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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: February, 2010
Feb 14, 2010
Corporate Supremacy --Still! The recent Supreme Court decision on corporate personhood, The Citizen's United case, has evoked considerable comment, and even some indignation: "Corporations have the right to spend unlimited amounts of money on politicians?!" - "outrageous!" Really? While people have every right to be outraged, we should inform our outrage, for, in truth, corporate interests have owned the political process -- and politicians -- for the better part of a century. In the classic history book, The Robber Barons, by Matthew Josephson (Harcourt: 1969), one encounters scenes of major industrialists buying politicians outright with satchels of money - on the floor of State Senates!! The buying is not so overt now, but politicians are still being bought like hot dogs. What is a modern congressional, presidential or judicial campaign today - but a race for the money? For the man (or woman) who gets money can buy media - and the media decides races. In a real sense, all the court did was open up the spigot for more dough from corporate coffers. In essence, the court said, it's not enough to rent politicians; now you can own them. And they will own them. And where will much of this money go, but into the pockets of corporate media? And what is this but a corporate media stimulus package? What makes this case remarkable isn't so much the result (for this was politically predictable), but the court's reliance on precedent that actually wasn't precedential. For, in the case Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Co. (1886), used as the foundation for the principle of corporate personhood, that principle appears nowhere - but the court clerk wrote it into the head notes of the case, which is not legally part of the case - and 124 years later an error became law, which became precedent, which guides decisions today, which favors corporate wealth and power over democracy. In the 1880's, during the age of the captains of industry who came to be known as the "robber barons", multi-millionaire Andrew Carnegie, threatened with legal action to restrain his corporate excesses, remarked: "What do I care about the law? Ain't I got the power?" (Josephson 15) Thanks to the Supreme Court, they've got even more. (c) 2010 Mumia Abu-Jamal
Feb 7, 2010
Paying The Costs: SF8 As the once front page story of the San Francisco 8 case winds down, bills are becoming due. The San Francisco 8 refers to 8 former members of the Black Panther Party, charged with involvement in a 1971 homicide. There is little doubt now that the case was initiated more for political reasons than legal ones. The San Francisco District Attorney's office thought so little of the case that it declined to prosecute. California's attorney general opted to try it instead. Almost from day one, the case began unraveling. A few guys took plea bargains to relatively minor charges, resulting in probation. Within months, charges against 5 of the men were dismissed. Only one still has charges pending. The men - Herman Bell, Ray Boudreaux, Henry Jones, Jalil Muntaqim, Richard O' Neal, Harold Taylor, and Francisco Torres - now middle aged and older, stood firm with each other, and refused to flip on each other. Some of them were tortured back in 1973, when charges were originally dismissed. (One man, John Bowman, died before trial) Why this case? Initially, it is the extraordinary resources and papers made available to local jurisdictions by the federal government in the aftermath of 9/11; secondly, California's Attorney General (Edmund 'Jerry" Brown) was anxious to run for governor, and thought this case would prove the right vehicle. But what was sensational in 1971 loses some of it's punch in 2007. The newest headlines from the case isn't what the cash strapped stated wants to hear. San Francisco's Public Defenders office has filed for $2 million in reimbursements owed by the City for its defenses of the men. They are seeking that sum because the State, not San Francisco County, took up the prosecution of the 36 year old case. (c) 2010 Mumia Abu-Jamal
Feb 6, 2010
Black History Month-undefined-
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