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Mumia Abu-Jamal's Radio Essays

Commentaries by the award-winning journalist and activist Mumia Abu-Jamal
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Mumia Abu-Jamal's Radio Essays
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Now displaying: 2008
Oct 26, 2008
Socialism for Some
Oct 8, 2008
For millions of people, the economic crash and crisis seems almost mystical. What happened? Why did it happen? How did it happen? It seems more complex than it really is. That's because the corporate media is, more often than not, a contributor to confusion, rather than a source of clarity. The media thrives on conflict, chaos and controversy. That's why I found in the {British} left press what I've never seen in the corporate media: the text of a 2002 open letter from U.S. financier, Warren Buffett to his Berkshire Hathaway shareholders. Buffett, one of the richest people in the U.S., warned his shareholders to avoid 'derivatives'. which he described as "time bombs, both for the parties that deal in them, and the economic system." Buffett explained that derivatives are financial agreements for the exchange of money at some future date, which can be 20 years or more. What makes them dangerous is they're collateralized, or guaranteed, based on often faulty reference points. For example, derivatives may be traded saying in 10 years, GM stocks will double its 2004 value, and if it does in 2014, the instrument buyer will receive say, $10 million. In many cases, before the contract is ripe, not a penny has changed hands, yet some companies assigned these instruments a value, recorded them on their books as assets, when in fact, they had no real value. Remember Enron? On paper, they were rolling in dough. In fact, however, they were rolling in paper -- for, at any time, if they hit a snag, they had no real cash to cover corporate debts -- it was on the books, but not in the banks. Again, Buffett explained six years ago why these instruments should be avoided, writing to his shareholders: The derivatives genie is now well out of the bottle, and these instruments will almost certainly multiply in variety and number until some event makes their toxicity clear. Knowledge of how dangerous they are has already permeated the electricity and gas businesses, in which the eruption of major troubles caused the use of derivatives to diminish dramatically. Elsewhere, however, the derivatives business continues to expand unchecked. Central banks and governments have so far found no effective way to control, or even monitor, the risks posed by these contracts.* In closing, Buffett warned, "derivatives are financial weapons of mass destruction, carrying dangers that......are potentially lethal." (c) 10/8/08 Mumia Abu-Jamal Source: Labour & Trade Union Review (No. 191: Oct. 2008), pp.16-18
Oct 8, 2008
Ona Move! I greet you all who've gathered here today, at the 10th anniversary of the Founding of Jericho-the Movement to free all political prisoners -- and also to remember the life and work of an extraordinary sista -- the late, great, Safiya Bukhari. When she was here, all we could see was her in motion, working, leafleting, explaining, organizing -- all of these things -- ceaselessly! She was a quiet, intense, ubiquitous presence who seemed like a force of nature -- a cloud, a ray of summer sun, a force that would be there -- for quite a while, if not forever. But, in a blink, she was gone -- and only then did we recognize her strength, her iron will -- for with her gone, we felt a great void. And all of our movements suffered from her loss. But her passing shouldn't immobilize us; it should inspire us! For, though many of us thought of her as a Superwoman, she was, to quote Nietzsche, "Human, All Too Human." She laughed, she cried; she got angry, she was joyous; she got tired, she was energetic -- she was brilliant, and she made mistakes. But what made her remarkable was her commitment to all Political Prisoners (PP) and Prisoners of War (POW). On this, the 10th anniversary of its founding, let us all, in the spirit of Safiya, work to rebuild Jericho into a true social force. We owe it not just to Safiya Bukhari, but to ourselves. We owe it to our brothers and sisters in Bablyon's dungeons, like the MOVE 9, Jalil Muntaquin, Ruchell Magee, Russell 'Maroon' Shoatz, Hugo 'Yogi' Pinnell, Jamal Hart, and many other brothers and sistas, from various movements -like Leonard Peltier, the still -caged Puerto Rican independentistas -- and beyond. We must salute and join the efforts of Ashanti Alston and Kazi Toure, to help Jericho grow into a true liberation movement. Ona Move! Mumia Abu-Jamal (c) 10/7/08 Mumia Abu-Jamal
Oct 6, 2008
With the passage of the Wall St. bailout bill, a major line has been crossed in U.S. economic and political history. The rulers can do anything, as long as they leaven it with fear. Just like the Iraq War authorization, with enough fear Congress will roll over, and say, "Uncle." And there was an avalanche of fear. The corporate media sold oceans of fear and dread, just as it sold facile patriotism, the Iraq War and the so-called "War on Terror." Using individual tales of fallen 401(k)s, or of a few firings, they successfully insinuated that unless the bailout passed, you might loseyour job, or your 401(k) might turn to dust. They ran the banner headlines of the drop of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, and scared legislators into flipping their prior no votes into yea votes. Here's the deal. What we've seen from both major political parties is the greatest transfer of public wealth into private hands in history. Indeed, it is privatization run amok. It is a bailout, pure and simple, that the media and its masters want you to call a 'rescue', but who is rescued? You? C'mon. Does a government that facilitated the loss of millions of jobs; that scuttled public education; that gave away the public treasury to Wall St. bankers; that sold a long war based on lies; that allowed millions of homeowners to fall into foreclosures, give a damn about you? A government that cared about its people wouldn't have led them to this disaster. Think of it this way: the same government that fought for months to privatize social security, or in other words, to invest peoples' retirement funds into stocks, came up with this bailout plan. If the government was successful, some 40 million people (those 65 and over) would've been flat broke. What they couldn't do one way, they did another, for the economic hole that another trillion dollars will blow into the deficit spells danger to this project. If you elect a government based on its rhetoric of anti-government, of deregulation, of the 'blind hand of the market', you get economic carnage, crony capitalism, and misery for millions. Moreover, what you have is the privatization of the State, by its rental by private capital. For, in both houses of Congress, in both major parties, we find pols who have received tens of thousands of dollars from Wall St. Can anyone deny that this money donated to Congress was wasted? (By 'wasted', I mean to those who made those donations -- not to average Americans). As the saying goes, 'you get what you pay for.' It might also be said that you get what you vote for. (c) 10/4/08 Mumia Abu-Jamal Note: Check out www.opensecrets.org for data on Congress for sale.
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