Donald Trump launched into his anti-immigrant tirade against Mexicans crossing the border, he was using a long known political technique of plugging into the live wire of American resentment of the other.

Today, it’s Latinos, of course; more precisely, those from the Southern borders: Mexicans, Salvadorans, Guatemalans, Hondurans, and the like.

But, since the 19th century, politicians have used these currents of fear to fuel movements against those who came from abroad. In these days though, the targets of nativist’s ire were the Irish, Russian Jews, Italians and other European sites.

These forces gave birth to the American Party, a fierce anti-immigrant group that became known popularly as the Know Nothings. They formed a third party during the 1850s, and ran former U.S. President Millard Fillmore as their unsuccessful candidate.

U.S. historian Richard Hofstadter (1910-70), in his classic work, ‘The Paranoid Style in American Politics’, argued that much of the energy in the anti-immigrant forces, stemmed from what might be called ‘status anxiety’, or the intense insecurities of people unsure of their place in U.S. society, but who could point to others - immigrants - who held weaker positions in society.

 

Furthermore, these anxiety-ridden groups often have mixed feelings of fear and admiration of social elites; and who is more elite then the super-rich?

Witness the spectacle of Donald Trump, who, without question, is perhaps the richest man ever to run for president - and is a billionaire populist, no less!

I wouldn’t get too excited about his place in the polls right now. In 2012 the toast of both press and polls was a pizza exec named Herman Cain. We know how that worked out.

But most candidates, especially of the GOP, worship at the throne of the wealthy, for they are the ones they serve.

The thousands and millions who rage at Latino immigrants also worship the rich.

In Donald Trump they have found their voice. And he has found the energies of resentment undeniable fuel for failure.


© ‘15maj

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